As we lay there, I felt so close to Jordan and with my face nestled to him, I smelled his hair and his skin. I couldn’t hold myself back and I softly kissed his neck.
Jordan flinched slightly and I whispered into his ear, “I’m so glad you’re here. I love you so much Jordan.”
On my lips I felt Jordan's heart beat in his neck and he replied, “I love you a lot too.”
I felt the urge to pee and said softly, “I need to go to the bathroom.”
Jordan pushed himself up on his hands and watched me closely as I sat up and grabbed the crutches from the floor, preparing to stand up.
“Are you going to make it?” He sounded worried.
I nodded and even if I would have had problems standing up, I didn’t think Jordan was able to actually assist me with this situation.
I assured him, “I got it.”
Jordan nodded and I smiled, “I’ll be right back.”
He nodded again and I carefully made my way to the bedroom.
When I got to the bathroom, I still smelled the distinct scent of the Heroin. I realized all of Jordan’s supplies were still on the counter and just seeing the items sent a chill down my arms and made my heart ache momentarily. These things were my boyfriend’s hell and I felt inside how I wished so much I wouldn’t have to look at them in my bathroom or I could just throw it all away and free him from the torture he was chained to.
I knew it would never be that easy and for Jordan to come away from the drugs it would take a lot more than just throwing the stuff away. I decided to ignore the paraphernalia on the counter and used the bathroom and freshened up some.
When I saw myself in the mirror, I realized how tired and exhausted I looked, and thinking about it, I also felt that way. The head injury with the stitches seemed tight and I felt not very pretty at the moment. I brushed my teeth and ran a comb through my hair.
As happy as I was with Jordan there, I couldn’t ignore the constant and distant pain I felt in my heart. But I wanted him and I wanted all of him. I wanted his battered body and his tortured soul and I wanted to make it better for him. I wanted to take all his pain away and I wanted him to forget about his hell at least for a little while. I wanted to be his light and I wanted to be a good thing for him. Looking in the mirror I most certainly did not appear like I could be anyone’s light.
I glanced once more to the items on the counter and I hated them.
I grabbed the crutches and without putting a lot of weight onto my foot I limped back out to the living room. Jordan sat on the couch still, holding the beer bottle in his hand and watched as I came around from the hallway.
I needed something else to drink really. I made my way into the kitchen and glanced at the wine bottle on the counter. I would have loved to open it and get a buzz going just to forget about the stress from earlier but instead I let some water into my water boiler and turned it on. While the water was getting hot, I prepared my tea pot and found a mug. Jordan shuffled in the living room and I heard his wheelchair squeak and when I looked over, he had just transferred into it.
As he came wheeling into the kitchen he said, “Let me help you.”
I was leaning on the counter and just found the teabags for the teapot, “I think I got it.”
Jordan looked down to my foot, “You shouldn’t really walk around a lot.”
“I know but I have no choice with some things.”
He pushed his rims and came closer, “Tell me what you need and just sit down again.”
I smiled at him, “I can get it Jordan.”
Just as I was about to grab the mug from the cabinet, he touched my arm and we locked eyes.
Jordan said, “Just tell me what I need to do, I want to try to help you with stuff.”
I looked at the counter and I really didn’t know what Jordan could help me with. He wasn’t going to be able to balance a tea pot on his lap, he was barely able to transport a bottle without spilling half of it between his legs.
I repeated, “I got it Jordan.”
He reached up, “Give me the mug. I’ll bring it to the living room.”
He seemed determined and transported the empty mug to the table in the living room.
I would somehow get the tea pot over there.
Jordan came wheeling back, “What else?”
I was still leaning on the kitchen counter, trying to keep my weight on my good foot.
“That’s really all. I just need to get the tea pot over there.”
I sensed how Jordan was debating in his head how to do it.
I added, “I’ll just get on the scooter again and do it that way.”
He bit his lips and just nodded. But instead of not doing anything he wheeled back into the living room where the scooter was and he actually stashed the whole device on his lap and awkwardly pushed his rims and came back into the kitchen.
“Jordan, I could have gotten it.”
He set the scooter down, “Well, I got it.”
Right away I rested my injured foot on the scooter and it actually felt good to not have to stand on my foot anymore. Still throbbing with pain, blood had seemingly been rushing to my foot. I waited a moment and the water was done boiling when the switch automatically clicked off. I poured the hot water into the tea pot while Jordan watched.
With the lid on the tea pot I still did not really know how to transport it to the living room. For now, I set it on the kitchen bar, so it was at least closer to the living room.
