Epidemic- Chapter 26
The needle penetrates through the skin and hits the vein immediately. I can actually feel the success of the hit and see Tyler’s relief, as he witnesses the blood pour into the barrel. He slowly pushes the demon in. Reminding me with a whisper to sit still. Instantly, I can taste the heroin in the back of my throat. The euphoria of the high hits me faster than it ever has before. Tyler pulls the needle from my neck and I lick my lips before my head falls back, embracing its heavy hit. This is the best shot of heroin I have ever had in my life. Your neck is closer to your brain and it’s an automatic, full body orgasm head to toe. This is not good. I’ll never want to shoot anywhere but my neck again.
Tyler touches the injection site on my neck and asks how I feel, but he doesn’t need me to respond. It is obvious. I feel incredible. Eric has turned the television up. Nonetheless, he is spatting insults in our direction. Tyler’s hand moves up my neck and cups my cheek, almost as if he were going to pull me towards him and kiss me. His thumb lightly grazes my lips, before pulling his hand away and suggesting we join Eric before he flips out. Eric is on the bed grunting at me, so I opt to sit in the chair. He thinks I have reached a new low and expresses his disbelief in achieving a new level of low when he already didn’t think highly of my pathetic junkie ways. He is the biggest hypocrite I have ever met. Every time he belittles me and calls me names, I wan’t to smack him across the face with a mirror, so he can take a painful look at himself. Hours pass quickly, in between nods. The amount of times I have been jerked awake from my phone falling from my hand to the floor mid text is unknown. Although I can see I have attempted to articulate and send this text for roughly 45 minutes now. Can this be right? What’s worse is what I have managed to text between phone drops, doesn’t make any sense.
Tyler and Eric are embracing their own nods. Even with the meth in their shots, they cannot resist the nod of this pure fire, (good dope). I am not sure how long Tyler has been awake, but I know Eric has been up for days. We both have. The bed is tempting me to lie down. However, I don’t want to be anywhere near Eric. Still, exhaustion leads me to the bed, where I lie down with my back to him. He immediately traces his fingers on my back and attempts to initiate sex with no regard to the fact Tyler is nodded in the chair right next to the bed. This might be surprising, but in the drug world, people fuck with audiences. I, however, do not.
The fact that Tyler is nodded out doesn’t sway my decision. Although, Eric attempts to persuade me using that reasoning multiple times. A heroin nod can awaken at any time and the idea of us being caught up in the act and unaware of Tyler to the point of not noticing that he wakes up is not something I am prepared to do. Thoughts race through my mind about Tyler getting off on it quietly in the corner and I quickly sit up in bed, brushing Eric’s hand from me. He is disgusting and I don’t want his hands on me. Regardless of whether or not Tyler is in in the room. We argue a little about it, in whispers, but I win the argument and light a victory cigarette.
Eric confides in me about some new property he has plans of robbing. I refuse to take any part in it. For starters, I have money on my DSHS, (welfare) card, cash in my bra and a substantial amount of dope to get me through. There is no need for me to sink to these desperate means of obtaining money. The truth is that Eric doesn’t want me involved in it. No, he just wants me for my vehicle. We argue about the fact the police have already told me that my car has been flagged for suspicious activity and will be pulled over frequently and I don’t want to be pulled over with a car full of stolen shit. He insists that while the police issued that warning, I am never pulled over. There is truth in that. However, it doesn’t mean they aren’t watching me.
Apparently, Eric doesn’t need me to stay and help him unload this abandoned property. There is an abandoned vehicle there that he thinks he can make off with. I beg him to rethink his so-called, well laid plans. A vehicle? That is insane. They are licensed and registered. There is a paper trail involved and if caught, that is a more serious charge than being caught with a stolen blender, (or so I assume therefore I argue it). He won’t listen. Tyler stirs awake and quietly observes our conversation. All Eric is asking me to do is drop him off in the vicinity of this alleged abandoned property. He insists that he doesn’t want me to drive him directly to it because, he too, is concerned about the possibility of my vehicle being spotted.
