my grandfather rubbed my back and said
its ok, benicha
try not to think about it"
i was 26 years old
and having intense rolling flashbacks
that left me gutted
one after the other
it was a most unfortunate side effect of coming off heroin
after 8 years of forced not-remembering
or maybe not-caring
my brain was making up for lost time
and night after night i woke in a cold sweat
crying and yelling
(my best friend
and his two friends)
were more than a little concerned
and no doubt bothered by this nightly routine
not that anyone got much sleep in that house anyways
one night i just lost it
i couldn't take one more minute of memories
split lips and heavy hands
i was done done done
and decided to go get high or jump in front of a train
whichever was easiest at the time
same result, i figured
i just needed it to stop
so i got out of bed
got dressed and crept down the hall
not wanting to wake anyone
turned the corner and bumped into jannik
my 78 year old roommate / adopted grandfather
sitting on the couch with a cup of tea
"sit down, benny"
and i lost it
i started screaming and crying
ranted and raved and paced
"I know" he said
"I know, Benny"
No rationalizing, no making it better, no diminishing or explaining
Just "I know"
I know this hurts
I know you are afraid
I know you are angry
I know you aren't sure you can live with this much longer
I know you are trying
I know you don't see a way out
I know it is so overwhelming you aren't sure you can carry it
I know you are lost
I know, Benny
so finally i sat on the couch beside him
and put my head on my knees
covered my head with my arms and cried
from the centre of my soul i cried for everything i hadn't cried about
i cried and said
"zaide, i am sorry. i can't do it. i can't. its too much"
and my grandfather rubbed my back in big circles
"its ok benji, its ok benicha. try not to think about it. just sit here with me. i will tell you a story"
and he did.