A SMALL SECTION OF SHADE
I sat in my room, quiet. Solitude surrounded me and I was on the inside looking out. My thoughts kept coming, but they weren’t in agreement with my mind. I spoke words, but I just simply
didn’t know why.
Lately, I had been angry, but at what, I had yet to find out. Sometimes I felt like reasons didn’t matter, like I didn’t matter. When I stepped into the sunny world, I placed a poker face over my real complexion.
This was years ago, and I am still feeling the same way. I decided today that I was not going to keep worrying about something that I didn’t know about; something that I didn’t understand. I’m going to go out into the Earth tonight. I have to find something that calms my worries.
Sometimes I think about my father, and how I’m just another black boy without a dad. I try not to think about it too much. I can’t let people know my real feelings; they’d think that I was weak. I try to think, and I think hard about what could’ve happened to me. Did something terrible happen to me? Why was I so unhappy?
Stop it. Stop it now. Go to the party. Pretend to have fun and fake it until you make it.
I entered the little house in a nearby town where the party was supposed to take place. I laughed as I made small jokes with my cousin from the big Midwestern city. I’m a southern boy, and I didn’t know my cousin from the Midwest like I did my cousins from the south.
I sat and listened to the music and joked with friends. Like I thought, they asked me to dance. I danced and I showed them that same poker face that I hated to put on so badly. As I got cheers from the crowd of people, for a second of my life, I had mistaken my fake composure for real, legitimate happiness.
Eventually the music died down and we all sat. One of my friends got something out of his pocket. It was weed, otherwise known as chronic, or brain-killer. I had smoked before, but I was careful that none of my family found out. I did not want to be judged.
I wrapped my blunt and I licked the wrapper to make sure that my worry murderer would stay inside of its case. I barrowed a match, click. The first inhalation of the smoke sent a chill of euphoria down my spine. The second puff of smoke slowed my thoughts, and made it harder to remember. I knew that I was getting high.
“Love, love, love, where did you go?”
I was officially out of control of my own body.
“That boy is after you, he wants to kill you,” was what I heard.
That was the first of many voices. I just stared into space as I heard these thoughts in my brain. I didn’t want the boy to know that I knew that he wanted to kill me. I convinced my cousin to leave, and we left. I grabbed my poker face mask as I left through the door and pretended for as long as I could to be alright. Goodnight was all I said to my cousin.
A few weeks later, I thought that I was still high. I knew that drugs stayed in your body a long time, but I knew that I couldn’t have still been high.
These days I like to wear my basketball shorts on top of my pants. I enjoy biting a subway sandwich and spitting it back out to see how it looks chewed up. God told me last night that he loved me, and of course I believed him. I was watching TV and I asked one of my other cousins what I was holding in my hand. He told me that it was a remote. A remote.
Much, I don’t remember. A lot of crying from my family members, and I remember my dead grandmother talking to me. She held me one last time while we were in her country home. I was there a week when I found out that my mother had taken me to the hospital. My senses were coming back, but I was not all there. I attacked members of the hospital; I was just convinced that they were trying to hurt me. One swift shot to my butt, and I was out for an entire day.
When I woke up the next day, I knew that I was back to my normal self. I knew it and I felt it. I remembered what I had done but I didn’t know why I’d done it. I thought that I was in my room in my home, but I was in a hospital. I reached down to the end of my bed, and I looked at my charts. Schizophrenia is what is read.
When my doctor came back into the room, he explained to me that smoking intensifies the effects of schizophrenia. I had given myself a mental disorder.
My whole family visited me, and they were smiling to keep me smiling. Apparently, I had told them that someone was after me and that they were trying to kill me. I didn’t say anything, I already looked as crazy as it could get. They told me not to worry, that they’d already asked around, and they knew that it wasn’t true. The person who I thought was going to kill me was my best friend for my entire life.
I left the hospital that day not knowing, ignorant to my disease. I didn’t want to know about my sickness, it scared me. I’ll just pray.
I was sleeping at home when I screamed myself out of my sleep. My mother rushed into the room asking what was wrong. I had a terrible dream. Before I knew it, I was hugging my mother and crying. I was crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe.
“I’m sick,” I cried.
“Yeah, baby, you are, but you’re safe and loved,” she said, “I love you Benard, I love you.”
Now my mom was crying, she hugged me and she stayed with me all night. She told me the next step was getting a councilor to help me talk out my problems. I agreed to go; I had a little brother and a little sister that looked up to me.
“Lord, who resides in Heaven,
I am sick, and I know that some of the fault lies upon my shoulders. Forgive me Lord for damaging the body that you provided for me. Give me strength to overcome my sicknesses and please forgive me for all my sins. I am weak, and I am afraid. I do place all of my burdens upon your shoulders. I ask that you hold my hand on this journey.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
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