Epidemic- Chapter 36
I can’t stop laughing. It feels so good to laugh. Travis keeps teasing me about how contagious my laughter is, as he joins in the giggle fest. Once I have finished shaving, I retreat to the shower’s stream to rinse off. Travis informs me that I have missed a spot. This causes me to turn to face him where I am met with a big blob of shaving cream to the chest. Both of us are nearly in tears by this demonstration and I assure him that I do not have a hairy chest. Quickly, I retaliate by smearing his chest with shaving cream and reaching for the razor. Of course, I am only teasing and do not actually attempt to shave his chest.
Travis jumps out of the shower real quick and runs out into the hallway. He returns with a washcloth, apologizing for not having grabbed one before. He douses the washcloth with some Dove body wash and works it into a rich lather. He asks me to turn around so that he can wash my back. Despite the fact we have been laughing and carrying on, completely naked already, I am a little nervous about him washing my body. I am incredibly modest and self-conscious. He knows this. I can’t hide my insecurities. He insists that I stop being silly and to trust him. So I do.
It feels nice to have my back scrubbed. Travis is very sensual with his pampering. However, it isn’t an obvious sexual advancement. Oh my God, I like him. He is extremely sincere and sensitive. He is catering to something inside of me that really needs this closeness and intimacy. I don’t want to feel alone anymore. Being a junkie, is a very lonely experience. You may find yourself in a room with ten other people, but feel as though no one really notices you. Everyone is battling their own demons. It is rare for someone to take a sincere interest in helping to defend you from yours.
Travis tickles my feet, as he suds them up. This shower is the perfect temperature and quite possibly, is the best shower I have ever experienced in my entire life. After Travis has completely washed my body, (minus the sensitive parts which he allows me to take care of myself) he begins to lather up the washcloth to cleanse his own. Quickly, I snag it from him and instruct him to turn around. It is his turn to feel pampered and appreciated. Damn, this boy has muscles. I silently giggle, as he flexes the areas that I am approaching. Washing Travis, is like washing a Ken doll. His physique is impeccable and every part of his perfectly proportioned body is fit. Once I arrive at his manhood, I toss him the washcloth and suggest he handles that business himself. We both begin to laugh again and I turn from his view to conceal my blushing. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my eyes didn’t sneak a few peaks in his direction and all I will leave you with is this, hot damn. For further clarification, what word embodies the “Yowza” reaction? He shuts the water off and wraps me up in a big, chocolate brown towel. It is an over-sized towel that encompasses my entire body and it is incredibly soft.
He pulls me close and kisses my forehead, before leading me back to his bedroom. Tonight, A&E is not running a marathon of Intervention. However, they are showing the Hoarders show in an all night marathon. Travis agrees that watching this show will suffice. As I begin to rummage through my backpack for a change of clothing, Travis pulls me to the bed. He wants to lay naked with me, but tells me to throw some underwear on for my own piece of mind. He, in turn, conceals his package with some boxer briefs. Again, all I can say is, hot damn. Opiates can kill a sex drive. Perhaps, Travis has been sincere in really wanting to just cuddle. I am completely okay with it. However, my libido is fully alert and willing to go further. I won’t initiate it though. Travis asks me if I want him to rub some lotion onto my back. Is he kidding right now? A massage! Who the hell would say no to that? I graciously accept and inform him that I am very good with my hands, (double entendre intended). In fact, I had considered becoming a massage therapist some time ago. He is intrigued and while he insists it is not necessary for me to give him one in return, the excitement on his faces says otherwise. Once I dig my elbows in, he accepts that I am in fact great at massaging.
While watching Hoarders, my mind reflects on how sick I am. I am not an extreme hoarder. However, there have been times in my life where extreme loneliness have led me to fill my home with a ton of stuff I didn’t need. I recognize now that I was trying to fill a void. While many people would argue that being a heroin addict is completely different than being a hoarder, an over-eater or video game junkie, I liken the underlying issues to be the same. These are compulsive behaviors that are detrimental to living a healthy life. The more I ponder on this reality the more I realize that I have always had a compulsion that has been destructive in my life.
Most of the time it has been the abuse of a substance. Alcohol, marijuana, pills and now heroin, but there were times of excessive shopping, depending on food for comfort, going to the clubs for social engagement and periods of promiscuity. Surely, the underlying issues have always been the same. How can I fix what is broken? There was a period of time that I was a complete Jesus freak. Life was so much better then. I had an active prayer life, went to church regularly and surrounded myself with like minded people. All of my music was Christian contemporary and I consulted and trusted God with every life endeavor. In truth, however, I was popping Percosets the entire time. There was still always that addiction.
