Saturday, January 24, 2015
An excerpt from Just Another Number
I was used to surrounding myself with drug addicts. They were usually slightly older than me. Most of them looked like they’d been gnawed at by a household pet and tossed in the corner of the garage for a few years. But Number 3 introduced me to a whole new level of bad crowds. As a house painter, he associated with men in construction. Many of them were middle-aged, poverty-stricken rednecks with snuff leaking out of their toothless traps. Marijuana and painkillers were their crackers and juice boxes.
“Try this,” Number 3 urged me.
We were visiting Cody, one of his work buddies. Cody was a tall, fair-haired and skinned guy. His shoulders and face were sunburnt from working outside and his hands were callused. Cody claimed to be twenty-eight, but his worn, sunken face looked at least thirty-five. His body looked like a flesh-toned skeleton.
“What is it?” I asked.
I was introduced to new drugs on a regular basis. I’d long tossed caution aside.
“This is how ya smoke an orgasm,” Cody chimed.
I looked where his thick, southern drawl came from and noticed that he had a few teeth missing. Cody held a piece of tin foil folded down the middle. He poked a few holes at the bottom of it with a pen and dumped some white, powder on top. Lighter in hand, he set flames to the bottom of the foil. I saw a small amount of vapor rise. With a straw between his teeth, Cody greedily sucked every trace. He didn’t hold the smoke in like marijuana. He quickly blew it out with a satisfied, euphoric grin like he’d just received a blowjob from Angelina Jolie.
“Yer turn babygurl,” Cody said.
I had no reason to reject him. I felt like it was just as rude to turn down Cody’s drugs as it was to turn down a neighbor’s home-cooked meal.
Number 3 held the foil in front of my face while Cody lit the bottom. As soon as the vapor rose, I heard Cody say, “Suck it all in.”
With the straw in my mouth, I took the deepest breath that my lungs could hold. It was the smoothest hit I’d ever taken, much more pleasant than heavier, scalding marijuana smoke.
“Don’t hold it,” Cody ordered.
As soon as I exhaled, I truly understood Cody’s term, “smoking an orgasm.”
There are no words to pinpoint the feeling of one’s first methamphetamine hit. Those who have used understand. The world suddenly seems more beautiful than it’s ever been. You have nothing but immense love and compassion for everyone. You are infected with an overwhelming sense of hope and optimism. You suddenly transform into this beautiful, immaculate soul. You love yourself with every inch of you. With no rhyme, reason, or requirement for that sort of logic, you are suddenly powerful, strong, and brilliant.
Meth gives you a rush that you can practically feel pumping in your heart and tingling in your skin. Without movement, your adrenaline seems to furiously race through your soul. That one hit makes you believe in your strength to climb a mountain or win a war.
One hit was never enough. When I smoked, I bathed in every bit of happiness my body could produce. In my body’s attempt to balance itself, I had to come down. My nirvana faded. That broke my heart every time. I was willing to do anything to get it back. We bolted across town in the middle of the night and emptied our wallets. But just as with all poisons, there always came a point where we had to either stop or die. Luckily we were too poor to die.
My comedowns from meth were as devastating as the highs were pleasant. Even warmly nuzzled against my boyfriend, I felt utterly alone with the weight of sorrow heavy on my heart. My beautiful world was crumbling. I was suddenly overcome by an unexplainable urge to scratch filth out from underneath my skin. My bones ached. My body became my prison.
I clutched onto Number 3 for as long as I could. Knowing that he was experiencing this horrible feeling with me was a bit comforting. But I was seventeen and had to face my family and school. I drove home feeling uncontrollably depressed. In hopes of lifting my spirits, I turned to another addiction. I stopped by a local grocery store.
“I’ve already damaged my body today,” I rationalized. “I might as well fuck it up some more.”
I strolled in, still aching and a bit dazed from my earlier adrenaline rush. I grabbed several bags of candy, stuffed them in my purse, and walked out.
I became quite the kleptomaniac the summer before and had been hooked on shoplifting ever since. The trick was to carry a large purse, watch out for sensors, and keep an eye on security cameras. Most security systems had several blind spots. Some stores didn’t even have cameras. This particular grocery store had few, if any, so it was a routine place for me to pick up food that I intended to vomit right back up.
It was my bulimia that prevented my full on meth addiction. The high I got from binging on forbidden food outweighed the meth euphoria. I was too focused on my former addiction to develop another. So I only smoked meth with Number 3.
Of all the bad habits I partook in, Number 3 was my most destructive. As I constantly struggled to curb my personality and tip toe around his ego, I lost sight of my friendships and any ambitions I may have had. When Number 3 graced me with his presence, I remained at his heels like a well-trained puppy.
Our dates were random late night house parties. My dinner was the toxic substances he graciously paid for. Those nights were a complete blur. Number 3 and I would take a pill, smoke some weed, drink some beer, and snort some random type of speed all in one night. I couldn’t recall whom I’d met or what we talked about. There were times that I drove home so cracked out that I would suddenly wake up in my shower, not remembering how I got there.