Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What It Was - Chapter 15

Chapter 15

I lay there on my couch and was looking through my phone, basically waiting for Jordan to finish whatever he was doing. Everything seemed surreal still but I tried to keep calm and just let things happen. I had to trust that Jordan knew what he was doing, even though it was anything but a good thing. At least thirty minutes had passed and Jordan had not come out. I got up from the couch and with my foot on the scooter I made my way to the bathroom. The door was still closed and I didn’t hear a sound from inside.

“Jordan?”
There was no response and I called his name again.
As there was still no response, I slowly turned the knob and with my heart racing, I pushed open the door, “Jordan?”

I found Jordan in his wheelchair still by the sink counter. Right away, I detected a faint odor I had never smelled before.  All the drug paraphernalia was still scattered on the counter. Jordan was hunched forward in his chair with his head resting on his arms on the counter. I rushed over to him.

“Jordan, are you all right?”

He turned his head and looked at me. His eyes seemed glazed over and he barely kept them open to look at me.

I touched his shoulder, “Jordan, tell me you’re all right?”
He managed, barely audible, “I’m all right.”

He kept his eyes in my direction but he couldn’t focus. On the counter I saw one of the syringes, a spoon with a tiny trace of a leftover brown liquid in it, mostly soaked up by a small piece of cotton material and next to all of the items was a lighter. Jordan didn’t sit up but kept his head on his arms. Around his left upper arm, I saw a rubber band dangling lose and I just took it upon myself to untangle it from his arm and dropped it on the counter next to all the other items.

“Jordan, come to the living room or the bed at least. Sit up.”

I was worried about him. He was lethargic and only barely kept his eyes open.
I didn’t think he was capable of pushing the rims of his wheelchair at the moment. In the crease of his arm I spotted a small amount of dried blood.

I stood next to him and put my hand on his shoulder, “Jordan, can you sit up? Let’s get you to the bedroom or the living room.”

He didn’t make a move or anything really. His head was still resting on his arms, he was staring into space over to the side.
I moved my foot off the scooter now and set my foot on the ground as light as possible, but it didn’t matter how careful I was, my foot still hurt. I was going to try to help Jordan sit up and somehow get him out of the bathroom.




“Jordan, try to sit up!”

Jordan shifted some and attempted to sit up. He moved his body away from the counter but sat hunched over, with his hands in his lap and his head hanging, his hair covering his face.

I was worried in this position he could fall out of the wheelchair and I said, “Try to sit all the way up!”

He moved some more in an attempt to sit up but he was still slouched forward.                                      I put my hands to the wheelchair handle and was about to push him out of the bathroom when his foot slipped off the foot rest and I ran halfway over it with the front caster wheel.

Quickly I said, “Your foot, Jordan. Lift your foot up!”

He didn’t move a finger. I went around to the front and lifted his leg to place his foot back on the foot rest. His legs were calm and still, no spasms, no twitching or shaking. I grabbed the handles again and pushed him out of the bathroom, holding myself up on his wheelchair to not put too much weight on my foot. I decided to not even push him to the living room but just to the bed. Pushing the wheelchair in front of me I limped over to the bed. Even though I tried to not put a lot of weight on my foot, I still felt a lot of pain.

We reached the bed and I told Jordan, “Transfer yourself onto the bed.”

Jordan didn’t move. He was slumped over dangerously far and I was concerned he could fall out of the wheelchair.

I got in front of him and pleaded, “Jordan, transfer over onto the bed please.”

He still didn’t move and I was very worried. I had no idea what was normal for a person who had just shot up. I didn’t know if Jordan was supposed to be more alert or if the way he wasn’t really doing anything was normal. I was scared that he had shot up too much or that something else wasn’t right. I had no idea about the way a Heroin addict was supposed to be after they had done a hit. My hands trembled and my heart was beating fast at trying to rouse him.
I squatted somewhat in front of him and whisked his hair from his face so I could see him. His eyes were open but stared into space.

“Jordan, look at me.”

He now swallowed and moved his eyes up trying to focus but didn’t seem to be able to.

I begged, “Jordan, please get into the bed and talk to me.”

Without a word he now sat up some and looked at the bed, then with his hands by his hips, he slowly moved forward on the chair. He put his hand on the bed. The bed was slightly higher than Jordan in the wheelchair and I knew even earlier it had been a bit tricky to get onto the bed and I really didn’t know how he manage in his current state.  I was truly worried about him and I wished so much he would have talked to me.  But he stayed silent and just sat there, not moving anymore, one hand on the bed and the other hand still on his wheelchair seat.

“Jordan, let me help you.”

