Sauna Day 11:
I am so over this ridiculously hot box! Justice and Misty are playing Drake on the speaker. Jan is reading a book. I am on the lower bench today and irritated that I can never seem to get a chair. There really should be rules concerning rotating who utilizes them each session. These benches are wood and get uncomfortable no matter how you position yourself on them, after five hours.
Everything is irritating me today. I turn my back to the girls and face the vent below the top bench. Adam Moon is still on a no comm. with Misty; however, he comes by every day and yells into the sauna through the vent. Today is no exception.
“Aye aye aye sauna bitches,” Adam shouts out.
It never fails, we all laugh and Misty blushes. My eyes observe that many former students and a few active ones, have written their names in ink on the wood underneath the benches. In addition, someone has warned in ink, not to drink the Kool-aid. My finger traces the ink, Violet has left behind. Her name is written in purple ink with a little heart next to it. For some reason, the heart triggers an overwhelming flood of emotions. Natalia has just begun drawing hearts and is proud of herself about it. She includes hearts on every note she sends me.
Without warning, my eyes flood with tears. I attempt to conceal my demeanor and the fact that I am weeping. However, Jan notices that my back is bouncing with each sob. I feel her hands touch my back before leaning close to my ear.
“Are you okay sweetie? What’s wrong Liz?” She asks.
I am so consumed with emotion that I am unable to respond. Jan helps me to my feet and walks me out of the sauna. Kentucky is the sauna I.C. today. Jan motions for her before retreating back into the box.
“Oh honey, what’s wrong?” Kentucky asks. Her accent is thick and her face is genuinely concerned.
“I don’t know,” I confess, still uncontrollably sobbing.
I am not sure what I manage to ramble off, but I fill the next several minutes ranting about missing my daughter and how I was just suddenly overcome with emotion and that I can’t control it.
“I feel like I don’t belong here and like I am not getting the help I need,” I confess. “I had a lot of bad shit happen to me and I need someone to talk to about it.”
“Awe Liz. We all have. It’s going to be okay sweetie,” Kentucky says. She gives me a big hug and holds onto my hand for a minute, as she begins to share some of her experiences.
This is a new side of Kentucky to me. We’ve already established that she doesn’t like bitches and she’s, how do I say, a tad bit eccentric. I mean, she’s hilarious and I liked her, but I never would have guessed her to be the one comforting me through tears. Let alone, opening up and telling me the very deep personal stories that she is sharing with me today. I was wrong about her. She will end up comforting me several more times throughout my program. This moment, however, is when I first learned I could trust her and began to love her very dearly.
“I miss my daughter and this isn’t fair to her Kentucky! I should be home taking care of her. Not stealing my EBT card and plotting heroin endeavors,” I weep.
“Liz,” she says. When she says my name, she always drags it out (Liiiiizzzzz) with a high pitch change in her voice’s tone.
“You listen to me girl. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. This is the time for you to be selfish and worry about you. I know that you feel guilty for not being with that beautiful little girl of yours, but were you really there for her all high and stupid and fucked up on heroin? No you weren’t, and you know that. This is the time for you to get healthy and strong, so that you can be the best mom that you can be to that little girl,” she says.
She’s right. I have felt so guilty being away from her, but the truth is, I haven’t been there for her in roughly a year’s time already. I need to do this. I can do this. Now is the time. I am already here.
“You had an emotional turn on Liz. You need to get back into the box. Are you feeling better?” She asks.
“Yes,” I reply.
“Well, go on then. Get into the box,” she says with her Kentucky accent and a wave of her arm.
After sauna, I learn that Derek Lowry and Hayden have been put on a no comm. I learn this because Hayden is upset. She is showering first today and is already in the room. Derek Lowry hands me a note to pass to her. I feel as though I am in Junior High passing notes again.
“Dude, bro, if I get caught with this note, or if you guys get busted and pull me into this bullshit, I might end up in trouble,” I say.
“Nigga, you aren’t going to get caught. Just give her the note,” he begs. “Let me get a square (cigarette).”
“Nigga, you bum more squares from me than anyone here, come on now,” I say, as I hand him a smoke.
Oh my gawd. I just said nigga. You would be amazed at how difficult it is not to pick up saying that when everyone hear uses that term. Natalia is half black and I never use that word. It’s ignorant. Especially considering I am white. However, it won’t be the last time I find myself using it.
“Did you get ethics for stealing your EBT card nigga? Damn, I can’t believe you gave that shit back. I want to get high so bad,” he confesses.
“No. Surprisingly not. Aiden talked to me about it. Brad (Emma Chadwick’s boyfriend), also talked with me. They agreed that because I was honest and gave the card back, that showed growth and character and are not requiring me to do an ethics cycle,” I respond.
“What did Devon Lex say?” He asks.
