This was the kid

October 2, 2010
By , Durham, ND
Joseph looked at me. “I’ve never felt so... alive!”
I looked him dead in the eye. He may have been two years older than me, but we stood about the same height. “I am not going to watch you be high for the rest of your life.”
He looked back at me, a glazed look in his eyes. “As if I have a rest of my life. My life is about my friends. After I get out of high school, no more friends. No more life.”
“Only high.” I finish his thought. I understood his reasoning, but every fiber in my body disagreed with him. I couldn’t form the words in my mouth - the concepts were in my brain, the transition from thought to word simply died. “You have better things you could do.”
He looked at me skeptically. “Like what?”
I began to improvise. “Lydia, does she like it when you’re high?”
He nodded, and I cursed. “Soccer, you could play professional soccer!” He looked at me, clear rejection of the idea plastered across his face. “You wanted to be a doctor, a general practitioner.”
“There are thousands of doctors.” I looked at him.I was running low on ideas.
“You need a dream.”
“I do have a dream. I dream of getting high.”

Picking up a rock from the gravel path, I chucked it into the lake.

“I mean a real dream.” I picked up another rock and chucked it at the red sun, setting over the treetops.

I thought back to the kid I had grown up with, the kid I had looked up to.
This was the kid who dragged me off of the basketball court to help an old lady take in her groceries, then refused any money.
This was the kid who could outrun me in a minute. This was the kid who could beat me in any sport on one leg. This was the kid who refused to reject me.
This was the kid who I had spent my entire life refusing to reject. He’d done horrible things, but I always looked up to him. I tried to help him stay in check. He was as much my life’s work as the airplane was the wright brothers.
What would the Wright Brothers do if they saw their plane and plans about to catch fire?
“You aren’t smoking any more weed if I have to die trying to stop you.”
He looked at me sadly.
“I guess you’re a dead man then.”

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