#ichooselove, zachary, part 4

As we return to my story of Zachary and the reason for #ichooselove on April 26 let’s review…

Zach ran away for the first time in his early teens.
It was never just down the street.
It happened again and again.

Why?

In writing this, and probably for some time previous, I realized I will never know this answer. No one will. I can only speak to what happened that I was part of and my experience of it.

I continue to feel inclined to tell you story after story of Zach and his experiences. To paint a picture in your head. To give him some sense of existence. I keep coming full circle to the realization that so many of the stories are not mine to tell and so I won’t.

Instead as I begin to wrap this series up I will share a few things i can share about Zachary…

Seemingly random but they might help you to know him as I did… They might help make him a bit more real to you.

Zachary was one of the most intelligent people I have ever known. however, he saw no reason to apply this intelligence to anything he was not interested in.

Zachary was tall and lanky, measuring over 6′ 4″.

Zachary was, according to others, attractive, charismatic, charming even (I’m his sister so can not really speak to any of the above)…

Zachary was a reader. He loved to read above all else. Even when hitching he usually had a book or two with him. Ironically one of his favorites as a pre teen was “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

Zachary was sensitive. He had a hard time when my mom left my dad when we were young despite it being a necessary choice. He carried this upset forward with him and always had a hard time with my stepfather despite everything he did to try and help him.

Zachary was a loner. He had a hard time fitting in when we moved to town.

Zachary was different. He was ostracized by his peers. Jumped almost daily in one neighborhood we lived in. At some point he seemed to embrace this being different and intentionally amplified it.

Zachary spent a lot of time in the principal’s office. Little time in class and eventually rarely made it to school at all. I have a vivid recollection of one teacher asking me one December in high school what my brother looked like. I asked why and his response was, “Because he is in my class and I’ve never actually never seen him…” Despite all this he did graduate.

Zachary spent much of his teenage years split between our house in Colorado, my father’s house in Las Vegas, on the streets, and who knows where else in between. This continued into adulthood, when he crashed on my floor in Boulder and Denver a few times for days to weeks on end.

Zachary was addicted to drugs. Starting with huffing as a young teen and escalating to other drugs rather quickly. At one point in high school Zachary had one of many interventions and when attempting to place him in a juvenile program the directors essentially told my mom and stepdad to do so would be a waste of time. Zachary was too deeply knowledgable and addicted. After completing his in-house adult program he attended AA meetings with many of the people he was supposed to respect and listen to (teachers, law enforcement, etc.) Nothing ever helped him for any extended period of time.

Zachary didn’t run away from home for the first time at 13. He and I ran away together when I was 6 and he was 7. My mom had left us with a close family friend and we had gotten in to trouble for excluding our younger sister from something. We were sent to our rooms. I have a vivid recollection of climbing out his bedroom window with a sleeve of saltines and some water. We loaded them into our little red wagon and headed in to the prairie. I know we stayed away a long time. It was dark when we returned and we were in trouble. We obviously each took separate lessons away from that experience. His was not to never run away…

So above are a few random facts. I can’t say how I chose these or why. I only know that as I wrap up sharing his story over the next two posts I wanted anyone reading to know a little more about him.

Final fact and one that seems to be common in many of those listed above; Zachary heard the call of the wild from a young age and was intent upon answering it…

April 26. #ichooselove. A benefit art show in Zachary’s honor.