I Knew Him, Nonetheless

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 28, 2016

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Submitted: September 28, 2016

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The sound of the phone wakes me back into consciousness. I was having a dream about... Damn! I can't remember now. I don't care. It was probably one of those ones where something goes right. I always dream that me and a former lover suddenly rekindle our flame. She says that she made a mistake when she ended things, and, suddenly, she will press her lips against mine in the way I remember. The way I loved it. I hate those dreams. It makes me wish that I was fully comatose from my life.
I almost forget why I woke up until the ring pierces the air again. I sit up and look around on my bed to see where I had left it last night. I have so much junk scattered across the other side of my bed. It was a small wasteland of jackets, shirts, books and electronic devices. Some receipts were strewn here and there, as well. Disorganized and messy, just like my life. I try to find the bright light that emits from my cell phone, but I doesn't see it. It must be face down. The dull, gray lights of the raining morning seep through my blinds with great viscosity, but it was enough light that I could look around my bed. My television was still on from where I had been watching Netflix last night.
I looks around the bed while the sound of the phone cuts through the air like a knife cutting butter. It's irritating me. I am searching frantically to find it. The ringing stops but I continue the search. I was wanting to know who was trying to reach me so badly.
I finally find my phone. I light it up to see who had tried to call me. I has one missed call and four new text messages. I figure I'll read the messages first. They're from a group chat between me and two of my friends, Aaron and Steve. These two are my two best friends, so I know that it's a rarity for them to be up this early. I open my phone up to read the messages and see what's up. They read:
 
  Aaron.) You guys hear what happened?
 
  Steve.) Yeah Sherman
 
  Aaron.) Yeah. I just heard.
 
  Steve.) Same here.
 
