Once on a bed under his favorite Harry Potter blanket, he had a dream. And it was about a kingdom and he was the shining knight. He would wake up, tell his mother and she’d smile and say “I love your imagination honey”. Then he’d stay with her all day because that’s all he had in their small apartment home on the East Coast. This was the year his father was away and he’d eventually start his first day of primary school. His mom would sing songs from the radio with him everyday and tell him to be respectful to his peers and that she loves him. He would play at school, rush to yell out answers first in class and count the minutes till he could go home and have an after school snack with his mom. And every night as his mom tucked him into bed he’d ask for a story from her, because that helped him have dreams. He’d ask for her to stay until he fell asleep because he loved the feeling of being loved.
Once on a bed under his favourite Liverpool F.C. blanket, he had a dream. And it was about his friends, because that’s who he was always with. He’d wake up, tell his mother and she’d say I’m glad you have nice friends. Then she’d drive him to school and play whatever was on the radio for him and say have a good day sweetheart. This was the year his dad was home, but he didn’t know how to talk to him. When his friends were busy he’d ask his dad to play basketball with him, but he never did. This year at school he didn’t rush to yell out the first answer but instead be the first to yell out the best joke, yet his teachers would still give him an A. He’d come home and his mother would make him an after school snack. She’d ask how his day was and all he’d reply was “good.” Then he’d take it up to his room and turn on his Xbox. And when it’d get late his mom would open the door and tell him it’s time to go to sleep and set an alarm for school the next day, because he’d always oversleep. He’d always wish it was his dad coming into his room instead, because he didn’t like the feeling of not being loved.
Once on a bed under a navy blue blanket with white stripes, he had a dream. And it was a nightmare of him not being good enough for his actual dreams. Because that’s all the world would ever tell him. He’d wake up and he wouldn’t tell his mom because he felt misunderstood. Then she’d drive him to school in a quiet car and ask him if he is studying and keeping up with homework, he’d nod and put his headphones in. This was the year he was doing his best, he had friends, a girlfriend, and was a well known athlete at his high school. This was the year he had a surgery and left school for weeks. And in the first week people would check up on him. He felt loved. He’d eventually go back to school wrapped in a bandage and crutches and try to ignore the pain. But everyday he felt pain and everyday he felt lost. And when he came home, he’d skip his mom’s lunch and go to his room, because food didn’t feel as good as the little white tablets did. Because food only hurt him more and talking to his mom only used more energy and nothing else made him feel happy. This was the year a rumor went around that he got caught going through a couple of his friends’ parents’ bathrooms. And of course the kids at school called him disgusting and an addict. His “friends” were embarrassed to be seen with him over a rumor. This was the year his girlfriend would leave him and he’d watch her kiss his friend after school by the bus. He would skip school, fail classes, and fight with his parents. His surgery had healed by now but the pain it caused on his heart hadn’t. And at night he’d take a blue tablet to help him forget about that fun life and amazing people that slipped away from him. And he’d place a bet on whether or not he’d wake up the next day, all because he hated the feeling of not being loved.
Once on a brown couch under a thin throw blanket, he tried to have a dream. But he couldn’t fall asleep. When the sun came up he’d get up and thank his friend for the roof over his head then go head into town looking for a job. He’d call his mom and she’d pick up with a weary voice. He said he just needed a little bit of money for some clean clothes and an address to put down for a job application, but she didn’t believe him because of what happened during high school. This was the year he got kicked out of his home for almost overdosing in front of his brothers. He would stay at different houses and always found a way to find a couch to sleep on. This was the year his little brother graduated high school. He bought a thrift store suit and watched from the corner. He felt happy for him but couldn’t help but cry watching his parents gleam with proud joy as their last hope for a good kid walked the stage. And he’d regret going because now he felt hopeless for his own future and dreams he had as a little kid. Though eventually he’d find a place to sleep and he’d take a number of blue, yellow, and white pills. The end of yet another day of being alone and failing hurt him even more than the last. And he’d tuck himself into bed and wonder when anyone would come help him out of his hole, because he hated the feeling of being absolutely alone even more than the feeling of not being loved by somebody.
Once on a sidewalk on the corner of Grafton street under a heavy snow jacket with holes and stains on it, he finally had a dream. He dreamed of his childhood and his mother’s snacks, how he loved school, his talents in baseball, his great friends and the only girl he ever fell in love with. He saw his whole life before his eyes, the person he was and the person he still yearned to be. But then he’d wake up. This was the year he couldn’t find friends to stay with anymore. It was the year his mom changed her phone number and address. It was the year he gave up on looking for a job and focused on only looking for a stronger high. He woke to the noises of the city. The loud traffic and footsteps always made him angry, everything made him angry now. He would lay there on the sidewalk and wonder what his mom was doing, what his brother did with his life and so on. This time he did nothing with his days, there was no point to it anymore, nothing would help. Occasionally he’d look up at the bypassers and reach out for anything, change, food, a conversation, something to make him feel human again. But everyone walked over him, looked away, like he was trash that no one wanted to take responsibility for and pick up. He had to fend for himself and do things he was ashamed of. That’s all the world ever made him feel like since the day his peers found out he was struggling with a pill addiction. So he’d stay in the same spot still high and numb wondering how many more days his body could last. It didn’t matter to him because he hated the feeling of being trash.
Once on a starry night under a bridge laying on top of a couple of trash bags he wrote a letter. And the title was his name. Because that’s all he had left anymore. And on the crumbled piece of a brown paper bag he wrote about his dreams he never accomplished. He just wanted someone to find it so that they’d know who he was and who he wished to be. He’d write that this was the year he’s given up and he’d tell about how he hated the pills but they were the only thing that were always there for him. He’d write about how this was the year he finally got in contact with his mom and she cried telling him he was a disgusting piece of trash. He’d write out all his apologies and regrets with tears on the paper. And as he clutched onto his brown paper bag he’d pray someone would find him in the morning and read his story. Because he hated the feeling of not being loved and feeling like trash, he thought maybe putting himself to sleep and dreaming forever would make someone, even anyone, finally care about him as a person.
Once on a bed of concrete under the light of the moon, he had a dream. This was the night he used every pill he had left and looked up at the stars with tears going down his face. As he faded away into his final dream he gazed up at the sky and called out to his mother, asking for one more bedtime story, because that made him feel loved.