I wake up around one thirty. After the traumatizing events of this morning I needed to go back to sleep. Mikes arm is wrapped around me. I lift his arm and escape from the bed. I leave the bedroom and head downstairs. As I walk into the living room I see Ronnie open his eyes.
“You’re alive.” I say.
“Barely.” He groans. He lifts his bloody shirt. Sliding his finger over the stitches, wincing. “Wow, that’s a nasty one.”
“I wouldn’t exactly say that being shot would be a nice feeling.” I say sitting across the couch from where he is laying.
“I mean chicks dig scars right?” Ronnie laughs.
“This isn’t funny, it’s not a joke.” I continue “What were you thinking?”
“You don’t know me. You don‘t know the shit I‘ve been through.” He sit’s up, you can see the pain on his face as he moves his body.
“What was it? Drug money?” I ask. Ronnie nods. “Was it worth it? Was it worth getting shot and almost dying?”
“Yeah but I didn’t die.” He defends.
“That doesn’t make this okay.” I say. “People like you don’t learn until it’s too late.”
“Good, next time just let me die.” Ronnie tries to stand up.
“Just sit okay? You can’t move for a little while.” I say helping him back down to the couch. “You need to take care of yourself.”
“Why do you care?” Ronnie asks glaring. “I’m not your problem.”
“Because you made it my problem when you showed up here bleeding out, you involved me in this when I had to scrub your blood off of my arms.” I scratch my head in frustration. “It’s sad to see someone throw away their life away s young.”
“You don’t know the shit I’ve been through, if you did you would understand.” Ronnie looks away refusing to look me in my eyes.
“So you had a shitty childhood, everyone did. You choose what you do with your life, you choose who you want to be. You can either deal with it through drugs or you can get your shit together break the cycle and make something of yourself.”
“It’s not that easy, people like you don’t get it. You’ve had an easy life. I’m sure you have the perfect white picket fence house with the little red door. I bet you even have a mom who bakes pies on the weekends who read you bedtime stories and kissed you goodnight.” Ronnie says.
“You don’t know me either.” I chuckle. “My father was a drug addict too, he overdosed when I was a kid. I watched them bury him. Yes, I do have the perfect white picket fence house. Because my mom works her ass off to pay for it. Instead of giving up when he died like most people do she pushed through. Everything I have is thanks to her. She broke the cycle to give me a better life. But because she wants to give me that perfect little life where I don‘t have to worry about anything means she‘s never home. She‘s gone for weeks at a time so I‘ve had to learn how to live for myself. I understand it‘s hard but you choose how to react to it. But you‘re right people like me don‘t get it.”
I walk into the kitchen after going on my little rant.
“I’m sorry I had no idea.” Ronnie apologizes.
“I know, but you don’t have to go through this alone Ronnie, there will always be people willing to help. If you want to sober up let me know and I’ll be there if you want.” I grab a glass of water and bring it over to Ronnie.
“Thank you.” He says grabbing the glass.
Mike walks downstairs and staggers into the living room.
“How ya feeling?” Mike asks Ronnie stretching and wiping the sleep from his eyes.
“Better thanks Mike, honestly don’t know what I would do without you.” Ronnie says.
“You’d probably be laying in a ditch right now buddy.” Mike says facetiously.
“Honestly I would be.” Ronnie said being truthful.
“You guys hungry?” Mike asks me and Ronnie.
“I have no appetite after seeing all that blood.” I say picturing all the blood that was all over the house and my body. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to eat for a while.”
“Yeah I don’t think I should seeing as how I was just shot, you know?” Ronnie chuckles a little.
“Yeah you’re probably right.” Mike nods. “Well I’m starving I’m gonna go grab a bite to eat.”
Mike grabs his car keys and heads out the door. “If you guys need anything just call me!” And with that he leaves.
Me and Ronnie sit in the living room for a while.
“You wanna watch some tv?” I ask grabbing the remote.
“I need a blanket I’m freezing.” Ronnie says. He’s practically shaking. He looks quite pale too. “And a pillow, if you could my back, is killing me.”
“Yeah, of course, I’ll go grab that.” I exit the living room and moving to the linen closet in the hallway. I grab a big blanket and a soft pillow.
“Here you go.” I say giving him the pillow. He sits up a little to put it under his head. I stretch the blaket over him. And may hand accidentally swipes his arm. I put the back of my hand on his forehead. “You’re burning up.”
“I’m freezing my right now. It feels like my heart is racing.” He’s still shaking.
“Do you want some more water? Maybe some Advil?” I ask, Ronnie nods in response. I go into the kitchen and pour a glass of water, I grab the bottle of pills from the cabinet. I walk back over to the couch and help Ronnie take a sip.
“Oh my god my back is fucking killing me.” He groans shifting his back on the couch.
“I hope you’re not getting an infection.” I kneel on the floor beside him. “Here let me take a look at it.”
Ronnie moves the blankets and lifts his sweat-soaked shirt up enough so that I can see the wound. Everything looks fairly clean except for a little bit of dried blood. But there isn’t any pus or any other signs of an infection.
“One sec.” I say going to the kitchen to grab a warm wet cloth. I come back kneel on the floor next to him again, lightly press the cloth into the skin and start wiping the excess blood away.
The stitches seem to be holding well, so that’s pretty good .
“You don’t have to do this you know?” Ronnie says gently.
“I know but that’s what friends do.” I smile.
I hear the front door open.
“Mike must be back.” I say standing up, Ronnie pulls his shirt down and covers himself in blanket.
Mike walks into the living room with a bag of food.
“He has a fever.” I tell Mike as I bring the cloth back to the kitchen. He follows behind me. “I’m worried he might have an infection” I say quiet enough that Ronnie can’t hear me.
“Fever?” Mike asks. I nod. “Sweat?” I nod again. “Racing heart beat?” He asks. I nod. “Sore muscles?” I nod again.
“Doesn’t that mean he has an infection?” I ask.
“He’s having withdrawls.” Mike says leaning against the counter. Eating the burger he just bought.