I take life, not by week or day, but by the hour,
and when so suddenly, and often, it all goes sour,
I try to count the heartbeats until I’m well again.
When my brain refuses, I chant an agonised refrain:
“Don’t focus on the danger; don’t focus on the fear”
while my terrifying thoughts rebelliously veer
to images of blue lips, of cold, flaccid flesh,
and my mouth cries out with raspy breath,
“No no no no, he is not lost, it cannot be,
he’ll soon return, quite safe, to me.”
An hour may pass, or four or eight.
I fret and pace, I gasp and wait,
try to keep my concentration;
fail to still my palpitations.
I roll up small, I mutter, curse;
he must come back, and none the worse.
He calls me up, or rings my bell,
I hear his voice and all seems well,
but every time I die some more,
and question what my life is for,
when every inch of peace, and joy
is stolen by my addict boy.
Tonight, as I was enjoying an evening beside a bonfire with friends, I received a text which warned me that my son and his girlfriend had fallen out, and he’d disappeared, and there was a danger he may overdose.
I cut the evening short, and came straight home. If he turned up I wanted to be here.
I waited for three hours, and then he rang me, safe and well.
I can breathe again.
©Jane Paterson Basil