CHAPTER 2 Forever Damned

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith. All rights reserved.

There was some place I wanted to be. I wanted to be there but I didn't think I could take it. I knew myself enough to know how barely hanging on I was. The threads inside me were frayed.

So I declined. But being left behind and not know, presented itself with other issues. Maybe it made it worse. The unknown wasn't all it was cracked up to be. But "they" never seemed to tell you that, those smart people with their endless supply of advice.

I found myself between a rock and a hard place. I was damned either way because either choice, stay or go, offered difficulties.

It would be great to be offered a stretch of easy street. I'm not saying I wanted one all the time. But ya know, once in a while, I wanted whomever was running the show upstairs (aka "God") to throw something my way that was actually easy. I wasn't talking "ribs or chicken" choice kind of easy, just something that didn't make me a stress ball.

Who was I kidding?

That line, "They never give you more than you handle."

It was a bullshit line and my life had proof of it. The clock was getting closer to 1:30 p.m. A thousand possibilities ran through my mind. 1:30 was "GO" time, the end of days. My whole world was going to fall off a cliff and I'd be standing there watching it all in slow motion. I kept wondering how it was going down there, at the place I chose not to be.

But I didn't know because I wasn't there. I waited at home for some fucking smoke signal to be sent to me over the canopy of trees. There were two people I did know that were there.

Were they okay?

Was it possible to be okay where they were?

I was worried Mom would have an Episode, a total meltdown, and throw a full on emotional tantrum. She was priceless when she got in one of her moods. No actress on the big screen could compare to Mom's Episodes. The woman should get an Oscar. Totally.

Of the two, it was my Mom who was more volatile. I likened her emotions to the rage and swell of a tsunami. Total destruction would lay in her wake, and nothing could stop her. Reason and logic no longer existed once she started raging.

After all you can't stop a tsunami. You just grab a hold of something and hold on for dear life as its fury pours over you. Praying to a God you don't know, that you will somehow still be alive afterwards.

I was worried that my Dad would get sucked into it as well with his PTSD which would create a full on "Level 5 Disaster". The stress wasn't going to be a helper for either of them. If Mom did have an Episode, poor Dad would just have to ride it through and try not to choke her out. We couldn't afford to bail him out of jail. We had enough problems.

The minute hand of the clock finally hit the half-hour. It was 1:30 p.m.

I thought of how the world must be passing by those little cold concrete steps of the County Courthouse, oblivious to it all. Our lives were about to change and no one knew it.

My stomach opened up in a chasm of despair. The whole world moved but I stood still trying to hold my breath and get some order of balance back. But my life would never be balanced again. Everything was going to be different after today. There would be no going back.


"All people with PTSD have lived through a traumatic event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain that may result in PTSD. Most people who go through a traumatic event have some symptoms at the beginning. Yet only some will develop PTSD. It isn't clear why some people develop PTSD and others don't."

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs


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