An Open Letter To The Man Who Overdosed In My Driveway
I am so sorry we had to meet like this. I was on my way home from the store, ready to pull into the driveway, but there you were. I don’t know what made you choose my house. Maybe it was all of the flowers planted by the road or the shade of the tree that my grandfather planted before I was born. Maybe your guardian angel guided you here or that little devil on your shoulder told you to pull over and just give in. Maybe it was none of those things and your “friend” just panicked and parked there at random. Whatever it was, there you were.
I can’t get the image of you out of my head. I can’t sleep, because every time I close my eyes, I see your face. I see your lifeless body leaned up against the hitch of that trailer on the back of that truck. I see the way your head slumped to the side when your “friend” nudged you on the shoulder and told you to get up. I see the way your arms and legs dangled, surrendering to gravity, as your “friend” picked up your dead weight and shoved your vacant body unceremoniously into the passenger side of that truck. I see you shaking as your body began to convulse, as your “friend” tried to assure me that you didn’t need an ambulance. I see the memorial tattoo on your arm and wonder whose arm will carry the tattoo of your memory. I see the panic on your “friend’s” face as I called 911 and begged for an ambulance anyway.
But mostly? I see your eyes.
Your eyes—open, but unseeing. They were green. They looked as though they had seen too much, but I also saw all of the things that you may never get to see again reflected in them. Like the glow of every candle you haven’t had the chance to count on your birthday cake or your children’s birthday cakes. Your lover, begging you to dance with them through one more song. Your mother’s smile or the reaction of everyone caught in the crossfire of her eruptions of laughter. The sunlight streaming through the stained-glass window beneath the church bells beckoning you to sobriety. Your dog, nose pressed to the glass of your front window, waiting anxiously to greet you. How long will your dog have to wait to see you now? Perhaps the most terrifying thing that I saw in your eyes was the letting go of an entire life’s worth of potential and purpose unmet.
I will thank you every time I pull in or out of that driveway, every time I look at the curb where you may have spent the last conscious moments of your life. The same curb where the garbage cans are currently placed to be picked up in the morning. It all just feels so wrong.
I hope you hold on. I hope you make it through the night. I hope you find your way back home to yourself, and all the lights are on when you get there, waiting to welcome you inside. I hope you are one of the lucky ones, who get to wake up for long enough to have a dream worth chasing. I hope you know that you are loved.
I love you. I don’t even know your name, but I love you. You are somebody’s someone, and for me, you are the man who haunts my dreams. I don’t know what your bad batch was laced with, but all of my prayers are laced with you.
I hope you find what you are looking for, because every time I close my eyes, all I see is you.