he spent thirty days in jail.
he called her first when he got home.
caller id showed his name on her phone when it rang.
curled up in a ball crying, she let it go to voice mail.
she trembled as she listened to his message. then she was relieved.
he sounded normal. he begged her not to call the police. he just wanted to see her.
she called him back.
they arranged to meet. there was still love. there was still commitment.
they met the next evening at a park.
he rode up to her car on his bicycle.
her heart leaped when she saw him. he looked alive again. he looked good.
they cried as they embraced.
some tears were for sorrow, some for regret, some for loneliness.
after the embrace, she studied him.
his head was shaved. he was thinner.
she touched his left cheek with her right hand.
then it began to pour out of him. he was sorry for what he put her through.
in his darkest moments, he’d had little to no strength to resist the demons.
they told him he would not sleep without the little pink pills.
each night, they fed him the same lie. the stronghold grew stronger.
each night, he went out to get the little pink pills.
sometimes he bought them. sometimes he stole them.
he got caught at one place. they banned him entry for a year.
he swallowed the little pink pills every night.
every night, he took more of them. twenty, thirty, fifty, eighty. he lost count.
he knew they were trying to kill him. they almost succeeded.
those little pink pills were never meant for sleep. they were only for allergies.
he had swallowed almost enough to die in the bed next to her.
one more night, and it might have been the end. he knew that. he said it.
he knew papa god saved his life by sending him to jail.
mercy saved his beloved son and daughter.
they wept together as he told the stories.
little pink pills laced with witchcraft have killed many.
they would not kill him.
he found little pink pills for months. they were hidden in secret places.
they were in the kitchen. they were in the bathroom. they were in the closets, they were in compartments in the car.
he destroyed them as he found them.
and he never took them again.
(copyright 2016 jane doe)