The Rebirth of Cory Fallow

I never knew what it was like to fully live life. Ever since I was a teen, life only meant survival, and drug money. That’s all I ever cared about, getting high and not getting caught. These simple cares of mine eventually evolved into things like finding a place to settle for the night, maintaining my quickly deteriorating health, and even to dodge the bullets of those who I bought the flaky white drug from, who didn’t exactly like my starting prices. That last one, avoid getting killed? I failed at that one. I was killed, and because of it, I can now live again. The only difference of my life then and now after the miracle incident is I am now living. I’m no longer just taking up space wherever I stand. I have a purpose in life. And all it took was a little blue Taurus and a faulty crosswalk sign to give me a second chance at the gift that all have, yet I greatly abused for far too long; the privilege of living.
~ ~ ~
“The bugs are bad today” I tell Craig, as I inhale a long, relaxing drag of my half charred cigarette and my insect ravaged leg. He glances up at me with a puzzled look plastered to his pale, shallow face. “It’s the middle of November, there aren’t any bugs” he mumbles back, not bothering to look up at the smirk that forms on my cracked, dry lips. “Oh yeah? Then why do I feel them, huh?” I coyly replied, breathing out the now useless smoke in my mouth and throat, blowing it into the cool breeze flowing through the alley. They are biting harder now, feasting at my blood and nipping at my flesh. Annoyed, I smack my left forearm, finally feeling relief from the pests. “Cory, they’re not there,” he sighs, “simple as that” I look at him. Craig has been my best friend since third grade, both of us growing up in the same tiny town of Richwood, Wisconsin. He has drastically changed, physically at least. His slightly chubby, rosy cheeks are now sullen, suctioned to his cheek bones, his gray eyes lacking their original cobalt blue tone. His always short, spiked black hair is now hovering just above the tip of his nose and around his face, stringy and dull. We have the same type of features now. Both of us have sunken skin, gloomy, glazed over eyes, but we are still Cory and Craig.
I’m snapped out of my trance with a voice slightly yelling in my ear. “Cory, quick picking!” Craig said, his voice frustrated, as he pulled my fingers away from the flaking skin on my side. “I can’t help it, its like my skins crawling!” I exclaim back, still fighting the urge to scratch. “Just don’t please, okay? Its not good for you” he said, with a pleading sound hidden in his cold, scratchy voice. He turns around to light up, and I immediately start ambushing the back of my hand with my fingernails. I sigh, looking around at my environment. The dim light radiating from an overworked 60 watt light bulb gave off just enough of its energy so I could find that we were in a dark, narrow alley, descending down between to red brick building, their walls coated with graffiti. Dumpsters stuffed with too many full trash bags and rats picking at the trash are the only things here with us two. And for some reason, I can’t recall where I exactly am, not even able to remember the state. My curiosity overwhelming, I stand up, bones cracking and straining as I rise to my feet. “I’m going to go look around,” I tell him, pointing toward the end of the tucked away strip of side road, “Just to see what’s up” “Mmmk…” he muttered, again not bothering to look up at me. Suddenly, his neck straightened, his head snapping up to face me. “Don’t do anything stupid” he coldly remarked, his gray irises digging into my hazel ones. “I can’t make any promises..” I thought. “Don’t worry, geez,” I assure him. “Be back soon, remember what we have to do later” he said cautiously, checking at either side of the alley to see if anyone had overheard this fact. “Yup” I say, already making my way down toward the end of the alley.
I’m almost positive on what Craig means by what we are doing later. I smile to myself as I come closer to exiting the pathway, thinking of how much I will inject, how good it will make me feel. Besides, considering how I feel right now, I need it. My head has been pounding for 2 days now, my stomach wrenching and crying for a meal, my muscles straining with each movement I make. I stride out onto the street to view what is in front of me. The lost memory of where I was returned as I see the Central Park gate. Huge buildings surround me, each one hundreds feet tall. People immediately swarm me, pushing and shoving past me, trying to get home from work. My breath is slightly showing as I lightly breathe in and breathe out the oxygen filling New York City. Taking in the sight, I stroll down 8th Avenue, looking at its buildings and its people who inhabit it. One woman holding a briefcase and dressed like she’s in the Senate is striding down the sidewalk, dodging all who are in her directed path, including me. She is frantically chattering into her cellphone. I walk a block, and see what looks to be a 19 year old boy wearing a worn leather jacket, towing his guitar case along with him. The backs of his ear buds poked out of his ears just enough to be seen. Right behind him is a couple. Both the man and woman look to be in their 80s at least. The wrinkles on their faces are deep, their hands stiff and mangled from age, yet their knotted fingers are still interlocked, both of their dentures protruding through a warm smile. They are in love. I can hear people talking and laughing as the music blares in a night club, while right next to it, there is a daycare center. I can see children inside sleeping soundly. I chuckle as I wonder how they can possibly be sleeping with that bass coming from the house music, vibrating the block, only 15 yards away.