Tyler breaks his silence, in an attempt to convince Eric that I am making valid points about not taking a vehicle. He reiterates my reasoning and adds that Eric is known among the local police and if they see him driving any vehicle, it is likely they will pull him over to investigate it. Their argument grows heated, (gets angrier) and Eric turns his vicious tongue on Tyler, calling him a poser, (fake) and a pussy. He accuses him of secretly wanting to be with me and even goes as far as accusing both of us of already cheating together. These allegations are completely unsubstantiated and enrage both Tyler and me. Tyler has a girlfriend and uses that fact to try and convince Eric of the absurdity of his accusations, but Eric remains relentless with his verbal attack. Tyler grabs his things in a rage, apologizes to me for leaving and walks out the door, slamming it behind him.
Eric smiles. Clearly, this was part of his plan. He needed Tyler to be gone, so that he would have a better chance of manipulating my weak mind in to doing what he wants me to do. Time drags on, as we argue about his plans. He has not gotten violent with me, but he has broken out into his usual song and dance about my being a square bear and a pathetic junkie. The mention of junkie, sparks both of our interests to do another shot of dope. It is obvious this conversation is going nowhere fast, so we call a truce long enough to do another shot of heroin, or so I thought. He is quiet, only long enough to prep and do his shot. After he pushes his poison in, he starts up with me again. This time, I have given him new ammunition. He taunts me about the fact I took a shot in my neck and laughs about how my knight in shining armor, (Tyler) is not here to help me. He physically spits in my direction and exclaims that he will never hit my neck or any other part of my body again.
The word again, resonates with me and I laugh and repeat the word smugly. Ha! Exactly, again! He is the one who put the fucking needle in my arm the first time and taught me all about this pathetic junkie ritual that he in retrospect, now loves to despise me for. Taunting, teasing and tormenting my many attempts. My mind flashes back to one of the first times I attempted to put the needle in my arm. I was trembling and anxious about it. I had no idea what I was doing and was fearful I might kill myself trying. He sat in the other room, insulting me and refusing to offer me any help. The needle punctured my arm repeatedly, but never produced any blood in my rig. I had not done it long enough to recognize what it felt like to hit a vein. My body rocked back and forth and tears wet my face. Eric came out of nowhere and took the rig, right out of my hand. Naturally, I chased him around, screaming frantically. It was all the dope I had left. Already melted down, mixed and in my rig. The onset of dope sickness was setting and I thought he had taken it from me to do the shot himself.
I wrestled him to the ground, (or he wrestled me) who knows anymore? He begged me to quiet my voice, as the commotion had led us to be outside and he was fearful neighbors would hear our argument and call the police. Somehow we ended up sitting in mud, my back towards him and he wrapped his arms around me. I was weeping uncontrollably by that point and he quietly shushed me and rocked back and forth with me in the mud. The rain was lightly drizzling. More that of a damp mist in the air. My tongue was wild with accusations, insisting he was stealing my last shot and calling him names ranging from, selfish prick to thieving asshole. He begged me in quiet, consoling whispers, to please listen to him. My rage and frustration settled long enough for him to get three words out, I love you. It was the first time he had said it. He elaborated that he loved me so much that he didn’t want me to use needles and was so sorry he had introduced them to me. He cried. He wept, actually.
This caught me off guard. It couldn’t be fake. Not his tears anyway. They were visible. Streaming from both eyes. We never really kissed much. He insisted he was self-conscious about his bad teeth and instead, chose to kiss closed mouth or on my forehead. I hated it and constantly tried to reassure him that I didn’t care, but until now, my reassurance never resulted in a real kiss. He asked me to face him and when I complied with his request, he kissed me. Repeating the words, I love you. The kiss felt magical. Perhaps, it was because it was new or maybe because of his emotion. It felt so real. I believed him. He handed me the rig and begged me to snort the dope instead. For a brief moment, I hesitated. Having already experienced the euphoria of the intravenous high of heroin, snorting it didn’t appeal to me. However, after that kiss and his words, I agreed to it. He had to instruct me on how to snort liquid. The only time I had snorted drugs prior, they were cocaine and meth and not liquid. Unlike the drips associated with meth and cocaine, snorting a shot of heroin is an immediate flood to the back of the throat. There was conflicting emotions that followed. The feeling of sacrifice and love for someone who professed his love for me, but also, I was not satisfied by that means of getting high. Still, I promised never to put a needle in my arm again.
