"They've found him!" Jax's voice on the phone was breathless with relief. "They've found PJ!" The long breath I did not know I was holding rushed out of me and I squeezed my eyes tight shut. The wall was cool against my forehead as my head sagged gently against it.
He was alive, thank God.
The night before, Jax had told me about the massive, stupid row about stupid, stupid dope they'd had. PJ had been convinced he'd been swindled in a deal. The others there assured him he hadn't been, but the paranoia won out, he stormed out and as suddenly as that, he was gone.
It had snowed that night – for the first time in years - and all I could think of was PJ, out there somewhere, freezing cold and alone. In too much of a hurry to wrap up, you see.
Please God, look after him.
There were no mobile phones back then - no shiny little miracles that we take so much for granted nowadays. PJ had simply disappeared and there was no way we could call him, plead with him, make a rope of soft words to lead him back to us.
Please come home, let's just talk about it...
A man out walking his dog found PJ slumped unconscious at the base of a tree. He had taken every pill he possessed, washed it down with whiskey and then had simply laid himself down in the snow to die...
Who on earth walks a dog in the woods, in the snow at one a.m.?
When the doctors had finished with him, Jax brought him over to see me. The moment he came into the house, my eyes gobbled him up, not quite believing.
Alive and here!
PJ was very quiet, very much ashamed of himself and full of remorse at putting us all through such a horrible experience.
That doesn't matter now...
I threw my arms around him and hugged him with all my strength. It was the only way I could stop myself from punching him in the face.