it was several years ago.
maybe by now the parents’ grief has caught up with them.
he had been a wild child, a troubled youth
and when he began absorbing chemicals
the neighbours probably whispered together,
nodding their heads and agreeing that it was inevitable.
the speed fed his brain, made him feel he was finally alive;
pulled from his head
so many important things he suddenly discovered he needed to say.
but the day came when he knew it was time to call it a day
so he drank alcohol instead.
later, and with difficulty, he even gave that up,
limiting himself to a little weed in the evenings.
I sometimes think that if I hadn’t helped him to fulfil his dream of visiting India
he would still have a reason to keep breathing,
but instead he realised his fantasy,
came home, put a bottle to his lips,
and began his final binge.
a few weeks later he collapsed and died.
after the funeral his parents drank tea on the lawn
when offered sincere commisarations,they loooked on,
confused, beffuddled, perhaps only able to take in
that this was more than just another thing their son had done.
©Jane Paterson Basil