I continue down the buzzing street as my shadow gets longer and longer, stretching from the waning of the sun in the sky. A silhouette of New York’s skyline is beginning to form, surrounded by the orange light it is bathing in. While staring at the relaxing sight, I abruptly end my melancholy state of mind with an unbearable itch on my face and neck. I scratch furiously, relieved that Craig isn’t around to stop me. Swiftly pivoting on my heels, I continue back to my apathetic friend waiting in our now decided slumbering area of the night. Remembering our pickup later, I pick up my pace, going at the speed the business lady was going at. Coming up to a crosswalk, I am pleased to see the little white man with one leg forward light up on the black surface surrounding it. Slightly hopping of the curb, I start my way across the empty part of the street. I can hear the buzz of a car coming toward me. I whip around as I hear the screaming of braked tires sliding across the pavement. There is a flash of rusted blue paint. I am on the ground in the middle of the street, lying on my stomach. My body’s numb, my ears ringing. I shallowly breathe as I feel the cool cement soothing the left side of my face. My eyes close just as the faint sounds of sirens meet my ears. I think of how the blue of the car matched Craig’s eyes as the slivers of light between my eyelids disappear to black, just as I disappear.
All of the white surrounding me now drove me insane, reminding me of the drug I longed so much for now. My head pulsing in pain, I’m about ready to peel my skin off just to alleviate the irritation coming from every square inch of it. Not having the meth run through my veins was like not having food in an empty stomach; you LONGED for it, needed it to live, to thrive. The feeling continues to chew at my fried brain and insides. My head begins to spin, realizing I don’t know where the hell I am! Everything begins to mix, the confusion, the pain, the hopelessness. My knees buckled underneath me, and I’m on the ground. My breathing is heavy and irregular, inhaling quicker than exhaling. My pulse is the same as my breathing, out of control. I feel like I’m dying, I’m losing it. I close my eyes, and slowly begin to maintain my composure. “I’m okay, I’m okay...” I quietly say to myself, exhausted. Everything is silent. I still don’t know where I am, nor do I care anymore. Just as I’m beginning to finally regain my composure, I can hear my heart beating again, this time, it has more of a tapping sound to it, rather than a thudding. “Oh God, that can be good” I think. I’m still puzzled though at why is it sounding like this. I pay closer attention to the noise to what I think is coming from my chest. But I realized it’s not my heart beating against the ground, but rather shoes. They are footsteps.
My eyes snap open, so quick the buzzing in my ears returns, as does a slight pain at my temple from the flooding of white into my eyes. Able to refocus, there is a man walking toward me, hands in the pockets of his faded blue jeans. I begin to get a better look of him. He has chestnut colored hair, coming down to his chin. He has a five o’clock shadow, and a rather large nose. He looks to be middle aged, about 40’s, judging by the slight fading of his hairline and the light creasing of his skin near his eyes. His red plaid shirt is shown through his brown leather jacket. But the tapping sound of his steps is now revealed by the large, scuffed black steel toed and heeled combat boots he is wearing. “The hell is going on…” I moan, overwhelmed now by the confusion, as he simply stands above me, looking at me with a poker face. “Well,” he says. His voice is deep and has a faint ring of a New York accent to it. “Are ya gunna get up?” “Does it look like I can get up?” I snap back, slowly beginning to go from lying on the ground to my hand and knees. The strange man starts to chuckle. “You need some help?” he manages to ask as he stifles his pity laughter. “No! I’m good” I respond, agitated at the man’s offer. I get to my feet, but just as I do, a bomb of nausea detonates in my stomach. I almost fall over again as I greatly try to hold back the urge to vomit. The man suddenly springs forward and catches me from the side, his arm coming across my chest. “Easy there, easy…” he says, his voice straining as he practically drags me over to a white, wooden bench. Plopping me down on it, he also drops down next to me, breathing heavily from exhaustion. “Whew,” he gasps out, “That was a close one” he finishes, again giving off a low chuckle. I moan, still recovering from my second collapsing. Even