“Has he text yet?” I ask Hayden.
“No. Not yet,” she replies, while clutching the phone in her hand.
I can’t tell what is going on in Hayden’s head. She seems nervous and distant. Is she planning on running off with James? I’ve suggested that we both go, but we both know that would double our odds of being seen and caught.
“Maybe you should text him,” I suggest.
“He’s coming. He said he was on his way a couple of hours ago. It should be any minute now,” she answers.
After another half hour passes, Hayden calls James. There is no answer, but Hayden leaves a message instructing him to call back immediately. My heart sinks at the possibility that this guy isn’t coming. I can’t sit still. I have romanticized the idea of plugging a vein for 48 straight hours and I desperately long to fulfill this aching desire.
“Fuck! Why isn’t he answering?” I ask in an irritated tone.
“I don’t fucking know,” she replies, equally irritated. I can see her legs shaking with restlessness, as she bounces them up and down off the side of her bed.
I don’t want to sound like a cluck but I am one. I pace back and forth by the bed, speculating all the possibilities tonight may bring. Hayden looks equally frustrated and plagued with speculations. I watch as she texts him again.
“Maybe if we listen to some music or put a movie on, it will help keep our minds occupied with something else?” I suggest.
Hayden looks at me with a dead stare. “I don’t think anything is going to get me to stop thinking about this.”
She’s right. There is nothing that will take my mind off of it either. I hope that this James dude is like the hundred other dealers I have known in my life and just flaky about time. My mind reflects back on the countless hours I have spent up in trap houses, parked in parking lots and laying in my bed, sick as shit waiting on dealers that have told me they were ten minutes away but didn’t show up for four fucking hours.
My mouth is salivating at the relentless torment of anticipating my demons arrival. My back has psyched itself into an opiate itch, begging to be scratched. If this guy doesn’t come through, I am hitch hiking down the fucking mountain. If Hayden doesn’t come, I don’t care. At this point, I am determined to get high.
For anyone who has never experienced a relationship with drugs, I would liken these feelings to that of waiting to see someone you loved intimately, that you have been separated from for some time. The anticipation of a loved one stepping off an airplane, coming home from a trip or a similar time departure, is close to the yearning I have for this heroin.
It’s as if my heroin has been stationed overseas and is on his way home. No one has ever satisfied me the way he does. He knows my weaknesses, my insecurities and he nurses me back to normalcy when I am feeling ill. He knows how to take away all the physical and emotional pain. He releases my mind from it’s incessant chatter of self hatred and loathing. I can’t wait to taste him again, kiss his sweet tar, feel him coursing through my veins and exhausting me with his passion, inducing my sweet nod. I love him and have missed him so.
No one has ever made me feel as free as he has. However, he was also responsible for feeling the lowest I have ever felt in my life. He made me sicker than anyone ever has. He used me and abused me. He charmed me with his warm feelings, but left me lonelier and more depressed than I have ever felt in my entire life. He robbed me of all hope. I overlook that reality, longing for his alluring charm once more.
“Oh my gawd. I can’t stop thinking about heroin,” Hayden admits.
I don’t know how much time has passed, but it feels like an eternity. We have sat in silence, both entertaining the thoughts in our heads.
“I know. I haven’t been talking because I don’t want to annoy you or sound like a fucking fiend, but I am going crazy right now,” I confess.
“I am going to call him again,” she says, while dialing his number. Again, there is no answer.
“I am starting to worry about him,” she admits. “It really isn’t like him to flake. There are a lot of twists and turns and it is such a dark drive, I hope he is alright.”
“I’m sure he is. Are you sure he wouldn’t flake on you?” I ask.
“Yes. He is not a flake. He basically is in love with me. He wouldn’t not answer his phone, at the very least,” she answers.
“I’m sorry girl. I’ve been so consumed with wanting to get high, I didn’t even give pause to the reality that something may have happened,” I say.
Two hours have gone by and I think it is safe to say that he is not coming. I feel bad because I can see that Hayden is concerned. However, I don’t know the guy and after all the times I have been flaked on, I can’t help but believe that he is fine and just flaked on us.
It is time for lights out. The adrenaline of anticipation is still coursing throughout my being. Hayden has the phone. I have the money. She agrees to wake me if he calls and says goodnight. I can’t sleep. I don’t think she is asleep either, but we are both silent. Our beds are still pushed together and we have Twilight playing on the portable DVD player, in the middle of the bed. I eat a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter and roll over. I’ve seen the movie so many times, that I know exactly what is going on and I don’t need to watch it to experience the feelings you get when watching it. The sound and music is enough to entertain me.
Despite how hard we fight it, sleep is inevitable. Especially, being in the sauna portion of our program. Sauna exhausts you. No matter how hard I fight to stay awake, in hopes of hearing the phone buzz, it doesn’t and I drift off to sleep.
My dreams are plagued with heroin. Memories of my time on the streets resurface. I relive a moment from a few months ago.
I was desperate to get high and alone at a park and ride. Eric had abandoned me and my gas tank was on empty. I had no money and all the dope I had left was in my rig. I rocked back and forth in my car for two hours, repeatedly stabbing my arms and missing. Each puncture through my scar tissue was excruciating, but I repeatedly attempted to hit those areas because they were once reliable plugs. I whimpered in pain, with each failed attempt. Tears of frustration and desperation rolled down my cheeks. I pounded on my steering wheel and screamed out in agony. I clawed at my face and pulled at my hair.
