Everyone has experienced an event so earth shattering that it changed their lives. I experienced such a thing the summer before my junior year of high school. There was a boy who lived near me, he was quite troubled, and I had such a crush on him. He was sweet but he came from a broken home and got into a lot of trouble at school. To this day I feel he was very misunderstood. One Friday night in July of 1987, he decided to end his life by putting a bullet in his brain. I don’t know if it was a premeditated thought or if he and his friend that was there were playing Russian Roulette, but he purposely put a gun next to his temple and pulled the trigger killing himself, shattering the lives of his parents, sister, and especially the friend who saw him do it. That weekend I had been at a lakehouse with a girlfriend and her family and when we got back, we heard the news. It was by far the most shocking thing I had heard in my mere 14 years of living on this earth. There were rumors in the beginning, as teenagers are prone to starting, that he was murdered by a pizza delivery guy, or that it was an accident. But, regardless, his death haunted me. My diary had so many pages devoted to my unrequited love for him and I was shattered that he was gone. I began having dreams about him. We were always sitting together somewhere, usually in a parking garage, and we were talking about mundane things. Then the conversation would turn to his death and I would begin to tell him what people thought happened and I would ask him to tell me what went down but I would always wake up before I got my answer. For months I dreamt of him and my sleep suffered, my relationships with friends and family suffered. I wrote a poem about how I was feeling in March of 1988:
Girlish dreams in pink and white,
Tinged with baby blue;
Outlined with the darkness of night.
Ghosts float slowly though her mind.
Ghosts of dead friends pass.
Rain in her room causes her to drown
in past days sorrows.
Forever a key on her mother’s keychain
She dangles in despair.
Girlish nightmares start in pink –
Always ending in black.
I was in a dark, dark, place friends. I felt like he was communicating to me through my dreams and I would work so hard to try and get answers from him. To this day, I remember the last dream I had about him. See, I had an English teacher with whom I was close. Not in a weird way, he just happened to be one of those teachers who gave a damn, and he could see that I was struggling. He spent time talking to me and sent me to the school counselor as well. After having several of those conversations, the dream began to change and the last one went like this. We were driving in a car, along the edge of a cliff. It was some kind of sports car because we were completely exposed to the elements and the wind was blowing our hair around wildly. He was driving the car and suddenly came to a screeching halt. He turned and looked at me for what seemed like an incredibly long time and I asked him to please tell me what happened to him and for the first time, he answered me. But it wasn’t the answer I was looking for. He said, “you’re just not ready to hear that yet.” And I woke up. It was the last time I ever dreamed about him. It was a weird time in my life and I found out a lot about myself and my relationship with my family. The dreams really messed with me but they opened me up to a path of self-discovery for which I’m forever grateful. I hope my kids never have to experience anything like that but the odds are good that they will. I also hope that my experience has left me armed well enough to help them navigate the treacherous waters of teenage life.
Sorry this was such a dark posting! It sort of took on a life of it’s own. I didn’t anticipate going into that much detail when I saw which poem was next to be posted. I guess I had a little more to say about it than I thought. 🙂