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Reach Out Your Hand

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sent at 11:24pm

Text from (xxx) xxx-xxxx:
happhy B-day roe

its me Rekus

Remus

i gootta new phonee

im sorry

iwas the worts

woest

worsr

Cant typw

To drukn

Miss u tho

First b-day wit out u

Do u mis me to?

See u on th news

Got that moie

Movie deal u wanted

Hop ur doin wel

That ur happy

M not

Mis u

Love u

****************************

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sent at 2:00 pm

Text from (xxx) xxx-xxxx:
Hey Ro, happy birthday,
it’s me again.

I wanna apologize for the mess that I sent last year. Thought you’d like to know I’m in a much better place now.

I’m in college in San Francisco, probably gonna live there after.

Gotta boyfriend, just like you always said you would if we didn’t have to deal with everyone’s expectations.

Went to therapy, boyfriend’s idea

Though he was just a best friend then

It’s been really helpful.

I was so awful to you.

I honestly wouldn’t blame you if you never wanted to see me again

You don’t have to forgive me, I just want a chance to talk

If you want to meet up

Just let me know

****************************

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sent at 10:00 am

Text from (xxx) xxx-xxxx:

Hey Ro

Happy birthday again.

At this point, I know you probably won’t reply

This probably isn’t even your number anymore.

I don’t know why I keep texting you though

Closure, perhaps?

An inability to let go?

Whatever it is, it’s kinda sad

I can’t stop though

If by any chance you are reading this, please respond

I don’t care if it’s to say you hate me, or never want to talk to me again, please

I need you

I need my brother

****************************

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sent at 10:00 am

Text from (xxx) xxx-xxxx:
Happy birthday Ro!

This will probably be the last time I text you.

My boyfriend, Dillon, pointed out that if you were going to reply, you would’ve already

I need to move on

I need to heal

I still love you though

You’ll always be my brother

****************************

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sent at 11:00 am

Text from (xxx) xxx-xxxx:

Ro

Ro, what the hell?

I know I said that I wouldn’t text again

But I just saw the news

You punched someone?

What on earth

I’d honestly be kinda proud of you if I wasn’t worried

Are you doing ok?

That’s not like you.

I was always the violent one.

I know what I said before, but if you need anyone to talk to, I’m here.

I won’t be waiting for you anymore, but I’ll still be here for you, if you need me.

All you need to do is reach out.

****************************

Sunday, August 15, 2011

Missed Call at 1:00 am

Voicemail from (xxx) xxx-xxxx:

“Ro—Roman! Please, please tell me you’re there, that you’re alright—

I just heard, apparently you’ve been missing for two weeks? Two whole weeks, and I didn’t know—

Please call me back, or text if that works better! Please, no one knows where you are, if you’re ok, nothing!

I — I can’t lose you Roman.

I mean, maybe I did already, maybe I did a long time ago—

But that was different. At least you were alive. You were happy. At least, I thought you were happy. I’m not so sure about that anymore.

But if by some miracle, some crazy insane miracle you still have this number, if you’re ok, please please let me know.

I love you so much Ro.

I don’t think I ever said it enough, but I do. So, so much.

I hope wherever you are, you’re ok.

****************************

The dark hotel room was illuminated only by the screen of his phone. He stared at it with glassy eyes, unseeing, as the message finished playing. Roman was leaning against the bed, sitting on the floor. His phone was gleaming on the ground next to him.

Roman had read Remus’s texts as they came, of course, but he hadn’t thought they were sincere. That they were real. Nothing else in his life was, not even his own parents. So why should his own twin be an exception? But he didn’t delete the texts or block the number. He let the messages keep coming. And he didn’t know why.

Maybe because part of him had wanted to hope. Why else would he be where he was now? Why else would he have used the most of the little money he had left to get himself here? Here in a dingy little motel on the edge of San Francisco. He hadn’t told anyone where he was going, not that anyone cared. Maybe Remy might’ve. Remy, who Roman realized now might’ve been his only real friend. At least, he could’ve been, if Roman hadn’t pushed him away when Remy had attempted to convince Roman he had a problem. Pushed him away just like Roman had done to everything else good in his life.

That’s why he hadn’t contacted Remus yet. Why he’d sat here in this room with it’s flea-ridden bed and peeling wallpaper for almost two weeks now, only leaving to buy food from the nearby convenience store. Remus’s texts had seemed like he was doing well. Roman had looked at his Facebook too. Remus was in college, was living with his boyfriend, a job working as a tech at a local theater. He seemed happy. Roman couldn’t bring himself to ruin that like he ruined everything else.

But that voicemail—he hadn’t ever heard Remus sound so frightened before. So worried. And about Roman, of all people. Why? Why on earth? Sure, they’d been close as kids, but they hadn’t even been in the same room for years. And Roman had ignored all of Remus’s attempts to make contact since. He couldn’t understand it. It made his head hurt. He was feeling bitterly jittery, and not very glittery.

That was a weird sentence. When did his thoughts stop making sense? He needed his pills, needed them. He couldn’t deal with all of these thoughts and emotions. He needed them to go away. He needed them to stop. He fumbled on all fours for the bottle, and finally found it, open and empty. That wasn’t right, it’d been full only...only...he couldn’t remember. A wave of dizziness hit him, and he pitched forward, face planting into the ground.

Something wasn’t right. Why was his brain so fuzzy. Everything hurt so much, he couldn’t think. He needed help. He needed Remus. He somehow managed to find his phone, and hit the contact simply labeled “R.”

