Written in second person point of view, present tense, as an exercise, but much more importantly, as a dedication to those who struggle with drugs. I am thankful that I can only imagine what you are going through. I doubt I am even close.
Please, inside your shattered life is a good person who wants to live again. Give him or her that chance. If I can believe in you, without even knowing you, others, I’m certain, believe in you. Now–you need to believe in you.
For those who like to wonder about such things, the punctuation, especially the lack of quotation marks in some places, is intentional.
The Seduction, and the Hope.
You sit on your parent’s sofa, watching TV, changing channels rapid-fire. It’s all boring and you scratch an errant itch. Your face is rough with stubble, your underarms reek, and bathing is an afterthought.
Your mom walks in. Curlers. Pink robe. Grungy slippers. Bright red fingernails.
“Is this all you’re going to do all day? Sit here? You could at least take the trash out. Cut the grass. Do something … “
In the recliner, your dad grunts. “Yeah. And while you’re doing all that, dammit, get a job too.”
You stare, then wipe your nose with a finger whose nail is in dire need of trimming, and you spread the yellow smear on your jeans, which are slick from sitting, stained from mayonnaise, and smelling of spilled beer.
You punch the remote’s off button, rise slowly because your back aches, and walk down a darkened hallway, taking a door to the stairs to the basement, where your room is.
Placing your bare feet on the first step, you close the door behind you, then stand there.
A scurrying in the walls–you wonder how long it will be before the mice or the roaches or whatever it is will take you away from this world.
Anything would be better than this. Just one more step down these darkened stairs– No. Not a step. A stumble. Hello, new world.
But basically, on your deepest levels, and sometimes, even on the shallowest, when the meth or the coke or whatever you can get from your dealer deadens the pain, you know you’re a coward. So you flip the light on, and it clicks, causing more scurrying, which, perhaps, is in your muddled brain, or what’s left of it.
The stairs, and your bones, creek. You run your tongue across your teeth and swallow on your way down. You taste like gray film looks, and your teeth have things growing between them, you’re sure.
And at the bottom of the steps the dank smell of your underground room zips through your sinuses like a warm, wet ice pick. You shake your head, flip on another light, and your own sofa looms before you. It’s worse than your jeans.
That’s probably where the roaches live.
If you sleep there one more night will they take you away? Will the come and eat your eyes right from their sockets? Leaving you even more blind than you are now?
You sit and fish the crumpled paper from your pocket. It’s been stuffed in and brought out so many times it feels like what a rat uses for a nest. You open it. Smeared blue ink. You call the number and before the ring stops in your ear, he answers.
It’s me. What do you have?
The question, as usual, is what do you have–monetarily?
I’ll have to get something together. My parents don’t leave cash out anymore, and there’s nothing here worth selling. …
Not my problem.
I realize that but–
Like I said, not my problem. And you don’t want to make it my problem. Do you … ?
You swallow, and you swear you feel the tiny prick of roach legs in your throat.
Then don’t call me until you have what I need. Then I’ll have what you need. Are we clear on that? I won’t say it again. And if I have to, I’ll send someone over and your parents will know something’s wrong when they smell your rotten corpse in your basement. Then you’ll be their problem, not mine, not anymore.
I … I won’t call again. Not until–
You throw the phone and it hits the wall with a dull thud. A hammer into a skull. Hot tears fill your eyes and you gag and retch and fall onto the cold concrete floor, finally throwing up, adding another yellowish-white stain. You cry. You beg. You ache for understanding, for forgiveness, for hope.
It’s been ages. Once you enjoyed. Once you loved. Once you created. Once people–good people–loved you. And you loved them back.
You find the phone behind the skeleton of a chair. You find the phone book in the laundry sink. You find the page, rip it out, then read the number. You slowly dial. You want to get this right. No mistakes. Not anymore.
You hear a voice.
“Hope-line drug addiction hotline. Can I help you?”
A gentle sigh exits your lungs. You blink. A weight lifts from your soul.
And you hope.