Have You Seen This Girl?
I lost my straw three hours ago, which sucks because it was my favorite one. Getting up to look for it seems like a painstaking, insurmountable task right now, but I pull myself up to a sitting position and swing my legs over the side of the bed. The “bed” is nothing more than a dingy, rust-colored mattress that lies on the floor of a two-room basement apartment in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The threadbare carpet that covers the floor provides no support for my feet, and frankly, it stinks. I get down on my knees and lay my face flat against the carpet, holding my breath and peering under an ancient, stained armchair and the dresser that stands beside it. Now, where the fuck is that straw?
All I can see are dust bunnies, mouse droppings, and the carcass of a cockroach. No straw. I let out a frustrated groan. I give up searching, stand back up, and pad across the hall to the tiny bathroom I share with my current boyfriend, Michael, or “Mick” when he thinks he’s cool. I plop down on the toilet, running my hands through my tangled mop of greasy black hair.
I wait for the pee to come. Then wait some more. I can remember one of my old AA mentors, telling me once why opiates interfere with bodily functions like peeing, for instance. It was something about wires in the brain getting crossed…I wish I had a stopwatch to time this affair, but then it finally comes and I let out a sigh of relief.
Mick’s clothes from the night before are strewn across the bathroom floor at my feet. Suddenly I have a thought, and begin rummaging through the pockets of a brown pair of khaki shorts that I remember him wearing last night. I find what I’m looking for: a tattered black wallet, worn out from age and being sat on all day long. I open it up and peer inside. It only contains two dollars, but that’s fine by me—all I need is one.
Pulling out the faded, crumpled bill, I smooth it flat against the round edges of the wash basin. Once flattened, I begin slowly rolling it into a perfectly cylindrical mini-version of my straw. It’s basically perfect.
The dope is in my bedroom drawer, along with my razor. Using the tiny blade, I lovingly chop the heroin until it is fine and powdery, and then use the rolled up dollar bill to suck it straight up my nose. Its taste hits the back of my throat instantly and drains down through my sinuses, a sensation I used to loathe but have grown to love.
Wiping the residue from my nose noisily with the back of my hand, I glance at Mick, who is still passed out on the bed. Getting high makes him sleepy, but it fills me with an insatiable need to do something productive.
Our bedroom is dotted with tiny land mines of crumpled t-shirts, inside-out jeans, and day-old panties. I make my way around the room, picking them up and tossing them all into a wicker laundry basket in the corner.
Besides the bedroom and bathroom, we have a small, windowless sitting area, a narrow galley kitchen, and a small extra bedroom that we use for trash and other random items. I move my cleaning to the living room, gathering up snack wrappers and empty Solo cups, and then carry them into the small silver garbage can under the kitchen sink. The sink is filled to the brim with two-day-old dishes, so I start filling the sink with water and shampoo.
I’ve been out of dish soap for weeks now, but the hair care product seems to get the job done so I don’t complain. The water from the faucet never gets hot because our gas got shut off months ago. If I want hot water, I have to boil it. This all sounds ridiculous, I know. This is the twenty-first century, but my addiction has me back in the Stone Age, because when you’re an addict, you don’t spend money on things like food, water, clothes, electricity…you spend it on drugs. At least the truly hardcore addicts like me do.
Crusty teacups, sauce-covered plates, and sour-smelling utensils permeate the water, rising steadily to the brim. I plunge my hands into the frigid, cloudy water and begin mindlessly washing.
For the past six months, our daily life can be divided into three segments: looking for money to buy heroin, finding the drug, and then getting high. Oh, I almost forgot about the fourth segment: coming down from the drug—my least favorite time of day. Our entire life revolves around heroin and our bodies rely on it to function. It’s not about getting “high” anymore because I never feel lifted or high-spirited, or overly anything these days. We wake up feeling low and we need it to feel normal. Maybe they should change the expression to “getting normal” or “avoiding feeling like shit,” instead of “getting high.”
Today will be different though. Today I have a date with my good friend rehab, and in six hours from now, my daily routine should change dramatically. Mick isn’t going, but I’m fine with that. He’ll do his own thing when he’s ready. I’ve been planning this for a month now, and finally the phone call came: a bed opened up at the local in-patient clinic and today is the day to report.
I’ve been to rehab before, and will most likely go again after this stint, but everything is about to change. This time around, major plans have been made for when I get out of rehab.
Those plans involve me and a sharp set of butcher knives, but I’ll explain that later.
Perhaps you’re wondering how I got this way. Or perhaps you don’t give a damn. Either way, this is my story. It’s not a story about addiction. This is a story about murder.