I got in front of him trying to figure out how to move him over and I felt pain shoot into my foot. Jordan now moved forward some more on the wheelchair seat. He balled the hand on the bed into a fist, then with the other hand on the wheelchair he was about to push himself up and over.

The moment he pushed up though it looked like he for some reason was trying to put weight on his legs and his wheelchair rolled out from under him. In that exact moment Jordan fell forward and without any barrier he landed on the floor with a thump, hitting his head on the bed frame. He gasped and mumbled things I couldn’t understand. Even though he managed to brace his fall somewhat with his hands, I shrieked in shock as I watched him tumble out of his wheelchair. It had rolled away a few feet, and Jordan was on the floor next to bed. He moaned and gasped but didn’t say anything just lying there.

I squatted down beside him, my hands were shaking, “Jordan, my God! Are you okay?”

He moved his eyes toward me, they were dark, glistening and seemed foggy.

Very lowly he stated, “I fell out…of my…chair.”
I was so worried about him, “You did. Can you get back into it or into the bed?”

His legs lay scrambled but absolutely still on the floor with his jeans barely hanging on his hips. His hair was stringy and when I touched his arm, his skin felt damp and cool.  

“Jordan, let me pull you up.”

Tears collected in my eyes as panic crept up. I was dealing with my own pain in my foot and a dull pain in my head.
With a trembling voice I tried once more, “Jordan, please talk to me!”

He didn’t say anything but just lay there and even though his eyes tried to find me, they weren’t looking at me, they stared off into the distance and they closed and opened uncontrolled. His breathing though was steady and calm.
I realized that I would not be able to pick Jordan up or try to get him into the bed.
A tear ran down my face as I sat next to him.

Feeling helpless and defeated, I stroked my hand over his hair, “Jordan, tell me that you’re okay please.”
And with his eyes closed he actually replied lowly, “I’m okay…and I’m…I’m sorry.”

But he didn’t move and he didn’t do anything else. His body seemed still and actually calm, he was free from tremors, twitches, and shakes for the moment, almost a peaceful calm but with that calm came his unresponsiveness and his inability to communicate or focus.
I sat there and let my tears run freely.

After a few minutes of just lying there, Jordan said unexpected, “I love you Shay.”
I now couldn’t help myself anymore and my tears kept streaming and took over as I wept over Jordan.

I barely managed to say it back to him, “I love you Jordan.”
I looked at him and his eyes had opened and he seemed to be searching for my face.
I leaned closer to him, “Jordan, I’m so scared right now.”

He looked at me but he didn’t say anything. He then wrapped his arms around himself and curled up right there on the floor next to the bed. He was completely still though and I was terrified that he had overdosed and that something bad was happening to his body.

Tears streaming over my face, I asked one more time, “Jordan, are you okay?”

He didn’t answer and he didn’t move.
Crying and trembling, I crawled over the floor and to the bathroom where I got myself up on the knee scooter. I barely made it to the living room. I was terrified and as I dropped on the couch, I wept and grabbed my cell phone tapping on my brother’s number.

It rang a few times before he answered, “Shay?”
“Chad.”
“Hey, what’s up, are you feeling any better?”
I tried to unsuccessfully suppress my tears, “I’m not better, but…”
I was nervous to continue but Chad must have heard something in my voice and asked quickly,
“Shay, what’s wrong?”
I tried to breathe and stay calm, “Chad…”
My voice broke under tears.

Chad sounded worried, “Shay, what is going on?”
I was crying but I didn’t care anymore, “Could you come over? Soon!”
Chad sounded tense now, “Shay, what in the world is going on? Talk to me!”
I swallowed, “I’m okay but I need you to come…to come here as fast as you can.”
“What the hell? Tell me what is going on!”
“I’m okay Chad, but I need your help right now. Please just come over.”
Chad sounded very nervous now, “We were just getting ready to go to the party. I’ll be over there in twenty minutes.”
“Thank you, please don’t worry about me but I need your help.”
“You’ve never worried me more than you are right now. I’ll be right there.”

We finished, I dropped the phone next to me and I just cried.

After a few moments I got up, and now on the crutches, I made my way into the bedroom again. Jordan still lay on the floor next to my bed in a curled-up position. I was scared to get near him because I feared the worst had happened. My body was trembling, my head hurt and I cried. I had never been this scared in my whole life. I could barely breathe. When I got closer though, I saw Jordan was breathing steady and his body was of an eerie calm. Not one nerve twitched, not one spasm shook his legs and he lay completely still. The way he was at the moment had brought a calm and stillness over him that I had not seen in him before. Ever since I had met Jordan, he had been shaking or trembling some way or another.   
I sat on the bed and just watched him while tears were just running over my face and some of them actually dripping on him. 

