It begins with a boy. A handsome and intriguing boy you met in the smoky corner of the friend of a friend’s tiny house on a happy college town street. You exchange smiles and zodiac signs. He brings you home, you stay with him. You stay with him a lot. You drink craft beer on his squeaky porch in the sunset of a southern night. He crushes a charming baby blue pill and slides some your way. You giggle. You’re nervous. You bashfully take the rolled-up dollar bill.
You’re warm. Warm from the inside, out. He asks how you feel. You tell him it’s good, but you don’t tell him how good. You don’t tell him that everything wrong in your life now seems irrelevant. You don’t tell him that the burn of your father’s recent death feels finally soothed. You don’t tell him you can barely remember seeing the blood in the hospital bed.
You wake up entwined together in the very, very late afternoon. He asks if you want another. You tell him yes. Before you know it, you’re back to your comfortable, pleasant, upgraded world. This goes on for a couple days, and is the closest thing to any heaven you have experienced.
You feel sick. You aren’t sure why.
Weeks pass. You’ve missed an embarrassing amount of school. You casually drive to see more of your baby blue friends. You listen to the radio on loud. You are excited. You instantly feel better when you see the little guys in your hand. The sickness leaves. Bursts of creativity and clarity of humanity follow. You’re an imaginative genius. You experience sex on what feels like an unearthly plane. You smoke half a pack of menthols in the 3 A.M. breeze. Your eyes are low. You fall asleep in a plastic lawn chair. You don’t dream. Sleep is now a mere, flat darkness that only separates you from the waking world. You wake up with cigarette burns along your jacket’s edge.
You feel sick. You know why.
Your money dwindles. It dwindles remarkably fast. Faster than you can justify to your loved ones. You’re hollow. You live off Nestle Crunch Bars and Newcastle. Daylight becomes a stranger to you. People become strangers to you. You become a stranger to yourself. You begin to argue with the boy. You argue about money. You argue about debts. You argue about sharing.
You wait by the phone. You wait by the phone. You wait by the phone.
You are not moved by emotion. You have one true love. You keep a roll of tin foil under your bed. Your bedside is covered in ash. Your face is covered in ash. You wear long sleeves in the hottest summer. You hide your scarred elbows and feet. People notice. You are bothered. You get high to erase your guilt.
You fail out of a school you worked impossibly hard to get into. You alienate anyone who cannot provide you with what you most immediately need. You spend your father’s money. You break your mother’s heart. You lose everything you ever worked for. You wonder how something so pure became something so evil. You wonder how you became something so evil.
You wonder when it will end.
You wonder if it will end.