Thursday, August 6, 2009

Flashlight [PG-13]

[PG-13: Just giving fair warning, this one is going be a little intense. If you are looking for something fun or light, check out an older post. If you choose to tread ahead, I look forward to your thoughts.]

He seemed to have it all. Lights brightened as he entered the classroom, twinkling in his smile as he was surrounded by friends and swooning girls. To see him play, you'd think he was a gazelle, all speed and grace. Looks, athleticism, friends, girls and a shotgun, which found its way to the roof of his mouth, leaving dreams dripping into sticky puddles around his feet.

Word traveled quick currents down the locker filled halls of high school, warping with each whisper. Cheerleaders crumbled in corners, red and white outfits stained black with tears. Heaviness hung in the air, driving shoulders further to the ground, leaving no one unscathed.

Having everything doesn't matter when life seems meaningless. We all strive to make sense out of life, some faith, others reason for something that is real among the crowded plastic. When we give up searching, the madness invades and we run for the exit sign seeking escape!

Slowly beeping the heart monitor measured his recovery, a twitch saving his life, leaving a twisted mass of skin graffed flesh and one lone eye. Seeing him come through the metal doors into the foyer crowded with silent statues staring, something had changed. Losing everything, he gained something that much sweeter, a second chance, not just for life, but to live.

Arriving home tonight the house is draped in darkness, power out, I fumble around searching for something to pierce the inky air. Toes and knees become magnets for bruises and abrassions as I fumble for the flashlight on my sons bed. Clicking it on, the array of toys and bed posts that assailed me gain form.

We all need a flashlight.

What's yours?

33 comments:

Micaela said...

Brian,

Thanks for your interest in the wedding post I mentioned to your earlier...my blog email is:
thedrifterandthegypsy@yahoo.com.

I'm trying to get in touch with other people who commented about their wedding and see if they would like to send pictures or a video or something...

xoxo,
Micaela

Kathleen said...

I'm speechless. Doesn't happen to often. Quite a story!

Cinnamon said...

My children. Not children really anymore- but they are my flashlight, my reason for living.

♥ Braja said...

That was beautiful Brian....

What's mine? Mantra meditation....cleanses the heart, the mind, and life in general....

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! Brian,
After I read the story that you have relate here I thought of this
poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson, the only different is Richard Cory wasn't so fortunate.
Thanks, for the..."warning."
DeeDee ;-D

Richard Cory
by Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1869-1935
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him;

He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.


And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;

But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:

In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Oops!...I meant "After I read the story that you have {related} here I thought of this....

Alan Burnett said...

Brian, this is one of your very best. So economical with words, so generous with pictures.

otin said...

That was chilling!!!! OMG I am in shock! Is this a true story? Very intense! I have had friends that taken their own lives, it is a very sad memory for me!

Mrsupole said...

Sad, very sad,

I have no one flaslight. I am not sure what is my main flashlight.

God bless.

Goofball said...

16 years ago my sister's best friend, our neighbour girl took suicide. It was so hard, we could not grasp it.

One of her other friends came to us after the funeral and she said "don't try to understand, the moment you understand what she's done & why she's done it, you are in big trouble". That has really struck me.

Whenever I hear about a suicide I always think about those words...and I'm so grateful that I do not understand it. And I hope I never will.

Brian Miller said...

@micaela - cool. just let me know.

@kathleen - second chances don't always happen. usually we get one shot. he got one. today he works in the school system.

@cinnamon - me too.

#braja - hmm, may have to try that. hows your trip?

@dee dee- thanks for sharing the poem...it captures the essesnce well.

@AB - thanks...was not sure about this one when i posted it to be quite honest. but it was its time...

@otin - true story. happened when i was in HS...so a while ago. hes doing good working with kids in the school system these days. there seems to be a growing trend among the young that it is cool to take ones life. there are actually people using their blog to detail their last days. the further alomg it gets the further isolating it becomes making it wasier to do...if we break the silence though, maybe some will listen.

Brian Miller said...

@mrsu - oh i think you do...i have seen your heart in your words. smiles.

@goofball - interesting thought there. i cant say i understnad it other than thefeelings associated with it, the desire to escape or even to feel...

Daniel said...

