Category Archives: Youth

When You Still Cared

Deep in the chasms of my soul a memory burns as bright as a gaslight
A memory of what guides me through the still of the darkest night
Though you did me wrong
Wherever my heart may wander
I will think of what we once had and do what I know is right

In memory of what we once shared
Back when you still cared

You were beyond my expectations of what I deserved in my life
Then you cut out my heart with deception of a red-hot knife
Because you did me wrong
I know I need to do better
I will remember what we once had
It will forever guide my life

A memory of what we once shared
Back when you still cared


Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow (Part 9)

“What the hell happened?” she asked in a stern but quiet voice, so her parents couldn’t hear what exactly was being said. “Tom and Bryan called me in a panic Saturday night and told me they found you in the driveway, on top of your car. They said they couldn’t wake you up no matter what they did and that you would start twitching and jerking like you were having some kind of convulsion and then go still again.”

“So you found me out there?”

“No, they did. By the time I got here, it couldn’t have been more than five minutes later, you had apparently gotten up and went inside. You were on your bed when I found you. I figured you must have gotten up and moved yourself there. You weren’t twitching or anything. It just looked like you were sleeping, but I couldn’t get you to wake up or respond to anything. Your face was all pale and you looked terrible. You still do…but you look better than you did. At least you have some color back. The house was in shambles. I cleaned it up while mom and dad were heading up here. They would be even more ticked than they are right now if they had seen it that way –at you and at me – I was supposed to make sure you were staying out of trouble. I guess I didn’t do a very good job. Anyway, I hung around here to keep an eye on you until I had to go to work. I guess you were gone when mom and dad got here.”

“Yeah, I had to get something to eat. They were here when I got back.”

“Sorry that I called mom and dad, but I had to. I was worried about you. I still am. They left right after I called them. If I had known you’d be up and about like you are now…”

“Don’t worry about it. It’s all good.”

“You know they’re taking you with them when they go back.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s cool. I want to get away from here…I need to.”

“Is everything okay? Are you in any trouble or danger? What the hell happened?”

“No. Everything is fine. At least it is now. Things just got out of control a little bit…I got out of control. I really don’t want to talk about it. I want to forget it ever happened. I’ll never let it happen again.” Karen could tell by the way he said it, he meant it. She knew her little brother well.

There was a short pause. Karen was about to say something, but Paul spoke first. “Karen…I think I almost died…I almost killed myself.” His voice was trembling. “I don’t know how I didn’t…” Karen hugged her little brother. He started sobbing on her shoulder. Karen couldn’t help but do the same.

Once they both regained their composure, Karen looked Paul dead in the eyes and said sternly, yet gently at the same time “I know you said you want to, but I don’t think you should ever forget what happened – whatever it was. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine, but don’t ever forget it happened.” Paul nodded his head. “Give me a few minutes to talk with mom and dad, Okay?”

“Sure. Thanks.” As Karen turned to leave, Paul stopped her. “Karen, can you do me a favor?”

“Sure. What is it?”

I probably won’t see Bryan or Tom before I leave. Can you explain to them…all this?”

“Of course I will.”

Karen hugged her brother again and left the room, closing the door quietly behind her. Paul could hear her talking to their parents, but like earlier, couldn’t make out what was actually being said; only this time he was certain he was the topic of the discussion. Shortly after he heard their conversation go silent, there was a knock at his bedroom door. When Paul opened it, his dad was standing right outside the doorway. “Okay” he said “We won’t talk about it. I’ll give you this one. Can you have your clothes packed in an hour or two? We don’t want to leave too late. It’s a long drive.”

“An hour is fine.” Paul told his dad. His dad nodded and started to turn away. “Dad?”

“Yes, son.”

“I’m…I’m sorry.” Paul’s voice trembled as the words left his mouth. His dad hugged him and for the second time that morning Paul began to cry uncontrollably. His dad held him until he could tell Paul had recomposed himself.

As Paul and his parents pulled out of the driveway, he wondered if he would return with them when his dad’s temporary work assignment had completed. “Only if it feels right” he thought to himself. Paul knew he had been lucky. He thought “If there really is a God, he must be watching over me for some reason.” Paul knew that for whatever reason, he had been given a second chance. He was determined not to blow it.


