1989, 5 years old
As long as I can remember, Dad has always carried a hankie; there’s always one in his pocket, ready to wipe my tears and blow my nose. But today it’s wrapped around my knee, soaked in blood.
Mommy and Dad just separated and we visit Dad on Saturdays. Today he took us to his friend’s house; they have a pool and a huge backyard that leads into the woods. Matthew and I discovered a path in the woods that’s supposed to lead to a fairy pool, but we got called back for lunch before we could find the fairies. After lunch, well 30 minutes after lunch, we went swimming, but then all of a sudden, Matthew jumped out of the pool and made a beeline to our newly discovered fairy trail. I ran behind him as fast as I could down the path, but my foot slipped under a root and I went down face first, straight as a board. Matthew didn’t see me fall, but he heard me scream; as did Dad and his friends, 100 yards away outside the wood line. My left knee had landed on the pointy-est rock you’ve ever seen and scusch! my knee split right open. Before I really even knew what had happened, Matthew unhooked my foot from the root, scooped me up and started running back down the path towards the house.
Dad met us just outside the woods and Matthew handed me over to him like the Olympic torch before doubling over from exertion. Dad took up the sprint from there and ran me back to a table in the backyard. Everyone took a look; I think some of them were concerned about me, but I think others just wanted to look at the nasty gash gushing blood. They poured that awful peroxide stuff, the kind that bubbles and stings worse than the the original cut, all over my leg then wrapped it in this hankie.
When we got home Mommy started to tear into Dad for not taking me to the emergency room for stitches. I never take sides in their fights, but when I heard the word “stitches” I took a firm stance on Dad’s side for this one.
Never did get to see those fairies though.
From: Before I Forget
My best friend.
My worst enemy.
13… Can it really have been 13 years ago?
Me, an overly dramatic 16 year-old at the start of her junior year of high school?
Him, barely 20 years old, clean for over 2… Tee shirts without long-sleeved thermals underneath; healthy, unbroken skin…
A fairy tale-like weekend.
A Tuesday from a Lifetime movie.
The mortician telling us he needed long-sleeves if we wanted an open casket…
It could have happened yesterday; or maybe it was just a dream…
No. It was 13 years ago. We lost him. His thread was cut; he is no longer ours to have.
He won many battles; but he lost the war. A war that cannot be fought alone; a war no one could fight for him. Heroin had won. It got the last laugh. It took what could never be replaced. A life. A family. A home. A bond only siblings know. A young girl’s innocence. Heroin had won.
Before I forget is a place for me to remember my first, and truest friend; the one person I still wish… 13 years later, I still wish, I could pick up the phone and call. The one I know will always have my back.