The phone rang. And rang. Finally, it was picked up. And a familiar voice spoke.

****************************

Remus ran his hand through his sleeping boyfriend’s hair. It was a calming motion that somewhat helped to calm his racing mind. But not by much. Dillon had attempted to convince Remus to rest, but Remus couldn’t sleep. Not when Roman was missing. He’d gotten the news around midnight, from a former friend of Roman’s, Remy.

Remy had been the one to tell Remus that Roman had been struggling with a drug addiction, though Remy didn’t know how long. He’d tried to get Roman some help as soon as he found out, but the other man had rejected it and broke off their friendship. Remy had gone to Roman’s apartment that morning to attempt to repair their relationship, with the hope that he could eventually convince Roman to get some help. But he was nowhere to be found. The door was unlocked, and there was two weeks worth of mail on the floor. He’d found Remus’s number on accident, on a post-it on Roman’s fridge, labeled “Bro.” That’s when he’d called Remus and, upon finding out he was Roman’s brother, told him everything.

Remus didn’t quite understand why Roman had his number saved like that, but the more pressing concern was finding Roman. Remus attempted to call Roman several times, each one going straight to voicemail.

 

He didn’t blame Dillon for falling asleep though. Remus would if he could. He couldn’t though. The hand that wasn’t running through Dillon’s hair had a death grip on his phone. He couldn’t stop staring at it, praying to anyone who would listen that it would ring.

He didn’t know what he expected though. Roman had never responded to him in the past, so why would now be any diff—

“I’m a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie wooorld
Life in plastic, it’s fantastic...”

Remus startled as his phone’s ringtone filled the room. Next to him, Dillon shifted and blinked tiredly at him.

“Why on earth do you still have that obnoxious song as your ringtone?” Dillon questioned, a little grumpy at being woken so unceremoniously.

“You can brush my hair, undress me everywheere
Imagination, life is your creation...”

Remus could barely hear him. He could barely hear his own ringtone. All he could do was stare at the name that lit up the screen.

Lil bRO(man)

“Come on, Barbie, let's go party!”

Dillon looked up at Remus, the sleep slowly fading from his gaze as his brain slowly began to catch up.

“Re, what’s wrong?”

“I’m a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie wooorld
Life in plastic, it’s fantastic...”

The chorus of the song began to repeat, and Remus knew he was running out of time. This was something he’d wanted for years, and now, it was happening right in front of him. But he was frozen. For some reason, he couldn’t answer the phone.

“You can brush my hair, undress me everywheere…”

When Remus didn’t respond, Dillon sat up, and saw the phone lying limp in his boyfriend’s grasp.

“Imagination, life is you—”

Quick as a lightning bolt, Dillon grabbed the phone and hit ANSWER before it could go to voicemail. Almost as quick, he hit the speaker button.
There was a long moment of silence. Too long. Finally, Remus’s voice returned.

“Ro, is that you?” He asked, hopefully. “Are you ok, are you hurt, where—”

“Re. I— I didn’t acshully think you’d anshwer.”

Roman’s familiar voice leaked through the speakers like water through a broken dam. Despite Remus’s relief, however, he immediately recognized something was wrong. One look at Dillon’s face told Remus that he’d heard it too. The way Roman’s words slurred themselves together. Remus took a deep breath. He knew how to handle this. He just needed to stay calm.

“Of course I would.” Remus said sincerely. “Ro, why don’t you tell me where you are? Maybe I can come to you and we can have this conversation in person?”

However, Roman didn’t seem to hear Remus’s question.

“I meshed up Re, meshed up big time, I ran ‘way from evything ‘cause I shcrewed up, an’ now I’m losht an’ allone an’ I jus’ wanted to hear your voishe one lasht time…”

Remus felt his heart seize in panic at those words. He grabbed the phone out of Dillon’s hands as the man looked on worriedly. Remus clutched that phone like it was his lifeline. No, Roman’s lifeline.

“Roman, wait, what do you mean, one last time? Where are you, what’s going on?”

“Ate too many of th’ pret-ty white circles, and now I can’ shtand up right and m’ brain won’ work.”

 

Roman’s voice grew thick, and it began to sound like he was crying.

“M sorry Re, ‘m an awful brother. I can’ do anything righ’ an’ I was too much of a cow-ward to tell you I was here.”

Remus’s eyes widened in shock as his brain processed the information. White circles, didn’t a lot of pills take that form? Including addictive ones. And Roman was here? San Francisco?

He looked over to Dillon to find that his boyfriend had his own phone out, and was callling someone. Dillon caught his gaze, and mouthed 911. Keep him talking. Remus took a deep breath. He needed to keep it together. For Roman’s sake.

“Roman, you’re going to be fine, just tell me where you are, and I’ll be right there. You said that you’re here? Where is here?”

“Th’ golden ci-ty, home of Sain’ Franny. Wan-ed to talk to you, couldn’ get up th’ nerve. ‘M in this shtupid lil hot-tel, it schucks. Bayshide Mot-tel, I think. Rom 320. Picked it cause it wash our birth-dayte”

Remus quickly glanced over to Dillon urgently, and his boyfriend began relaying Roman’s location to the paramedics.

“Ro, we’ll be right there, just hold on, ok? We’re on our way.”

No response.

“Roman, Roman!”

Silence echoed from the other end of the line.

“No, nononononono no! Roman, please!”

In a dark dingy motel room several miles away, the only sound was a brother’s anguished cries, and the only light was that of a cracked phone screen next to a limp hand.