A MEMORY

It's 3AM and I can't sleep.
  1. Rolled over with a backache and a full head
  2. Despairing over life
  3. I turn 25 next Tuesday
  4. What do I have to show for it?
    I've put my life on hold out of fear.
  5. It feels like every day I learn something new that I'm likely going to miss out on
    Because of my toxic brain bugs.
  6. A faded memory projects unbidden onto my mental movie theater screen:
  7. High school me—even less attractive than current me—standing in the cafeteria drinking one of those diet flavored water things,
    Peach, as if that matters. The things the mind remembers, eh?
  8. When my beautiful, star soccer player friend Caleb Walker
    He was one of those people you always said their whole name, first and last.
  9. Came over to me at the end of the long table and asked me about my sandwich, then looked at my drink and said:
  10. "You know that stuff is going to kill you one day."
    I laughed it off, but he looked me dead in the eye and widened his eyes and earnestly nodded his head: "It'll rot your brain."
  11. That moment continued haunting me for years, made me genuinely wonder if my affinity for diet drinks could truly hurt me.
  12. For years this thought skipped around my brain, a teasing sort of taunt—
  13. Until all at once it wasn't.