I grew up with a woman named Jan Warner and yesterday, I heard she died.
Jan and I got into a lot of trouble together when we were younger. I remember hanging out in her bedroom, smoking and drinking, and once we sniffed glue.
Jan had a shitty home life, a horrid step-mother, and easy access to booze. Jan wore a lot makeup, and wore the coolest hip hugger jeans. It seemed to me that she knew about “stuff” way before I seemed to know about “stuff.”
Her brother was the first person I ever knew who overdosed on heroin.
Jan and I went our separate ways in high school and when I left Dodge, I didn’t think about her much.
I saw her at our 10th high school reunion, and she offered me coke, in the bathroom of the restaurant we all were at.
At our 20th high school reunion, she gave me holy hell when she heard I was sober. She yelled at me that I had not been loyal to her, told me to fuck off, and that I was no longer fun and I should have stayed in touch her.
I never saw her again. I did hear stories though.
I heard Jan never did quit drinking. I heard yesterday that booze won. I was not surprised to hear of her death, but was surprised at how sad I felt after I hearing it.
I think about my life without booze — and her life with it.
How different our lives turned out even though we had somewhat similar beginning.
As far as I know, she never left Los Alamos. The last time I was there, I saw her picture in the paper for drunk driving and I heard she had been caught stealing from the grocery store.
One friend said, Jan never had a chance.
I don’t know. Maybe she was never offered one. Maybe she had and took more chances than any of us know. No matter — she is dead now. Addiction claimed another one.
Once again, still and forever, I am grateful for my life and that I took the chance offered me.
On we go. It smells like rain today, did I say, I’m grateful?
Yes, ma’am, I sure am.