“Every single thing changes, nothing stays the same, nobody is perfect, but everyone’s to blame”
– Andrew Belle-In My Veins
The soft pinch of the needle as the doctor injects my last dose of whateveritis into my fragile system. One more tiny prick. One last shot and I’m out.
Free to do as I want.
Drug free for the first time in years.
The thought is sobering…no pun intended.
Mother is in the reception signing whatever relevant documents needed for my release. Apparently I’d been harbouring all sorts of ailments and that’s why my hospital stay was extended for an additional week.
An additional week that was missing one core person.
Ever since I apologized, Dare left and hasn’t returned. True to his word, all my things were sent to my family and they incurred no bills at the hospital. His parting gift to me I guess.
I deserve it.
Mother comes back and glances at me warily. Ever since the whole “discovery”, she keeps looking at me as if I’m going to disappear in a cloud of meth smoke or get violent and start shredding everybody.
She doesn’t get it. I’m exhausted. I’m done fighting or doing whatever it is I’ve been doing for my entire life. The looking glass is shattered and all I’m left with is blood stained hands and sobering reality.
But at least it’s not going anywhere.
I just want to go home.
I take mother’s hand as she leads me into the car and drives towards the one true thing I never lost…the love of my family.
Two months later
Fresh out of Reikers Rehablitation facility and poised to enter some fancy-feet college. Apparently my essay on overcoming drug addiction to write brilliant prose fiction for my portfolio was enough to get me into one of those fancy colleges. I guess I can help with their diversity too; I’m black, bisexual, have one financially supportive parent and very smart. I’ll definitely help with their diverse student reputation. Just one more week and I’m off to school.
Living with the parents has been hard. Hard because I have been completely forgiven.
I cannot forgive myself and my family has welcomed me like nothing has happened.
Maybe it will help that they aren’t going to be spending so much on me in school. I’m on a scholarship and I plan to support myself by writing editorials for select newspapers. The pay is shit, but I don’t care much for money.
I don’t care much for anything…not even me.
Because I’m healed, but I’m dead inside.
Because at night, I can’t sleep and when I do, I have no dreams and nightmares.
Because music has lost its appeal to me.
Because silence is all that exists for me.
Because my conversations are prosaic, my expressions, forced.
Packing up my things, but all I have is a medium sized suitcase, a quarter of it filled with writing pads and stencils, a quarter with things of sentimental value and half with clothes.
Then I notice it’s missing, my first sketchpad. The first time I came to terms with the fact that I love art, but I would never be good at it. The first time I tried writing. Horrible one-lined prose.
It’s in Dare’s house.
*** Dare ***
More news on the ever-spreading Arab Spring; I chuckle to myself as I mentally calculate how much more I could make if I could snake in one or two dictators as clients. Dinner is Chinese as usual. I still can’t bring myself to use the kitchen. Not since it was covered in blood. Not since insane things have happened on various hard surfaces within its radius.
But at least life is life.
She got better. I got my life back.
The food has lost its appeal. There’s someone at the door.
“I might have left something…Good evening” she says.
One, two, three.
“Well look at you. Don’t you look…healthy. Not that the addict look didn’t work as well.”
“You look good” she says.
“So do you.”
“I might have left a sketchpad here. Green, medium-size, horrible scribbles, ever more horrid handwriting.”
“Yes yes I have it. Come in.”
I retrieve the book and hand it to her
“So I guess its goodbye then.”
“Yeah…see you on the other side.”
She heads out.
One two three, twenty steps out of his apartment and I find myself turning back…
I haven’t left the door.
Ten, fifteen seconds.
There’s another knock.
Two deep breaths and I open the door.
One two three…knock knock.
Stark silence…the kind that makes the loudest white noise. And then…
It’s the neighbour. She came to pick up her keys.
And the realization hits me that’s she’s gone…and never coming back.
I can’t stop the tidal wave of depression that hits me.
She’s really gone. Didn’t even bother to tell me she was leaving the country. Some fool I am to believe she regretted using me. Guess I was just her ticket to redeeming her life. She’d gotten it back on track and I was left dead and hanging.
“Can I come in?”
He looks shitty…maybe it’s the sober lens I’m viewing life with, but he never looked this bad.
This will only take a while. Apologize, make amends, get out of this country and start afresh.
The apologies start spewing. And for a while I can’t stop. For getting hooked, for degrading myself to the point of almost death. Everything.
He just keeps staring. Silent. Expressionless.
Then it hits me. He’s too high to function.
And then the fear comes creeping. When David gets this high, I either get raped or beaten.
“I have to leave” and I stand up…slowly, cautiously.
He doesn’t move.
I head to the door grateful this part of my life is over but…
The door is locked.
He gets up, advancing slowly, his eyes dead of all reason, mental faculties face deep in intoxication.
And I do the only thing I can do at that moment.
Run Fareeda run
The phone beeps. It’s a text from a strange number.
Three words…enough to get me angry and self-loathing.
Help. David. Rape.
I curse as I get into the car and speed as fast as I can to her previous residence.
He’s gotten stronger.
My whole body hurts from being thrown around so much.
I tried running, only for him to grab me from behind and slam me into a table. My head feels like it’s been split open, but I get up and try to defend myself. He rams me into the wall, now stained red with my blood. My hands have been locked into a grip with his. His pants are off and with each second the terror claws at me like mental fire running through my body, painful and all consuming.
There are no locks in the house. I can’t hide anywhere. It doesn’t stop me from struggling.
I will not be molested, I will not slip back.
Then the pinch comes…soft, all too familiar.
He injected me…thrice.
Now my body is on fire.
The all too familiar feeling comes, only this time, it’s painful and forced.
The colours are getting brighter. I’m getting limp.
David releases me and I stagger round the room, crashing into stools and falling over chairs. I’m shaking, tears falling down my eyes, struggling, struggling to get out.
Finally, I fall headfirst into the shower, and stay there limp and lifeless, mind body and soul empty.
My clothes are coming off.
“I missed you baby. Welcome home.”
Finding a house in a slum is difficult, but I can’t stop. I can’t stop.
After what seems like eternity. I see the ramshackle house. In seconds I’m up the makeshift stairs kicking furiously at the locked door and screaming like a mad man.
Because I am mad…at her, at myself, at fate.
The door won’t budge, but finally it does.
I don’t expect anything good, but what I don’t expect is a needle aimed straight at my neck.
I lose my balance and another sharp pinch hits me.
What is going on?
My vision clears and I see him; naked, expressionless and very very scary.
I see her legs hanging out of the shower. I somehow manage to shove David aside and he doesn’t get in my way as I grab her and head for my car.
The wooziness hits me. Wow!
I have to get her…us out of here.
I start the car and drive as fast as I can, but I won’t make it…I’m too high.
I park the car in the safest spot I see and turn my attention to her. How badly is she hurt?
She’s smiling, reaching for me and being very inappropriate.
But weirdly…its okay.
He came…my hero.
A giggle erupts from him…I’m smiling too.
Best to clear the air now. I would never have been able to do this sober.
“I’m sorry I used you, but the truth is I do like you and I’ve felt dead ever since I moved back home. Happy, but dead.”
“So why are you leaving then?”
“You know I’m leaving?”
“Of course I do. Just because we didn’t talk didn’t mean I wasn’t keeping tabs on you…for professional reasons of course. Okay I’m lying. I like you very much, but you used me. Its hard to get past that”
“I’m sorry I…”
The rest is meth filled history…good history