The End.

Go back to the beginning

Copyright © 2015 Mr. Flying Pig

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow (Part 8)

Paul was still so exhausted that he nearly fell over getting out of his car. As he was walking toward the front door he felt like if he didn’t lie down again soon, he was going to pass out. The last thing he expected when he walked into the house was to see his mom and dad sitting on the couch in the living room, yet there they were. To Paul, it seemed surreal. “Hi son” His dad said as their eyes met. Paul didn’t know how to interpret the emotion in his dad’s voice.

“Hi. What are you guys doing here?”

“Well, your sister called us. She was concerned about you; and so are we.”

“There’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s all good. You didn’t need to drive all this way to rescue me. I’m fine.” That’s what Paul wanted to say at first, but he hesitated and said what he was really feeling instead. “You should be.”

“We’re taking you back with us.”

“Good. When are we leaving?”

Paul’s father was taken aback by that reply. He had expected some resistance, maybe even an ensuing argument. After a slight hesitation, he said “Tomorrow morning, after you have your things packed.”

Paul processed that, pausing for just a moment, and said “Okay. I’d like to go to bed now.

“Don’t you think we should talk about all this?” his dad asked.

Paul’s reply was wearily stated “No…Not ever. I just want to get out of here for a while…to clear my head…get my shit together.” It was the first time Paul could recall swearing in front of his parents, outside of telling a joke. He wasn’t sure how it would be received, and really didn’t care, with the way he felt. It just seemed appropriate – bluntly accurate. “I really need to go to bed now if you don’t mind. I need to sleep.” His dad was confused but nodded his head. He could tell that Paul was not trying to be rebellious or argumentative but was truly exhausted. He looked like he was about to keel over right there. He wanted to know what was going on but he knew now was not the time to ask for the answer. Paul went into his bedroom and quietly closed the door. Stripped himself down to his underwear and climbed between the bed sheets. He couldn’t believe how good his bed felt. He was asleep a few seconds later.

When Paul awoke Monday morning, he could hear his parents talking to someone. Listening closer, he could tell it was Karen. He couldn’t hear what they were saying exactly, but the conversation sounded like it was a bit heated. He guessed that he was most likely the main topic. He started to put on the clothes he had thrown on the desk chair the night before, but realizing he had worn those same clothes for the past couple days and seeing the sweaty  salt stains on the shirt, he changed his mind and put on a fresh pair of jeans and a clean t-shirt. He combed his hair the best he could, which is to say, not very well at all. He had let it grow out to near shoulder length during high school and without washing it since Friday morning, it had become a dirty, tangled mess. Still, he tried to make it look the best it could before he went out to talk with his parents. He didn’t want to talk about this with them or anyone else, ever; but he knew it was inevitable. The conversation between Karen and Paul’s parents came to an abrupt halt when Paul stepped out into their view. There was dead silence and everyone was frozen, as if somebody had hit a pause button on a remote. Breaking the stillness and silence, Karen got up from the couch and walked quickly across the room, turned to her parents and said “let me talk to him.” She grabbed Paul’s arm, pulled him back into his room, and closed the door.

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow Part 9

Copyright © 2015 Mr. Flying Pig

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow (Part 7)

Even though he had just woken up, Paul felt exhausted. He knew one or two of the yellow jackets he had in a baggie in his top dresser drawer would pep him right back up again. He thought about it for a minute or two, went and got the baggie, carried it into the bathroom and flushed them down the toilet. His headache was still there, but very much subdued; tolerable, but just barely. He knew some Aspirin or Tylenol would probably help, but Paul wanted nothing to do with drugs of any kind – not even ones that were over the counter. He was done with it; or at least he wanted to be. Paul knew this was going to be tough. His party friends were sure to come by in the coming days. Would he be able to turn them away? He had had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends, finally felt accepted within a large group. But at what cost? It wasn’t worth it, he realized. He had two great friends in Tom and Bryan – the best. He knew they’d always be there for him, if humanly possible, through anything. Why would he want any more than that? He knew he had parents and a sister who loved him, even though in retrospect, they should have never left town and left him alone; and she should have watched over him more closely. But then again, he did a good job of keeping the extremity of what he was doing concealed from everyone. No. This was his situation, created by himself and nobody else. He needed to learn to appreciate the people in his life. But above all else, right now, he needed to find a way to make changes in his life. He needed to get away from all the temptation that he was sure would be around in the days and weeks, maybe months to come.  He needed to get away somehow. If he could do that, he could work the rest out.

