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PART I There is a strange stillness in the air as you sit across from me, It’s neither here nor there but I can feel a shift in the atmosphere. There was a time, not long ago, that we would have already started up an odd conversation Heck, we would be elbow deep in some controversial topic and an 11 pm pizza Your brown eyes would be fiery with passion and your mouth would be snapping Your beautiful teeth would be visible as you threw our head back and laughed at my puns We would have played a guessing game and bemoaned the passing of our youth We would have made a million plans and laughed at the millions of others we made years back You would have reached for my hand and I would have held yours to my heart All this would have happened as we cooked and danced in my small kitchen But that was all over two years ago and we seem to have drifted apart Of late all you wanted from me were stolen conversations in the night so on occasion you would visit my home, high as a kite. And we would talk and talk and I would write and wish And just as the light of morning fleeted through my curtains, you would leave Only to return when the drugs overrode your new instinct to hide from me And like clock work,here you are again in my house at 11 in the night Yet this time feels stranger than the rest because for once you have not said a word Silence, the ticking of a clock, the clink of my spoon against my coffee cup; It’s getting darker outside and weirder inside I stare at you and in my heart I pray for you, but also for me too…   PART II Because the boy I once knew and cherished is gone The vibrancy of your personality and the rainbow of your character You were always so colorful, loving the world and everyone in it You always had an opinion and were never afraid to voice it But yet as I stare at you right now, you seem broken You are blue, everywhere; Your hands from the cold outside, your soul from the pain inside and your demeanor from the scars you try to hide. You are only happy these days when your blood is filled with coke You only visit me when your lungs are filled with smoke And when you come, your fingers trace my face while you stare at me with hazy eyes. And every time you do, you spill your secrets But this time I have to prompt you and ask you what is wrong And just like that, the flood gates open and the rain pours… PART III You say that you are tired of the darkness, the dredge in your soul. You claim that you feel nothing and no one excites you anymore You complain about the lack of passion, the lack of fire in your spirit You say that you never feel alive and you cannot seem to find a reason to live You tell me about all the girls and the rides and the dreams You confess to all the sins that you had once claimed were not yours You purge out all the stories and secrets you have kept for the last decade it seems You take a break, take a sip of your tea and glance away in shame You stare at me in contrition as if I am the God that you have been running from I take a deep breath and try to think of what to say Only for you to start speaking again You say that your heart is bleeding and your soul is reeling You tell me how you are tired of the nightlife, the drive-by sorta love You claim to be overwhelmed by the darkness and the shadows that haunt your heart And as per usual I write about you; my pen bleeds ink as I fill page after page with the stories of your life Next page; I wait for you to get up and leave as per usual…   PART IV And yet today you stick around. The light streams into my tiny living room and my body aches from lying on the floor all night My fingers are stiff from all the writing and my heart is heavy with words I throw my journal to a corner and I stare into your brown eyes They are red around the rims now; you cried at some point in the night and I am sure your high has faded You look like a sick child looking to their parents for relief Like a broken vessel waiting to be fixed But I am sorry, I can’t fix you. Yet for the first time in 2 years I finally gather the courage to speak And all I can come up with are questions “How many times do you kill yourself to feel alive? How many habits did you take up to relive the pain? How many lives have you imagined to reinvent your own? How many puffs of smoke and snots of coke will numb your mind? How many more needles will shoot life up your veins?” You stare at me and say “Millions and millions till I kill myself or die trying” IMG_20170512_190535 PART V But undeterred and determined to address these demons I say “Can you hear that? The sound of other lives shattering because you gave up on your own? There is so much for you to give, so much for you to receive. You have a family, real friends, talents and giftings and youth You have the wonder of an imaginative mind and the skilled eye of a photographer You have the quick wit of a comic and the hands of a sculptor You have the heart of a poet and the caressing voice of a singer So do not for one second tell me that you have nothing left to give Do not believe that life is but a dreary road Do not convince yourself that you are too weak and bored to thrive Do not believe the lie that your youth is all about getting high The only things I can give you are love and God I cannot give you the will to live, to thrive All I can throw out is a lifeline So take this shot baby; drink up a taste of life everlasting Shake off the madness, sadness and chaos of your life Come and surround yourself with life; friends, family and good music Travel and see the wonder of God’s creation. Come home; let your heart come home.” (To be continued)

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