In the parking lot Jason held me as I cried. Suddenly we had flipped. I was the fragile one and he was in charge. He took the car keys and told me to get in. We drove to Freddy's Frozen Custard where he ordered us both cheeseburgers and fries. Often I avoid such food, but today it tasted so good. I cried as we sat and ate. He smiled at the workers and acted like it was perfectly normal for me to just cry in public. He ordered us a sundae to share. He told me it would be fine. He explained that he had made a choice to do drugs and that now he was paying the price, but that he would get better. We talked about the importance of finding little things to smile about when life got hard. He cracked jokes and made me laugh.
In the car again he said we were going to the zoo. What is your favorite animal he asked. The big cats I replied. Especially the panthers. He took me to the zoo. He was able to walk better now, but a block or two still wore him out. We went to the map and found the most direct route to the large cats. It was quite a walk. He was wore out by the time we got there. Of course the cats had been moved. They had been placed in a new exhibit on the other side of the zoo. I suggested we just go, I had seen enough great animals already. He had made me laugh all through our walk. We stopped and played with the monkeys. I was in a great mood. No, he insisted we see the cats. By the time we arrived there he was tired, pale, and sweating. He sat and rested for the walk back to the car.
My day had been a roller coaster of emotion. Much like my life seemed to be becoming. Jason had some good days when we could laugh and talk and then some days when he was too tortured internally to concentrate. I came to appreciate a few hours of sleep as much as a parent of a newborn child does.