Epidemic- Chapter 16
Flowers on the bed. Of course, they are a cheap bouquet of grocery store issued, red roses. My dad always told me those are the least personal flowers you can give a woman. As usual, he was right. Lilies are my favorite flower and Eric might know that if he ever paid any real attention to me. Nevertheless, I thank him for his feeble attempt to do something nice for me. Eric questions why I haven’t showered yet, as he was gone long enough for me to have done so. Of course, I cannot tell him what I was doing, so I lie and tell him I needed to handle bathroom business but had no luck. Opiates constipate you. You can go days without having a bowel movement; however, sometimes coming down off the meth will initiate a movement and naturally, when you come off dope, things start to move in the most unpleasant of ways.
Eric apologizes for my inability to shit and suggests I shower while he makes up nice shots for us. The fact that I just took a shot doesn’t detour my welcoming another and I concur with his plan. In addition, he tosses me my bag of dope and says he will make my shot from his. He bought a gram, so his bag is bigger than mine anyways. I can’t help but scoff at that reality that I paid more for the room so he could have his bigger bag but I say nothing and head to the shower.
One of my favorite things to do, is sing. Often times, I find singing in the shower to be a wonderful experience, as my voice echoes and amplifies in beautiful tones. He has commented on his appreciation of hearing my song voice in the shower, so I won’t risk irritating him by engaging in this passion of mine. Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Taylor Swift are my three divas but Alicia usually wins for shower performances. I have listened to her music and have sung along with it enough, I can hear the music in my head and can hit it without hearing it on a stereo.
The water is warm and I let it pour over me. When you live out of your car, a shower is a valuable thing. It changes from an everyday part of your routine in life, to a privilege and the most enjoyable of experiences. Despite my not having a home to shower in, I carry around a backpack with toiletries. The scent of soap is a welcomed alternative to the junkie funk I’ve been wearing for days now.
My lathering goodness and Alicia Keys concert is interrupted by a tapping on the door. Eric informs me the shots are ready and elaborates that he misses me and to hurry up. Misses me? Yeah right, more like we have a bed and he is ready to spend hours having sex without climax because opiates kill your ability to achieve one (well without really working at it, at least). Sex is sex and is great regardless, so I turn off the shower and head to the bed.
Guys and gals have very different expectations about sex and appreciate different aspects of it. For guys, a naked body is sufficient enough to do it. However, for gals, there is an emotional connection that goes along with the act. As a long time, hopeless romantic, I have conjured up daydreams that would put a Nicholas Sparks book to shame but that’s all it ever ends up being; an unfulfilled daydream.
Eric is not romantic at all. I guess the already wilting red roses, are his attempt at being romantic. I giggle out loud at this pathetic realization and he asks me what is so funny. I dismiss his inquiry with a simple shoulder shrug and reach for my clothes. Eric comments I don’t need them and my intuition concerning sex is confirmed. Eric hands me my shot and I tie off quickly. The shower has rejuvenated me and I am ready for another hit of dark now.
I successfully hit on my first attempt. No surprise, Eric hits right away. He draws attention to the fact he is amazed I have and elaborates in a disappointing tone that I have appeared to have gotten better at hitting my veins. When I question the pout he is wearing on his face and further question if he was happy when I poked and stabbed myself for hours searching for one, he replies he is not happy about either. He informs me he never wanted this for me and tells me I am too good of person to be walking this road.
Eric is the one who gave me a tutorial on how to shoot heroin and was also the one who first stuck a needle in my arm. What a lying, ass loser. He needed me to be sick and he knows it. I know I am responsible for sticking my arm out and asking him to hit me but he held my hand, leading me down this road he suddenly doesn’t want me on. Truth be told, if someone asked me to help them use a needle for their first time, I would try to help them to not ever use one. Accompanied by a lengthy lecture and refusal to have any part of it. This hell is my own personal fire and there is no room in the lake for anyone but myself. It’s a dark, lonely and desolate place but pulling someone into the fire with me for the sake of not feeling alone in condemnation, is not something I am capable of. He had no reservation about sharing his hell with me. His words are lost on me now. Perhaps, he feels guilty but I have never vocally judged him for assisting my needle use. That judgment is reserved for myself. We are responsible for our own actions in life and he can’t escape whatever responsibility and judgment God holds for him with regards to sticking me for the first time. That is between him and God. I’ll face mine one day and I already own it.
