Thursday, April 11, 2019

What It Was - Chapter 20

Chapter 20

My apartment felt empty again. Having had Jordan there had been nice and it had felt good even though it had been rough for us at the same time. I wanted nothing more than to share my place with him one day.

I dropped my back pack on the kitchen counter and my eyes travelled to the small amber vial with the Oxycodone tablets in it. I had been doing all right with managing my pain and had not been needing any Oxycodone throughout the day. I looked at the vial and held it up. I unscrewed the lid and when I poured the small white tablets out on the counter, there were only four tablets.

My prescription had been for eighteen tablets and I had only taken about five. I stared at the tablets on the counter and for some odd reason I actually looked into the vial to make sure there were no more tablets inside it. Of course, there were none. I recalled in my head how many tablets I had taken and then I looked at the vial again and the label on it, making sure I remembered right. The prescription had been for eighteen tablets, to take one to two tablets every six hours as needed for pain. I stared into my apartment and took a deep breath. I knew exactly where the missing tablets were and it hurt to think about it. It hurt very much and I felt betrayed.

I let myself down on the dining chair and stared at the medication vial on the counter and my thoughts ran around everything. How could I have been so naïve? 

Just at that very moment my phone buzzed and I looked at it. The message was from Jordan.

-        Shay, it’s me. I wanted to make sure you got home okay.

I stared at the message and debated on how to respond and if I should ask him about the tablets.

-        I’m at home.

It took a moment for Jordan to respond.

-        Good, I’m glad. I was worried because you cried so much after you dropped me off. I miss you already and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

I felt so much pain in my heart at the moment and at reading his message I started crying. I wanted to ask him about it and about what he was going to do with the tablets. I didn’t know if he had taken them to use for himself or if he was going to sell them for possibly his next hit. 

I didn’t type anything else and instead I angrily tossed the phone onto my couch.

My head was spinning with all types of thoughts: You’re so dumb Shay. How could you have thought for even one minute that this was going to be normal? How could you have trusted him? He used you, he stole from you

Tears were running over my face as I questioned myself. It hurt me so very much that Jordan had abused my trust and my love for him. I heard my phone buzz for another incoming message but I ignored it.

I pitied and scolded myself for being so naïve. I didn’t know how I was going to bring this up with Jordan and at the moment I wasn’t capable of talking to him. All the sudden my phone played its ring tone and my eyes shot over to it on the couch but I didn’t get it. I let it ring and go to voice mail. I just couldn’t bring it over myself at the moment to talk to Jordan.

With a corkscrew opener and a glass in my hands, I angrily and carelessly took the wine bottle Jordan had brought for me to the coffee table. I plopped onto the couch, and right away poured a glass of wine. My tears were slowly subsiding and I finally decided to look at my cell phone.

There were several more messages from Jordan.

-         Shay, are you there? Are you okay?

-        I wish you would let me know. I’ll be with you again as soon as I can. Let me know that you’re okay

-        Shay, are you getting my messages?

-        I hope my phone is working. Are you there, Shay?

I pushed the voice mail button and I had an actual voice message from Jordan, “Shay, could you pick up the phone. I don’t know if you got my messages. I’m not sure if my phone maybe isn’t working. Please let me know if you did. I hope you’re okay. I miss you and I love you.”

I dropped the phone next to me on the couch and drank from the wine. It was three o’clock in the afternoon now and just then my phone announced a text message from Matt:

-        Hey Shay, I just woke up from a somewhat rough night and hangover. I’m sorry I didn’t check in with you earlier. How are you?

I remembered how I had blown Matt off. I texted back to him:

-        Hi Matt, it’s okay. I’m sorry you’re dealing with a hangover. Partied a bit too hard? I’m doing okay. Just been resting and taking it easy.

-        😊 yeah, partied too hard. I should’ve known better. Are you going to be at work tomorrow?

-        I’ll take another sick day tomorrow. I can’t put any weight on my foot yet and I feel I need another day at least.

-        Of course, I would love to come visit you or is your brother still there with you?