I leaned down and let my fingers run over his hair, “Jordan.”

He didn’t budge and I couldn’t stop my tears but I felt so much pain and love all at the same time.
I was very worried about what Chad would say and how he would react.
Chad must have sped through the city because it wasn’t even twenty minutes later when my doorbell buzzed. I got up from the bed and saw how Jordan momentarily jumped at the sound of the doorbell. I made my way to the door and when I asked through the speaker, I heard Chad’s voice and I buzzed them in. Moments later Chad and Amber appeared in the hallway dressed in Halloween outfits. Chad basically sprinted through the hallway over to me, putting his hands on my shoulders and right away scanning me and trying to see if I was all right.

He saw the crutches and the stitches on my forehead, “Shay, what is going on with you? I thought you couldn’t do Halloween tonight.”
I explained nervously, “It’s not a costume.”
Chad now saw my tears and his expression was full of worry, “Shay, what is going on?”

I moved out of the way and let them pass into my foyer, closing the door. Amber greeted me with a hug and a curious glance.

Chad was sincerely worried, “Not a costume…what on earth is going on with you?”
He came closer and inspected my head, “Shay, what happened to you? Why are you crying?”

Amber looked on just as worried.

I swallowed under tears, “It’s a long story.”
We made our way into the living room and Chad asked, “What is that smell? What is burning?”
Before Chad was about to run around in my apartment trying to figure out what the smell was, I said, “Sit down for a moment please.”

Chad looked at me like I was insane and Amber just stood there.
He said, “Shay, I don’t know what is happening right now.”
I was slightly annoyed, “I’m trying to tell you. Sit down.”
They both reluctantly sat on the couch.

I carefully let myself down on the armchair, “What I’m about to tell you…you’ll think I’m crazy but you have to know that…it involves a person whom I love and I need you…I need you to promise me that you won’t judge and you won’t lecture me, but that you’ll be open minded and try to understand. I need your help though.”
Chad stared at me in disbelief, “What are you talking about Shay?”
I looked at him, “Can you promise?”
Chad still had a skeptical expression but he must have realized that I was serious, and answered, “I promise.”
He looked at Amber and she nodded in agreement, then he said again, “We promise but you’re worrying me so much right now, Shay. I can barely sit still. Please tell me what’s going on.”
Tears were still slowly running over my face, “I love you both so much.”

I took a deep trembling breath and I started, “First I have to tell you that I was in an accident Thursday night. I wasn’t sick with a cold today or anything but I actually fell on Thursday night and hurt my foot and my head. I was taken to Swedish hospital where they kept me for one night until yesterday morning. I had to call out from work. I couldn’t go out last night to a Halloween party at my coworker’s house. I sprained my ankle and I had to get twenty stitches on a laceration on my forehead.”

I whisked my hair out of my face and with that Chad scanned over my face and ended on my head injury.
He looked stunned, “You were in the hospital and you didn’t tell anyone?”
“I called out from work and they knew. I didn’t tell you or mom and dad because I didn’t want to worry you.”
“Shay, why?”
“Because there is more to it.”
“What else is there to it? Did someone do this to you?”
“No, no one did this to me. I fell on a wet sidewalk in my high heel boots.”

Just at that moment Jordan called from the bedroom, “Shay?”

My eyes darted toward the hallway and Chad jumped up. Amber stayed fearful by the couch and looked on worried, Chad hurried around the table to see where the voice was coming from.

Jordan called again, “Shay, are you there?”
Chad looked at me, “Who’s in your bedroom?”
I got up and grabbed the crutches close to me.
I looked at Chad as I passed by him, “It’s my boyfriend.”
Chad’s expression turned from skepticism to disbelief.

As I started toward the bedroom, I called out to Jordan that I was on my way. When I got to the bedroom he was still on the floor.

“Jordan, I’m here.”

He held himself up on his arms somewhat and looked into my direction.

His eyes still seemed hazy and I asked him, “Do you want to try to get into your wheelchair?”

I sat down on the bed next to him. Chad and Amber had come in after me and standing in the door they looked at Jordan and me, confused and stunned.  

Jordan spotted them and asked tensely, “Who are these people?”
I touched Jordan’s shoulder, “Jordan, your wheelchair is right here.”

Jordan managed to pull himself up into a sitting position and leaned with his back on the bedframe. He kept staring at Chad and Amber.

Chad had quietly watched as I now turned to him, “Chad, Amber, this is my boyfriend Jordan.”

My brother was apparently stunned and speechless.

