I remember the damp, unlit street that lead back to my apartment. It’s been a while since I walked that road. The last time was on a particularly terrible night. It’s the night I died.
I remember the words echoing in my head. The feel of the cold steel against my hand, against my head. The words getting louder and louder in my psyche, each repetition forcing my finger to push a little bit harder on the trigger.
“DEAD END. DEAD END. DEAD END. DEAD…”
I remember a split second of searing pain as the bullet pieced through my flesh and skull. I remember flashes of lights- the ambulance that showed up 10 minutes later. I remember the faces gathered around me of people who had lived next to me for years but never thought it necessary to do so much as say hello. Of course, I didn’t either.
There was the guy that lived to my left. Kevin? Kyle? I can never remember his name. There was the elderly woman who lived to my right and always had the TV turned all the way up. Mrs. Freeman? Fremont? It doesn’t matter anymore. She is the one who called when she heard the shot. It’s a miracle she heard it at all over the sound of her Soap Operas that she watched over and over everyday. I remember their concern.
I remember the weeks of recovery. So many doctors. So much pain. Session after grueling session of “Why did you do it?” and “Do you know why you’re here?”
Silence was my response. For months. I was conscious and able to talk. I just didn’t want to. I spent hours staring at the walls without saying a word while doctors and nurses and well-meaning neighbors came by to give me an intoxicating cocktail of medicine and sickly looking flowers.
I remember the day I left. I had nowhere to go but I knew I couldn’t stay at the hospital. I couldn’t go back to the apartment where so much pain had been manifest. I had to go somewhere.
I remember living under a bridge with a guy named Jasper who talked to the shadows as if they were his children.
And people say I’m the crazy one.
I remember seeing a church with a warm light, a welcoming beacon when the world around me was frigid and Jasper wouldn’t let me near the fire. He claimed it was scared and if I came close it would run away.
I remember walking into the church and finding food. Good food. Homemade green bean casserole and honey glazed ham.
I remember the man in the blazer who called himself Reverend Mark. He offered me a cot in the sanctuary with only one request: that I stay for the service the following day.
I remember the music and the preaching and the judgmental stares. People that called themselves Christians but treated me like garbage. Granted, I wasn’t my biggest fan either. I was the one who shot myself, after all. But I remember Mark. He showed me love. Compassion. He gave me a purpose. A Savior. A Home.
I remember the day that I died. A bullet had pierced my skull and yet somehow I lived.
I remember the day that I began to live again. A meal had filled my stomach and love had warmed my heart.
I remember my Savior. My Salvation.
I still have doubts. Fears. Nightmares that wake me up in the middle of the night. But I have love.
I will always remember when I came to life.