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  • I was looking down at the body lying on the floor outside the bathroom, in the upstairs hallway of the old farmhouse. There were a few people huddled around the body, talking to it, checking to see if the person was breathing. They were obviously scared and excited.

    I was in a very calm state. In fact, I felt calmer than I could remember feeling in...ever, actually. It felt like one of those lucid dreams that you have - but it wasn't. Then I heard them saying my name. I got a closer look at the body, and then it occurred to me - shit, that's me! But, I was still very calm about it all. I liked how I felt. None of this was making any sense, but I didn't care.

    They picked my body up, and carried it down the hallway towards the bedroom door at the end. They took it into the bedroom. I stayed where I was, outside of the bathroom, apparently up near the ceiling. I was just there. Right about then is when the thought occurred to me. Shit - I might be dying. I had no idea for sure. All I knew was, I was here, but the rest of me was there.

    I was still o.k. with it all, though. I felt warm and not alone. Then, I felt something pulling me down that hall, and then I was in the room. They were on either side of the bed, where my body lay sprawled out. They were really excited now - David kept saying my name, and shaking me, and talking to me, "Come on Peter, stay with us, snap out of it, man, we need you here, come on", and one of the girls was crying, and it was a very confusing, excited scene.

    Except for Reed. He sat in a chair opposite the foot of the bed, and he was just very calmly looking at me, and it was then that I realized I was back in my body, and I was looking back at him. It was he who had drawn me back in there. That incredible strength that he had always had, that wierd psychic connection that we had, somehow must have brought me back. From down the hall. Wherever that was.

    I came around and I was o.k. Just a little too much of what had been passing around at the party. They started to take me to the hospital to get checked out, but I managed to convince them that I was o.k. The next day, Reed drove me down to the Greyhound Bus station, we said our goodbyes, and that was the last time I would see him alive. Five days later I got the call that he had succumbed to pneumonia, and with his weakened system from fighting the Hodgkins Disease, he just didn't make it.

    It would be years before I could even talk about what happened that night. I just didn't have any context in which to convey it, or to make any sense out of it. I thought for sure people would think I was completely nuts if I ever tried. It was only after several years of recovery from addiction that it finally came out.

    By then, I realized that that night was the beginning of my journey towards recovery. Once I got past the whole self-pitying "Why him and not me?" bullshit, I realized that there must have been a reason that I was left here - why he had brought me back, right before he left himself. I've often wondered if he knew. I tend to think that he did. Maybe not consciously, but in that moment in that bedroom...it feels like he did.

    He was my best friend, and I will never forget him, or his incredible strength of spirit. We were both 24 when he left.
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