Jordan still seemed confused and high, “Who’s that guy?”
I explained, “Jordan, this is my brother Chad and his fiancé Amber.”
Jordan looked at them suspicious and didn’t sound very excited, “Why are they here?”
I pulled the wheelchair closer, “Do you want to get into your chair?”
Jordan sounded weak, “What the fuck is going on? Why are they here?”
I explained softly, “I was scared.”
Jordan looked at me and I added, “Why don’t you get into your chair and then come out to the living room and we can talk?”

I looked at Chad and Amber and they understood.

Chad nodded, “We’ll be in the living room.”
They walked out and Jordan looked at me, “Shay, what the hell is going on? Why are they here?”
I started softly, “I called my brother because I was so worried about you a while ago.”

Jordan looked at me with dark eyes.

“I was scared when you fell out of your chair and you were on the floor and didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to do. I was just really scared, Jordan. I’m sorry.” I felt my voice break again.
Jordan now lowered his eyes, “I told you I was okay.”
I said in a shaky voice, “I wasn’t sure if you even knew what you were saying.”
Jordan sounded tense, “Well, I’m okay and I had told you earlier you needed to trust me.”
I felt my hands tremble and tears run into my eyes again, “Jordan, I‘m sorry but I was scared. My brother is a counselor, and his fiancé is a nurse.”
Jordan’s dark eyes drilled into me now, “What does that have to do with me? Is this a fucking intervention?”
He pulled his hand away from me now and I tried to explain again, “No, it’s not. I was just scared that you may not be okay. I don’t know anything about these things. I’m so sorry.”
I felt my voice break under tears and Jordan roughly pulled his wheelchair closer, “Well, I’m okay so either I’ll leave right now or they need to leave.”
I looked at him, “Jordan?”
“What?”
“I’m sorry I was worried about you and I felt overwhelmed. That’s why I called my brother. I didn’t know who else to turn to.”

My voice had taken on a pleading tone, I realized how Jordan seemed tense and even slightly angry.
Without saying anything he pulled his wheelchair into the right angle and I watched how he set the break on it. He twisted his body around and gasping, he positioned himself onto his knees somehow. His legs were not supporting him at all though but just merely his kneecaps placed on the floor gave him a weak bearing. His jeans were hanging halfway off his body and not only the waistband of his boxers was showing but half of the boxers really.

He glanced at me for a moment and then pulled his body up onto the wheelchair. His legs extended and seemed to stiffen as he pulled up with quick breaths and gasps, and then twisted himself around on the cushion when he plopped awkwardly onto the seat. His legs were twitching again but they didn’t bend at the knee and Jordan just sat there, taking quick breaths and staring at his legs. He then roughly pulled his legs up with his hands, basically forcing them to bend at the knee and placing his feet onto the footrest. My heart was racing at watching this happening.    

Jordan managed to get positioned onto his wheelchair and I scrambled up from the floor with my aching foot. He didn’t say anything, grabbed the braces from the bed and set them on his lap, then wheeled toward the bathroom and closed the door behind him.

A few more tears escaped from my eyes. I pulled myself up on the crutches and didn’t even attempt to talk to him but went out to the living room where Chad and Amber just sat on the couch and looked at me expectantly. Tears were streaming and I wondered if Chad was piecing together the whole story in his head already.

I just stood there and took a deep breath, explaining softly, “He’s an addict and just shot up Heroin about an hour ago. He was high and I tried to get him into the bed but he fell out of his wheelchair and he was on the floor. He’s also paraplegic. He can’t walk.”
I cried now and lowered my eyes, “I was scared for him because he didn’t respond to me and so I called you. I didn’t know. I’ve never seen a person high. I was worried that he could have overdosed.”

Without words Chad came over to me and opened his arms.
I accepted this invitation and let myself fall into my brother’s arms.

I cried and mumbled, “He’s the guy I told you about. And he doesn’t actually work in my area. I saw him there for the first time when he was pan handling on the sidewalk. We connected a few times, then I lost him again and the other night I saw him in the city when I was on the bus going home from work. I got out of the bus at the next random stop and I ran after him. That’s also when I fell. Jordan also has other health issues and we both ended up in the hospital. But since then we know that we love each other. He’s homeless and he uses drugs. But I know as crazy as all this sounds, I think we were meant to meet each other. I want to help him.”

Chad held me in his arms and he took a deep breath. He didn’t say anything for a moment and I just cried in my brother’s arms, tears saturating his Halloween knight costume.

Amber went into the kitchen and came back with a glass of water, “Here Shay honey, have some water.”
I wriggled myself from my brother’s embrace and took a sip from the glass Amber held out to me.
She then asked, “Is Jordan okay right now?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “I don’t know. I think he may be angry at me.”

Just then Jordan came wheeling into the living room. He stopped and looked at us, his eyes still seemed unfocused. He wore his white T-Shirt again, and I saw his feet were in his sneakers again. I assumed he had also strapped his braces back on. I couldn’t see them under the jeans.