At some point in the weeks following, we fought and broke up for a week. I had been true to my promise and had gone back to smoking heroin off foil, while he continued to shoot up in front of me. This infuriated me, but I kept my promise. That is until we broke up. Who knows, maybe we broke up because I needed that needle in my arm again and I subconsciously created turmoil in the relationship, hoping it would result in it’s demise? In part, it was his disregard for the fact I was smoking it again at his request and yet he continued to fucking shoot it up in front of me. He didn’t even attempt to conceal it by going in another room. The minute I drove off for that week long break from us, I was reaching for a needle. I pulled my car over into a secluded spot and embraced every step of the dope cooking ritual. It took me an hour before I finally hit a vein and I remember thinking as the blood filled the barrel of my rig, this will show him. As if using needles was some type of revenge for him being a selfish prick. I pushed the demon in through my hand and again thought, I’ll show him.
Now, here we are again. Fighting about my using needles. He reminds me of the promise I made and I scoff at his reminder, reminding him that he said he loved me. I ramble a list of reasons why his profession of love is a joke, smile in his face once the blood surfaces and push the demon in. As I suspected, the rush isn’t as intense as being shot up in the neck. Nevertheless, the dope is still fire. Turns out that Eric was holding out on us and he too, has a bag of crystals. He chops up two lines and I know, he expects me to take one. In fact, it will be much easier for him to convince me to take him where he wants to go when I am all tweaked out and out of my mind. He confirms that is the plan when he pushes the shards to me and tells me both lines are for me. Am I a damn fool? Am I out of control? There is no real desire to take the lines, but I can’t say no to free drugs.
There is only a slight hesitation before I snort a rail up each nostril and tilt my head back, whimpering from the burn. Meth has the worst burn. My eyes instantly water and I tap my foot compulsively on the floor, as if somehow that will lessen the pain and fight back the tears. My body scoots back and forth, in a rocking sway, but that too doesn’t deviate away from the burning and disgusting chemical drip that is already hitting the back of my throat. My mind reflects back on when I first got out of the 30 day state rehab a few months ago. Netflix had a documentary called, The World’s Most Dangerous Drug and it of course was about methamphetamine’s. It was disgusting to see how it was made and what it can do to a persons life. After it was over, I reached for my pipe and spent the night blowing meth clouds, to better reflect on what I had just watched. What kind of sickness is inside of me? Does my brain refuse to learn? I must be missing that willpower thing?
Once the burning subsides, Eric and I resume conversations about this abandoned property. There is no way to detour him about his decision to take this vehicle. His mind is already made up. The voices begin to chatter in my head and I fight to stay intelligent about the situation I am being asked to be a part of. Meth robs you of your ability to make coherent decisions. The psychosis that accompanies the drug, can twist your mind to the brink of insanity, if not push it completely over into the clinical definition of insane. Add the sleep deprivation factor to the equation and basically you’re fucked. Reality becomes warped, only because you are high, the warped state around you becomes your reality. Full on hallucinations can occur including seeing things and people who are not there and hearing them, as well. For me, shadow people and time travel are not experiences I believe I have succumb to; however, the voices are so real. They are taunting whispers behind the walls. Try as I may, I can never fully make out what they are trying to tell me, but I hear them warning me.
My jaw is jacking and my mind has sped up. While I am talking a mile a minute in an attempt to keep up with my mind, my mouth is not capable of articulating the thoughts at the same rate. Am I making sense? Am I saying these things out loud, or is this all a conversation I’ve held with myself? In my head? Is Eric listening? What was I saying? Who am I talking to? This confusion is frightening and causes an anxiety attack to stir within. Panic can be seen in my body movement, as I fidget with my hands and scan the room with my enormous, dilated pupils. I can’t sit still. I am sure my mouth is moving, but I am not sure what is coming out. Is is my jaw jacking or am I speaking? It is official, I have entered the realm of what we know as, tweaking. I’m laughing. Why am I laughing? Did Eric say something funny or am I entertained in my own head? This isn’t right. My heart is speeding. Its rate is too rapid. It is beating so fast, I can see my own pulse in my wrist! The skin is bouncing up and down, as if it were breathing in sync with my heart beat. Is that normal? No, of course not. Wait, is it?
