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Lovely Sheila

The other day, Jonah's dad, Adam, stopped by the house, hoping to corral Jonah into a day trip to southern Illinois to scout for mineral crystals.

“Really,” Adam said, hoping to pique Jonah’s interest, “we should be heading out to Utah to check out the copper mines.” Jonah nodded absently, wandering off to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, still half-asleep.

Adam continued musing about potential travel plans after Jonah left the room. But suddenly, our conversation took a strange turn. He began talking about benzos, a drug category about which I know almost nothing.

“Yeah,” Adam said, as if we had been following this line of conversation all along. “Benzos are one of the drugs that can kill you when you’re going through withdrawal. Supposedly, heroin withdrawal is painful, but can’t kill ya. Withdrawing from alcohol and benzos can.”

Whoa! I thought. What just happened? “Why are we talking about this?” I asked.

“I was just thinking about Aidan,” Adam said.

“Aidan? What happened to Aidan?” Now I could see the dots connect: Utah, where Adam’s childhood friend, Dan, and his lovely wife, Sheila, lived. Somewhere outside of Moab, if I remembered correctly. They had a son, Aidan.

“Benzos,” Adam intoned, flatly.

“What? What do you mean?” I asked stupidly. I knew what he meant. I didn’t want to know what he meant.

Adam came out with it. “Dan and Sheila lost their son about a month ago. I think he was into some pretty bad stuff.”

I couldn’t speak. Without looking for her, in my mind I saw Sheila standing next to me at the Broadway