As Paul thought about all this walking out of his bedroom, he couldn’t help but notice how good the house looked despite how long it had been since he straightened anything up. Even the dishes were done – he couldn’t remember the last time he actually did the dishes. Once they were all dirty, he just kept rewashing the same pot to cook Kraft macaroni and cheese in and eating it right out of the pot. Thinking of food suddenly made Paul realize how famished he was. He thought about how long it had been since he had eaten anything – two days at least. He still felt exhausted, like he could collapse at at any second, but he knew he had to get something in his stomach. He grabbed his keys and drove down to a local greasy spoon, 24-hour hamburger place – the kind of place that was always packed when the bars closed or after a good party. At this time of the day however, the place was nearly desolate. The only other customer was a middle aged guy sitting on a barstool at the counter propping his head up in his cupped hands with a half-eaten burger, a half finished cup of coffee, and a half smoked cigarette in an ashtray in front of him. Paul sat down at a booth. When the waitress came over, he ordered two burgers, an order of fries and a tall glass of water. After finishing his meal, Paul paid the bill at the register and drove home. As he pulled into the driveway, he didn’t notice that his dad’s car was parked across the street.

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow Part 8

Copyright © 2015 Mr. Flying Pig

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow (Part 5)

Realizing he had a nearly endless supply of speed and with the almost non-supervision from his sister, Paul started using the yellow jackets more frequently and sometimes in greater quantity. Every night he would have either his friends or the two brothers down the street come over, smoking pot and drinking into all hours of the night. Paul realized that as long as he provided the place, he hardly had to buy anything – only every now and then – which worked out well for him since the only income he had was his part-time job and the money his parents would send him to buy food (he used very little of it to actually buy food). He also realized that with the yellow jackets he could party as late as he wanted, go to all the parties he heard about, and he could still be alert in school and get enough of his homework done to make sure he at least passed his classes so he could graduate. He was hardly sleeping at all.

When Paul’s parents came back for his graduation ceremony, Paul made sure the house was all straightened up and that everyone knew to not come by for a few days, until his parents had left again. He also made sure he didn’t take any of the speed while they were there. His parents had a graduation party for him the day after the actual ceremony. It was really small compared to most of the bashes he had been to recently. There was beer there for the adults. Paul and his friends weren’t old enough to drink, but Paul’s parents looked the other way when Paul would grab a bottle for himself or one of his friends. They drank them out of sight, in the garage, where they also smoked numerous joints.

Even though he felt tired because of his lack of sleep the past couple months, and not having his yellow jackets to pick him up, Paul was surprised by how much he actually enjoyed himself while his parents were there. He thought that maybe he should stop all the heavier partying he had been doing lately. Before leaving again, Paul’s dad told him that his job relocation should be wrapped up in another few months and then they’d be back for good. He left with Paul’s mom, returning to their temporary residence hundreds of miles away. Once they were gone, Paul forgot about everything he had ever thought about slowing down.

Although not as frequent, there were still good parties to go to on most of the weekends following graduation. If he heard of one, Paul would go. If there wasn’t one to go to, Paul would just party at his house with his friends or the brothers from down the street. It was great when they came over because they always had pot, hash, or opium to smoke and they were always willing to share it. Plus, being years older than Paul and his just out of high school friends, they were legally able to buy beer and booze at the nearby party stores, for themselves or anybody else who had the money and wanted some. Paul knew that at least one of the brothers had shot up heroin in the past – he thought that was crazy; “how could anyone stick a needle in their arm?” Plus, from what he had heard, you were pretty out of it when you did heroin and it could be really easy to overdose on it if you weren’t careful. Paul knew how to be careful with the yellow jackets. Even though he didn’t need them to keep up with schoolwork anymore, he was still taking them every day, throughout the day, because he liked the way they made him feel. They gave him a great buzz and seemed to intensify everything else he did with them for the better, especially if he took two or three of them. He didn’t need anything else, and it was all perfectly under control.

