I’d spoken before about learning the truth behind Pete’s death. Talk about a blow to my spirit. I was outraged. Today I went through a swinging range of emotions from rage to livid. I remembered again how much he had to lose and he lost it anyway. As much as I continue to nearly move forward, I keep talking to people that for whatever reason are able to shine light on his passing. I won’t give much info, but I’ll say that I happened to speak to a cop that works enforcement in that area. So once again, all signs point to a horrible decision on my friend’s behalf. In my anger, I thought all kinds of words that I’m ashamed to admit I thought. “Junkie” and “addict” rolled around as I seethed about the loss of his life over an addiction that he fought and lost after 30 long years.
But as time went on, I started to connect the dots. I thought about Pete as a person and our commonalities, which ran deeper than I’d first remembered. Since his death I’d learned that like me, he was a middle child. A Gemini. Child of a highly successful mother. He was also kind of a wild spirit. He traveled extensively in his life. Right before I got pregnant, I was preparing to start traveling myself. So once I started to think on it, he and I shared a lot. I remembered that he and I just took immediately to one another, and I never quite knew why, but I liked it, so I went with it.
What drew us wasn’t just physical attraction. It was an unspoken bond, based on pain and trying to escape it. Escaping our mutual underlying pain with sidesplitting laughs. Peter’s pain could have easily been mine. I just never dug the feeling of being high. Sure, I enjoy a nice glass of wine on occasion, but not really big on weed and never wanted to do heavier drugs. Honestly I think a childhood of going to dozens of AA and CA meetings as a child did me in. So I didn’t really even start drinking until I’d reached my late 20’s. And even then, it was casual. Only recently, at 36 can I say that I have a remote tolerance to alcohol.
At the end of the day, our similarities ran deep. Even our pain. If I dropped dead tomorrow, of the many, many people who I love and love me, only a real handful of people could truly say they knew me. People love the Malika with the smiles, the laughs, the jokes. But most people don’t know the Malika that was once in a lot of emotional turmoil, and that some days I have to work so damned hard to keep those emotions and memories at bay. Truth of the matter is, with the shit I went through, I easily could have ended up on drugs. Shit was rough. I’ve had people get one view of my life and think that I’d be crazy to shun some parts of my past. Other people have had a front row seat of the source of my pain, and they get it. I finally understood Pete. He hurt a lot and he handled things the best way he knew how. So my anger faded, replaced by sorrow and complete understanding for my friend. I always hate it when people say that a dead person is “in a better place.” But for the first time, I felt it. He was finally free. No more physical addiction. No more pain from feeling like a failure to loved ones. No more disappointment from himself and others after yet another relapse. He was free. Really free. And I'm going miss him terribly. But I’m finally happy for him.