I can tell you the story of how he’s a good shooter: that little patch of grass. Yellowed, like his skin at birth. Soft enough to tickle pores, tough enough to cause a shock upon impact. Impact from years of depression, scars from being hurdled through a window by an alcoholic uncle, glass that shattered as fiercely as his family relationships, what little joy remained standing. There. On that little patch of grass. From where he would shoot basketballs, the one pastime he could bounce back on, the one patch in his life he could improve. He aimed countless balls from great distances, wishing for a happier life that stood between the hoop and that little patch of grass.
I can tell you the story of our relationship. It held much betrayal, like the way he felt when he was determined to end his life but the ground said not today. It held much isolation, like his life on that little patch of grass – our lives an endless therapy session of self-disclosure in that little room upon the skinny white bed. I laid my body down, damaged as I already was, to be that bridge of happiness between the little patch of grass and the basketball hoop. But Anxiety chose selfishness over Compassion. In a matter of four short weeks, he broke the bridge. So he remains on that little patch of grass, a young man, weathered down from the year-round storm, shooting basketballs – the one activity he cannot betray.
Now, I can only tell you the story of what happened to me. I learned to first and foremost be a bridge for myself. Between the hurting and the happiness. Damaged people must mend themselves before they can attempt to mend others. I learned that compassion always trumps selfishness, no matter how many times revenge tries to tell me otherwise. I can’t tell you if he’ll turn out alright. How many bridges he’ll burn before karma explodes on him in a heat of fury. If he’ll ever become a person nearly as kind as that little patch of grass the day he cheated death and it told him I am here for you at your lowest, to comfort you not hurt you. The storm is perpetual but my blades still grow. And look, you are growing too. You have been growing all along. How else did you manage to become such a good shooter.