One of the most memorable nights of my life with my cousin Gary involved a urinal at a now defunct bar in Charlottesville.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes it’s worth far more.
My phone rang. A familiar voice spoke with a sense of urgency. “Jeremiah is in the hospital.”
Cast a rod into the pond; fish swim forth and stay.
An excerpt from Sleeping Birds Do Not Sing, a novel about mental illness and friendship that I wrote a decade ago that only one person has ever read—until now.
Jeremiah had this cat named Leon Phelps, named, yes, after the character from the movie The Ladies Man of the same name. This is the story of when Leon introduced himself to Cal Adams, Jeremiah’s new roomie (from “When the Lights Go Out at 10:16: A Memoir of Life and Friendship”)
I made some updates to my short story “The Lady Next Door” which is available for purchase as an ebook on Amazon. The cost is 99 cents. “The Lady Next Door,” for those who haven’t yet read it, was written in 2003, and is about a child’s love for his elderly neighbor.
Sometimes he would cry uncontrollably as he told me these things. Sometimes I would cry after the phone call was over. I’d sit and stare at the white wall in my bedroom, helpless. I’d think of the beautiful person he once was. I wanted to fight his demons for him, but his demons had no interest in me.
When we were little kids, I used to follow behind Robbie and Jeremiah—unbeknownst to them—as they made their way on foot to the pond in the woods off 727 in Phenix toward Red House way. They’d walk side-by-side with fishing reels in hand. I’d follow in the distance on my bike. As they set up to fish on the bank, pulling the black dirt covered worms from the styrofoam container and hooking them, I would watch from a distance at the tree line.