pages 63-65

   I edited a few pages of Alex's book yesterday, but I couldn't write afterward. It was too hard, reading about his first encounter with the drug that would eventually take his life. Last night I dreamt of him. In the dream, we were driving around in the middle of nowhere, like we used to do, and I started looking through his backpack. In his pack I found a rubber tube, a glass vase, whippets, white powder, and a lighter, just like in his story. I immediately pulled the car over and confronted him, and he got so instantly enraged and defensive. I started throwing the objects into this field, I think we were by the fairgrounds near our old house. It was nighttime, and unlike Alex, I can actually throw, so there would be no way he would find everything. I kept throwing his drugs and various accessories until they were all gone. Furious, he started after me. I jumped back into the car and peeled out, leaving him there, screaming at me. When I looked back in the rear view mirror, he was searching frantically through the dark, combing the tall, damp grass for his high.

   Then I woke up.

   A few years ago, throwing out his drugs at the risk of him lashing out at me is absolutely something I would have done. It's something I have done, in fact, and one of the first things I did after he died. Going through the room he sometimes stayed in at my father's house, I went through all the places I knew he might stash something, gathered the incriminating objects, and got rid of them. At the time I told myself I was doing this for my parents' sake, that I didn't want them to find these things and get upset. But it was also to protect him from himself. Not that that made any sense anymore. He was dead. Still, I felt the need to give him a clean slate. "If you're going to do this, I'm going to make it as hard for you as possible," I thought, as I moved furniture and lifted floor boards, dumped out vases and emptied drawers. I combed his mattress with my hands, feeling for places he may have cut a hole. I went through every trinket box, every shoe, every shelf, every book, every cushion, every bag, every last inch of his room until I was sweaty, covered in dust, and certain I would uncover nothing more. I saved a particular place for last. Years ago, when Alex was just a boy, my grandfather made him a dresser. It has several drawers on the bottom and two square cabinets on the top, perfect for storing binders of basketball cards, plastic fake vomit, pictures of crushes, the important things every boy has. I opened the right door. It was lined in cedar and still smelled good. The inside was empty, but I knew better. In every piece my grandfather made for us, he built in a "secret." A hidden compartment only we knew about, where we would hide our most precious things. I had a set of tiny drawers that came out of a wall in my dollhouse where I stashed my precious two dollar bill Alex was constantly trying to steal. I knocked along the inner walls of the cabinet until one spot sounded more hollow then the rest. I pushed on it, and the side of the cabinet sprung open, revealing a small, spring loaded door with equally small shelves. I got out my flashlight. There was nothing inside but an inscription written in pencil on the wood.

For Alex
a special boy
Grandpa Jon
April 1996

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