Just before leaving for the party he had been at the night he ended up on the hood of his car, Paul was trying to remember if he had taken three or four yellow jackets. This would possibly be one of the last post-graduation bashes – he hadn’t heard of any others coming up – and possibly the biggest of the summer. Paul wanted to make the best of it. To be sure he took at least four – if it happened to be five, no big deal – he swallowed one more down before Bryan, Tom and he chugged a couple beers and left his house.

They were at the party only a short while when Paul felt the headache coming on. At first, he tried to ignore it, but it intensified quickly. Bryan and Tom had wandered off somewhere and he had found himself standing in a group with four or five other guys he had never met before. They were all talking about music and bands they liked and passing around a joint. Paul couldn’t remember if it was one of his or one of theirs. He found it hard to think of anything except how badly his head was starting to hurt. A sharp, stabbing pain like no other headache he had ever had before. He knew there was something wrong. He turned and walked away from the group, towards the door, heading for home.

“Hey man, aren’t you going to finish it? You just lit it up.”

Paul didn’t reply. He just walked out the front door, got in his car and started driving home. The next thing he knew, he was curled up in a fetal position, on the hood of his car in his driveway, immobilized by the pain.

The pain.

It was all Paul could think about before he lost consciousness.

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow Part 6

Copyright © 2015 Mr. Flying Pig

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow (Part 3)

By the time Paul and his two best friends were in high school, smoking weed had become a fairly regular activity for them and they would get high before doing almost anything. It seemed to make almost everything more enjoyable. Paul couldn’t help but notice that since he started partying, there were a lot more people he was hanging around with. There were a lot more people who liked him. Some even thought he was cool. They didn’t tease or pick on him any more than they jokingly did with any of the others in the group. Paul still had a problem doing any ribbing back at them. He didn’t want to risk accidentally making someone feel like he was made to feel back in elementary school – he didn’t want anyone to take it personally – but he could take it as long as everyone in the group was equally fair game. Then it was all in fun; not personal. He still never felt as comfortable opening up to this larger group as he did Tom and Bryan, but he still considered them his friends, as they considered Paul theirs. He finally felt like he had found a clique he fit in with.

During their early years in high school, Paul, Tom and Bryan experimented a bit with a few other drugs that some of their friends were also doing. They tried some hallucinogenics, mescaline mostly, which Paul really liked until he had a paranoid episode with it one time and decided he didn’t want to do it anymore. Paul tried Quaaludes one time but they just seemed to put him to sleep, which he couldn’t see the point of. Between hanging out and getting high with his friends after school, staying up late doing his homework in order to keep his grades all “A”s and “B”s and then getting up early for school, he had no problem falling asleep when he needed to. Quaaludes only made it harder to stay awake when he wanted to.  Sometimes, he thought he needed something to help him keep going.

One day at the beginning of his senior year in high school, some girls Paul and his two best friends had started hanging out with, introduced them to something they hadn’t tried before.

“They’re called yellow jackets” Valerie, one of the girls explained. “It’s a prescription med I can get. It’s a kind of speed.”

Although Paul had never heard of them at the time, Yellow jackets were a popular drug that was commonly abused in the 1970s; they contained a combination antidepressants and methamphetamine. In this combination, the antidepressants were supposed to enhance the effects of the methamphetamine.  Years later, they would be, along with many other drugs that contained methamphetamine, banned by the FDA, but back then, they were often prescribed by doctors and psychiatrists and quite often abused.

Paul wasn’t sure how his two friends felt about yellow jackets, but he personally, really liked them. They made him feel more focused and less easily distracted. They also seemed to give him the confidence to come out of the reserved shell he quite often kept himself in. As a bonus, he also got a slightly tingling feeling from them that he rather enjoyed. Along with smoking pot and drinking, yellow jackets soon became Paul’s favorite drug of choice. Unfortunately, he couldn’t afford to get them as often as he would have liked since he only had a part-time job that was just barely covering the cost of his other two favorites.