Jordan stared at me and my brother as we stood there in an embrace. Chad loosened his embrace and turned toward Jordan.

Jordan then said, “So did Shay tell you how fucked up I am?”
Chad stayed calm, “Why don’t we sit down and talk?”
Jordan’s eyes were small when he stated tensely, “I’m already sitting.”
Chad momentarily seemed to be caught off guard, but tried to reason with Jordan, “Jordan, it’s good to meet you. Maybe we can talk for a moment.”
Jordan pushed his wheelchair toward the kitchen bar and spun around, “Okay, go ahead! Go ahead and tell me to get the fuck out of your sister’s life and leave her alone. I would actually understand you know. I’m a piece of shit and I don’t think any brother would want that for their sister.”

I pressed my hand to my mouth and tried to contain my tears.

Chad took a deep breath and replied, “That’s actually not what I was going to say, Jordan.”
Jordan’s dark eyes were hostile on my brother, “Then what - how I need to get my shit together and not be such a fucking loser?”
Chad was still surprisingly calm, “I wasn’t going to say that either.”
Jordan was tense, “So what were you going to say then?”
Chad’s voice stayed calm, “Well, first I wanted to introduce myself and tell you that I’m glad to meet you. I also wanted to apologize about being here but when Shay called and seemed distressed, I came right away. My fiancé and I should be at a Halloween party really. But when my little sister calls me and cries on the phone, I won’t even think about it for a second to rush to her side because I care a whole lot about her. Maybe you understand if you have siblings.”

Jordan sat hunched over in his wheelchair and looked at Chad from behind the curtain of his dark hair, “No, I wouldn’t understand. I’ve no idea where my sisters are and they most certainly don’t give two fucks worth about me either.”
Chad stayed completely calm and was not in the slightest intimidated by Jordan’s hostility, “I’m very sorry about that, Jordan.”

With Chad’s warm words of care, Jordan seemed thrown off in his aggressive approach and stayed silent now, but kept his eyes on Chad, still suspicious.

Chad then explained, “Actually about three weeks ago, my sister told me about you already. When she did, I could just sense how she was so nervous and at the same time so stricken with you. I really hoped she would be able to get to know you better. I didn’t know anything about you, just that you were a guy she had seen around her work area and someone she was very attracted to. She seemed so taken with you and I could see the glow in her eyes but I did also see a slight trace of sadness and I wondered what it was about you that made her feel that way. She didn’t tell me much, just that she was so drawn to you. And I could tell, there was something about you that had touched her deeply and I wondered what kind of guy you were. I figured you must be a special guy.”

Jordan now looked at me with his dark eyes and I saw remorse.

He then turned his focus back to Chad who continued, “My sister is a caring, kind hearted person and I love her a lot, we’re pretty close. Apparently, she has fallen in love with you and I know with all my heart that she means nothing but well for you. She trusts you or she wouldn’t have let you come here. When she does something, she does it with all her heart. When she wants something, she wants it with all her heart. It’s always been like that, since she was a little girl. She was either all in or not in at all.
And she always cared so much about people and about things. She cared so much that we had to hold her back sometimes or she would have been heart-broken a lot. I have appointed myself to be that person for her, the one that holds her back when she maybe cares too much for nothing in return. It doesn’t surprise me really that you caught her eye and her attention but it’s very obvious you come with some baggage. I’m not here to tell you to leave or to leave her alone. I’m not here to do an intervention, I’m not here as a counselor and I’m not here to tell you what to do. But I am going to tell you that the love you’ll get from my sister will be the purest and most sincere that you’ll ever experience.
And again, she’s all in. And because she’s all in, she’ll always worry about you and she’ll always think about what’s best for you. And because of the things you’re dealing with it’ll be difficult for her, because she has never in her life had to deal with anything like what you’re dealing with, but she’ll adapt and she’ll learn and the whole time she’ll love you regardless of your afflictions. So the only thing I ask of you is that with all of your strength when and however you are able to, I want you to be there for her and let her know that despite everything, you’ll love her back to your best abilities just as much as she loves you. Don’t leave her hanging because you’re scared or because you’re facing things, you’re not comfortable with. If you can love my sister with all your heart, I think there is a chance for you to get back a life that you deserve because she’ll be there with you all the way in whichever way you need her to be and she can help you if you let her.”

Chad sounded emotional and moved by his own words and he now added, “If my sister loves and believes in you, her family will do the same.”

Jordan had lowered his eyes at my brother’s words. He sat there stunned and opened his mouth but nothing came out. He glanced over at me with glistening eyes.

I said softly, “I was only worried about you Jordan.”

