"Seventeen" / by LAZY GENiUS

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June 2nd 2000

 

“I sit alone in my four-cornered room staring at candles

Oh that shit is on?

Let me drop some shit like this here, real smooth

At night I can't sleep, I toss and turn

Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned

Four walls just staring at a nigga

I'm paranoid, sleeping with my finger on the trigger

My mother's always stressin' I ain't living right

But I ain't goin' out without a fight

See, every time my eyes close

I start sweating and blood starts coming out my nose…”

 

(wipes blood from nose) 

One day I will get past that part. 

It’s been 17 years. No, no, that number is too small. It’s been 6thousand, 2hundred, 5 days. No! It’s 148thousand, 9hundred, 20 hours since, wait, wait, you still wouldn’t grasp the amount of time with that small of a number…

It’s been 536 million, 112 thousand seconds since sister sleep has danced through the cold, silent nights. She has avoided this temple like the deadly plague, or more like, this temple has avoided her as if she possessed the deadliest virus known to man. The routine never differs, not even a hint of deviation. Watch the sunrise, watch it set. In the same spot every day, his spot. If only it were still his to claim. Every bill collector has my numbers on speed dial, and my property considered the eyesore of the ever-luxurious gated community. That has always tickled me, due to the fact these people will never understand the true pain of sore eyes. The four-bedroom Victorian that use to be all the comfort I needed, hasn’t seen touched comfort in serval seasons. My parents drop in, ahhh whom to fool, they haven’t even sent a postcard in over a decade. Visits went from every day, to once a month, to once a year. My wife left with my best friend, and the boys are both away in college. Karen, my beautiful Karen. She’ll be fine! She has the looks, as well as the drive to get whatever she wants out of life, but my boys, my boys… life has really dealt up a mean mix for them, I pray for their strength all the time. The Lone Ranger in the flesh, that’s me. Clayton Moore wouldn’t be able to see me on his best day. 

Yesterday a package arrived on my doorstep. Of all places, it was from this care group Karen helped fund a few years back. One of her many attempts to help ease my pain, so to say. Pain, a word that sounds just as foreign as the feeling does. My numbness has skyrocketed pass frost bite levels, as if I were the only crash survivor in the movie ‘Alive’. Nothing, and I mean nothing, in a place where one has access to almost everything, can take a fraction of whatever this is away. There was a name on the return address that I remember hearing, but I know nothing of the person. Kara Jones, Kara Jones. Inside were news clippings, clippings that dated back to childhood. The more exploring of the package, the more things became uneasy. The years on the news clippings are the same year that life claimed me as it’s sleepless toy. The same year my other me died, and left me lonely. The year sleep scared me to death, literally.      

Ahh, the tape is playing again, I need to sit down…

“See, every time my eyes close

I start sweating and blood starts coming out my nose…”

 

Boston Globe

Friday, 2nd of February 1983

 

A family of five was involved in a major accident Monday morning, after a father fell asleep behind the wheel of the vehicle. 

The father, along with the mother of the family, 16-year-old twin daughter, and 9-year-old son were pronounced dead at the scene. The other twin daughter is in critical condition.

At approximately 6:48 a.m., a yellow VW Camper occupied by its driver, Gerry Grace, his wife, Silvia Grace, and their three children – two twin girls, age 16, and a 9-year-old boy – was northbound on I-95, Boston State Highway Patrol Sgt. Tedd Royal said.

The family was traveling through Essex County, when the driver apparently fell asleep, Highway Patrol officials said.

As the camper began drifting off the Interstate to the left and into the median, the driver awoke and overcorrected, Royal said, crossing back over the Interstate to the right into oncoming traffic. As the vehicle swerved, a freight truck struck the camper, causing the camper to roll at least four times.

Silvia Grace and her 9-year-old son were ejected as it rolled, Royal said. The camper then came to rest on its wheels, facing westbound on the Interstate.

The 16-year-old girl, suffered internal bleeding, was then transported by Life Flight medical helicopter to University Medical Center in Connecticut.

Highway Patrol officials said they believe Silva Grace and the 9-year-old boy were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash and that the other three occupants appeared to have been seat belted.

This article shook me to the core. 1983, the same year my twin brother passed away in his sleep. We’d just turned 17. Tre had received a full ride to Stanford on the swim team. He could move like a shark in the water. It was the morning of graduation, Tre normally was the first person up out of everyone in the house. It was 7:30am, and he hadn’t bust in my room yet. I’d figured he was still tired from the swim meet a few days ago. When I opened his room door, a chill ran through my body. I called his name a few times, no answer. The minute I made a move for his covers, I could tell something wasn’t right. I blacked out after touching his face. The cops led an investigation that went on for 6 months. After they ruled me out as a suspect, things begin to change. The fear of not knowing what caused my brother’s death, is what has held me captive in this sleepless torment. I’ve tried everything from writing, to knitting, to spiritual cleansing's in search to get things in order. There is still something that isn’t being released, something that’s still sinking its claws deep down within me.

(Knock at Front Door)

“Hi I’m Kara, Kara Jones. I sent the package to you earlier this week. I reached out to you because I remember hearing your wife speak of what happened years ago. No way am I trying to pry, or force my way into your life or personal business. I just want to know; aren’t you sleepy?”

I stood in complete silence. It’s been 17 years since I’ve heard that question. She continued.

“The news clippings in the package, are of my family. My birth name is Kara Grace. I switched to Jones when my Aunt adopted me after the whole ordeal, to avoid reliving what happened over and over. Listen Trevor, it took me 8 years to finally close my eyes, take a deep breath and sleep. I want to share with you what helped me get a hold of things once again, my catharsis so to say.” 

 

June 2nd, 2017

 

She went on to tell me about the feelings she felt after losing her twin, how she felt as though half of her was missing. I haven’t had a conversation with an actual person in a long time until Kara came along. We started to meet up three times a week, just to catch each other up on life, and its wonders. 

Well, I get to watch both of my sons graduate tomorrow morning, and also ask Kara the big question. She has been my magic. Wish me luck!!

Good night.

It’s been 17 years, since I’ve made peace with sleep.