In the year of my supreme confidence, the year I had put his drug addiction nearly out of my mind, I came home to our new house in Loveland, Colorado and found my son Stevie lying face-up on the kitchen floor. Beside him, a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka and in his hand, a cheap, folding knife.
“Stevie, wake up,” I shouted.
The room stank of sweat and orange peels from the trash basket in the pantry.
My sense of things, based on the vibe in the room, was that he had killed himself.
But there was no blood around his body.
After bumping and shaking him, he started to stir, so I concluded he was just stinkin’ drunk.
Moaning at first, then uttering what sounded like “What?” he began to release himself from a profound stupor. Unless I stopped hollering and shaking him; then he would drift off again into a murky silence.
The more I shook Steve, the more words he began to string together.
After saying “What?” several more times in a tone of voice that begged me to leave him alone, he uttered his first sentence: “I ran out of meds and the pain got be so much that I didn’t know what to do so I drank some of this,” he said pointing to the empty bottle.
“How much did you drink?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he said. I knew he had consumed an entire bottle of the vodka.