I look at the phone with some confusion. Sherman. The name sounded so familiar. I can't place where I remember it at first, but it came to me in a matter of seconds. Sherman was-
The phone burst out into sound, again. Another one of my friends was calling me. This one wasn't apart of the group chat. This was the one that was a coworker. I was thinking that maybe he was calling to tell to me about something that he had heard at work. It was always one thing after another when it came to work. There was more drama there than there was back at high school. Eventually, I answer the phone.
“Hello,” I answered in a tired mannerism.
“Hey man, did you hear what happened?” my friend on the other end of the line asked.
“No, what happened? Was it something at work?” I asked, preparing to hear an earful of stuff that I knows will set me off.
“No man. Did you hear about Sherman?... He... died.” I sit up more astutely in my bed. I am awake now, and my whole focus is on the conversation. The moment the words touched my eardrum, my mind didn't know how to process the words. It was almost as if I was trying to ground frozen beef with an old blender. I look at the dark light still not seeping too well into my room. I only hears my heart beat in the three second interval of silence that proceeded the news and that followed my next words.
“Do you know how it happened?” I asked.
“No, I just heard that he passed. My dad woke me up this morning and told me. I'm guessing that he overdosed. That kid was bad with pills, man.”
“I know,” I said solemnly. I knew that was probably the truth. The kid was bad with pills. I know because that kid had hooked me up with pills. My friend and I had gotten pills from Sherman at a high school band competition one time. We took two and ended up blacking out most of the night. The one thing that I will always remember under the influence of those pills was that it was a terrible night. I had been fighting with my current girlfriend, and I knew the worst was inevitable that night, so I avoided her. It was to no avail, though, because she just ended up texting the news to me. She did it while I was in mid high. I saw the message and blacked out. I woke up in a ditch outside the stadium. The only feeling I remember was wanting to just die. I didn't care about anything or anyone. This feeling transferred over from my high mind to my sober one. It didn't leave me for a long time.
I never realized it until I came to my senses the next day, but my best friend had saved my ass because a cop was questioning what I was doing. Stupid. All I am is stupid.
“You still there?” came the voice on the other end of the conversation. I snap out of memories.
“Yeah, I'm still here. Yeah, you're probably right about him overdosing. Still...”
“ I know man. I'll let you go.”
“See ya.” He hangs up the phone, and I sit in the silent, dark gray room. Thinking. This was too much to wake up to. That was life, though. You don't know what's to come next.
I think about Sherman. I never knew the kid too well, but I knew him, nonetheless. He was two years younger than me, and he was only a junior in high school. He was a factor in my life. Maybe not a big one, but he was. I remember the stories I had been told about him from different people. Some of the stories came straight from his mouth.
I've been told that he was living with his grandparents. He had apparently had a incredibly bad relationship with his mom. He did. I remember hearing him talk about the things that she had made him do. She had made him do drugs with her so she wouldn't feel alone. That's where the pill problem came from. She would make him swallow whatever she was going to slide down her throat. She made him crush up the prescription drugs when she crushed them up as well. She made him snort a line of it whenever she was wanting to sting her nostrils with the powdered up pills. She had even made him go and buy the drugs for her. It was truly disgusting.
He eventually moved in with his grandparents. They were old, southern style Christians. Not that it was so much of a bad thing, but they were set in ways that were created by a different time. They, among many like them, lived in a different day and age, and the current one they lived in was something that they couldn't comprehend.
The problem that eventually aroused was that Sherman had come out of the closet at school. It was somewhere he could be open about his sexuality and be mostly all right. There were your uneducated bigots who would tease you for your sexuality, but other than that, most of this generation would accept it.
I remember when he told me about his freedom from the bondage of secrecy. He said that he had felt like the heaviest load was off of his chest. He still kept the secret from his grandparents because of their strict, religious views. He planned on telling them eventually, but he was waiting for the right time.
I never had seen him after that encounter. I had just heard through the grapevines of what was going on at the school. He had eventually told them about being gay, and he had never shown back up at the school again. I never gave it a second thought.
The last thing I had heard about him until this morning was that he had been pulled out of school to be home schooled. I never thought twice on it. I went to the conclusion that his grandparents hadn't taken too kindly to the idea of him being a homosexual, so they pulled him out and home schooled him so he would probably be taught more things about Jesus and how “fags are sinners on their way to hell.” I would never think like that myself, but I know that is the mindset of the people that live in this area. Hell, I was raised to think that way myself, but I think differently, now.
I still sit here in the dark if the morning, thinking about all of the stuff that I have gone through. No matter how bad my love life is, no matter how bad I think my job is going, no matter what trial I have to go through, I could never imagine the muck and the grime that this poor kid had went through. It is to the point to where I feel bad about getting mad at my dream. I feel bad about getting mad at my job. I feel bad about reminiscing that night I acted like a jackass. Nothing I went through could come close to what he had to endure. The only thing I can think of now is that... he's gone. There is no more to him now but an lifeless sack of flesh. His once beating heart that had a functioning job is now just another organ to either belong to someone else or to just be buried in the dirt with him. The mind that contained his knowledge and feelings is of no use anymore. His presence has left.
Something else pops into my mind as these negative thoughts weigh me down. An uplifting idea sinks into my head. He will suffer no more. All of the turmoil and troubles of this world will no longer hurt him. No more pills, no more secrecy, just freedom. I'd like to think that heaven exists when all this comes to mind. Not that phony Christian, capitalistic heaven that man created in the Bible. Not a place in the sky where people wear crowns and wings and live in mansions, but a place of pure Nirvana. It seems like the fitting end to such tragic life. A light beyond the horizon. His presence isn't on this Earth, but it's in a better place.
I look around on my bed again. I find my laptop. I open it up and open a blank word document, as well. I am going to write down this story. For my own sake and for his. There are things I just need to get off of my chest, and writing these down will set me free from the bondage that I think was similar to his in a way. Not nearly as troublesome, but troubles any how. I will recount his story as best as I can. It may not do him total justice, but maybe some. I feel I owe it to him in a way.
Afterwards, I will probably get up and grab breakfast.


© Copyright 2017 Garrett Steele. All rights reserved.

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