Ryan Donnelly's Blog

Welcome To Reality

What started as an awesome surprise of a phone call to hear Frank’s voice, abruptly turned tragic.  “Is Felix available?”  Frank responded, “Um you didn’t hear?  Oh yeah well, how would you have heard.”  I responded with, “Heard what, what happened to Felix?”  “Felix is gone man, he left because of his cousin.”

While in rehab, I became really good friends with a lot of guys.  One man in particular was named Felix.  He was tall, lanky, Hispanic, with “cheech-like eyes” and hysterical humor.  He was a clown, always cracking jokes and playing pranks on people.  A good-hearted guy, and it made sense because he was Big Felix’s cousin.  Big Felix was the guy who first showed me around the ARC (Adult Rehabilitation Center) and became a big brother to me.  After Big Felix got clean, he went and found his cousin on the street, who was also an addict, and brought him to the ARC.  

  Little Felix always worked in the kitchen, as a matter of fact, now thinking of it, I don’t know if there was a time when he wasn’t working or wearing his white chef apron and his white chef hat. Those two articles of clothing were very symbolic to him, like a badge of honor.  I would see him at all times of the day still wearing his uniform, he’d even wear it outside when he would smoke.  He was just a funny individual, someone I knew I would remember forever. While in rehab I also started smoking, something that I’ve now parted ways with, but, it was a way to bond with the guys, and gave me a chance to shoot the shit, and during the blackout period, it was the only way to get outside. 

Felix and I would sit on the bench outside and he’d tell me stories about how no one from his block in Brooklyn knew where he was. He would go on to tell me some stupid story about the shit he did, and how his addiction was boosting speed balls (shooting cocaine and heroin intravenously).  He told me, “If people knew I was in here, I wouldn’t be breathing.”  I always knew to ask questions very cautiously, but Felix and I were boys, so I felt comfortable with him to ask. 

“So what did you do Felix?  People after you or something?”  He looked at me with a big smile, chuckled his famous chuckle and said quite bluntly, “Yo, I owe some bad mo-fuckas some money”, and laughed really hard.   I put  my two cents in about how  I thought he should stay clean and never go back to his old ways.  He agreed and we finished our smokes and went inside.  That was four days before I left the ARC, four days before I would never see him again.

  The conversation with Frank became frantic on my end.  Big Felix felt like a big brother to me.  He was untouchable in my eyes, he even looked a little like Derek Jeter.  He was a stand-up guy  and now I was so worried about him. 

“Frank, what you mean he left, what the hell happened to his cousin Felix?”  Frank was silent for a moment,as if he were trying to find the right words,  ”Bro this is hard to for me to tell you but, Little Felix was murdered in Brooklyn in late October, Big Felix snapped and went looking for the people responsible and no one has heard from him or seen him in about two months.”  My heart was broken, “I told Frank I had to get going, had to get off the phone, and that I would call  back soon.”  I just had to end the call before I lost it.  A good friend…shot to death, a brother to me… back on the street. It was the cold reality of what drugs do to lives… and I was sick of it.

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