Jordan pushed his wheelchair around to the other side of the kitchen bar and watched me as I rolled in behind him. Standing there, thinking for a moment and checking the distance to the coffee table, I still wasn’t sure how to get the teapot over there.
Jordan then just stretched his hand up to the counter, “Push it over to my hand.”
I looked at him questioning and he repeated, “Just push it to my hand.”
I moved the pot closer to his hand and he grabbed the handle of it and without a word he stashed the teapot right between his thighs and made sure it stayed upright.
I was worried for a moment, “Jordan, it’s totally hot.”
He glanced at me, “I can’t feel it on my legs.”
I took a deep breath and realized my ignorance.
Embarrassed I added, “You could burn your skin.”
He was now already slowly pushing his rims and balancing the teapot in between his thighs and made it over to the table, mumbling, “I’m wearing jeans and I don’t care. I don’t want you to spill boiling hot water over yourself.”
He had a point; I really had not known how I was going to do this.
He set the teapot onto the table next to the mug and turned toward me, “Here you go, do you need anything else from the kitchen?”
I shook my head, “I’m good. Is there anything you need?”
He shook his head and I added, “Maybe if you could turn the light off in the foyer and kitchen.”
Jordan did that and came rolling back into the living room. I had only switched on a standing lamp shedding cozy light into the living room and over the couch.
Jordan pulled his chair up next to the couch and I looked at him, “Do you want to sit on the couch again?”
He smiled, “Do you want me to?”
I laughed softly, “Of course I want you to.”
He nodded with a smile and transferred over onto the couch again and plopped down next to me.
I poured tea into the mug, it was steaming hot and I let it sit there to cool off some.
I looked over at Jordan as he was adjusting his legs in front of him. After the transfer his legs had been scrambled in front of him and pulling by his jeans, he now set his feet side by side on the floor. I watched him adjust his legs and saw how his right leg still fell to the side somewhat. I couldn’t get enough of watching Jordan handle his legs and his body really.
He finished and looked over at me.
I quickly lowered my eyes and he said softly, “It’s okay Shay. You may watch me.”
I looked up at him and nodded with a shy smile.
He shuffled closer to me and put his arms around my shoulders, I nestled myself against him.
Jordan said, “You may watch me any time and you may even touch if you want.”
I looked up at him and he smiled down at me.
Softly I asked him, “Do you miss being able to use your legs sometimes?”
He didn’t answer right away, but then replied, “I do, especially being out there on the streets, it’s not easy when you’re in a wheelchair. I have some buddies who watch my back at times but they’re not always with me. I mostly roam the streets on my own. And it’s dangerous.”
“Have you been harassed or anything?”
Jordan took a breath, “Yeah, mostly by other drifters. Like for money or booze, or dope.”
“Then what do you do?”
“I have a knife in my backpack, usually I carry it on my body so I have it handy.”
I wasn’t too surprised to hear about this, “Do you have any other weapons?”
He shook his head, “No.”
We sat there and I thought of the things Jordan had mentioned earlier.
Even though I was worried to ask him, I was curious and softly I asked, “How did you try to kill your dad?”
Jordan seemed caught off guard, I could feel him shift in his position next to me.
I waited for a moment and then looked at him. His expression was serious.
I added, “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
He swallowed and then said, “I stabbed him several times while he was asleep.”
I felt my breath restricted and asked, “And you were sixteen?”
“Why did you try to kill him?”
Jordan audibly exhaled now, then answered, “He was a sadistic motherfucking pervert. He beat my mom, he treated her like shit and he did stuff to my sisters and me.”
Before I could say anything else, Jordan added, “Sexual stuff. My sisters are younger than I, I was sixteen, Janie was eleven and Jemma was thirteen.”
I felt my heart beat in my chest at hearing this and I tried to imagine Jordan at age sixteen and how he was.
I hesitantly asked, “You didn’t succeed?”
Jordan shook his head, “No, I didn’t. I was too scared and nervous and didn’t get the right fucking artery. I wasn’t very strong; I was a skinny kid even back then. He was able to wrestle me down and choke me until I passed out, then he called the cops.”
I took some quick breaths, Jordan grabbed the beer bottle and took a large sip, finishing it off.
