It’s cold on his birthday. I shiver inside my car, waiting for him to return.

Just a bag of dope, he’d said, so I can get in.

The detox insanity: he must test positive to be admitted. I gave him money, drove him to the heroin-infested streets, and now sit hoping he’ll return for a ride to rehab.

As I drive home from the city, from the living loss of my son, I prepare to celebrate his birthday without him, again. I’ll wait until he calls for money, and try again to save the life I once gave him.




Carolyn Julia Brown received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University in January 2015. Her previous publications include a poem which won first prize in the journal Alumni Reflections; essays in the anthology Summer Shorts and the online literary magazine Mason’s Road; and stories online in espresso stories and A Quiet Courage. Carolyn is currently finishing a collection of stories. She lives in the Atlanta area.

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