An hour has passed by and Travis asks if my hands are tired. Of course, I am using my body, not my hands, to apply the pressure of the massage and my hands are just fine. I ask if he wants me to stop and he reassures me that he does not, he was merely concerned about any discomfort I might be in. Once we establish that I am a massage giving rock star, he surrenders to another hour of it. Afterwards, he lays back and pats his chest, suggesting that I lay my head there. We spend the night talking, cuddling and kissing. Dope is running low and Travis and I are broke. Because most my dope connects are in the next county, I question if Travis has a connect willing to make a trade. After all, I still have two decent sized crystals and ten bucks. Travis has a ten, as well. His dealer agrees to the trade. Twenty bucks and the rest of my meth for a half gram of dope. We actually make out a little on the trade, as meth is cheaper than dope.
Naturally, the dealer takes much longer than he alleges he will be. We are both up and dressed waiting for this guy for what seems like an eternity. Damn the D-boy, (dope dealer)! We are not dope sick, so it is not as aggravating of a wait, but still, why do they always do this? Moreover, if we take our last shots and he doesn’t show, we will be fucked later. We opt to take them anyways. After all, if I have to, I will drive to my connects up north and score quickly. Travis agrees that he would ride with me. Thankfully, we don’t have to commute. Homeboy shows up with the trade an hour and 45 minutes after we bang our final shots. We let out a collective sigh of relief.
Unlike most dealers I have dealt with this guy wants to hang out and get high. He asks if he can take his shot here and Travis agrees that it would be alright. The d-boy inquires as to why we aren’t taking our shots with him and I jump over Travis to tell him that we have to save what we just traded for the morning. I elaborate how we should come up with more cash tomorrow to make a bigger purchase from him, but we need the shots to energize us in the morning to hustle for it and ward off the dope sickness. Travis raises an eyebrow in my direction. I extend him a wink. The d-boy could go either way. He has several grams of dope sitting on his thigh. I hate when dealers do that shit. Taunting and teasing a junkie’s eye. To my relief and Travis’s surprise, the d-boy sympathizes with our situation and breaks us off a couple points, insisting we bang shots with him. Fuck yes! Free dope! Travis squeezes my hand. A pretty face and a sympathetic dealer just made his night. Of course, after we bang our shots, the d-boy nods in the chair. We are ready for him to be out, (leave) but we can’t very well force him to get the fuck out after he was kind enough to break us off.
When he comes to, (wakes up) he asks about the nature of our relationship. Travis puts his arm around me and informs him that I am his girl. To my surprise, this does not faze the d-boy from asking what it would take to have a night with me! Oh my God! He thinks I am a whore. Seriously, how many people agree to trading their partners for dope? Travis laughs and I punch his arm. His face frowns and he shakes his head. His laughter was that of discomfort, not compliance with the d-boys request. A heated conversation escalates rather quickly between the two of them. The d-boy apologizes for his rude insinuation and decides it’s best for him to be on his way. Thank God!
After his departure, I question Travis about what kind of shit that was. He smiles and informs me that there is no such thing as a generous d-boy. Nothing comes for free. He elaborates that he was happy to see insult spread across my face, rather than a look of consideration regarding his query. He shares a story about his ex, Melissa, who was more than willing to participate in sexual acts for dope. He even details an incident when she sucked a guy off for a clean needle. My stomach turns. Would I ever become that desperate? I question why he would be with her when she was basically cheating on him. He hangs his head and admits that while he is not proud of it, her despicable acts always benefited him too. Suddenly, my mouth feels dirty. After all, he continued to kiss and make love to that girl after she had another man’s junk in her mouth and who knows where else.
The idea of catching a sexually transmitted disease this late in life, deters me from entertaining the idea of having sex with Travis, ever. Truth is, however, this doesn’t make Travis any more of a risk than Eric was, or any other junkie for that matter. It is not uncommon for junkies to share needles in moments of desperation. Travis has likely shared before. I know Eric has. The quickest way to catch a disease would be the transfer of blood. I realize, I have been behaving ignorantly, with no real regard to safety. It’s true, I don’t share needles, but I have engaged in unsafe sexual activity with people who have. My body is overcome with a sudden fear. What if I have a disease? My mind begins to race with all the times I have engaged in unsafe practices. Adrenaline causes my heart to race and I wear an expression of panic on my face. Travis has noticed the sudden shift of my mood and attempts to kiss my fear away. This is wrong. Kissing can only lead to more dangerous things. What am I doing? Why can’t I fight the urge to kiss him back? My mind nods from its state of dire emergency and I embrace Travis and begin to kiss him back. My hands begin to explore his body and all I can say is, hot damn.
