‘Sex, Drugs and Rock-and-Roll’ – That’s how I define the last eight years of my life. I had an introduction to alcohol at 16, drugs at 17 and women at 18. I’ve gone to the darkest places one can imagine; borrowing money I could never repay and stealing things I didn’t need just so that drugs could flow through my veins. Even during Colonel’s funeral, I was lying in some alleyway with a needle stuck in my skin. If it weren’t for my connections in the department, no one would’ve even considered giving me a try.
Jason gets off his laptop, and is met with the disapproving look in his father’s eyes. The near 25-year old didn’t wait for another moment, pleading his case to his father, who looked happy but his son knew he was anything but.
“Dad, it’s been over a year since I touched any of my vices, and I plan to never go back that route. It’s been quite a struggle but I feel like I finally have some control over my life. Of course, Becky has been helping me get through all of this. She’s the one who gave me the push I needed to join the police department. It’s where you spent your final few days working, so it’s fitting. I want you to be proud”.
As Jason plays back, in his head, what all he just said, he moves his hand towards a photograph placed on the shelf, right in front of a large group of books. He picks it up and slowly stretches his arm, so the picture is at a proper arms-length from him, and right in his eye line. Spending a brief moment staring at the picture, he murmurs – “I wish you had seen this side of me. I wanted to make you proud”.
As soon as he finished his statement, he heard a familiar voice at the foot of the room. Turning around with a bright smile on his face, he let go of the sad tone his voice had earlier. Becky was the only person who meant something to Jason. She was a neighbour, but was closer than any family he had. While everyone else had given up on him, she reminded him that his life mattered. He was in love with her since the first time he saw her, but never found himself capable of asking her out.
“Oh, you are already up, and here I was perfecting my ‘Wake Up, Poop-head’ chant”, the tall, pale, ginger figure of Becky laughed walking towards Jason. “Whom were you talking to this time – your mom or Mr. Leigh?”, she asked genuinely curious to know. This had happened numerous times before; every time Jason was in trouble or took a step ahead in life, he would talk to his parents as if they were standing alongside him.
“I will never understand why you refer to my dad as ‘Mr. Leigh’, when you are very comfortable referring to mom as ‘mom’”. Jason already knew the answer, being constantly reminded by Becky’s father to call him ‘Mr. Harvey’ because he took part in the Civil War re-enactment from time-to-time.
Becky walks into the kitchen, and Jason follows. She had been preparing breakfast for him almost everyday, so it was nothing more than a daily routine. Those two months when she was out of state were as hard on him, as they were on her. She couldn’t wait to get back to him, and he couldn’t wait for something other than McDonalds and Burger King. Out of practice, Jason is almost at his seat awaiting his food, only to be stopped in his tracks. “No, no! There’s no time. You can have your breakfast on the way, in the car. You are expected at the shooting range in twenty minutes. I'm driving you there."