Twenty-seven stab wounds, twenty-six of which should have killed me, but it was as if my internal organs had gone into evasive action. You know the story. A millimeter more here and death, or your aorta was nicked, and your left lung should have collapsed with the other one, the whole litany of stacked miracles. I could tell you I survived, but that would be a lie. The guy who survived was a Frankenstein knockoff of the man I was. Oh, after the tubes came out, the drainage finally stopped, the antibiotics did their job, and the sutures were removed, I looked like a familiar version of my old self. But my story isn’t about that phony version, I want to tell you about the other man, the one who received the perfectly timed greeting card.
The card was one of those cheesy iconic cards with a kitten hanging from a limb by a single claw from a limb, its little kitten eyes bulged out like a mouse caught in a trap, and the words, yeah you know what they were: “Hang in there baby.”
But the card showed a return address. It was from her. She’d found me, the one person in the world I secretly wanted to find me but couldn’t tell her so. She’d taken me in when the hospital and doctor bills ruined me, when I’d lost my business, and was homeless. She was there. She took me in, letting me sleep on her couch, letting me hate the world, letting me cry out the injustice, letting me freeze in panic every time I passed innocent young men my brain said were the same gang bangers who randomly picked me off the street one night as part of an initiation rite.
So, I open this cheesy card and it says, “I found you. I love you. I’ll never leave you, no matter how far you run.” The timing was perfect, if you consider that the gun was loaded, the whiskey bottle was half empty, and my finger was trembling on the trigger.