I’m tired of wondering if the next call is the last call


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I’m tired. I’m tired of worrying about you. I’m tired of wondering if the next call is the last call. If there will be any call, at all. If you’ll just slip into the hours in between where you are and I am and be gone. Traces of a person who could have been.

You could have been brilliant. You could have been whole. You could have have been so much more than anyone ever gave you credit for. Or maybe we did. Maybe your family boosted you up as much as they could, but you couldn’t hear us. You chose not to hear us.

Alcohol is louder than love.

You slipped slowly. Took your first drink at 16. I remember Mom and Dad sitting you down and telling you why you were grounded. Why it was wrong. Why it was risky. Back then, Dad was still sober and sober meant something to us all.

You rebelled.

We chalked it up to teen angst.

You and him left and I’m not so sure he took of all you with him.

And then Mom and Dad weren’t Mom and Dad anymore because Dad wasn’t sober. Years of sobriety sipped away. You and him left and I’m not so sure he took of all you with him. Or maybe he did and that’s what the problem is.

You two started drinking and you stopped going to school. The years rolled on and alcohol turned to weed and then to coke and then to crack.

We thought you were dead that time your boss called looking for you. That was just a few years ago. We thought the drugs had finally stolen what was left. But you bounced back. You always bounced back. And we were all so happy when you stopped doing crack. When you admitted it had gone too far. When you said you would stop and you did.

You came back to us for a moment and we forgot that alcohol still had its claws in you. Has its claws in you. We were just happy you’d stopped doing the hard stuff. We even cheered.

But more time passed, as it always does, and more calls came, as they always do. You were in the hospital. You didn’t know who Mom was when you woke up. You’d had a seizure. Permanent liver damage, they said. Stop drinking, they said. It’s time for rehab, we pleaded.

But you told us you could do it on your own and we didn’t know what to do.

You can’t kidnap someone and make them give enough shits to kill the alcoholism that flows through their veins. You can only be there. And we make mistakes. We all make mistakes.

I am tired of wondering if the next call is the last call.

That time I gave you two hundred dollars to get groceries but you bought booze instead. That was a mistake. Not coming home to show you how much you mean to me was a mistake. Distancing myself was not. This disease is insidious. You are insidious. And I love you even still.

But last night you told Mom you couldn’t keep working and we all know that means you got fired again. You said you need to find your soul and I ask you, where did you leave it? In what dark corner is it hiding, hoping that you will stop? Hoping for light.

I need you to know I love you as much as I ever have, but I am tired. I am tired of worrying. I am tired of wondering if the next call is the last call.

Your last call.

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Thank you for this. I am tired too.

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