-        My brother is not here right now but I’m okay. He’ll come over in a little while.

-        Good. I’m still worried about you Shay.

-        I’m okay, don’t worry. It’s not that serious. I’m just taking it easy.

-        So, your brother is going to be there for you.

-        Yes.

-        Maybe I could come over tomorrow after work. I could grab some Chinese takeout and come over for dinner?

I looked at this message for a few seconds and my mind was racing. I swallowed my remaining tears and typed:

-        Yeah, tomorrow would be great.

Matt’s message came at the speed of light:

-        Awesome, what’s your favorite takeout?

-        I’ll eat anything.

-        I’ll pick up something yummy and I’ll be there tomorrow at 6. Do you need me to pick up anything else? Pain meds, tea, coffee, groceries, anything?

-        Thank you, Matt, I’m fine with everything else.

-        Okay, cool, I’ll see you tomorrow evening at 6 then. I’ll miss seeing you at work.

-        😊 Have a good day at work anyways.

-        I will, take care Shay, get some more rest.

-        I will, see you tomorrow then

I finished texting with Matt. My thoughts were still running around what Jordan had done. I felt betrayed.

I drank a large sip from my wine and I heard my phone buzz for another text message. It was from Jordan again, asking if I was there. I didn’t reply and instead scrolled through my social media.

I saw pictures of everyone having had fun over the weekend at various Halloween parties and dressed in costumes drinking and laughing. Matt had been tagged in some pictures by one of his friends apparently. He looked happy and like he had been drinking but in none of the pictures was a woman by his side. He was with his male friends in most of the photos. He was dressed up as a pirate and looked funny but also still attractive. I was looking forward to Matt coming over. He was like a sliver of my normal life and I needed that very much. Jordan had taken up my whole being and my normal life seemed so far away. I felt detached and like I had moved into a different dimension, into a different world. It was Jordan’s world and he had pulled me into it with full force.

I finished my wine as I kept looking through my social media. My phone kept buzzing and eventually I looked at it again and read Jordan’s last messages:

-        Shay, I wish you would reply. I called you. I left a message. Are you getting my messages?

-        Shay, are you there? What is going on?

-        Shay, please text me or call me. I want to make sure you’re okay.

-        I love you, please text me.

I debated to reply or confront him about what he had done but I couldn’t. I filled up my glass again with the red wine. It was a very good bottle and I took a few more sips.
I leaned my head back and stared at the ceiling thinking about everything.
I dozed off on the couch and eventually was startled with my cell phone playing its ring tone again. When I looked at it, I saw it was after five and I saw the saved image of my brother’s smiling face on the display.

I answered, “Hi Chad!”
“Hey sis, how are you?”
“I’m good, I was sleeping on the couch a little bit.”
“Sorry I woke you. It is afternoon though. I wanted to check on you and Jordan, make sure everything is all right. Is he still there with you?”

I yawned and debated on how much to tell Chad.

I explained, “Actually, I took him to the city this morning. He had to go.”
“What do you mean?”

I told Chad about Jordan having to leave because he didn’t have any Heroin anymore.

Chad inquired, “How many more times did he shoot up after we left last night?”

“The one at night when I called you and then only another one in the early morning. He said he tried to drag it out as long as he could but then he woke up and was jittery and not all the way well. He said he needed to go so I took him to a spot in the city where he wanted to be dropped off.”

I must have sounded indifferent and Chad asked in a worried tone, “Are you all right with that, Shay?”
I swallowed the lump in my throat and fiddled with the blanket on the couch, “I don’t know. Not really I guess.”
Chad didn’t think about his reply very long, “I’ll get dressed and come over.”
“Chad, you don’t have to. You should be with Amber, it’s Sunday, and it’s her off weekend.”
“It’s okay. Amber is over at her dad’s place anyways.”

I knew Chad would come over if I liked it or not, and in a way, I really needed him. I felt lost and alone.