He bit his lips and stared back onto his hands in his lap. He swallowed and now without saying anything he put his hands to the push rims and he spun his chair around and wheeled down the hallway to my bedroom again. I looked at Chad and Amber and my brother nodded for me to follow Jordan.
I got up, grabbed the crutches, and followed Jordan into the bedroom. I found him by the window sitting hunched over and looking out.
I stopped by my bed and sat down, because I really couldn’t stand too long with the crutches.

I looked at him for a moment and then said his name softly, “Jordan?”
He didn’t move and didn’t budge but instead without looking at me, he said softly, “I won’t be able to live up to what is expected of me Shay. I’ve no place and no right to be in your life.”
I lowered my eyes and thought of my next words, “That’s not true. You have every right to be in my life.”
He still didn’t move, “What your brother said, how can I ever live up to any of it?”

“There’s nothing to live up to, Jordan. That’s not what my brother said. He only told you the things you should already know. He told you how much I love you and how much you mean to me. And with that I hope I can make you see that you have every right to be in my life and I hope you feel the same about me being in your life.”
Jordan shifted some and said with a shaky voice, “But I know I’ll cause you pain and I don’t know if my love will be enough to cover the stretches when I’m not lovable and when I’m…when I’m broken. Meeting you makes me want to be better again and be…be a normal guy but I know...I don’t know if I can do it. I’ve been living this life for so long and I never…I never thought anything will change for me. And I certainly never thought that anyone…can actually love me or care about me in any way.”
He took some trembling breaths and I could sense he was struggling for words, “I…I don’t know…I don’t know how it’s going to be for us but I want to make you happy. I’m just afraid I won’t be able to.”

He now hung his head again.

I sat there thinking about my reply but I didn’t really have a good one, “Jordan, I love you and I think we should just go with the flow and not worry about anything. I’m here for you in any way you need me to be.”
He spun his wheelchair around and came rolling over to me, “Shay, I love you like I’ve never loved anyone in my life.”
I reached my hand over and touched his knee, “That’s all that matters then.”

We looked at each other for a few moments and I could see Jordan’s eyes glistening.

“I need to talk to your brother.”
I smiled at him, “I’m sure he would be very happy about that.”

Jordan nodded and while I put my arms into the crutches again, Jordan was already pushing his rims and rolled out to the living room, where Amber and Chad were still sitting on the couch.  
Jordan wheeled up next to the armchair and I sat down in it. I reached my hand over and took his hand in mine.
He sat there and I could feel a nervousness radiate from him. He took a deep breath and I felt his hand tremble in my hand.

He cleared his throat and started nervously, “I’m very sorry…I don’t even…I don’t know how…”
He stopped and hung his head, took a deep breath and then continued still trembling, “I’m so sorry that…that I was an ass and that I ruined your night…I probably didn’t give a very good first impression. I don’t know how…”

Jordan had a difficult time talking, I felt his hand tremble in mine, I heard him take heavy breaths. He swallowed, attempting to talk again but he couldn’t find his words anymore. Instead he hung his head and stared onto the floor in front of him.

Chad now spoke, “Don’t worry about it, Jordan. I just hope you’re feeling better right now. I’m actually very glad that Shay called me tonight and we were able to meet you.”

Jordan slowly moved his eyes up to my brother and took another deep breath.
I squeezed his hand, I sensed he was pondering how to continue but he had a difficult time with finding his words. Chad and Amber sat there on the couch, holding hands and looking at Jordan expectantly. I wanted to help him, but I didn’t know how.

Amber then offered warmly, “Jordan, is there anything we can do?”

Jordan seemed surprised at the question and shook his head.

He took another deep breath, then looked directly at Chad and Amber, starting with a shaky voice, “I’m very sorry about earlier…I’m sorry that I caused…”
He stopped and looked over at me, then back at my brother and Amber, “I’m sorry I caused Shay to worry and that I scared her. I…I didn’t mean to…I’m not sure why I…why I was the way I was…but I…I appreciate that you came when she was scared. I also want…”

He stopped again; he had a difficult time talking without his voice breaking.

He took another deep breath before he continued while looking at Chad, “Everything you said…about Shay…I can feel and see how she is and I…I can’t even begin to…explain how much I feel for her.”

He paused again and I kept holding his hand in mine and tried to keep my tears in.

Jordan continued, “Shay has been the first…person in a very long time…who…who saw me…who actually saw me as a person. I knew she was different the first moment I saw her out on the street.”

Jordan stopped again, Chad lowered his eyes and then looked back up at Jordan just nodding at him.