Devon Lex, is another head ethics guy. He is extremely tall and is always decked out in Nike and sports gear. His hat always matches his shoes. He plays basketball and often times, he makes ridiculously impossible basketball shots. I mean, ridiculous, like standing halfway up the mountain and shooting, followed by a successful swoosh. He’s talented. I hadn’t really talked to him until this incident.
“I voiced that I had felt bad that I hadn’t really spent anytime talking to him,” I continue. “He replied that it is a good thing we hadn’t spent any time talking to each other because that meant I had been staying out of trouble, but he commended my honesty. I felt like I was in the principal’s office,” I laugh.
“Damn you got lucky,” he suggests.
“I know. I better go get this to Hayden and shower,” I say, while excusing myself.
Oh gawd. Vinny too Skinny is playing with his dumb ass remote control car and thinks it is funny to zoom it towards me as I am walking by.
“Hey! How’s your day beautiful? Mine is fucking awesome,” he says, followed by his annoying laugh.
“I’m going to switch to your sauna so I can see you in that sexy swimsuit of yours,” he continues.
A creepy shiver runs down my spine. The sickest part of his behavior is that he is married and his wife is coming for a visit. I’m not sure how, but they are allowing her to be here on non-visitation days and during his sauna portion of the program. I am sure that the ethics department is sick of his shit and just want to satisfy him so he will leave them alone.
I ignore him and make my way to the room. I give Hayden, Derek’s note and hop in the shower. The rest of the night is spent like most nights before it. Chain smoking and fucking around in the lodge flirting with boys. I told my dad what I had done and he didn’t lecture me at all. I’m 33 years old and still feel like a kid whenever I have to confess my wrong doings to my father. He was happy that I gave the card back and was honest about taking it. Of course, I haven’t been completely honest because I didn’t report the cell phone and I kept Hayden completely out of it. I am grateful that no one has asked me again about how I was getting heroin up the mountain.
Sauna Day 12:
Once again, I was plagued with vivid drug dreams last night. This time, the heroin needle was enormous and not like any needle I would have ever used to hit with. I remember vividly that there were 70 cc’s of a honey-molasses colored demon waiting to be pushed into my vein, but alas, I woke up before I was able to get high.
Madison is the sauna I.C. today. Bryce and Hayden are sitting on the top bench, both experiencing reactions to the niacin. Hayden brought her art supplies in to draw with. The rest of us are playing Cards Against Humanity. After awhile, the game becomes rather redundant. The shock value of what is on the cards is less, after you have been exposed to them. However, I play to pass the time.
I am not sure how the conversation has turned sour, but suddenly Bryce is attacking me. We were on the subject of Vinny too Skinny and Bryce always defends him. It enrages me. Lately, Bryce hasn’t talked to me much and has spent most of his time hitting on Linnea or writing in his journal.
“Liz, you have no room to talk,” he says.
“Room to talk? What are you talking about and where is this coming from?” I ask.
“You are one of the most immature people I have ever met!” Bryce exclaims loudly. “In fact, you are the most immature person here.”
The sauna falls quiet. The laughter of the game hushes. Nobody says a word and I am overcome with rage and embarrassment. I can feel myself about to cry and I don’t want anyone to see how upset I am, so I walk out of the box and head towards my room. Madison chases after me.
“Liz! Where do you think you are going?” She calls out.
I make my way down the slight hill towards my room and past the course room. She is jogging to keep up with me.
“Fuck Bryce and fuck sauna. I don’t want to do it,” I shout back. “It’s my fucking program!” I scream.
As I stand in front of the slider door to my room Madison angrily shouts at me that I can’t leave sauna.
“Um, hello. I just did. I’ll do PM sauna. I refuse to do sauna with Bryce today,” I declare. Tears are streaking down my cheeks.
“Liz, you already took your niacin. You can’t just switch to PM now. You have to get into the sauna,” she pleads.
We argue back and forth for awhile, but ultimately Madison convinces me to get back into the sauna. I have a cigarette before heading back in. Everyone is quiet and Bryce refuses to make eye contact with me. I have no idea why Bryce attacked me, but I am embarrassed and hurt by it. He has no idea how many times Vinny too Skinny has made inappropriate comments to me and why I feel the way I do about him.
I opt to listen to my iPod, to break the awkward silence and allow for everyone else to resume normal sauna activity. My mind replays the events that has just unfolded. I literally just threw a temper tantrum and showed my immaturity, confirming Bryce’s allegations. Not everyone is going to like me and that shouldn’t make me cry. I can’t please everyone and live up to everyone’s expectations. Trying to, only causes me to lose myself and stunts my emotional growth. Who am I and why do I care what other people think about me so much? It is in this moment I begin to realize that age really is just a number and that I have some serious growing up to do…