by Rolin Joles
Connie won't let Adrian give up on himself.
| I couldn't imagine the day he would fall. He was too mighty in my eyes to succumb to the demons in his mind or the loss in his life. He used to triumph over all of the obstacles of the past with ease and resilience, telling me that this was "just another step on the road". How could anyone say that for 23 years and believe it so matter-of-fact after experiencing an uphill battle such as he? Perhaps I never really gave it much thought as to what he was suppressing; he never gave me reason to assume there was anything he couldn't take.
He is on his knees now, gun in hand. I stand two steps behind him in the dark. All that I see in front of us is his mother lying in the hospital bed, her eyes closed and her chest open. Today was the day she would receive her operation. You see, she recently obtained a bacterial blood infection that made its way to her heart. She had a kidney transplant back in 2011, so he was told she had to take a string of mediation pills in order to suppress her immune system because her body would kill the kidney if left alone. He always thought that was stupid, but whatever, doctor's orders. Things went fine for a while. She went back to school, worked, and got on with her life, despite her husband's constant worry of her getting sick. Adrian understood her, though; what's the point in getting a miracle if you're not free to use it? Being on dialysis for eleven years was a prison sentence, alone. Was she not allowed to live like a normal person for once?
Now this happens and he regrets all the times they've argued and he yelled at her. He sits and the memories of unpleasant moments eclipses his hope. He's a smart cookie, I know. He already foresaw how his life would go without her here. Now all he does is wait to know if he should pull the trigger. One hand, his mom walks out of this alive and he finds a new appreciation for her, life, and religion. He gets his act together, follow all of the directions his parents gave him, become a successful writer and supports them until they've had a proper life together and pass in their rightful time. The other hand, she goes on that operation table. His father drops into depression as he has. Soon after, he loses his father. He knows he can't afford the home he lives in now. So he'd have to find another place for him and his younger brother. He works hard, pushes through the financial struggle to bury his parents, supports his younger brother until he's stable enough to live on his own, then...he gives up. We're leaving out the grieving process and informing his older brother in California of what has conspired.
So here I stand in this mess, this uncertainty. But ultimately, I only see one future, either way this goes. He needs to live. He needs to be strong for both events. He can't afford to clock out, no matter how much pain he's in. Even after his mom, his dad, his brothers; there will still be people there to care for; there are still things to get done. So I step from the darkness occasionally and I shove him. I shove him hard. I try to knock the gun away from him. I grab him and try to pull him to his feet. I yell. I scream. I hit him with my fists. I kick him. I do everything I can think of to keep him with me. I need his attention on me and not this. I need him to hear me when I tell him things. I need him to not ignore me.
I beat on the glass from the other side in his mind. I'm telling him how wonderful he is. I'm telling him how much worth he has. I'm letting him know that without him, this world would suffer a great deal. His mind, his beliefs, his kind nature...They all have value to others. He can't hear me. If he can, I don't know if it's getting to him. I want him to look at me but I don't have a face to see. I don't have body to hold him. I don't have a physical form to push him.
I'm the last thing he's got going for him, though. I'm the only one who truly gets what he's going through. I'm the only one he can talk to about it. So I'm beating this glass as hard as I can. I'm making as much noise as possible until he notices me.I just need him to turn to me and tell me one thing:
"It's just another step..."