Eric is laughing. He has chopped up a line and is snorting a rail now. Did you hear that? I walk over to the heater unit in the room and shut it off. There is someone in the vents! I can hear them whispering. It echoes, but I can’t make out what they are saying. Eric continues to laugh and asks me to come sit by him, adding that he misses me. First, I need water. Not to drink. Well I suppose drinking it couldn’t hurt, but for now I need to splash my face. Maybe another shot of dope would balance this paranoid high out? It wouldn’t be smart to bang any more dope yet. Might run the risk of an overdose. Best I sit down and attempt to collect myself. A cigarette is calling my name. As I make my way over to Eric, he produces a bottle of blue Gatorade. Yes! That’s what I need. Electrolytes. Surely, I am dehydrated. The electrolytes will calm me down. Still, am I saying these things or merely thinking them?
My body is jittery. I can’t tell if it is actually moving or if the vibrations of the high are tricking me into believing it is. It feels like I am shivering, but I am not cold. Am I? Sex. Eric wants to have sex. I hate him and I refuse to let him touch me. Wait, why am I undressing? My brain is in tweaker overload. Sex might be good right now. Why wouldn’t it be? Everyone loves sex. Sex is the only thing that Eric and I have that reestablishes his control over me. My girlish mind and heart is deceived by it. Somehow, I have confused sex as love. Whenever we are intimate, it rekindles that feeling and sparks my belief that he still loves me. Psychology 101, has taught me about this fallacy and outlined through my own life experiences why I behave and believe this way. However, it doesn’t detour me from making the same mistakes.
Acknowledging my sexual abuse as a child is likely the reason for my promiscuous behavior and confusion of sex being equated as love. Accompany that with abandonment issues from my mom leaving when I was three and I might have a minor borderline personality disorder brewing inside of me. I know these things, but I must not really know them. It is easier to blame my abuser and my mother than to fix my own behavior. I am a drug addict, it is my nature to make excuses. They seem valid enough. Why doesn’t anyone have sympathy for me? My admission of these trials in life, instead, leaves me open for manipulators to take advantage of me. I play the victim and Eric pretends to rescue me. Only really, he preys on me.
Hours have passed and the sex is still good, but the opiates prevent our climax. We decide to take a cigarette break and wipe the sweat from our bodies. My mind is not as rampant with chatter and confusion. My heart is not as angry at Eric anymore. Oh no. My mind can determine the unhealthiness of our relationship. My heart is on its own path. My father has quoted tons of scripture, during his daddy lessons and lectures and most of them are forgotten quickly. However, there is a scripture he has referenced enough for it to have stuck:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.
One can interpret that any number of ways, I imagine. But, my fathers explanation about it rings true. We are taught to follow our hearts through: poetry, arts, music and quite possibly every Disney movie that has ever been produced, but in reality, God’s word instructs us not to. It warns us, really. The heart is deceitful and wicked. What may feel right, could be very wrong because who can really know their heart? Only God knows your heart and its intention. Your heart doesn’t know, your brain is where logic and understanding resides. Why does my dad always have to be right? Moreover, why do I insist on not listening to him? Can I learn his lessons? Or am I here learning my own, the hard way?
Eric initiates a hot shower together. A shower sounds great. This could help kill the meth buzz a little and return me to a more comfortable state. After the shower, we decide to take another shot of dope and Eric tickles my ears with sentiments of love and compassion towards me. Even flattering me with compliments concerning my singing voice and ability to write well. Once he has taken his shot he asks me if I need help hitting, but he is adamant while making his offer, that he won’t hit my neck. This is it. We have come full circle. He has used sex to gain my trust and love again. He was thoughtful and sensitive in the shower, washing my back in a more massaging manor. Now his tone has turned from that of anger and hostility to one that is kind and gentle. His smile and eye contact pulls me closer to him and his voice is tender and seductive. Now, he is offering to help me with hitting a vein. Something he refuses to ever be any part of. He has hooked me again. My arm extends in his direction and I pass him my rig. My eyes watch his face intently, as he smiles and puts the needle in. My gaze shifts to the injection site and I watch the blood fill the rig. As he pushes the shot in slowly, my eyes connect with his. The dope demon takes over and Eric pulls the needle from my arm. He bends down and kisses my arm, repeatedly in the area of the injection and tells me he loves me. I knew the game, I understood the rules and I played it anyways. He’s won. I’d do anything for him. All over again.