Everything that had happened over the last three days had been too much really. My parents still didn’t know about my accident and thought I merely dealt with a bad cold. I knew my mom would call me again sooner than later and at least if Chad was here, I had an ally and also an alibi that my brother was already looking after me. Having Chad over would ease their mind about my being sick. I didn’t know if I could ever tell them the real story about my accident.

Chad then confirmed, “I’ll be there in about an hour.”

I finished up with Chad and curled right back into the blanket scrolling through my social media some more. It wasn’t long after Chad when my phone rang again and it was my boss Elaine.

She was checking in with me and wanting to know how I was doing. She assured me that it was perfectly fine for me to do another sick day and really if I needed the whole week, she would figure it out or maybe reschedule some of my clients. I really didn’t know when I would be at work again. My foot still hurt and was swollen, my stitches were covered up with a large band aid but I could feel the tension of the injured and stitched up skin underneath. I really didn’t want to go into work like this. Elaine was understanding and she would take care of my calendar and my clients. I gave her access to my schedule with all the appointments and the information she needed to take care of my clients. It would have been a slow week anyways so I was really glad about that. It made me feel a little less worried about not being able to go to work. We finished with her telling me to rest and take care of myself and take as much time as I needed. I felt relieved after the conversation with her. It was up to me when I wanted to come back and if I needed the whole week it would be okay. I didn’t move from the couch, I felt tired and drained.

Chad texted me: I just parked, coming up now. Got my key.

I lay my head back on the pillow and just waited. Chad had a spare key to my apartment, so did my parents but he had forgotten to bring it the night before when I had called him. He showed up after a few minutes letting himself in.

With his entering there was commotion in my place and even a cool breeze from the hallway brushed over me until he closed the door.

I shifted on the couch and looked over at Chad coming in, “Hey!”

He dropped his keys and phone on the kitchen counter.

He was holding two Starbucks cups in his hands, set them on the coffee table, and hugged me. “Hey! I brought coffee.”

He stood there for a moment and looked at me.

I remarked, “I know I look like shit.”
Chad squeezed himself onto the couch next to me, “No, you don’t but you do look tired.”
He glanced at the wine bottle on the table, “So you actually already moved on to wine now. I hope my coffee can still get you excited.”
He grabbed one of the cups and handed it to me, “It’s your favorite, Salted Caramel Latte.”
I took the cup with a smile, “Yeah, coffee works too. You’re the best.”

Carefully I brought the cup to my lips and drank from it, the sweet and salty taste was delicious in my mouth and for a moment I let the sip linger until I swallowed the warm brew.

Chad kept looking at me weary, “So Jordan is gone?”
I nodded and he asked, “How are you holding up?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “I don’t know.”
Chad took his cup and drank from it, then asked, “So he wanted to leave because he didn’t have any more dope with him?”
I shrugged my shoulders again, “I guess. Apparently, he also took some of my pain pills, probably at least ten or so of the Oxycodone I got at the hospital.”
Chad’s expression turned surprised, “Seriously?”
I nodded weakly, “Yes.”
Chad shook his head, “Without asking you?”

I nodded again.

Chad now sounded slightly tense, “Not cool, not cool at all.”
I took a deep breath, “Tell me about it. I’m so angry but I’m also hurt that he did this.”

Chad looked down to his feet for a moment, seemingly thinking about this situation.

I swallowed the tears that I felt coming on and said softly, “Chad, just tell me that this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever gotten myself into. Tell me how stupid I am and that I should’ve never let it come to this. Tell me that I deserve to get smacked and reprimanded. Tell me that this will never work out.”

I felt my voice tremble now and I could feel my vision get blurry.
Chad didn’t say any of those things, instead he looked at me with a concerned expression.

A tear ran over my cheek, “I really don’t know what has come over me. I don’t know what I’m thinking. I feel like I’m losing control of my life and my emotions. Now he even stole something from me.”

