Bad day

I’m having a bad day

Karen, just a while after we were married

Karen (my ex-wife) called me earlier in the evening. She was noticeably shaken, and I was worried that something was wrong with her grandmother. But it wasn’t that.

An employee where she works hadn’t shown up, or called, in three days. She lived in the same apartment complex as Karen, so she felt like she should try to find out what was going on. When she went to the apartment, she could hear the TV but there was no answer from the door. Karen went to the management and had them let her in. The girl was on the sofa, with blood around her mouth, unconscious but still breathing.

She’s in the hospital now, in a coma, and not expected to live. The theory is that she hit her head, and either had a heart attack or stroke which triggered the coma. It was hard to locate any relatives, and the woman’s ex-husband didn’t seem to care. I don’t understand. For me, it’s impossible to stop caring about people. Even people that life has forced you away from. Thankfully, Karen and I are still close. I can’t bear to think of something happening to her.

I suppose that’s one reason why I fear being alone so much. What if I lapsed into a coma, and no one knew? Life is so precious, so fragile. I look around this room and wonder. I’m sure at least Karen would notice if I wasn’t seen or heard from for a while.

But then the evening got worse.

My mom called

She was crying in a way that I’ve never heard her cry before.

My first thought was: “Oh no, my father. . .”

But thankfully, it wasn’t that. But it was nearly as bad.

My brother David died. He’s thirteen years older than I am, an alcoholic who had chronic Pancreatitis. So it’s not a surprise, but it still hurts.

David was always very good to me. He harped on me for over ten years to go back to school, and seemed pleased that I finally made it. He had several degrees: in Electronics, Business Administration, and Law. The last time I saw him was a bit over a year ago, and he told me that he took his wife Donna to see James Earl Jones do Othello at the Mark Taper Forum for their first date. That’s the kind of guy he was; culture and education were everything, until the bottle tore up his life. Donna has stuck with him all these years, and I really feel for her. He just couldn’t stop drinking.

Donna came home from work and found him dead. The exact cause isn’t clear, but it isn’t hard to figure out. Every time I take a drink, I always think about David. He spent a lot of time talking in circles, trying desperately to express himself. He was a closed man though; he never really tried to express his own pain. I don’t know what happened to him, but something inexplicable happened, somewhere along the way, that pushed him so far that he never came back. His son James, in the picture below, is now in his twenties. I hope James sticks close to Donna, and things work out okay. I wish I could fly to Sacramento to see if I could help, but there’s really not much anyone can do. When life is lost, the only thing that is left is hurt, and memories.

My brother David