Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bad

Whenever I hear that song it reminds me of the time he was locked up in the hospital.


They found him naked on the top floor of one of our high rise student dorms preaching about starting a new religion.

He was taken away and locked in the psychiatric ward.

I had known him since eighth grade. We were in drama club together and even dated briefly, innocently, when we were sophomores.  Over time, we became true friends, always able to be genuine with one another. 

We enrolled in the same college, a big ten school in the heart of the Midwest. We didn't see each other as frequently at college but a loyalty existed between us. There was mutual certainty that one would be there if the other needed something.

He loved the band U2 and was forever air-drumming along when their songs played.

A certain song never fails to remind me of visiting him in the hospital and I heard it this weekend when I was cooking and listening music.

I remembered how nervous I was about going to see him.

After I passed through the security clearance, they showed me to his room and I found him sitting on the edge of his bed.

His upper lip was hitched up and stuck on his upper gum oddly exposing his teeth.  

The backs of his hands rested on his jittery, bouncing knees and his palms faced upwards.

His eyes were rolled back in his head which was thrown all the way back. 

He was muttering to himself... or maybe to God.

He scared me.

I plugged in the tape player that I had brought with me to the hospital and pushed play.

The song I had queued up before leaving my apartment began.

I had always heard that the song was about a heroin overdose.  I remember thinking how ironic it was that it was one of his favorites and so it was the one I chose to play for him.

They told me he was suffering from an overdosed himself - though in his case it was LSD.

I remember sitting in the hospital room, listening to the music and watching him.

I loved him, this friend of mine.

Towards the middle of the song, his body relaxed and he looked at me, seeming to really notice I was there for the first time since I had arrived.

"I know what you're trying to do," he whispered.  "Thank you."

He looked at me for a moment more and then his eyes rolled back and upwards again.  His legs returned to the uncontrollable bounce and the muttering picked back up.

It would be a long while before he was well.



24 comments:

Lisa Milton said...

Did he recover? How heartbreaking...

Omaha Mama said...

Good for you for getting past the fear and going to comfort him. You are a good friend.

Jennifer said...

You are a good friend.
What made you think of him?

verygoodyear said...

This post is so starkly written and yet descriptive... you set a real mood, and it's frightening. Where is your friend now?

Emily said...

Wow.

It says a lot that you were afraid and yet you sat there with him, tethering him to the real world with your cassette player.

carrie said...

I always do this with music, tie a certain time, a feeling, a memory - and it's there, ingrained forever.

I hope your friend can hear this song today and love it as much as I do.

WILLIAM said...

Wow.

furiousBall said...

wow, it's amazing the connections we collect with music and art with major moments in our life such as this. so what happened?

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Music helps heal the soul. Sometimes no medication in the world can help as much as a good song.

Kerry said...

There are certain songs that immediately transport me to another time and place and allow me to glimpse a moment I'd tucked away and not thought of in years. It's magical and heartbreaking and uplifting all at once.

Anonymous said...

Thanks J, I'm the guy she is talking about. And yes, I'm still around and a million times better for our friendship. You are a great friend,

Love ,

K

Amanda said...

Friends. Sigh. Thank the universe they find you.

Patois said...

I'm glad he's made himself known and that he's a million times better. Good friends are so hard to come by and so very necessary.

Don Mills Diva said...

How wonderful that he left a comment - this story and his response gave me chills.

rivergirlie said...

he was lucky to have a friend like you x

Anissa Mayhew said...

Certain songs have that ability to break through and really touch. He was lucky to have you.

Ben and Bennie said...

Listening to that song took me back to a time in my life I felt I could change the world by inspiring the masses. It took me a long time that my true path was healing myself and trying to inspire those closest around me, particularly my children.

Very moving post.

Vodka Mom said...

that was a very moving, and incredibly well written post. as usual. a toast.

anna said...

Love that song, too. And you're a great friend.

"If I could, yes I would, if I could, I would, let it go . . ."

Beck said...

We're in family talks right now about having my brother - my baby brother - committed. So this sort of broke my heart, and yet there's that hope that someday he will be well again, too.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Jessica -- I'm the same with music. A song will carry me back to a moment as if it were this morning... What a wise way to reach out to a friend who was so far away mentally and emotionally.... What an amazing song to use to reach out...

K - Glad you are still around and in Jessica's life. It is the greatest blessing is to have a friend who is there in your darkest hour...

Jennifer said...

Oh, music can reach far beyond words, can't it. *sigh*

Sayre said...

It's so hard to be the "normal" one in a relationship like that. You know enough to be scared. They only know it intermittently. Very hard to watch.

You're a good friend, Miss Joy.

Ponygirl said...

I'm glad I read the comments on this one and see K is still in touch! Hi K -- all the best to you!