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 come back, in one piece, 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, making him likely to use again. He’s been clean for over three months, and if he used he would be likely to overdose. Five times (that I know of) in the past he’s gone over so badly that paramedics have been called. On at least two of those occasions he was very lucky to be found in time – once in a deserted carpark at 1.00am, and another time in my living room after I had gone to bed – his sister happened to look in on him. Both of these times CPR was immediately administered (once by me) and the paramedics had difficulty bringing him back from the dead.
As soon as I got the text tonight I came home. If he turned up I wanted to be there to console him and try to keep him safe.
I waited for three hours, and then he rang me. He’s safe and well. He hasn’t used. Although he loves his girlfriend, he wants nothing more to do with her. He says she endangers him.
©Jane Paterson Basil