After two hours of trying to connect to my arms, I took my socks off. Both of my feet were battered and bruised from hitting the tiny veins in them already. My feet are small and bony. I wear a size 5 shoe. There is no meat on them. Even when I was able to connect to a vein, they are so tiny, often times they would blow or roll, part way through my shot. Still, I attempted to connect. Hitting my feet was always the most painful place to connect and I dreaded each poke and prod. I found myself having a conversation, out loud, with myself. Like a mad woman.
“You can do this Liz,” I would encourage. “Take a deep breath and go slow.”
As I poked my bony feet with my dull, over used needle, I would cringe. My entire body would tighten up and I couldn’t hold back saying ouch and crying out in torment. After an hour of missing the veins on my feet, I revisited punching the steering wheel and screaming at God to help me. Again, I clawed at my face and pulled at my hair. The reflection of myself in the rear view mirror was too much to bare, so I slapped the mirror, turning it away from me.
I was unsuccessful. After three hours of trying to plug a vein, I capped my rig and lit a cigarette. My eyes were heavy from crying and from the exhaustion of being on the streets binging on heroin and meth. I asked God to take me. I begged him to let me close my eyes and wake up in heaven, as I believed that in life I had been cursed with living in hell. I questioned if heaven and hell were destinations for the afterlife, or if they were the realms of the life we live in here on earth. I listened to Tech N9ne, Shadows on the Road, over and over again.
It was summer time. I couldn’t run my air conditioning for too long because my fuel light was on, but it was so hot, I would start my car and let it run for a minute. The only bottle of water I had, was warm and had been rolling around on the floorboard of my vehicle for God knows how long. Plus, it was the water I used to mix my shots. I knew the dehydration was helping to make it impossible to hit my veins.
I decided to turn the heat on and place my hand in front of the vents. The reasoning behind this was that the heat would cause the veins to come to the surface. Hitting my hands was equally as painful as hitting my feet, but I was desperate. Sweat pooled at the small of my back. It dripped down my forehead and down my cheeks. My hairline was soaked. My mouth became more and more parched with thirst. Despite the fact I had used the water to mix shots and it was warm, I was desperate to wet my mouth and I took a swig off the bottle. It was stale and nasty, but still I took another sip.
I uncapped my rig and spent thirty minutes poking at the veins in my hands. They were equally battered and bruised. Finally, blood began to pour into the barrel of my rig. My mouth watered with the anticipation of tasting the heroin in the back of my throat. Because the veins in my hands are tiny and it had taken me so long to hit, I was very careful not to become overzealous and push my demon into its portal too quickly. The nearly orgasmic dance of my blood swirling in the heroin sent shock waves of pleasure throughout my thighs. I carefully pulled the plunger back, licked my lips and slowly began to push the dope in.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! I am awakened by the sound of my alarm. Like most drug dreams, I was awakened before I was able to get high. So fucking close this time!
“No! Fuck! Gawd damn it!” I mutter, while pounding on the alarm clocks snooze button.
I wipe the sleep from my eyes, as reality begins to settle in. It was only a dream.
Hayden, like me, is not a morning person. However, the alarm has awoken her too, and immediately she reaches for the cell phone and checks for messages or missed calls.
“Well?” I say in an asking tone.
“He said he couldn’t come because the roads were too icy,” she informs me.
“What the fuck? We are in the desert. There is no fucking ice on the roads,” I say.
“I know. I don’t know what the fuck. He might be making an excuse because he actually cares about me and doesn’t want me to relapse,” she says in a snarky tone.
“Well damn. Now I feel like shit. Like you think that I want you to relapse. I don’t. I guess I am being selfish,” I say.
“I’m not mad at you Liz. I wasn’t saying that you want me to fucking relapse,” she snaps. “He might be able to bring it tonight.”
I don’t know if I can go through this again. The anticipation, the craving, the waiting and the disappointment, is too much.
“I don’t want to be a bad influence on you Hayden and I feel like something has changed. You don’t seem as eager to do this,” I say.
“I feel the same way about you. Liz, I really love you girl. You have a daughter depending on you. I don’t want to be responsible for her losing her mom. She is so adorable and she needs you. Her pictures on the wall are staring at me too,” she replies. “I also don’t want to let my parents or my grandma down. They are rooting for me.”
Hayden hasn’t talked too much about her family. However, when she speaks of them, it is highly. This is the first I have heard about her grandmother though.
“My mom and dad are coming to visit me on Sunday. What if I am all fucked up? I don’t know Liz,” she says.
I feel like Hayden might be lying to me to protect me. I wonder if she is making up the ice story and decided she couldn’t participate in fucking up my sobriety. The idea of ice on the roads is ludicrous. We are in the fucking desert. It could be that she has changed her mind about fucking up her own sobriety. I know I should feel horrible, and I do, but I still want to get high.
It is time for sauna and we need to hide the phone. I put it inside a toilet paper roll. The toilet paper rolls are individually wrapped in paper. I unfold the top of the paper, shove the phone into the cardboard roll and fold the paper back up over it, before placing it back under the sink. I can’t imagine ethics unwrapping toilet paper rolls looking for phones. It’s the safest place I can think of hiding it.
The mood is different today, as Hayden and I walk the track before sauna. Once inside the sauna, she draws on a pad of paper that she has brought with her. She is quite the artist. I wish I had even half of her talent. I opt to listen to my iPod. Much like the day I relived in my dream, I play Tech N9ne, Shadows on the Road on repeat….