Epidemic- Chapter 20
I can’t breathe. This is it. The birds are chirping around my head and the lights are going dim. The darkness behind Eric’s eyes has now taken over until there is no remnant of color left in his dilated, angry pupils. My hands frantically pull at the grip he has around my mouth and nose but my strength pales in comparison to the demonic forces at work within him. My legs flail about, in an attempt to get him off my chest. The struggle causes my foot to knock over my rack of DVD’s, startling Eric briefly. It is within that moment his hand slips from my mouth to observe the noise behind him, as the movies come crashing down. My eyes are focused on my daughter’s Disney Princess, toy box beside me and I scream out that I have a daughter and he has met her! The pressure on my chest immediately subsides, as Eric climbs off from on top of me.
Still struggling to catch my breath and unaware of what his intentions are, I slink across the room and manage to sit up. Tears begin to stream down Eric’s face, as he apologizes profusely. He attempts to comfort me with a hug. A smarter woman may have accepted it until she cleared him from her home for her own personal safety. Suddenly, I see weakness in his spirit and fear in his eyes and I push him away from me. My demons have awakened, as I scream at him to get the fuck out of my house. I repeatedly elaborate that he almost killed me, he almost fucking killed me and that he better get out because I am calling the police. My fear is taken over by a raging monster inside of me. That dope sick demon no longer possesses Eric, as he enters my bloodstream. Boiling with fire. My body shakes upon its entrance and the room paints itself red. It is I, who now is encompassed with the aptitude to kill.
Standing to my feet, I quickly pull up and fasten my pants. Eric is met with a foot to his ass, as I kick him towards the door. His head in his hands and pathetic tears and pleas for me to forgive him are silenced by my demonic forces. He opens the door and turns back towards me, weeping with insistence that it was an accident and he is sorry! My eyes are dark and infuriated with his nonsensical whims and he senses the dope sick demon before walking out the door. No sooner than it entered me, it vacates my being, as my gears turn quickly back to panic and I immediately lock the door. My engine is no longer revved up and I make my way over to the bed. Tears begin to stream down my face, soaking my v-neck tee below. There is a small window by my bed that is open and I can hear Eric weeping below it. He sobs that he is sorry and deserves to die. He professes that he can’t believe what has occurred and that it wasn’t him doing it. In truth, it was physically him attempting to kill me; however, I know all too well the dope sick demon had a hold of him. This doesn’t detour my feelings about it, nor do I justify it and allow him to come back inside the house.
Instead, I grab my junkie kit and sit on the bathroom floor. Eric is tall enough that he can look inside the window, so I position myself where he cannot see me. I leave the window open so that I can hear what he is doing. There are a few tar smears on the empty baggies I have collected over the last few days, as well as a baggie full of used cottons. While it is not enough to get me high, I should be able to ease the dope sick enough to get on my feet and make moves. My sister will be home soon and I want to be gone so I don’t have to explain the hole in the bathroom door or Eric sobbing outside.
There is also a couple of tooters, (hollowed out pens used to smoke heroin) in my kit. I take my pointer finger and press it firmly to one end, put a tiny amount of water in the other end, plug it with my thumb so that both sides are secured with my fingers and shake it back and forth vigorously, in an attempt to liquefy any resin left in the tooter. Success. Without Eric here, I actually have enough to make a semi-decent shot. Eric is angrily asking me what I am doing in the bathroom, letting me know he has in fact stood up now and is looking through my window. He accuses me of being a stingy whore, begs me not to leave him dope sick and to please share my cottons. He doesn’t realize that I had enough resin in the tooters and scrapings from old bags, that I didn’t have to fuck with old cottons to make this shot. In addition, I have collected my necklace and Wii to pawn and unbeknownst to him, I have one heroin connection five minutes away from here. In between several failed attempts at hitting a vein, I text my connect and ask her if she has any dope.
She is not a dealer and her dealer takes about an hour to come through, so I elaborate I will give her an extra ten bucks if she is willing to part with just enough of her own stash for Eric and I to get well. She concurs with this arrangement, as she is planning on seeing her dealer today anyways, so now she will have an extra ten to throw on it. Blood begins to trickle into my rig. I have successfully hit but it’s not a good connection and if I push it, I will waste the shot. Frustration overwhelms me and I cry out to God for help. How pathetic am I? As if God would assist in my junkie wet dream. Eric is still calling to me, begging from the window. This makes it more difficult for me to concentrate on the task at hand. Nevertheless, I rip my sock off and know what I have to do. My feet are badly bruised and I cringe at the thought of the painful realization that I will have to stick this dull ass rig into my bony, little feet. There are minuscule veins on the inner side of my foot by my ankle bone. A yelp of pain followed by a sigh of relief, escapes my mouth, as I successfully hit.