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow Part 4

Copyright © 2015 Mr. Flying Pig

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow (Part 2)

Paul couldn’t remember how he ended up on the hood of his car – he must have climbed up there at some point – nor could he remember anything but bits and pieces of his drive home from the party he had just been at less than an hour earlier. It was the kind of party that most parents in what was then the late 1970s would have not allowed their children to go to – one where the parents were out of town for the weekend. Paul didn’t need to worry about whether or not his parents would let him go. They were over 500 miles away, in a different state; had been for the past few months now, since his dad had taken a temporary job assignment. Paul’s older sister, Karen, was supposed to be supervising him, but she really didn’t want to be taking care of her little brother. She had her own life to live. Besides, she figured it was his senior year in high school, he should be allowed to celebrate. She wished she had more of that freedom in her senior year.

Paul had heard about the party from numerous friends. It was supposed to be a huge bash – the biggest one of the summer – and when he arrived with two of his friends, that’s pretty much what they found it to be. Paul wasn’t sure if it was really the biggest – he had been to some big bashes lately – but this one was in the running, no doubt. Paul had been making it to a lot of parties like this before and after graduation. His parents weren’t around to tell him no and his sister was looking the other way, why wouldn’t he? It seemed there was a good party somewhere nearly every weekend. If there wasn’t, Paul and his friends would just have one at his house. In addition to the weekends, Paul had been living it up during the weekdays too, especially once high school was over with. There was a neighbor down the street from Paul’s house who had a couple older sons still living at home, and it seemed that at least one – most of the time both of them, were up to partying all night. Paul provided the place, and they provided all the rest, for the most part. Some nights, some of the brothers’ friends would show up too. The brothers and their friends always had good stuff and were always willing to share.

Paul liked that he had a lot more friends that wanted to hang with him now. He never had a lot of friends when he was in elementary school, always a bit of a social outcast. He was extremely smart, but didn’t fit in well with the other kids who were academically advanced at a young age, like he was. He really didn’t fit in well with any group, he had a difficult time with proper social interaction and was hyperactive, which tended to make the other kids think of him as a bit weird. Had it been the late 1990s or more recent, he probably would have been diagnosed with ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome, but those labels didn’t exist when he was that little, they weren’t even widely used by the time he got to high school. He also was on the skinny side and smaller than most of his other classmates. In Gym class, he was always picked last for a team sports and never asked to play when it was outside of school because he wasn’t athletic at all. He was often teased and bullied by the bigger kids because he was an easy target and rarely fought back. The couple times he did, he ended up on the losing end. Sometimes, some of the kids would act like they wanted to be his friends, only to set him up for some kind of ridiculing or bullying later. Paul did have a couple friends, Bryan and Tom, who accepted him as he was and liked him. They treated him fairly. Eventually, he almost exclusively hung around with them and nobody else. Consequently, with very few exceptions, Paul had become very shy, reserved and withdrawn as he was going into middle school; more often than not, preferring to stay in the background.

In Middle school, all that began to change. Thankfully, by hiding in the shadows, the bullying had subsided. One day, when he was walking home from school, he happened across the path where a group of his peers were gathered. They called him over. As he approached, Paul recognized one of them from his old elementary school. It wasn’t one of the kids who used to pick on him, but not someone who he would necessarily refer to as a friend, Paul just knew who he was.

“Paul, you wanna smoke a joint?”

Although Paul knew what pot was, had never tried it before and told them so.

“Do you wanna try it?”

“Ummm, sure.” There was a slight apprehensiveness in his answer. He knew it was illegal and some adults said it could hurt you, but they were already smoking it when they called him over and nothing bad was happening to them, so how bad could it be? He didn’t notice anything at first, but after a little bit, Paul could feel its effect and liked it. He began meeting up with this same group fairly regularly on his way home from school; sometimes, other kids that Paul recognized from his classes and in the halls of the middle school would show up. Paul couldn’t help but notice that none of them were ever the ones who picked on him when he was younger, and none of them treated him like an outcast or teased or bullied him. They treated him like everyone else in the group. They treated him like he was one of them. Sometimes Paul would save his lunch money for the day so he could buy a joint from one of them and share it with the group, other times someone else would share theirs. Eventually Paul decided to buy a couple extra ones to share with Tom and Bryan. He had told them about all this and they seemed curious to try it, which they eventually did.

Epiphany Wrapped in Yellow Part 3

Copyright © 2015 Mr. Flying Pig