Chad pressed his lips together and took a deep breath, “But you do care about him, don’t you?”
“I do, very much. I love him but I’m so scared of how I’m going to handle it all. If I even can. And I can’t tell anyone about him, not mom or dad, not my coworkers, my friends. People will declare me crazy.”
Chad took another deep breath, “You should confront him about the Oxys and see how he reacts. He really needs to explain this to you. I’m assuming he’s selling them for drugs or maybe using them himself. But when you see him again, you should ask him about it. Are you okay with your pain and the tablets you have left?”
I nodded, “Yeah, I don’t even need those anymore. I can deal with the pain now, it’s really not that bad.”

Chad nodded and looked at me for a moment before he remarked, “I always knew you were special Shay.”
I brought a crooked smile over my face, “A special kind of crazy.”

Chad nodded and smiled.

He then leaned over for a hug, “Bring it in!”

And at my brother hugging me I broke down and I cried. Tears just kept coming out of my eyes and ran over my cheeks, dripped onto my tank top and my robe and onto my brother’s T-Shirt. I couldn’t help myself and just wept in my brother’s arms. Chad held me and I let it all out.

“I’m here for you sis.”

I cried even more at his comforting words.
We sat like this for at least fifteen minutes until my nose was so stopped up that Chad got up and brought over a box with tissues. I went through several tissues right away and balled them up and let them fall to the floor.

Eventually Chad sat on the couch next to me and I had somewhat collected myself again, holding the Starbucks cup in my hands and staring at it thinking about how I had bought Jordan a Starbucks drip coffee four weeks earlier. 

I mumbled, “I saw him outside my office pan handling under the Rite Aid roof and it was so cold and without thinking twice I bought him a hot coffee at the Starbucks around the corner. When I came back to give it to him, he was gone and I looked for him and found him wheeling on the sidewalk and I ran after him.”
Chad sat there listening to me and I added, “I really wanted to talk to him.”

I sniffled my nose and a few more tears trailed down my cheeks.

Chad then asked softly, “And he caught your attention because of the wheelchair?”
I stared at the cup in my hands and took a sip, then said, “Yes, he did. And when I actually saw him and talked to him, I was infatuated with him. I was obsessed with seeing him again and getting to know him.”
Chad nodded, “Well, and you sure did get to know him, all of him.”
I nodded and looked at my brother wearily, “I’ve always felt like that about guys in wheelchairs you know, dreamt about being with one and even imagined my ex’s like that at times. Just didn’t think it would be a homeless, drug addicted paraplegic guy I would cross paths with.”
I actually had to laugh at this and Chad laughed softly, “Well, love can happen in the strangest places.”

I kept my eyes down and thought about all of it and then looked at my brother, “Am I crazy Chad?”
Chad looked down at his cup and then up at me, “You’re not crazy, you’re just different but different is good, Shay. Don’t beat yourself up about this too much. I know it’s a big deal but just know I’m here for you one hundred percent. If I would’ve known this stuff about you a long time ago, you know I would’ve been on your side always. It must have been difficult to keep it all inside?”
I nodded, “It has been but I always felt ashamed.”
“So, what is it? What attracts you about guys in wheelchairs? Only certain disabilities?”

I thought for a few moments and then sniffled my nose, “I wish I would know what it is. I’m not really sure but there’s something about guys who can’t walk that drives me crazy. It’s only paraplegia really that interests me, an acquired disability. I’m not into genetic or other disabilities. Jordan is like a dream come true for me when it comes to the paraplegia.”
Chad listened attentively and nodded, “Of course on top of his being paraplegic, he comes with a whole different and heavy load of baggage.”

I told Chad about the paraplegic guys I followed on social media and how I crushed so hard on some of them. And I also told him that sometimes I had imagined my ex boyfriends to become paraplegic and how much I had hated myself for those thoughts.  

