i stroll down the familiar street, feeling the same trees, waving to the same neighbors, dodging the same sprinklers, but something is not the same. a stench permeates and thickens the air and it is a sickening stench.
the stench of maggots.
the stench of suicide.
the stench affects everything; the trees seem to be holding themselves in comfort, the dogs cower by the fence instead of barking when i walk by, the flowers seem to wilt in despair, and the grade school children walking home with their hello kitty backpacks glare ahead in a distressed way like they know a disturbing secret, a disheartening and fatal secret that makes them age and become drained like an old man when he thinks back to the days of Vietnam. we are all polluted with the poison of the suicides --the toxic taste that lingers at the back of our mouths everytime we think about it and reminds us how close we ourselves have come to it. and how many of us actually succeed. another one. another one. fourteen. sixteen. thirteen. twelve. shot gun. rope. bathtub. oven. too young, too young. if only they knew that everytime they hit rock bottom that is is not the end, that there is something beyond that. that life itself is too precious to pass up.
Michael's dead and it's my birthday.