A to Z 2016 : YEARNING

The cell phone began vibrating for the fifth time since getting out to his van. Already inside and lining up his wheelchair to a locking system installed where the driver's seat would be, Patrick ignored Samson's call. It wasn't that he had no idea how to explain what he was planning — which was true — but more so that he didn't want to be talked out of it. Especially by the very same person who had inspired him. Patrick couldn't be certain, but he was fairly sure his friend would try to deter him from a suicide mission.

His chair snapped into place, the locking mechanism engaged, putting him in front of the steering wheel which had a push/rock and lever aid kit installed. Holding a switch, the van's powered folding ramp started to contract. The midsection of the van had also been gutted to allow the space needed to freely spin and rotate the chair, granting access into the van from the ramp through the side door. As the ramp pulled back, the side door automatically began to close and eventually locked into place. By then Patrick was buckled up and ready to pull out of the parking lot.

He stalled just before turning onto the street, making an effort to devise some sort of game plan. Anything. His stomach felt queasy, churning in anticipation. Patrick took a deep breath and gently patted the van's dashboard.

"You ready for this?" He was asking himself as much as he was asking his specifically equipped companion. "It's been a good run." He had made up his mind.

He was tired of hiding, tired of living a lie. The regret and resentment it caused in his daily life had eaten away at him over the years, piece by piece. Regardless of understanding the purpose, and having endured the traumas that gave credence to the ruse, Patrick always felt that it caused more harm than good in the long run. Keeping himself locked away, not fully allowing himself to let anyone in, to get too close. Never fully allowed to experience life.

All lessons and rules handed down from his mother, all with the intention of protecting him. Patrick knew what they said about good intentions. They had fast-tracked his life into a personal hell of his own doing. That resentment shifting to anger over time, the emotion his mother would warn him about the most, drilling into him the importance of never permitting it to take control. In the short amount of time they spent together, before forever splitting paths thereafter, she taught her lessons. It was paramount that Patrick learn them and obey her demands. His very life depended on it.

He could feel the cloudiness of anger swirling within, triggered by the mere thought of how unfair the demands placed on him were. How he was forced to be cut off from everything and everyone he had ever come to love. Become someone new. A new name, a new life. A life cursed with the predetermined knowledge that it would be spent alone. Patrick's churning emotions began swelling.

It was important to maintain balance.

There was always Samson. Someone who had quickly became his best friend. His only friend. And Patrick had broken his mother's cardinal rule. Divulging all — well most — of his secrets and letting someone in. Know as much of the real him as he was comfortable with, which admittedly wasn't extensive. Baby steps. But his friend may not have the opportunity to discover all of the inner workings of his troubled soul. Patrick tried to ignore that fact, it made it harder to do what had to be done. To finally feel alive, at whatever the cost. To do his part.

Before he knew it, barrelling down the road lost in thought, his destination was in sight. He sped past bystanders who had gathered at the event, having little regard for their own safety, hoping to capture a picture or video on their phones. There were silent police cars on the scene, lights swirling, but no roadblocks were in place. In the distance, however, he could pick up the faint clamor of sirens. Also in the distance, a street opening up to a public parking area for the park gave him view of the current confrontation taking place.

Some bodies laid strewn in the grassy lawn of the park, but a pair were engaged with one another. A man and woman trading blows and furiously grappling, attempting to get an edge over the other. Patrick continued his trajectory, trying to assess the situation and how he could help. The man landed a strike and his opponent staggered back. Before she could recover, the man was a blur, again pummeling her.

Without thinking, Patrick tightened his grip while pulling back on the driving aid's lever system, his van gaining momentum accordingly. Passing through the parking lot and launching onto the park grounds, he aimed the vehicle at his target, hoping to make contact before the bloodthirsty maniac could completely overpower the woman. Hoping that his chair's locking mechanism would hold during the impact.

Patrick noticed he had lost the element of surprise, the hulking man's gaze shifted his way. He was surprised that his mark wasn't moving out of the way, instead almost challenging him, letting out a guttural howl.

Patrick matched the screaming taunt with his own, pulling back on the accelerator lever as hard as he could, bracing for the collision.


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