I was scared to even ask him anything else about this but since I had started this, Jordan seemed to take advantage of the moment and finished the story himself, “I was put in a psych ward first. I had been diagnosed with ADHD when I was younger and had been on Ritalin for years. They thought it had something to do with it. They did tests and checked me out and stuff. I had always been in trouble, in school, with teachers, with friends. I had broken into places, had been stealing from people. I started doing drugs when I was ten. I smoked pot, I smoked cigarettes, I tried Cocaine, I drank, and the first time I shot up dope was when I was fourteen. It felt good because it made me forget all the shit at home. I always wanted to run away but then my sisters would have been left with him and I didn’t want that. I wanted to try to somehow protect them because my mom wasn’t capable. We were left to our own devices a lot. My mom drank, he drank and when he was drunk, he did stuff to us. I plotted to kill him all through my childhood. And I thought if he would be dead my mom, sisters and I could finally be happy.”
Jordan stopped and took a deep breath, then continued, “Like my mom always tried to somehow make us happy with little stuff, she really tried but it never lasted long when he beat the shit out of her or us or whatever perverted shit he came up with.”
Jordan grabbed the beer bottle, having seemingly forgotten that he finished it and as he realized, he mumbled, “Shit.”
He set the bottle down again and took another deep breath.
I sat up and looked at him, “What happened to you then?”
“He pressed charges, insisted I was a danger to myself and to others. He played his role and actually acted all concerned at how I could hurt my sisters and all. I had no chance and they tried me as an adult. I got charged with attempted murder and was supposed to be locked up for six years. For two years I was in juvenile detention, then I was transferred to a regular prison. I got out two years early on parole, so I was twenty-one when I got out.”
I could feel my heart beat fast and I was shocked at hearing all of this, “Did they not find out what he had done to you and your sisters, your mom?”
“My mom protected him for some strange reason. I was completely alone with it all. Soon after I got locked up, they left the state. I don’t know where they are or whatever became of them.”
“Have you ever tried to find them?”
Jordan shook his head, “No, but I know after I got shot, the hospital tried to make contact with any family members I had and they found some information on where my mom was and relayed to her that I was in the hospital and that I may not make it. She apparently wrote back and said she didn’t want to know what was going on with me.”
My vision was blurry as I tried to contain my tears, “Did you try to contact her when you got out of the hospital?”
Jordan shook his head.
I sat next to him and my eyes were moist from the tears that wanted to run out.
I asked him softly, “Would you like to see them again, your mom and your sisters?”
He shook his head again, “No.”
Jordan looked away and at his hands, “I don’t see why and what it would be good for.”
I softly touched Jordan’s arm, “They are your family.”
Jordan looked from my hand on his arm to me and shrugged his shoulders, “Well, apparently my mom didn’t give a shit after I got shot. I don’t know if family would do that.”
I stated softly, “Maybe she was scared.”
Jordan’s eyes shot up at me, “Scared…scared of what?”
“I don’t know, scared to face you.”
Jordan pressed his lips together and then said tense, “I don’t care about them. They don’t care about me; I don’t even know where my sisters are. As for him, I hope he died a horrible death. That would actually ease my mind because if he’s still alive and if he ever crosses my path again, I’ll make sure he’ll fucking die.”
Jordan pulled his arm away from my hand and shifted on the couch.
I opened my mouth to speak but I felt a knot in my throat.
I managed to say, “But you cared about your sisters and you didn’t want to leave them with him.”
Jordan hung his head and sat up, holding his hands by his side. He seemed tense and I saw his body rise and fall as he was taking breaths.
“There must be something you felt for your sisters, you wanted to protect them. And your mom.”
Now Jordan’s dark eyes flickered at me, “And when I got locked up, no one gave a shit. I was left on my own with all the…”
He paused and his voice trembled when he tensely continued, “I was left on my own, a seventeen year old kid with all kinds of fucking shit in my head, the fucking abuse and having to deal with getting literally fucked by my own flesh and blood…having to live with failure…the failure of not finishing him off, failing even in that on top of all the other shit I had done and the failure to protect my…”
Jordan stopped and now aggressively pulled the wheelchair over and just as he was about to transfer into it, I pleaded, “Jordan, I’m sorry…I…”
Jordan transferred into his wheelchair and he loosened the break and swiftly he pushed his chair over to the large window and sat there and hung his head. His body trembled as he sat there silently, but I heard him sniffle his nose.
I sat on the couch and tried to keep my tears in, “Jordan, I’m sorry…please come back to the couch.”
I now lost a few tears and tried to explain, “I just wanted to know…and I thought maybe…maybe you wanted to connect…with your sisters…”
Jordan cut me off and said tensely, “Let it rest Shay…just let it rest…Don’t say anything else…”
Tears now ran over my face, “I won’t say anything else about it, I’m sorry Jordan.”