My head is heavy with a nod, as Eric initiates sex. I have heard that guys fantasize in their head about other females while they have sex sometimes but I am not sure if girls do. I never have. Of course, until I started banging dope, I hadn’t done a lot of things I am finding myself doing now and tonight is no different. My body is engaged with Eric’s; my mind is far from him. My body is numb anyway, so the likelihood of having a legitimate orgasm is slim to none. I enjoy dreaming of other things. Eric doesn’t seem to notice, I doubt he would even care. It’s funny but the man in my daydream doesn’t have a face and we are not having sex. His hand is guiding me through a room by the small of my back. His fingers trace my cheek and brush the hair from my eyes and the kissing. Of course, there is kissing. Soft, slow, passionate kisses that send tickles throughout my entire body. He whispers he loves me and kisses me again. I open my eyes and realize I am not with this man at all. I am with this disgusting, abusive, pathetic, shell of a man and he is really enjoying it.
As with all things heroin, his enjoyment is short lived. The opiates have taken their numbing affect and Eric can no longer perform for now. Thank God. I need another shower just to get his stink off of me. Eric lights a cigarette and hands it to me. He asks if he was good. Naturally, I reassure him and exaggerate his superman abilities, so that he will stop asking me. I wonder if guys know how full of shit we are when we crown them masters of the universe in bed, when really we are all counting inches and if we didn’t finish, you suck and hell no, we are not satisfied. Plain and simple.
My mind is consumed with a million different things right now and none of them involve Eric but he is relentless about spending time with me and won’t let me wander off into enjoyable thought. We pass the cigarette back and forth and talk about the luxury of this piece of shit motel room. Never in my life would I ever believe that one day, I would be praising a motel room similar to a motel 6, as being luxurious. Here I am again, doing things and being a part of things, I never would have been convinced of had someone told me this earlier in life. My pre-heroin days. I miss those days. I miss my daughter, my Natty cakes. Eric puts the cigarette out and flips on the television. He asks me to cuddle him and watch it together but I am nodding and he is too, so really we will be sleeping soon. Sleep. I welcome it. This will be the first time, in a long time, that I can close my eyes without expectations or inconveniences waking me up. An entire week in a motel room. My body embraces the nod.
My mind is awake again but my body is dead tired. How long have I been asleep? It is dark outside and it feels like I have been out for days. Eric is still asleep, as I motivate myself to make us a couple wake up shots. My thoughts are consumed with the $500 I have stashed within the mattress below me and how I will retrieve it without Eric knowing. As the heroin puddles in my spoon, I observe Eric for any signs of life. What a pathetic leach. His chest rises and falls, so I know he is breathing; despite, his limp and lifeless body. What a slug. Just watching him next to me, makes me so angry at what an incredible ass munch he is. Memories of his verbal assaults, the face paint and question concerning his involvement in the failed home invasion attempt. As well, as the fact that he stuck a needle in my arm when he knew it would trap me in Dante ‘s ninth circle of hell, flash through my mind. Why am I still here?
I pull our demon into our rigs and nudge for Eric to wake up. His stare pierces my eyes. His eyes are dark, cold and unfeeling. It is puzzling, even for me, as to why after all he has put me though, I would still be in his company. Even complete and utter loneliness, has to be better than his persistent torture and abuse. His mood is unpredictable, so I wait for a degrading comment or a good morning hug, to determine which mood he is in. He smiles at me and thanks me, even calling me baby, before taking his prepped shot out of my hand. Is this possible? He is going to be nice to me two days in a row? The thought causes me to laugh out loud, as my mind elaborates, it is still too early to tell. Eric makes mention of my laugh and inquires about what I may have been thinking about. With a shoulder shrug and my head down, I lie and tell him my daughter.
