The conversation started off with my father saying something along the lines of, “We want to talk to you about drugs, and I want you to be honest with us.”
I didn’t have a clue what that meant; I just figured he was in trouble for something. I sat there quietly as my father and mother continued to talk. My brother, being the teenager he was, rolled his eyes at first and huffed.
I can’t really remember what all was said; there were bits and pieces. My parents were adamant that if he was on drugs, he could tell them. My brother was adamant that he wasn’t on drugs. He kept denying it.
They went round and round. Each time they’d ask him a question, he’d deny it. My brother had a full glass of milk sitting in front of him when they started; and by now, that glass was almost empty. I hated milk. He usually drank sweet tea. He always had a glass of it in his hand.
I could tell my brother was getting annoyed, and I could tell my parents were worried. I, being a child, had become really bored with this whole situation. Why were we still talking about this? He said he wasn’t on drugs; what’s the problem?
My dad had started in on my brother again, with a different strategy. My brother was so done with this conversation, it was plastered all over his face.
I just happened to be looking straight at my brother, when my father sternly told him that drugs could kill him if he didn’t stop. I remember thinking, wow. But that thought quickly left. I noticed my brother’s facial expression change; he went from annoyed and bored to just—gone. His eyes glassed over, and he face was the color of a sheet of paper; it only took a split second.
My brother is quite the joker, even in serious moments, he could spit out a joke or do something funny to lighten the mood. So, when he started swaying back and forth, I thought that’s what he was doing. It looked funny anyway. My parents also thought he was joking; my dad didn’t think it was funny.
“Now be serious, son.”
But my brother swayed himself right out of that chair into the floor and laid there silently.
“That’s not funny.” I can’t remember if my mom or dad said it.
I thought it was funny, but I didn’t dare laugh. They called his name, and he didn’t answer. I slid out of my chair, under the table where I could see him. He lay there as if he were taking a nap, while my mother and father hovered over him, calling his name. I began crawling towards him. My plan was to poke him hard enough to make him move.
I was halfway to him, when he exorcist puked that whole glass of milk up. All of it. It went across the floor, splashing against the wall. I shrieked as I came to a sudden stop.
“What in the world,” my father yelled, jumping to his feet.
My mother squealed.
I shot out from under the table in the opposite direction. I had seen that movie; I wasn’t sticking around.
They were still hovering over him when I walked around the table and looked down at him.
“He done died,” I uttered in amazement.
That wasn’t helpful. Ask me how I know.
Anyway, shortly after that, the EMS arrived. My brother had already regained consciousness before that. Unbeknownst to me, my brother had begun passing out regularly before this, which was what prompted my parents ‘drug’ talk. Turns out, it wasn’t drugs. Remember that glass of sweet tea he kept in his hands? Ladies and gentlemen, my brother is borderline diabetic.
Also, I feel it’s worth mentioning that I wasn’t allowed in serious family meetings after that.