though I now feel as if I am in complete turmoil, I still can’t help but try to remember if this bench has always been here. “Well, nothing makes sense anymore sooo…” I think to myself. Well, at least I tried to think to myself. “Huh?” the man asks, responding to the statement I just made. “Ugh, nothing, nothing at all” I reply, emphasizing my frustration. He shrugs and reaches next to him. “Here,” he says, as he sticks something into my limp hand. The coolness of the item immediately causes me to draw it to my forehead, easing the throbbing of my overworked brain. “Hold the ice there, lay back” he says, gently pushing on my shoulders to lean me back on the bench. “There ya go, Cody” he says satisfied when I’m fully lying down. “Hold it, hold it…” I say, rising back up. “How do you know my name,” I say, “and who are you?” The man flashes a toothy smile, his squinted eyes really deepening the wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. “Well answering both questions,” He has a slightly hesitant pause. “I am God”
I look at him like he’s the crazy one out of the two of us. I continue to stare at him, until my eyes start to burn of dryness. I rapidly blink to refresh them. “G-God?” I stutter. “Mhmm,” he replies, leaning his weight back onto the bench, causing it to quickly whine at the stress he pushes against it. “Indeed I am”. “Psh, okay” I say sarcastically “and that means I’m in heaven right?” I snicker at my remark. “As a matter of fact, you are Cody” he replies, looking dreamily into the white nothing lain out before him. I again begin to gawk, trying to wrap my mind around his comment. He suddenly turns to me, studying my expression. “You don’t remember what happened, do you?” he whispers, his face several inches from mine. His brown eyes gave off the same question he verbally asked me. “Not.A.Clue.” He smiles. “Well, let me explain then”
The man begins to suddenly run his mouth, reciting exact details of the memories of my life, which are now returning to me. My abusive childhood, running away, the meth, Craig, everything and everyone that was ever in my life he delievers in so much detail, he knew my life better than I did. He does this for hours, listing and listing. I begin to think, maybe this is God. That thought was confirmed when he conveyed his last item on his list of my life. “The green light was supposed to be red,” he says, describing the traffic light, “You were crossing the street, heading back toward Craig to get high, and the car hit you” “Head on!?” I cry to God. After these few hours, I feel like I know him now, like he is derived from me. “Yup, direct hit” he exclaimed. He paused like he always does before saying something dramatic, and I prepare myself for the incoming finish of his sentence. “The impact caused your brain to hemorrhage,” he said, “And it killed you within seconds”. He looks at me, waiting for my crazy reaction, telling him he’s nuts and doesn’t know what he’s saying, just like every other time he said something I had no recognition of. But I do nothing. I just look off into the white. I sigh. “So I died, huh?” I say. “Yes, you did,” he replies, looking into the same direction as I am. “One question,” I tell him, ready to ask him whether he wants me to or not. I look at him, waiting for a response. He raises his eyebrows, making a rolling motion with his hands. “Continue” he says matter of factly. “If I did live this druggy, trashy, worthless life…Why am I in heaven?” He sighed, almost as if he expected this wondering of mine. He moves in close to me. “I put you here,” he softly says, his voice barely above a whisper, “To teach you how to not live like that”. I ponder on his response, and I realize what he means. “So, your pretty much going to mentor me to live not a better life, but a better after life?” I asked, pure shock dripping from my voice. “Me!? A guy who did nothing but sin, and cause others pain, including myself, and you’re going to give me this special treatment!?” I finish, my voice high and shrill from the disbelief. “I will if you let me” God says. He firmly lays a hand on my shoulder, almost so firm it slightly hurt. His voice goes low again, “I think you have so much potential, Mr. Fallow” he says. “Let me bring out your potential” he says, almost pleadingly. His eyes are burrowing into me, brown mixing with hazel. “Let me teach you” he whispers. The look on his face is serious, yet still gentle. I gulp and mutter out one word, one stupid, meaningless word. Yet it has so much meaning at this moment. “O-Okay” I stammer. He smiles, and brings me to my feet, and so our journey begins.
