It had finally come to that point. We were both (pardon the cliché), sick and tired of being sick and tired. Amy had taken the last bit of morphine we had stashed away and it was only a matter of time before we’d have to answer to the drug gods. Those fucking bastards… as sadistic of creatures they were their existence couldn’t be wished away. There was no room for agnosticism when it came to their will. I’d offered my sacrifice enough times to make me a believer.
“I feel like shit. I think it’s…,” Amy managed to choke out before the first round of many, dry heaves.
“I am not fucking doing this!” she screamed
“There has to be something left over that we missed. Please, please tell me there’s something?”
“We’ve got nothing and Ricky’s not answering,”
My head involuntarily jerked to the left.
“We’ll have to just,”
My head twitched again.
“Wait it out.”
“Jesus fucking Christ! That’s just great. Wait? Wait it out huh? Fuck you!”
“You think I’m feeling any fucking better?” I screamed back.
“Yeah I do actually. You’ve never been dopesick in your life,”
She was right. I didn’t know her pain. It was something I both relished in and resented. My poison of choice had been the fat stack of ecstasy pills we’d blown through during our ill-advised trip to junkie-land, which in my case had its own set of problems. The sun was rising on suicide Tuesday.
“How’s the fucking view from your high horse.”
“I’m sorry..." she said with tears in her eyes.
“It’s not you. It isn’t even about being sick. It’s this fucking curse we put on ourselves… Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like if we didn’t have to go through this every week, every day every second? Why can’t we just be normal?”
She cradled her head in my arms. Her hair touching my skin made mine stand on end. I was aware of her need for love and understanding but the spent shells that my neurotransmitters had turned into wouldn’t let me feel any of it. My meat-machine was breathing as I held the woman I loved but I wasn’t alive. We were both cold, sweat-stained human car-wrecks and in that instant I grasped the full, hauntingly crystallizing extent of what Amy had just said… Why can’t we just be normal?
“How are you feeling?” I asked a couple of days’ worth of suffering later.
“Better than the bathroom wall… We’ll need to get that fixed before the next inspection. How about you?”
“I’m okay but the picture of me in the attic looks like shit,”
“Are you sure we should do this? I mean… what if it we can’t?"
I paused. I thought about it. I eventually got around to answering her.
“Yeah, it’s worth a shot… what’s the worst that could happen?”
Amy held my hand as we headed out the door.
“Hi uh, my name is Amy and I’m an addict,”
“Hi Amy,” The Fellowship Group of District 10 screeched under the florescent lights of their church basement.
“I… I don’t really know where to start. I guess I’ve always liked drugs well I liked what they allowed me to do at least… the key word being allowed, because lately, they haven’t been doing what they used to But, being able to change how I think and feel at any given time. I always compared it to being able to paint with different colors. Shades and tones that the average person doesn’t have access to. Colors that don’t exist in the real world. I used to think it was like having super powers. I mean they let me shut my brain off if I wanted to. I could turn around and amp myself up to 100 of I wanted to all in the matter of a couple hours and… I’ve always liked that. I’ve been clean for… shit I don’t even know a couple of days maybe. I’m just looking for something else. I want to be able to do the things that real people do and I thought maybe, I could learn how to do some of those things here.”
I sat in the middle pew of whatever church we were in picking at my nails and obsessively checking my phone. There was a kid who looked like he was barely old enough to shave sitting a couple seats over from me nodding in and out of consciousness; dark Gucci shades, a persistent look of vacancy and a fresh set of tracks on his arm… kids these days.
“I don’t really know how any of this works… I could say something tragic about myself but that wouldn’t change much of anything… I guess I just like to get away from myself sometimes… sometimes I feel like I have to. I’m no expert on any of this so I think I’ll just listen tonight… Thanks”
There were a few other people that spoke, one that cried several more that stood up and left early and a couple that always seemed to be smiling. Amy sat next to me with her eyes glued to the front of the room and for a moment, I felt like this might actually work. So many people with secrets and vices. It was almost staggering how many people were here. A microcosm of the human experience, different personalities, different, fears different goals different people with a single common thread connecting all of their lives… it was all different.
“I think we should keep coming. It seems like there are people here who get it. The whole life on drugs thing.”
“Yeah definitely… I’m glad we came and I’m glad we’re here… somewhere, what’s the name of this church again?”
Amy smiled. God damn that smile.
“Better here than elsewhere.”
We kissed under the stars and headed home after sharing a couple of cigarettes with an old 70’s burnout (Eva, she was one of the smiley people). I thought about that night a week later when I caught myself rummaging around in the trash for a discarded quarter bag of spice Amy was asleep on the couch a crushed up pile of Xanax, morphine and lord knows what else sat on the table… why can’t we just be normal?