Blood fills the barrel of my rig and I slowly push my poison in. Quickly, I hop to my feet and feel like a new person. The opiates appease the demon and I call to Eric to go to the door. As I have stated, I wouldn’t wish dope sick on my worst enemy. I greet him at the door with my old cottons and a rig and tell him we have to hurry because I have a connect up the road. He complies, as I gather up my Wii and my favorite dragonfly necklace to take to the pawn store. Standing in line at the pawn shop, I feel as though every eye is on me. This is a new low and the realization that I have yet to hit rock bottom scares me, as I make my way to the register. My father gave me this necklace and I hesitate briefly to let it go. When I had vacationed in California a few years ago with him, I went to SeaWorld and got into the tank with the dolphins, (a lifelong dream of mine). In order to get into our wet suits, we were instructed to remove all clothing and jewelry and put them in designated lockers. I placed the necklace into a small pocket of my backpack and zipped it up, securing it from falling out. Once back to the hotel we were staying at, I searched through the backpack frantically but couldn’t find my necklace. My dad witnessed me, turn the pockets inside out, dumping it over the bed. The necklace was gone and I was extremely upset, believing it had been stolen while I was entertaining my beloved dolphins. I cried out to God that night in prayer, about how unhappy I was about missing my necklace and went to sleep. Several days later, back home in Washington, I opened the pocket to my backpack and there was my necklace. It was impossible. My dad can attest to the fact that I had physically turned that pocket inside out repeatedly and the necklace was not there. To this day, I believe God answered my prayers and put that necklace back in the pocket.
Silly as that may seem, I never doubted it. Now, here I am, pawning it for dope money. A gift from my father; a re-gift from my spiritual father, but still I take the hundred dollars and pocket it. Eric remained in the car throughout my humiliation. He always stays in the car. Once back inside the vehicle, all he cares about is how much I got for it. My mouth murmurs, not enough and I head over to my connects house. Maggie greets us at the door and her face turns to one of concern. She ask Eric to sit on the couch with her son, as I follow her to the bedroom to make the deal. Her son is also a heroin user, so they will likely have no problem acquainting themselves with one another. After I sit down on the bed, Maggie asks me about my face. I guess I had been so busy prepping my shot and getting this money, I hadn’t realized there is a Nike swoosh tread bruised onto my cheekbone. What should I say? Oh my God, the people in the pawn shop were looking at me. It wasn’t paranoia at all.
Maggie doesn’t use needles and I watch her scan inventory of my arms and turn away with disgust. She breaks me off a nice chunk and asks me if I want to smoke with her before I head out. Fuck yes. Of course, I do. Free heroin high when I feel like shit, who cares if it is only smoking it at this point? She allows for me to take three pulls from the foil in rotation before it is burnt and we head back into the living room. As she walks Eric and I to the door, Maggie turns and informs Eric that if she ever sees a mark on my face like that again, she runs with old school bikers and he will never be seen or heard from again.
The drive back to the valley feels longer than its usual thirty minutes. Truth is, we have a little money now but it will be gone on our next bag and I need to hustle more. Eric is annoyed by Maggie’s threat. I didn’t provoke her to speak her mind. She didn’t like what she saw on my face and felt incline to speak up about it. While I appreciate her support, it has added hostility to the road trip and I am beyond tired of Eric’s incessant insult to injury. We have no plans, other than the obvious plan to score more dope. There is no place we call home. The idea of going back to Isaac’s and dealing with any more of my belongings being stolen or the constant ridicule I go through about putting up with Eric, lacks any real appeal. Our options are limited. Eric suddenly has changed his tone and tells me has a simple solution to our money problems. My mind races with all of his previous plotting scheme ideas and theft related come ups and I hesitate to even ask what he has brewing in his own mind this time.
Eric is shifting in his seat and is wearing that big, stupid smirk of his again. He begins to tell me that when he lived in Tacoma that he had a money making operation that never failed and that we wouldn’t get in trouble with it. My eyes force themselves not to roll, as he continues to go on about how much of a baller he was, (baller is a hip hop slang word used to describe someone with big pockets/money). As long as I have known him, he has been a scrawny, pathetic, lying, thieving and broke ass junkie, so forgive me if I cannot find the idiocy needed to believe any of this. His tone changes and I can sense him tip toeing around his intentions, so I speak with the pair of balls he is lacking to inform him that if he is talking about what I think he is talking about, it is never going to happen. Eric grins a smile of relief, that I have picked up on his plans that I become a fucking prostitute, without him having to speak the words himself. He begs me to just hear him out and reassures me that if I were to become a whore that he would still love me and it wouldn’t change anything.
My blood is boiling again, only this time a new rage I have never known spews forth hatred, insults and threats in Eric’s direction. How dare him fucking ask me to be a hooker! What the fuck is he thinking? Really, he wouldn’t let it affect his love for me? What love? This isn’t love at all. I scream at him that by even asking me to lower my morals to the possibility of abandoning whatever integrity I have left, only proved to me that he didn’t love me. He attempts to protest, but I rage over his ability to speak and elaborate that if I was ever desperate enough to sell my body for a few quick bucks and some dope that I sure as hell wouldn’t hand him the money. That would be my ultimate rock bottom. The rock bottom he insists I need to hit. I scream that when I hit that kind of rock bottom, his ass won’t be anywhere around me anymore!