Chad just sat there and listened, but it felt so good to tell him everything and he eventually said, “Well, I guess there would’ve been paraplegic guys out there who didn’t have it as rough as Jordan. Heck, one of the teachers at my school is in a wheelchair and I think he’s single.”
I glanced up at Chad and he smiled, “But it is what it is. You care for Jordan and he’s in your life now and I’m totally willing to be there for you and him.”
I bit my lips, “We can never tell mom and dad though.”
Chad shrugged his shoulders, “Let’s not worry about that yet.”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. Right now, I don’t even know what to think. I’m angry with him but I know he probably couldn’t help it.”
Chad nodded, “Yeah, it’s not easy. He’s an addict and there are times when his clear mind is jaded and he won’t think about consequences or who he’s hurting in the process.”

Chad moved closer and put his arm around me and I rested my head on his shoulder. I was very glad my brother was there with me; I didn’t know if I would have been okay by myself. Chad made me feel that everything would be okay somehow or at least he would be by my side through whatever storm I would have to weather. I had at least one ally in this ordeal.

As we sat there, Chad asked, “So you really love him then?”
I nodded, “Yes, I do and I believe him when he says he loves me too. I just don’t know if love will be enough.”

Chad sighed, “Yeah, but it’s all you have got to work with right now and maybe down the road your love will also bring him to seek help. I’ll try to help you get him the help he needs. It won’t be easy and it’ll probably be very painful and difficult but I’m on your side Shay. I’m also pulling for Jordan. Try not to think too far ahead. I want you to still do what you do, go to work and live your life to your best abilities with your friends and family. Jordan is in your life and he’ll probably come and go and maybe eventually he’ll stay but I want you to try to still focus on your regular life. I’m here for you whenever you need me to be. You know you can call me at any time. I think you’ll realize that with Jordan in your life you can’t really plan too far ahead when it comes to you and him, not right now with where is at in his life. One day at a time with him but in your regular life you need to keep doing what you’re doing.”

I nodded and pressed my lips together, “It sounds scary.”
“It is but I’m with you, okay. And Amber is too. And this will be between us and you, mom and dad won’t have to know, no one except for us will have to know right now. Let’s just see how things will go.”

Chad pulled me to him again and held me close for a while and we just sat there.

I was so glad that my brother had come over. I really needed someone and talking to him and confiding in him without any judgement made everything not look so bleak. I had no idea where Jordan was and I had to accept the fact that it would be like that at times. My door would be open for him whenever he could make it but I had to focus on still living my regular life and not let my love for Jordan hinder me from that.

Chad stayed with me and we ate the left-over Pizza from the night before. I felt so much better with my brother there.

My mom called again just as I had expected and it definitely helped that Chad was there with me and it kept my mom’s worrying at bay. He even talked to her to assure her that I was okay. This kept my mom and dad off my back for another day. 

Chad eventually left to go home at around ten. He did have to work the next day and I was feeling okay and I didn’t want to keep him there any longer. I was thankful he had been there for me and it had really made me feel better.

Since Chad had been at my place, I had not even glanced at my phone anymore. I now grabbed it and looked at it and there were no new messages from Jordan or any new missed calls.

My fingers trembled when I tapped on the texting option to him.
I still thought about that he had taken my pain medication and I didn’t know if I should confront him about it.
I sent one line:

-        Why did you take the Oxycodone?

I saw the message was delivered and I stared at the screen for a few moments, waiting for a reply but nothing came. I sat there and debated calling him. I worried about him and I worried about what he did out there on the streets. I worried about where he was and that he was okay. There was no reply from Jordan.

When I finally lay in bed that night I couldn’t sleep and I kept thinking of him and I wanted him next to me. I took my phone and typed again:

-        Jordan, I forgive you about the Oxycodone. I hope you’re okay. I’m sorry I didn’t reply earlier. I was angry.

This message also was delivered but no reply came. With tears in my eyes I fell into a restless sleep and had nightmares that aroused me more than once during the night.


  1. I'm totally hooked on this story. It doesn't matter which turn it takes - I'll still be reading it!
    Thanks for writing and sharing!

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know. It means a lot.

  2. This is a beautiful story!
    I'm so glad you came back. Jordan's character is still blurry to me, but I'll be patient...

    1. Thank you for commenting. I am glad you like the story, it means a lot.