I heard the phone click as I hung it up. It all made such un-perfect sense to me now. You had lost so much weight and looked so run down.
I picked up the bible that I had been studying. My scripture study had become a part of my everyday life. Study...prayer...fasting had been my mantra in trying to heal my broken home. I laid it down on the table and called to Shannon. I told her I would be back, that I needed to go find you.
I pulled up in front of your apartment. Your truck was there. I was relieved first of all to know you were home and secondly, to know you had found your truck. You had told me one of your friends had taken off in your truck and you didn't know where he was at. He had been missing for a couple of days.
I honked the horn and one of your friends came out. I told him to go tell you I needed to talk to you and you came out a few minutes later, opened the passenger door and climbed in. I turned in my seat facing you and placed my hand under your chin, turned your face to mine, and gazed into your eyes. How had I missed it? Why hadn't I seen before what I was seeing now? My son's beautiful eyes that had once sparkled with life now had a dull haze. His beautiful tanned skin now took on a gray pallor. It was like I was looking into a face of a skeleton.
"Daren," I said. "I know you are doing cocaine."
"Mom. Why are you saying that? I'm not doing coke." You replied.
"Don't lie to me, Honey." I said as I ran my hand up your cheekbone.
"Well, if keeping food on my friends' tables and clothes on their kids' backs makes me bad, then I am bad," yo said.
"What are you talking about, Honey?" I asked. "That doesn't make sense."
You turned your face from me, not wanting to look me in the eyes any longer.
"Go home, Mom." You said. "I'll come home tomorrow."
"Promise me?" I asked.
"I promise." You replied. "I love you, Mom."
"I love you too, Honey." I said as you climbed out of the car and walked toward the house. You turned to watch me as I pulled away from your apartment.
I drove back home, with my heart breaking and my mind confused. Danny was just getting on his feet again. This was his first day back to work in his company. What was this news going to do to him. "Maybe I shouldn't tell him." I thought to myself. My mind argued back "You've got to tell him."
I entered the house, went in my bedroom, locked my door and crawled up in the middle of my bed.
I had been asked by the Vietnam Veterans of America to speak in behalf of the Veterans on KSL radio a week before. When I arrived home, a bouquet of red roses waited for me. Clinging to one of the roses was a Pink Panther character along with a note from you. "I'm proud of you, Mom."
I held the Pink Panther in my hands and cried until tears seemed to run dry. I was in so much pain feeling that somewhere, somehow, sometime, I had let you down. I hadn't been there for you. Then I became angry with God. "Why? I cried. I've been doing what I thought You would want me to do. I've been praying and studying and fasting. WHY?!!"
The voice I heard was faint. It didn't come from the outside of my head into my ears. Instead, it was a voice I heard that spoke to me inside. It was not an imaginative voice. It was as real as anything I had ever heard before. It was a voice that said "Daren will be instrumental in the work of the Lord."
I wish I could say that with those words, my heart was healed. But it wasn't. My mind hurt, my heart ached and my spirit was torn as I waited for your Dad to come home.
He arrived just before dark. He took one look at me and said "What's wrong?"
"I need to talk to you," I said. "Can we go for a ride?"
Your brother and sisters were busy with things that they usually did. Shannon was home with Rainee and Haley so your Dad and I left to talk. I told him about the telephone call and how I had come to see you. He was quiet for a while and I worried about him. Finally he said "I want to go talk to the woman who called you."
We went home, and I called her back and told her we wanted to meet with her. She said you had been good friends with her son for a long time and that she loved you and was so very worried about you. That it had been her son who had confided in her. She handed the phone to her son, who, for the purpose of his confidentiality, I will call "A".
"Hello," he said.
"Hello. This is Daren's Mom. Daren's dad and I were wondering if we could come and talk to you for a while."
There was a pause on the other end of the line when "A" finally said, "I don't think that's a good idea."
"We won't take long," I assured him. "We just need to talk to you about Daren."
"You don't understand," he replied. "If they know I am talking to you the would kill me."
My mind tried to tell me "A" was exaggerating, but my heart told me he wasn't. I relayed to Danny what was being said.
"Tell him to go get a motel room," Danny said. "Tell him I will pay for it. Have him call us tonight and we will meet with them in the middle of the night."
I asked "A" if he would agree to that and he said he would. Danny and I went home. We told Shannon what was going on and told her we needed to go out late. She assured us not to worry about the other kids. She and her fiance Robert would be there to take care of things.
At one-thirty Sunday morning, Danny and I pulled into a motel and went to the room "A" had told us to go to. When the door opened "A" was there along with "M", another one of your friends. The story we would hear, would prove to us how seriously the drug problem was in our little community, and how horribly deep you had been pulled into it.