Brian, I can say that I have been close to the edge before. Alone, unheard, unloved, betrayed, lost, and hurt are powerful feelings that can reach a crescendo that leaves escape as a very real possibility. Moving over this edge and being able to come back stronger and more alive is an amazing thing to consider. What has changed? The same history is still there, and added to this is the baggage of yet another failure. However, what can sometimes be gained is perspective and a paradigm shift in the mind that the old-self could never have engaged. Thanks for sharing my friend.

Leah said...

How could I not read, with that introduction, Brian?

Excellent post, beautifully written.

I have two flashlights--my husband and little girl, and my Judaism. That may seem cliched, but my family and my religion are my little beams of light in the darkness.

Wings said...

My wife is my light in the dark.

Debbie said...

That was incredible. It truly took my breath.

Candie Bracci said...

Yes,intense.You wrote it very well.It's sad people who don't have any flashlight at all.

The Bumbles said...

I was wondering where you were going with the title. Excellent way you have with your writing.

I have had debates on this issue before with my mother. She cannot fathom suicide and thinks it is a selfish act. I can see how sometimes it is others being selfish that causes a person to lose their way.

The flashlight analysis is a good one. If you are someone's flashlight you need to keep those batteries fresh and charged so you shine on through even the darkest times. And on the flip side, it is important to not be ashamed to use that flashlight - no matter how silly you might feel about it.

Lorraine said...

Dark nights of the Soul is non discriminatory -
my light is my son and 3 cats
What a hard, but wonderful read, as always, you rock!

scarlethue said...

I think the trick is finding the light inside yourself, so that even if everything else is snuffed out and your whole world is blown away, somehow that little match-light inside is enough to keep you going until you find more kindling to add to the fire.

So I am my own light in the dark. I am enough. My husband, my parents, and my dog keep me burning bright.

JeffScape said...

The best writing is usually brutal, in your face, and begs for more. This fits the bill.

Suldog said...

True thought and question.

My flashlight is God. I find no meaning to anything without my strongly held belief in The Deity.

Beyond that, I have past experience to guide me. I know that every low point in my life has always been followed by a rise back to at least something decent (if not spectacular.) I firmly believe that things always will get better. I think this sub-belief is bolstered strongly by the belief in God.

Great post. Sorry for the longish comment!

otin said...

My childhood friend killed himself when he was about 19, over a girl. Did you ever see "Stand By Me"?(I am pretty sure you did) At the end when his friend had died and he says that we never have friends like the ones that we had when we were 12, it makes my eyes water every time!

only a movie said...

Wow. I think it's important to be your own light...
Hits home too.
It seems that kids these days are more open about talking about suicide. Not sure if that is a good thing or not.

subtorp77 said...

Brian, after what I've been through and especially to-day( 11-1/2 hours at hospital with Mom in minor surgery! ), it'd be my Mom. And Princess Cheese as my mini-flashlight :)

ronda said...

Reminded me of the first real experience I had with suicide whe one of my Freshman friends shot himself. Fatally.

The Retired One said...

My goal to honor my life is to BE the flashlight for others....
it is a struggle but a goal just the same.....

Travel & Dive Girl said...

My family members are what guide me through the dark moments. Beautifully done as usual.

Travel & Dive Girl said...

My family members are what guide me through the dark moments. Beautifully done as usual.

J A Harnett-Hargrove said...

The human condition is so very unfathonable. Some of us finish up sooner than others. What can you say without judging, really? I've had a (un)fair share of close friends trying and ultimately taking their lives. Thoughtful recording, thanks. -Jayne

Baino said...

Yep totally with Cinnamon on that one. Mine are fine adults, great friends and the light of my life.

Melinda said...

I believe I know who you are talking about in this story. It makes the passage that much more poignant for me. I have occasionally wondered what has become of him - glad to know he is doing well now.

My flashlight is my children, even when they are part of my darkness (kids will be kids after all).

roughruby said...

When we talked I wondered how you were gonna present it. Thanks for tackling a tough one. Well done.

Being open to talking about suicide at any age is a good thing. The awareness brings hope and lets people know they don't have to go through that valley alone.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide and needs to talk to someone, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1 800 273 TALK (8255).