Jordan’s voice still trembled, “I love your sister but…I know I’m not what anyone would want for their sister…far from it really. Shay has been…she has shown me so much love already…something I haven’t experienced before. I don’t know if…if I can live up to what is expected…of me but I will…I will give it all I got…I’m not very strong but maybe this…this is my last straw…I love Shay and I want to…”

He now stopped as his voice broke and he couldn’t talk momentarily.

Chad now shifted on the couch and said, “We’re here for you Jordan. Shay is my sister and I care for her and if she loves you, I’ll be there for her and for you.”

Jordan now hung his head and I saw tears dripping from his eyes onto his jeans.

“I want to be better again…I really want to…Shay means so much…to me and I want to get better for her.”

I looked over into Chad’s and Amber’s weary faces, swallowing my tears and squeezing Jordan’s hand. He sat hunched over in his wheelchair, his hair covered his face, his body quivered and he sniffled his nose.
Amber said warmly, “We’re here for you Jordan.”
Chad now said, “Jordan, listen to me!”

From behind his bangs Jordan looked up alert at Chad.

Chad then started, “If you want to get better, we’re willing to help you whenever you’re ready. I can see very clearly that Shay cares for you a whole lot and I can feel that you also care for her just as much. I want Shay to be happy and now that you’re in her life, things are difficult but I want to see you and her in a good place. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy task but if you’re willing to get better for Shay, then I’ll support you. When you’re ready to get help, just say so and we’ll figure it out. I will not let anything happen to my sister though and I will not sit by and see her get hurt on purpose.”

Jordan swallowed the lump in his throat at Chad’s words.

He slightly shook his head and then said lowly, “I don’t want to hurt Shay but I think by…by just being the way I am I will hurt her and I already…I already hate myself for it.”
Chad replied, “Don’t think like that. Let’s take it a day at a time. Can I ask you something?”

Jordan looked up at Chad and nodded.

“How long have you been on drugs?”
Jordan moistened his lips with his tongue and answered, “On and off for many years, since I was a teenager really.”
Chad nodded and without waiting for a reply, Jordan added, “I had some clean times in between.”
Jordan looked over at me and took a deep breath, “There are some things I haven’t told Shay yet.”

I sat up some and looked at him worried at what else there was.

Chad said, “You don’t have to tell us if you’re not ready.”
Jordan lowered his eyes and explained, “At seventeen I was locked up for a few years for attempted murder and was clean during that time. I was also somewhat clean while I was in the hospital after I got shot. I was put on Methadone then. I’m in a wheelchair ‘cause I got shot. None of that was my fault, it was a random assault, people who wanted my money shot me.”

Chad looked from Jordan to me, I had my eyes on Jordan. I was very surprised at the statement he had made.

He turned his head toward me and said softly, “I told you about getting shot but not the other stuff.”

So many questions ran around in my head. Chad just stared at Jordan and back to me and I could only shrug my shoulders. I had no idea that Jordan had been in prison.

Jordan didn’t look at us but stared at the floor in front of him and explained, “I grew up in an abusive home, I tried to kill my dad when I was sixteen.”

I was shocked and upon looking at Chad, I realized his stunned expression.

We were speechless as no one said a word except for Jordan who now added, “I was supposed to be locked up for six years, but got out on parole two years early. So, I got out shortly after my twenty first birthday. The first sixteen years of my life are a blur in my memory. I guess that’s how the brain deals with shitty situations sometimes.”

Chad seemed to prepare to say something but Jordan beat him to it, “I got out, had no one and no place to go and came to Seattle. I lived on the street for a few years, got into drugs again, just Coke and lots of Pot at first, then back to Dope. I eventually acquired an old RV for a while and actually even a job at the port, then I got shot. I was in the hospital and rehab for a couple of months, got released paraplegic and on a lot of pain meds and in a wheelchair. With the pain meds I fell through and started shooting up again, been living on the streets ever since. I’ve a place where I go crash sometimes and other than that what I’ve got in my backpack here is pretty much what I own. I have medical issues and the night Shay found me again and when she slipped on the sidewalk, I also had a seizure and so we both ended up being taken to Swedish Medical Center. That’s where we connected and became close and now, I’m here.”

I was crying again silent tears at listening to him and Chad and Amber just sat there stunned.

Jordan lowered his eyes again, “That’s me in a nutshell. I figured I’ll just lay it all out so you know what you’re dealing with.”

He took a deep breath and bit his lips as he looked over at me.

Softly he said, “I’m sorry Shay. I wanted to tell you everything else eventually. I would understand if you change your mind.”

Tears were running over my face again. This revelation was shocking to me. I still had so many questions pertaining to what he had told us now but at the moment I felt completely overwhelmed with Jordan once again. Having Chad and Amber there was the only reason that kept me from having a break down really.

