Sunday, May 3, 2015


When Sam was twenty-two, finishing college, he got into the drugs. My little boy, my little man, into drugs.

As happens with folks like Sam, obsessive personalities, when they fall, they fall hard.

And he fell hard.

I suppose it started light. A few joints here-or-there. Then like a Reefer Madness outtake on to hot knives, cocaine...worse.

His descent could have been a fucking Public Service Announcement.

The late night phone calls started after he dropped out.

He needed money.

He needed to stay tonight.

He needed...well he always needed something.

In the end, though, he's your kid. What are you going to do? Turn him away? Cut him off?

That tough love shit may cut it in some backwoods Tennessee county, but it doesn't carry much weight with me.

This was my guy.

The saddest part of life is loss.


When the final moment comes it is always those left behind who must bear the weight, carry the load. Find some reason, despite it all, to get up again and keep going.

I think it was five days after Sam died.

I got on my mountain bike and I just rode and I rode.

All the way into the city.

I truly didn't want to think.

Honestly, I wasn't going to jump or anything.

I just remembered that when we had lived in town Sam had really loved the viaduct. The view.

I suppose standing there for an hour drew someone's attention. When the officers arrived it was Ron who got out and approached me. Less intimidating.

"Brother, did you want to talk?"

No, not really. But my son, my only son, is gone.


"Can we maybe drive you home?"

I live a long way away...

"No Matter."

They took the front wheel off, put her in the back.

We were about half way when I realized Ron had never stopped talking. Checking on my mental state and all. Keeping me engaged.

By the time we got to the house I was exhausted.

They wanted to talk to Liz without me anyway, so I climbed up those stairs I had climbed so many countless times, went to what had been his room.

His room.

We had long ago gotten rid of all his stuff. Boxed some up. Thrown some out. Some he had taken to school and then sold for habit money.

Yet standing there in what had for three years been a guest bedroom it all just overwhelmed me.

It was like it was fifteen years ago and Sam was in his pajamas. Seven years old and it is all ahead.

What do you want me to read about tonight Sam?

And then it was always the same. Dinosaurs. I want to read about dinosaurs.


Raptor or Triceratops.

The odd part is when you know, finally, that that child is no more real now than they.

Lost forever with no museum.

Five days or sixty-five million years.

It really is all the fucking same.

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