Thoughts in Reverse

January 11, 2008
By Tyler Mello, Ayer, MA

I was once told that when you first look at something, could be anything, a car, a desk, or, in my case, my mother’s face full of tears, that you actually see it upside down. It’s a strange concept to grasp; it’s weird to think that I see everything upside down, and then my brain correctly rearranges it. This makes me wonder if the same thing happens with words. I wonder if you hear things “upside down” at first. Because when my mom told me the results from the test, the words jumbled in my head. Only the words never turned right side up, they stayed upside down forever. Those words would never be arranged, never be understood. So, that day as I sat on my bed with a head full of upside down thoughts, I cried. I cried more than I have ever cried before.

I remember, I’d just gotten off the phone with Aaron.

“Yo kid, just got a bag. You coming over? Get jammed?” Aaron’s voice sounded lethargic, almost robotic. It was a voice I was all too familiar with, because my voice sounded identical.

“Of course I am bro. And oh, yeah. I just stole twenty from my Mom. We can get a bag after, right? I’ll need it for tomorrow,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah just come over. My hands are starting to shake, man. I’m starting to sweat,” Aaron said desperately.

“Ok, ok, I’m on my way! Chill the f*** out!” I didn’t know that I would never make it to Aaron’s. I would end up staying in my room. Because my life suddenly changed forever when my mom came in my room.

“Tyler, I have some bad news,” my mom said as she walked into my room.

“Ok, just hurry up and tell me, I need to go,” I hurriedly answered.

Something was different, though, something seemed strange.

“What’s your deal?” I asked. She started to cry. No, she started to bawl. I walked over to her and put my arm around her shoulder.

“Mom, what’s wrong? You’re scaring me.”

“Tyler, I love you so much. I’m so sorry.” That’s all she could say. Thoughts began to run through my head, thoughts of what she could be talking about. Someone died was all I could think of. I just wished she would hurry up and tell me who it was, because I was sweating even though I was only in a tee shirt and shorts. I was shaking and my stomach felt like it was turning inside out. Not from thinking about what it could be that she was talking about, but from the withdrawals. I hadn’t got jammed since the night before and it had been much too long. My pathetic excuse of a body, withered, pale, and feeble had become a deteriorating bag of bones. Ask yourself now, what matters most to you. Really think about the question. I thought at age fourteen that I knew what mattered most in my life, “Getting f***ed up! Party like a rock star!”

Those were the things I held dear. Not my family, who loved me then, loves me still, not my self-respect, and most certainly not my health. None of these things that now mean so much to me today mattered then. They were merely second-rate. Trust me, my new found sense of appreciation did not come without a price, a price much too profound for a fourteen year old to handle.

I heard of Hepatitis C, but I had no idea of what it was, or what the effects were. All I could think about was how? How in the world did this happen to me? What did I do? Who was I with? Who did I get it from? It was no use though. The fact was, at the age of fourteen, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. My thoughts began to race. Thoughts of what do I do now? How do I live? Will people be safe around me? And, ultimately, am I going to die?
I needed to leave, needed to get out right away.
“Where are you going? Tyler? Please don’t leave, please, honey, stay with me,” my mom pleaded with cracked voice.
“I can’t, I have to go, and I can’t stay here.”
“It’s okay, Tyler, we will find a way to get rid of this. I will do everything in my power to help you.” In the midst of all that awful backwards news it felt good to hear my mom say that. I was scared, I was really scared.
She was saying something as I walked out, but I can’t recall what it was, probably more pleading. When I stepped outside I thought about what I was going to do. In the end, what I always did is what I knew best, what was safe. I called my dealer and used the twenty that I’d stolen earlier to forget, to escape from everything. Once my fix was fulfilled, I felt disgusted. I’d just gotten high on the s*** that caused me to be dying inside, literally. I know you must be wondering why I did that, but if you lived the life I once did, you would understand. That it was what I knew in my life to be safe. Heroin would never leave me, never judge me. It would always stay faithful, in a sick kind of way. I knew I could always depend on heroin.
Four new missed calls and one new voice mail. That’s what displayed on my cell phone. All four missed calls from Aaron, and most likely the new voice mail also. I listened to the voice mail. He was pleading for me to come to his house. He said he lost the bag he’d bought. Most likely he’d never even bought it; he probably just said that to get me to come over because he knew that I would’ve stolen money from my mom. He sounded like he was on the verge of tears.
“Please, man, just come over. I’m dying, bro. I need this. I can’t stop shaking. Just come over.”
I never called Aaron back. Actually, I never even saw him again after that. I can only hope he is doing well.
I was sent to an adolescent rehab shortly after my diagnosis. I detoxed without any methadone because I was only fourteen at the time, and you had to be eighteen. I stayed in my bed for four days straight-crying, shaking, and pouring sweat from the withdrawals. Only those who have gone through that understand the hell I experienced.
When I left the rehab three months later, I was scared to go home, scared that I would get jammed again. I am proud to say that I haven’t. With the help of others I have managed to stay clean for over three and a half years.
January 16 is going to be an interesting day for me. I will be starting a new treatment for the Hepatitis. It’s a little nerve racking. Actually, it’s really nerve racking. It’s hard for me to put my faith into this once again, because I was crushed when the last treatment was unsuccessful. Being let down like that again would be a difficult thing to handle. Nonetheless, I will go into this with the same positive mind set as last time.
My thoughts on this subject have been backwards for some time now, but now, I think they are arranging themselves. I realize that it’s worth it in everyway. My life is worth it, seeing my family happy is worth it, me being happy is worth it. Most of all though, I’m worth it.

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