Come Sunday morning I found peace
up on the roof
September 21, 2006 | The patchwork terrain came closer
with each second. The passing air made it difficult
to breathe as I dropped through the clouds. I clawed
at nothingness with frantic urgency as I tried to keep
my body upright. My eyes shot open to witness my wrist
fold under the weight of my body. "Shit," I grunted
as I pulled myself back up over the edge of the bed.
My vision blurred slightly with each painful heartbeat.
I filled my lungs to capacity and let the air escape
I could hear I Know that My Redeemer Lives
screaming from every speaker in the house. A local radio
station, usually reserved for Top 40 music, played a
program each week called "The Sounds of Sunday." There
were speakers in every room of the house, save only
the bathrooms and bedrooms. Although it didn't matter
much since the volume was more than enough to penetrate
into those rooms as well. The calming piano tones echoed
from wall to wall and burrowed deep inside my brain.
The smell of freshly glazed orange rolls was the only
force tempting me to abandon my sheets. The alarm clock
flashed 12:00, but from the sun pouring in my window
I knew it to be about 8 hours slow. The clock on the
adjacent wall had no batteries. Both the hour and minute
hands were deliberately placed on the 4. My tired eyes
vetoed my stomach's petition; there were stronger forces
at work here. I rolled over and grabbed a Starburst
from the nightstand before making a pillow sandwich
of my head.
I had no choice but to tolerate my family's racket
until 9 a.m., at which point they would file into the
Suburban and speed down the gravel driveway to church.
With just under 30 minutes remaining the two youngest
of the family, Dani and Derek, bypassed the childproof
doorknob to gleefully make a trampoline of my mattress.
Inevitably they lost balance; simultaneously making
a mattress of my spinal cord. They had my attention.
I withdrew my head from the pillows and my blood-red
eyes were inches from a set of smaller blue ones. "Good
morning Dan," I said, knowing exactly what my sister's
response would be.
"I'm not Dan!" she replied. I always preferred her
middle name, Alise. She was 3, her older brother 5.
The typical inquiry came as expected and prefaced with
an inquisitive "Um ... Dev?" My parents would never
be so bold as to climb the stairs to request I trade
my blanket and pillow for a white shirt and tie. Instead
they would instruct their youngest children to do this
job for them.
"Are you going to church?" Derek asked.
"No, sleep," I yawned back as I stretched. Seeming
satisfied with my response, my brother and sister retreated
back downstairs to report my decision. Now that my bedroom
door was wide open, there was no blocking out the noise.
My father's voice would loudly announce the time remaining
until their departure; 15 minutes, then 10, then five.
The Anderson family minus one backed out of the garage,
making certain not to hit any dogs, cats, chickens,
geese or any of the other common driveway obstacles,
moving and stationary.
Silence. Too quiet to sleep. I reached under the bed
feeling around for my guitar case. Blood rushed to my
head as I pulled the case closer and popped open the
latches. Inside I located a small glass pipe and a bag
of pot, headed for the window and crawled onto the roof.
I found a familiar spot on the shingles and relaxed
on the incline. Cracking open the Ziploc I retrieved
the most colorful narcotic nugget I could see. I knew
I had three wholesome hours until my family would return.
I loaded a healthy sized bowl and took a deep hit from
the pipe as if it were an asthma inhaler. The local
buds weren't the best quality, but the reasonable price
more than made up for the lower potency. As I let out
my first hit the high began to creep in on me immediately.
My mind drifted to my family, by now they were in the
Lord's house. I felt guilty ... sort of. It was a perfectly
beautiful and serene morning.
I would relax here and watch cars go by for another
hour or so before heading back inside to eat cold orange
rolls. After all, I am a man of morals, and I toileth
not on the Sabbath.