My dad, who would have been in his late forties at the time, worked for long hours. He seemed to have boundless energy for house projects on the weekends. But he made sure we were at church each Sunday morning, where he often volunteered as a lector. My mom, a country girl transported to suburbia, possessed a deep reserve of patience for her four wild boys. Among them the oldest one, recently sprouting up an inch taller than my dad, has attained full, moody man-boy status.
As I returned home from my uncle’s house, I saw my parents and my 16-years old brother sitting grimly at the kitchen table, a scene undoubtedly played out in other kitchens across town, too. In that moment I knew nothing really, and was being told nothing.
My parents said they would have to drive me to the hospital. I resisted and said I could drive myself, but they were having none of it. As we left to go, my brother pulled me aside. He also worked at the ambulance service and had overheard that a night duty crew having left the scene with two bodies. When my brother said one of them wasn’t breathing, I reflexively thought, don’t let it be Jax, my friend, and repeated that in my mind imploring some higher power as my dad drove me beneath the sodium points of light on the highway. In the zero-sum of that moment, it didn’t even occur to me what the inverse meant. I’d feel for years after about it.
As a kid, I thought my town was a wonderland. The lawns were always freshly out, gardens overflowing with explosion of colours, the blue sky etched with mystical fans of ice from the planes that came and went from New York. Somewhere, out there was the wild world, but here we lived happy mode of life.
“Drive, Don’t Fly! Kill your speed. Don’t kill others and yourself! Stop. Look. Listen & Go!” Some important advice for others to heed and follow. It’s too late for me though!