Friday, November 24, 2006

How Thanksgiving Started

Yesterday morning, I was sitting up in bed, contemplating whether or not I wanted to actually get up, when I heard a low rumble. I wondered what it was and turned my attention to the window in time to see our fancy red ambulance moving up the street at a fast clip with its lights on. Then I remembered: our neighbor's holiday overdose was due up.

Our street is very small - there are only 14 houses on it, and the street is a cul-de-sac 1/1oth of a mile long. We all know each other well. As on any street, there's that one house that's trouble. This is where the OD-ing neighbor lives. He's done it countless times before, either from alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. I can't recall exactly how many times the ambulance has been up to that house, which is scary considering my neighbor is only 23.

Anyways, I ran downstairs to spread the word, and went outside to make sure they were going to the trouble house. They were. My father and I stood in the driveway, and as we were trying to figure things out, a firetruck came. Then two police cars. Then another. Finally dad put on the police scanner. He said "is there an unmarked coming up the street right now?" I looked, and an unmarked crown vic was flying up the street. I looked at him and said "someone must be dead." Our neighbor and the arrival of another town cruiser, a state trooper and the sheriff's department confirmed it: he had finally killed himself. Heroin.

I have to say that his suicidal overdose did not come as a shock. My sister and I were talking about it. This kid was one of those kids who you knew was not going to live a long time. I used to wait for the bus with his brother, who tried his best to torment me throughout our bus-riding middle school days. He started smoking in 6th grade. I used to stare at him while he smoked, waiting for the bus to come and think "he's not going to live long." It's sad and scary to have that kind of mindset, but it's true. It's just the way things were.

What's sad to me is not so much this person's death, though it's certainly tragic and hard for the family, I feel that this boy was so miserable here that he has to be better off now, but the fact that the neighborhood and perhaps the whole town breathed a sigh of relief. When his brother finally left town, that took away some of the stress the family caused, but the younger brother was the one with the real drug problem. He was spaced out most of the time, but the people he sold to were troublemakers. They threw things at teachers, were disruptive in class. One tried to run my neighbor over with his car, and then assaulted him. Another made false claims against my father in an attempt to get him into big trouble at work. Their cars sped up our small street, a threat to the children that played there. The boys abused their dog and fed him chicken bones on purpose so they could watch the dog try and cough them up. The dog started walking through the woods to eat at the local Petco after a while, having outwitted them at their own game. The boys lit fires in the woods, one time the older one set himself on fire and had to have a skin graft on his leg. They were arrested countless times, in trouble countless times, suspended countless times. They were not nice people. Period. It's sad to me that the death of someone so misguided, so troubled, and so young would bring that much relief to an entire town, but that's what it's done. What a sad way to leave this Earth, leaving a trail of people behind you, grateful that you are finally gone.

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