If I Could: A Son’s Plea-Insert

IMG_1542Peer pressure can become life-threatening.
David Washington is the product of his choices. Due to the lack of stability at home and an absent father, he is influenced by peer pressure into a dangerous lifestyle. Possessed with stubbornness, he wanders aimlessly into danger and uncharted territories. After shunning his grandmother’s religious beliefs, he enters the valley of decision, and now he stands in the gap between life and death.

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PROLOGUE

My eyes open and close. I catch a quick glimpse of the people in the room and hear a fading echo from the heart monitor. As I think about my past, remorse bleed into the crevices of my torn heart. Since I’m in this hospital, I might as well prepare for my departure. I like the way that word sounds, it gives off the illusion of a specific journey that an individual is about to take.

One of my favorite poetic lines is written by a twenty-first century poet. ‘Life is a journey traveling through cities.’ Just because I’m in high school doesn’t mean I don’t understand poetry. I love how the poet categorizes life as a journey and our experiences as cities. As for me, my cities were created from bad choices. It is because of those choices that my body is resting subconsciously on this cold hospital bed. My body’s temperature constantly changes. I get up off the bed, at least a part of me does. My hands are transparent, along with the rest of my body. I yell, but no one hears me. Their weeping never breaks. My future looks bleak and bound toward an inevitable eternal abode.

So here I am, staring down at myself as fear slowly grips me. If only I would’ve listened to the words of my grandmother a few weeks ago: “‘Never let someone lead or peer pressure you into doing evil. Bad company corrupts good character.’”

At that time, I had no idea what she was talking about. Now I understand, but it may be too late. People crowd the room like they’re visiting an amusement park and I’m the main attraction. If you walked in, their facial expressions would paint a vivid picture of grief.

Look at my brother, the little Bible thumper, standing beside my mother. I can still remember every word he told me. He is so young and overzealous. I think he got those characteristics from my grandmother. I have no idea why David is in here. I haven’t seen him in years. Why is he even here? He’s a bum! I don’t know why my mother named me after him. I hate him! I wish he was dead!

Look at him, standing next to my mother as if he’s really concerned. I doesn’t matter what my mother say, he is not my father. I don’t have a father! Looking at him sickens me. His eyes look like a drunken awakening from a night of lavish drinking. Every minute or two, he shakes his head at me with a look of disapproval. Can you imagine the nerve of him looking at me like that? I’m minutes away from death, and he’s staring at me like I disobeyed him. Where were you at, David? What fatherly advice did you give me! I can answer that, nothing! I wish he could hear me. I could care less about his approval. He doesn’t exist to me. My mother is the only one who is weeping nonstop. I think she blames herself for my behavior, but it wasn’t her fault. I wish I could tell her.

Now my grandmother sits, weeping and grasping her Bible tightly. Unlike the rest of them, she talked to me on countless times about my lifestyle, but I ignored her words like a foul odor. Like most hard-headed people, I didn’t listen to her advice, and I did things my way.

My way…those two words were the front-runner of all my choices. As a matter of fact, I have no idea who all of these other people are crowding up this hospital room. I say that because even though we’re related, I still don’t know any of them. Every time I look at David, I feel myself on the verge of vomiting. I swear he disgust me. How could he abandon his son? I blame him for all of my actions. I needed a father in my life and he was nowhere around.

The only man who showed me fatherly love or male intimacy, non-sexual of course, was Pastor Carlton. I must admit that I felt weird, I mean different in a good way when I went to his church, even though my grandmother forced me. I say that because she threatened me with obsessed talks about eternity and something she called sin and forgiveness.

If only I could go back to the day before I followed Joseph. You’ll learn all about him much later. I don’t know why I allowed peer pressure to lead me down a terrible path. I never thought I’d be lying here connected to this machine that’s pumping my heart. Maybe I’m supposed to tell my story so that you won’t allow peer pressure to lead you down the same path as I did. If I could live this life again, I’d make wiser choices. I vaguely remember, but there were happy moments in my life. If only I could go back to the moment when my dad held me up in his arms at the beach, during those years, I was a virgin to pain, struggle, and grief. The only emotion I knew was happiness. I remember it just like it was yesterday.

The sun was setting as a gentle breeze skipped across the deep blue waters. Kids were running along the beachside with their dogs and people were cuddled up together, basking in the beauty of the moment. My mother was pregnant during the time with my little brother. She stayed up in the hotel while my dad and I walked on the beach.

That’s the only memory I can think of at the moment. If only I could go back to that day, I’d never want to return to the horror of this reality.