Laughter of the psychotic nature takes over me, as I accuse him of lying to me about Tacoma, I elaborate that he is too white and stupid to be a pimp. There are no hoes that would ever trust his 140 pound ass to take care of them! He meets my laughter with his own and insists that he had several hoes that paid him. He is so full of shit. My body is trembling with anxiety and adrenaline, I need to pull off of the freeway before I completely lose it. It’s too late to pull off, as I notice the red and blue lights flashing behind me. A state patrol is pulling me over and in truth I have no idea how fast I was going when he clocked me but when I check the speedometer after seeing the lights, I am well over 80 MPH. The rush of adrenaline and anger of the situation had sidetracked me from paying any attention to my speed or the road. A very frightening realization. Eric quickly scans the car for any bright, orange rig caps, (caps for the needles) or any other drug paraphernalia. I quickly grab my drivers license, registration and insurance card and meet the officer with it before he can even ask for me to provide them. The officer asks me if I know why he pulled me over. Paranoia, fear, as well as, an abundance of adrenaline is coursing through my entire being and I know that it is best to not lie to him or answer the question. Why admit I was speeding, if perhaps I have a broken tail light I don’t know about?
The officer leans down to make eye contact with me and I am fearful my pupils will be a dead giveaway and that I am going to be in some serious trouble. He confirms what I already knew, that he did in fact pull me over for speeding. When asked how fast I thought I was going, I shrug and explain that I was upset and honestly had not been minding my speed, followed by an apology for being so distracted and reckless. The cop utilizes the term reckless to explain that he clocked me doing 90 MPH and that I am lucky because he has no doubt that I was doing well over 100 MPH. He elaborates that he could give me a reckless driving ticket, but seeing as I was noticeably upset, apologetic and I had not attempted to lie or make excuses, he issues me a ticket with a reduced speed and I get off on the reckless driving charges and suspension of license. My heart has been beating rapidly through this entire ordeal. Not surprisingly, Eric laid his head back to pretend he was sleeping and avoid any altercation. To my surprise, however, the officer didn’t insist on seeing the identification that Eric doesn’t possess anyways. He left Eric alone completely, only asking me a few questions about who he was and if I was alright. Perhaps the tears from our argument and the Nike swoosh on my face caused the officer to have some type of pity for me?
Once we are free to leave, I pull back out on to the freeway and accelerate towards Isaac’s house. My heart is still pounding and all I want to do is get high. Eric tells me that he cannot believe how lucky I am and that I did a good job answering the officers questions vaguely, but without lying. It is crazy how you can be so angry with someone one minute and then appreciate them the next. Why do I continue to seek his approval and worship his praise? Something is very dysfunctional and broken inside of me and knowing it isn’t enough to avoid the continued cycle of abuse. This realization makes the scenario even worse. When we get to Isaac’s, we are met with a houseful of tweakers. Apparently, groups of them occupy each room of the home now. In their individual clicks. Jenn is still in jail and Isaac is so paranoid, he spends most his time at the blinds, peeking out across the street in full tweaker blind paranoid syndrome. The backroom has a couple people chilling in it that really despise Eric. One of the girls, Ashley, is someone I would love to punch in the face. I know she is partly responsible for my things being stolen and I am so angry she is protected by all of these tweakers. If I ever run into her alone, I will drop her.
There are meth clouds permeating from every room and the pipes are being passed around without prejudice. Eric just wants to take a shot, but I appreciate drugs in all their forms and jump into a rotation to smoke. While I am in the kitchen smoking with Justin, Lana, Will and Scott, Eric makes his way to the living room where Isaac is tweaking at the blinds. There are dishes overflowing from both sinks, six full garbage bags leaning against the wall, pans that have burnt residue on them, sitting on the floor by the fridge and flies buzzing around. This house is a landfill. There is no garbage service, so the backyard has without any exaggeration, at least thirty to forty hefty bags full or rotting trash. The hot sun beaming on them causes the smell to penetrate the kitchen. The meth numbs the overwhelming scent.
Eric asks me to come upstairs with him to talk and I know that means he wants to go take a shot. There is no hesitation on my part to concur with his request to join him. Once upstairs, Eric informs me that he has left his phone downstairs on the coffee table and needs to go get it. A brand new iPhone, in a house full of thieving tweakers is not good and I freak out and follow him downstairs to recover the phone. Eric insists it is not on the table and I call it from mine and it immediately goes to voice mail. Someone in this house has already stolen and turned off the phone. As if this wasn’t reason enough for me to get angry, Eric turns to me and accuses me of stealing it to sell later for dope money.