Of course, now my daughter is very much on my mind, as I fight to find a vein. Eric begins rambling on and on and minutes most have gone by before I realize, he is speaking honestly with me. He confides in me about how hard it is not to see his own daughters. Laughter emanates from his mouth, as he recalls fun moments he spent with his youngest. He elaborates that he has four daughters. Suddenly, I find myself clenching my thighs together. Four daughters, four different mothers and this is the life he is living? I would be a damn fool to let him anywhere near me again. However, how can I judge his parenting when I am not there for my precious one either? Eric describes each one of his daughters to me and his face wears a glow I have never seen him wear before. It’s love. He is capable of this emotion. Despite all the nastiness and abuse he is capable of, there is a genuine love for his daughter’s radiating from his soul, as he speaks of them excitedly.
My needle finally connects with a vein and I push my poison in, lean my head back, lip my lips and listen. Eric continues to light up with every story and memory he has chosen to share with me. Just when I thought this monster was a soulless creature, God gives me a glimpse of the brokenness inside of Eric. I am reminded that God loves us all, even the murderers, rapists and worse. As the reality hits me, I hear my father’s voice echo through my head…that doesn’t mean that you have to love him Liz. My dad is always right. I can’t ever tell him that and I fight with him every time about guys and their intentions but he is right. He is always there for me when I discover he was right and careful not to rejoice in the fact that he had told me so; however, I am sure he must be very frustrated that I don’t save myself the heartache and just listen to him.
Eric admits to me that he believes he is doomed. He elaborates that he knows he has to hit rock bottom before he can stop using but believes that he has no rock bottom. He has abandoned four children and their mothers, doesn’t help or pay any support, lives in a car with me and treats me like shit and still believes he is not at his bottom and for that, there must be no bottom for him. His eyes well up. Oh my God, is he crying? Who is this stranger beside me? Suddenly, the conversation shifts to me and my daughter. Eric is adamant that I have to hit rock bottom before I am able to turn my life around. I question if I too, have no rock bottom but he cuts me off to insist that I do. How could I not already be at my rock bottom? Look at me. I have gone from a full scholarship 4.0 college student studying Theology and a loving mother, to an abandoned parent and homeless junkie with an abusive boyfriend. How much further can I fall?
I ask Eric why he insists I haven’t hit my rock bottom yet and he scoffs and answers that I am still with him. His tone changes immediately, as he excuses himself to go take a shower. Rock bottom? You always hear that term associated with drug and alcohol abusers but everyone’s rock bottom is different. How could I not already be there? All of my belongings have been stolen from me, I have no job, no money, no clothes. Hell, even my underwear were stolen from me. My fucking underwear! What kind of sick bitch wants used panties? The shower starts and Eric closes the bathroom door. Should I take my money and run? Is he waiting for me to do that? Was this conversation his way of letting me know he is going to aid in my hitting rock bottom? Does he care about me in some sick, twisted way? With so many questions left unsettled, I normally would turn to God for the answers.
What is stopping me now? Before I know it I am talking to God. It doesn’t feel like prayer, as I am not being respectful, my eyes are not closed and I most certainly am not kneeling before him. There is no thought out requests or thanks to be given, I just open my mouth and out come these words,
Dear God, please help me hit rock bottom.
I elaborate that I don’t know if I am there yet and confess the guilt I have for what I am doing to my daughter. I ask him to hold her every night and keep her safe from harm, even the emotional harm that I am causing her but won’t allow myself to feel.
My prayer is cut off by a knock at the door. Who could be knocking? Who knows that we are here? Eric steps out of the shower and tells me not to say anything, as he makes his way to the peephole. He acknowledges them and asks them to wait just a minute, while he fumbles around frantically to get dressed. I question who it is and he snaps at me to hold the fuck on. Well, I guess the typical Eric has returned. That was a short lived moment of sweetness and sincerity. Eric opens the door and in comes walking three people, one of whom is Red.