I looked at the mug on the table and with shaking hands I grabbed it and took a sip. Jordan stayed by the window. What Jordan had told me had been shocking and I didn’t even want to imagine what he and his sisters had endured with their father. I was sad at hearing about Jordan’s mom not wanting to know what was going on with him after he got shot. I couldn’t even imagine how a mother could be like this.
I was close with my parents, close with my brother, and I couldn’t even comprehend the things Jordan had said about his childhood. My parents had been the most loving and awesome parents to Chad and I. Our childhood had been peaceful, fun, filled with good memories, and lots of love. Our extended family was close, we had cousins, aunts, and uncles and everything about my childhood had been good. Aside from the typical teenage years trying to rebel against my parents, there had been nothing out of the ordinary. I had grown up protected and surrounded by love.
Somehow thinking, I was keeping this situation close to normal, I took another sip of my tea with shaky hands and looked over at Jordan. He sat there with his back to me and I tried to think of what to say. I sniffled my nose and took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry Jordan. I didn’t mean to…”
I now couldn’t stop more tears from falling and I tried to swallow the pain I felt, “Please come back over here.”
His head hung and he now stammered, “You know, I shoot up because…I’m always trying to not feel the pain in my heart. I would endure any physical pain if I…I could stop the other pain forever…the pain in my mind…in my heart...and it goes away for a few moments when…when I do a hit…but it comes back every time, worse than before…all the memories come back every fucking time…”
Tears ran over my face at listening to him and he added, “I really wanted to die that night I got shot…I lay there in the dirt and I was actually…I was actually happy while I was bleeding and not feeling my body anymore…I was so fucking happy. I was happy because I thought that was it…I was finally going to be free…I didn’t have to try…have to try to forget anymore…I wanted to be free from this life and just leave this world…but again I failed…even in my own dying…”
I cried silently and I could barely hold the mug in my shaking hands, “Please Jordan…come here.”
He now shifted in the wheelchair and he put his hands to the push rims and spun his wheelchair around, facing me. I looked at him, tears flowing over my face and I stretched my hand out to him, nodding at him and hoping he would come over to me.
He didn’t move but he then said softly, “But my punishment wasn’t juvenile detention or a prison then, it was…my prison now was living…having to keep on living in this shithole of a world without being able to even…to even fucking walk away on my legs…serving a life sentence in a fucking wheelchair…”
His hands were on his push rims and he hung his head.
I cried, “I beg you Jordan, come here...”
He now slowly spun his rims and rolled back over toward the couch. I set the mug down on the table and reached my hands out to him, my tears just running over my face.
I watched as he set his break and I realized how difficult it actually was for him to move himself onto the couch again. Jordan was weak, he was broken, and sick. He was far from the paraplegic guys I followed on YouTube.
I realized that in everything he did, he endured his suffering to his best abilities. And the real pain he endured was not the physical pain but the much more powerful psychological pain which he battled and suffered through day in and day out. It was the pain of his past and the pain of his childhood leading right into the pain of his adult life with all the challenges he faced every day.
Jordan would either bring me down with him or I would have to gather every bit of strength I had to make it better for him and release him from his prison. As sad as I was at everything Jordan had told me and witnessing his suffering, there was something burning inside of me that gave me hope.
It was the light of love I had been granted from the very moment I had come into this world with loving parents protecting me and raising me to become who I was, an amazing brother, a peaceful home, numerous people in my life who were good and who together with my parents had instilled in me the natural trust, faith, and resilience I needed to become who I was.
I had never felt pain that made me want to leave this world; I had never experienced what Jordan had experienced, and I had always enjoyed life and living. And hopefully the strength I had was going to carry me through and was going to enable me to be Jordan’s light and to be his strength and hope for a better life. Combined with my strength, I would also give him my unending love and hopefully Jordan would make it through the darkness and into the light, finding a reason to want to be in this world again, even from the seat of his wheelchair and letting me be by his side.
Jordan transferred over onto the couch and quickly I moved closer to him and without words I wrapped my arms around him and Jordan did the same to me. I felt his body tremble in my embrace as he cried and with my own tears slowly running over my cheeks, I held him close to me. My heart was overflowing with love and determination that this was only the beginning of mine and Jordan’s life and I would turn it around for him just as he was already turning my life around with simply his being and his presence.
There was always a light at the end of every tunnel, it didn’t matter how long it was. I believed that Jordan had been in a tunnel long enough and even though the light at the end of his tunnel was still only a small bright dot in the distance, I was certain as he was going to push forward the dot would soon become his ultimate light and I would be there with him all the way.