There are many things in life that you romanticize and build up in your head, that later doesn’t live up to what you have concocted or expected, (especially if you are a female). Travis was one of them. It’s not his fault, it’s the opiates. Needless to say, we aren’t going any farther than our kissing, cuddling fest. It’s almost relieving, considering my freak out about the possibility of disease. It’s crazy how drugs can dismiss safety and common sense without a second thought. We do the rest of our dope and hold each other in between nods the rest of the night.
It’s quickly become afternoon and my daughter is at school and my father is at work. I decide to go back to my dad’s house and talk to Colleen. She is receptive to what I have to say. When I admit that I am a liar and have been manipulating everyone in my life, she replies that she know’s and that she doesn’t want to end up raising my daughter. We spend some time discussing rehab and I explain the importance of not being sent to another state facility. She has positioned herself at the computer and is researching other options. I am exhausted and nod out on the couch. When you nod, it feels as though you are in and out of consciousness. If I had a nickel for every time I nodded out mid- sentence or text message, I would be rich. I am awakened to Natty’s high pitch squeal of excitement to see me here. Normally, I am not here when she gets home from school. She races over to tell me how much she missed me and how I am the best mommy ever. Even though I know that her words are not true, it warms my heart and I embrace her bear hug.
My father looks happy to see me here, as well. Both him and Colleen tiptoe around me, despite the fact that I am a slug who is only here to make messes and take over their living room. I guess it’s because when I am here, they at least know I am alive and not in trouble. Colleen and my dad want to talk to me about a rehab they found that they think I will like. It is a place called Narconon Fresh Start. They have a website with pictures that make it look like a Sandals beach resort. A beautiful pool, palm trees and the smiling faces of its residents. It looks like a vacation spot and I am on board immediately.
In addition to the pictures, there are videos about different drugs and what they do to a person. My father encourages me to watch a few, but I dismiss him. I don’t need to watch the video, I am the video and I am fully aware of what they do to a person. There are four different locations: Nevada, Texas, Colorado and California. Immediately, I tell my dad I want to go to California. I can see the disappointment on his face. California has always been my dream location. After visiting there twice already in life, I want very badly to live there. I ask him if California is more expensive than the other locations and he says it is not. However, there is limited space and it might not be an option.
It’s possible he fears that if California doesn’t have an opening, that I will be unwilling to commit, but I inform him I will go to any of them if California is unavailable. Truth is, I am done. I am so fucking done. He tells me that they have spoken with a specialist and that they need to interview me to see if they will even accept me into the program. This causes me to laugh out loud. Now, I have not personally spoken to these people or researched their little facility, but if anyone is a candidate for the program, it’s me. Single mom, senior in a bible college prior to drug use and my dad’s writing a check. I tell him it’s a scam or a trick to get me there. That terminology is used to make me feel as though I have been chosen for some special offer or won the fucking lottery. By utilizing that basic psychology 101 strategy, I will be less likely to run or back out from this magical opportunity that I have been awarded. Again, I laugh out loud.
My father is less amused by this. He suggests it could be true, but nevertheless, I still need to agree to be interviewed by this dude. Of course I agree to the interview, but not before reiterating my point that so long as my dad’s check clears, they are not going to fucking turn me down. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? My dad is probably in on this approach. He is not a stupid man. In fact, he is quite intelligent. They probably explained this entire method to him and he is just playing along. I can’t wait to dramatize my- oh yaaay lucky me- response to this shenanigan, once the dude on the other end of the call congratulates me for being, “Chosen.” I realize I am acting like an ungrateful, know it all bitch, but the heroin is fading and I am about to be sick.
People experience withdrawal symptoms differently. Some people are a few days without before it gets bad and some, like me, feel it much sooner. If I sleep for eight or more hours after doing dope and then wake up without dope, I start to feel it almost instantly. The lack of energy hits first, followed by the brain dead, staring into space thinking about how badly I need to get up and do something to hustle my habit, (get drugs). Hours may pass just thinking about what needs to be done, but I can’t move from my spot to get up and do it.