~ ~ ~
God teaches me about life for three years. He not only nourishes me back to the health I never had physically, but emotionally repairs me, my mindset doing a 180. I become strong for once, having muscles stacked on my bones. My skin color comes back, my hair grows thicker and healthier. I grow two inches, and my teeth actually are able to chew food without causing pain. He rewires my brain to focus on education and morals, not drugs. I no longer have anxiety and depression, no more bugs in my skin. All of this happens in heaven, with God. All of this seems remarkable, but it is nothing compared to what he did for his last lesson for me…
~ ~ ~
We are finishing up the day. I feel healthy and strong, like I am invincible. God smiles as I proudly come into view as I run toward him, doing my final jog of the day. “Very nice, very nice” he says, clapping as I near. He is wearing the same thing that he was 3 years earlier, on the day we met, only it’s a green plaid shirt. “Thank you, thank you very much” I say, pretending to bow and blow kisses to a non-existing crowd. I come up from bowing, to view him. He’s looking at me. But it’s not one of the looks he usually gives me. It’s not angry, or serious, or proud. It’s satisfied. He comes toward me, slowly, continuing to stare at me. “Cody,” he says, putting his hand on my shoulder, also like he did the first day we met. “How do you feel?” he simply asks. “Um, could you elaborate?” I return, wiping sweat from my colored, smooth skin. “You heard me, how do you feel?” he repeats lamely. “In one word?” “Amazing” I sigh, bathing happily in the thought of just how amazing I do feel. He looks at me, and takes another step forward. “Would you say you’re ready?” he asks. “For what?” I say, hoping he will actually elaborate this time. “For life?” he says. I think. It’s not too long before a solid, truthful conclusion comes to me. “Yes, I am”. He smiles pleased. “Then prove it” he finally states. God turns his back to me swiftly, and takes a single step. Right as his foot hits the ground, my newly shapen life, again, goes to black.
Sirens and voices. That’s all I can manage to process in my brain. I weakly raise my head, more puzzled than I have ever been. Where am I now? Just as I realize I’m in an ambulance, a paramedic interrupts my coming to. “Pulse has returned! We have a pulse!” he shouts, and what seems like hundreds of people surround me, poking me and pronging me, trying to keep this returned sign of life of mine. I can’t think of anything, can’t process anything, other than one single wondering of mine. “Where’s…Where is he?” I slur out of my bloody mouth. “Where’s who Mr.Fa-“ “Where is God?” I finish, cutting off the man. He doesn’t answer, frantically asking for a breathing tube. As he violently shoves it down my closing throat, he replies. “Oh,” he says, connecting the nose piece to the apparatus, “We will try to make sure you don’t come that close to meeting him again, sir” I gasp as I comprehend the meaning of his remark, I lay my head back onto the saline scented bed, and simply fall asleep.
~ ~ ~
As I sit on the plastic lawn chair in my backyard, I think of the conclusion of my ordeal. It turns out, my heart stopped beating and my brain stopped responding for a minute and a half. I still to this day cannot even come close to wrapping my mind around the question you may be thinking; how only a minute and a half in real life, yet three years in heaven? Even I, the one who experienced it, cannot come up with an answer. Then again, some say God does work in mysterious ways. Anyway, I now live in none other than Richwood, Wisconsin. Living in New York, surrounded by many tempting things, was not going to help me prove to Him I was right when I said I was ready. After staying a month in the hospital recovering from my injuries caused by the accident, I began my journey back to health. With years of rehab, personal strength, and His blessing, I managed to gain the state of life I was in while in heaven. Though I no longer am in contact with Craig, I do know he was with me the whole way through this whole adventure taken to get where I am now. Because of all of this support, I have been meth free for 5 years now, ever since the day I got out of the hospital. It’s no longer on my mind, no longer what I need to have in order to function. I can’t help but smile as I think this, more than proud that I can now admit this. Overall, I do think I have fulfilled my promise to God, shown through how I am living now. Sure, I may be sitting in a weak plastic lawn chair in my shabby backyard at sunrise, but I am clean. I have been for five years, and that will continue on. I stand up, turning to go inside. As I walk onto my porch, I turn and look toward the sky. “Life’s good,” I tell Him. I know he is listening. “Life is good”. I smile and fling the screen door open, already excited to begin the events that are planned for today. And what are those? Just like every other day, I have no clue. But that’s what I love the most about it; I just don’t know what life will bring me on this cool, autumn Tuesday. Life is a mystery, but at least now, I just might be able to solve it as I go.





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