Chad looked down for a moment, then back up at Jordan and exhaled, “That’s some heavy stuff. I’m very sorry Jordan and I…”
Chad shrugged his shoulders and then continued, “I guess all I can say is, that I believe in giving people a second chance. I’m not sure how Shay feels right now about this, but whatever her decision is, I’ll be one hundred percent behind my sister’s decision.”
Jordan nodded and he looked back at me and said softly, “Shay, I’d understand if this changes things. I felt I needed to tell you guys though, but just know that it was a one-time thing.”
He swallowed and added, “I’m not a criminal, it’s true that I have no place, I’m an addict, I do drugs, but the reason why I was locked up was a one-time deal because of everything he had put me, my two sisters and my mom through. He had made our life a living hell.”

We all just sat there and no one said a word for a few minutes. I didn’t know what to think and the pain I felt at all of this was unbearable really.

Chad was the one who kept a clear head at this and asked, “Where are you sisters and your mom now?”
Jordan shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. I lost contact while I was locked up. When I got out and went back to our old house, it was sold. They hadn’t visited me or anything, so I didn’t know where they had moved to or what had happened.”
Chad asked, “What happened to your dad?”
Jordan took a deep breath, “Well, I had not succeeded in my attempt to get rid of him, he also disappeared. I don’t know where my family is or what happened to them. The last time I saw them was when I was sentenced. It was in court and I just remember my mom crying as they led me out of the court room.”
Chad added, “Did your dad get charged?”
Jordan shrugged his shoulders again, “I’ve no idea.”

I felt completely overwhelmed with all of this information. I actually felt like I was close to a panic attack but at the moment I was keeping myself in check and no one realized. I swallowed my tears; I felt my body tremble.

My breaths were coming quick and at that time Jordan looked over at me and said softly, “Shay?”

I wasn’t able to talk but instead looked over at him and could only shake my head. Everything that had happened felt surreal, it was like I was caught in some bad dream on a rollercoaster endlessly racing up and down over shaky tracks and I was gripping the bar so tight because I was worried, I was about to fall out. I was losing my grip on my emotions and I felt panic about how my life was now. I couldn’t grasp how everything had changed from a regular life to something so different. I kept looking at Chad and Amber because they seemed like my grounding from another world, the world that was good and normal, the one I had been living in for the past thirty-one years, the world where people weren’t locked up, weren’t addicted to drugs, weren’t homeless, the world without Jordan who had turned everything upside down for me within the speed of light.

I kept thinking this was still a dream and now I sat there and I couldn’t speak.
I hung my head and I heard Jordan say my name again next to me. He said it pleading and he said it filled with worry.

Chad now asked warmly, “Shay, are you okay?”

All I could do is shake my head. I felt like I was becoming dizzy and like everything was a blur.

I heard Jordan again, “Shay, if you want me to leave, I'll leave.”

I now moved my tear-filled eyes over to him, I could barely breathe, my heart was racing in my chest and my body was literally shaking now. The room spun around me and I felt sick at my stomach.
I now nodded. Jordan bit his lips and nodded. Tears were running over my cheeks.
I was taking gasping breaths and Amber suddenly was by my side. Her words sounded fuzzy, I felt like I was underwater. I didn’t hear my brother and looking at them, they seemed far away.

I made out Jordan’s face next to me and I heard him talk but he sounded far away, “I’m sorry Shay. I do love you. I’ll get my stuff.”

His dark eyes were on me but I couldn’t focus, I was close to passing out. I couldn’t speak, I felt like I was being choked, I could barely breathe. I saw the wheelchair disappear from my line of view as Jordan pushed his rims and apparently wheeled away.

All I heard was when Chad said, “Jordan, how can I get in touch with you?”
The last thing I remember was Amber hovering over me and taking my wrist into her hand and Chad’s panicky voice, “Give me the phone.”

I heard the door right before I passed out.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting, Dani, a very intense chapter once again. Didn't think that her brother was so open and understanding, but good that she called him and got support. I can totally understand how this was all too much for her and her breakdown. Can't wait to see where this continues.

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting, it really means a lot. I really wanted someone to be on Shay's side in this endeavor of being with Jordan. It would be so difficult if she was alone.

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  2. Thank you for the long chapter

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    1. You are so welcome, thanks for your comment

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  3. Wow! What an intense chapter! Thanks Dani. I feel a bit suspension embedded here. Looking forward to the next chapter.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, yeah, it's not a happy-go-lucky situation for sure. Thanks for reading, means a lot

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  4. Oh no, what a dramatic turn of the events! You keep us on the edge! Can't wait for the new chapter! Thanks!

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I feed of the knowledge that there are people who like this story. It means a lot

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