There may be a psychosomatic aspect to my dope sickness. Meaning, my mind may panic so much at the onset of withdrawal and the prospect that I might not score dope, that I send myself into full blown withdrawal quickly. Whatever the reason, I have had several junkies tell me that it appears I experience the worst withdrawals they have ever seen. Eric use to always tell me that he had never seen anyone as sick as I become without dope. The fact that I am out of dope and money, begins to stir a panic. The fact I have agreed to go to rehab, makes this a more difficult reality. I need to get high one more time. I’ve watched enough episodes of Intervention to know, this is a common drug addict mentality. Every one of them expressed they needed to get high one more time.
It feels nice to cuddle with my love bug, (daughter) again. She wants me to play with her and asks a hundred different questions, that all encompass this reality. As much as I would love to make her happy, I can’t color or play dolls. Going to the park or taking a bath sounds like too much work. My body is too exhausted. The only activity I can agree to, is watching a Tinkerbell movie with her. Even then, I know I might nod in and out during its showing. I explain that I am very tired, but will put the movie on.
Travis calls my phone. He has scored enough dope to give me a shot and asks me what I am doing. What do you think I am doing? I am getting my ass up and racing over to his house. You can bet on that. My dad looks concerned. He insists I need to call this guy for an interview before I go. I call him, but he is on the other line. He asks if he can call me back in thirty minutes at the number I have called him on. I agree. I explain that I am leaving to go get well, (get high) and he reiterates his inquiry and elaborates his concern that I might not pick up the phone due to my admission. He has every reason to believe this. Drug addicts are bipolar. Once high, it is feasible that I won’t pick up because I have fallen in love with dope again and am not ready to quit. However, I assure him that I am seriously done and will answer.
Travis welcomes me with open arms. He smells so good and is excited to hear that my parents have called a rehab. He preps are shots and my phone rings. The Narconon dude is delighted I have answered. He begins his interview. He asks about which substances I am on, frequency of use, my habit, (how much I use each day) and the length of time I have been using. After I answer, he asks why I want to go to Narconon and what I have to offer the program. I stop him to tell him that I need to put him on speaker phone so that I can tie off for my shot. He agrees that I can put him on speaker phone and Travis introduces himself while I use my teeth to pull the tourniquet tight. This guy, Jimmy, suggests that he is extremely concerned for my well being. This causes me to laugh. Well, duh, I had to put him on speaker to tie my fucking arm off and am actively poking it as we talk, in search for a vein. Despite the fact that I am a pathetic junkie, I am an educated one and begin spewing out all the right answers to ensure that I am “chosen” for the program. Travis asks Jimmy about how much the program costs, but Jimmy won’t divulge that information. Instead, he paints a picture of walks on the beach, a swimming pool, a flat screen TV in every dorm like room and a mini-fridge full of soda. I am sold. Anything is better than sleeping in my car at the Park and Ride or couch hopping until I wear out my welcome.
Jimmy asks if I have any questions and the only concern I express is that I want to go to the California location. He asks if I would go to another location if California is not available and I tell him absolutely. I am done. I need help, but would prefer the beach walks outlined in the California package. The ocean is my safe haven. I have always been drawn to water. It’s where I go to center and find God. I express my belief in God and acknowledge my fall from him. It is important that I rekindle our relations and that the ocean would help me to do so. He can’t promise me anything, but tells me he will try his hardest to get me into California.
After we hang up, Travis expresses how lucky I am. He knows this place must be expensive because of its amenities and the fact that Jimmy wouldn’t divulge the cost. I have to admit, I am excited. The one on one counseling to deal with underlying issues is a huge selling point for me, as well. Maybe, I can actually overcome these demons. Travis welcomes me to lay with him again and I thank him for the shot. He is going to rehab in a few days and we promise that we will keep in touch. He has already written the address down for me to send him letters and I swear that I will most definitely write him. Despite the fact we won’t be going to the same place, there is still a sense of feeling like neither of us is doing this alone. It resembles a feeling of doing it together. Travis kisses my forehead and we embrace our last nod together.
I wake up and begin tracing Travis’s stomach with my fingertips. I’ve nuzzled my head into his armpit and begin kissing his side and his chest. This causes Travis to wake up. His hands are in my hair, as he pulls me up to kiss him. Suddenly, he is on top of me and everything is working. He tickles my entire body with his kisses and tells me repeatedly how beautiful I am. I ask him about a condom and he is reluctant to comply. I assure him there is no way this is happening without one and he obliges with my demand. Travis won’t let me close my eyes, as he stares deeply into mine. He kisses me, over and over, with each stroke that has me on the brink of climax. I feel as though I am in the love scene of some romantic movie. It is the most passionate experience of my life. We spend hours exploring each other’s hot sweaty bodies. This was a perfect way to say goodbye to each other.