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Thursday, October 30, 2014

We Were One Number Away from Hazelden

This time of year makes me think of this night.  Reposted from last October...

I wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of my father talking. 

“No, no,” he says.  “You’re doing the right thing.”

I rise from bed, pad down the long hallway between the bedrooms and the living room.  On the other end of the trailer, my father is standing in the kitchen.  Back to me, elbows on the counter, the phone is cradled between his ear and shoulder.  He is staring out the window at the front, staring out into the dark, silent street.

I rub my eyes.  

There is a sad overtone to this time of night.  A person could suddenly realize that he is the only person on the planet.

“Absolutely,” he says.  “All of us, man.”  My dad goes into the fridge, pulls out a beer.

He covers the mouthpiece of the phone as he pops the tab on the can.  He takes a drink.

He uncovers the mouthpiece.  “The thing is,” he says, “is that we are never alone.  The help is there.  But yeah, it’s asking, right?  The salvation lies in the asking.”

He takes a long drink, sets the can down quietly.

“I agree 100%,” he says.  “And all I’m asking is that you stop hurting yourself, can you do that?  Just for tonight?” 

There is silence.

“Look,” he says, “Can you do me a favor?  You got somewhere to lie down?  Yeah, take the phone with you.  Just lie down.”  There is silence.  “No, I’m still here.”

I close my eyes, sway softly in the darkness.

“You’re right.  We’re alone.  All of us, alone – until we reach out.  You reached out, and I’m proud of you.”

My father jumps up on the counter.  The phone, after all, won’t reach to a chair.

I press my back to the wall.

“You promise?” he says.  “You just fell off the wagon, that’s all.  You promise to come in in the morning?”

The trailer is absolutely still.

“No, thank you, man.”

There is a pause.

“Yep.  I’m going to stay here until you fall asleep. ”

The cat walks by, winds his way around my ankles.  I bend down, scratch between his war-torn ears.

“Don’t worry,” my dad says.  “Everything’s going to be all right.”


wellfedfred said...

I just thought I'd say I love you. And the cats. And your family, well, the ones you've introduced us too, anyway.

Buttons said...

I still love this story. HUG B

joeh said...

Oh you're good!

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I read this and thought it was lovely. Then I noticed the title. Now this story has become awesome. Generosity of spirit seems to run in your family.

jenny_o said...

I wonder what happened after that. The story after the story. I hope that everything WAS all right.

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I read this and thought it was lovely. Then I noticed the title. Now this story has become awesome. Generosity of spirit seems to run in your family.

Linda O'Connell said...

Pearl your goodness is in your DNA.

Elephant's Child said...

Your father is awesome. You come from very, very, very good stock. And it shows.

Ian Lidster said...

I read this the first time around and was happy to read about such compassion and understanding for a second time. If I were still addictions counseling I'd use it.

Gigi said...

One of my all time favorites!

Your from good people Miss Pearl.

NotesFromAbroad said...

A story worth reading over and over ... love you Pearl.

Launna said...

Pearl, this is a really great story, I really enjoyed reading it... nice ;) ... What a great example your father was..

Anonymous said...

Your Dad's a great guy.

Daisy said...

Such a great story!

Should Fish More said...

So, he wasn't like her sponsor in AA, right? Did not read the original post, so....

River said...

what they ^ said. :)

Daisy said...

This is a very sweet story Pearl, thank you.