No one ever plans for it. It almost seems like we blink, and the next thing we know, we’ve fallen so far off course. Three things were frightening to me. First is since I moved in too deeply; I was so far from the starting line that I thought I was too lost to turn around and find my way back to the straight and narrow. Second, and most importantly, I was too afraid to stop. The anxiety of feeling sick as well as the seemingly constant uphill battle it would be to kick the life; the bottomless feeling of falling through loneliness, the detached feeling that comes with the idea that, “No one understands,” and living with the thought in my head that constantly whispered, “Why bother? You know you’re just going to fail,”
I was too afraid of the mental anguish. And of all, the third reason I was most afraid to stop is the ongoing questions that rambled in my head. Questions like, “What do I do now?” and, “Who am I going to be if I go straight?” I was afraid of the empty boredom. I was afraid to sit alone—completely by myself with no one and nothing else to distract me. What if I see who I am—I mean really see who I am? What do I do when I find out the reasons why I do what I do? What then? What will I use to fill the empty spaces that seem like ulcers in the mind? I mean really; what I do when the itch comes back? How do I scratch the itch in my soul that no one or nothing else could ever reach and make me cry out the word, “Ah,” in total satisfaction?
It all happens in stages. Same as there is a chart that depicts the evolution of man; this here is my chart that explains the evolution of a junkie
I was 14 years old. The sky moved in showers of fiery light. They called this Lucy in the Skies: my first acid trip. I had seen others swallow these small tabs of paper. They call this blotter acid—meaning a dab of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (L.S.D.) was either dropped or brushed across a perforated stamp-like sheet of heavy-weighted paper. They say for the first time, many nervously start out by eating half, or only one tab. On my first adventure, I chose to take two. And why not take two? Why not find out what it means to see life in a truly heightened sense of awareness? In order to expand my mind, I sought through chemical reactions to achieve the utmost and incredibly invincible feeling. I was searching for the unmatchable feeling of weightlessness. I wanted to feel untouchable, or better, I wanted to be unreachable and step away from reality. I wanted to laugh without regard for sadness. I wanted to feel comfortable and easy without worrying about what I may or may not look like. In my attempt to find myself in the perfect sense of balance; I wanted to find myself lost in a state of complete and total bliss.
I had tried mescaline before. This was the sort of chemical that left me red-faced and smiling a big toothy smile that I could not rid myself of. I have spoken with many who have experienced this same feeling. It was so wonderfully and uncontrollably strange. Scattered visions and trails that follow behind moving objects; melting hallucinations, imaginary laughter, whistles, and sirens blaring inside your mind, and of course the swirling sights that trip in color behind the walls of the eyelids were so wild and overpowering. It was the longest most deranged eight hours I ever spent. I laughed and smiled so long that my face hurt. And truly, while lost in the wild delirium, I believe someone could have cut me, limb from limb, and I might have laughed at them the entire time.
“If you think this is good, just wait until you try acid,” Someone told me.
In the first stage of my trip, I began to hear the world in a strange echo. Every object seemed to have a purple and green border around it. Even familiar faces seemed oddly strange to me. And music . . . music was simply incredible.
Ever hear the song, “Hells Bells,” by the band AC/DC while dosed on two hits of L.S.D? The intro of the bell gonging in the background is totally mesmerizing. I felt myself fall into this strange but beautiful hallucinatory trance.
In my youth; I was alive in such a strange way. There was nothing but adrenaline and the rush to be high and alive. The sun in my small Long Island passed along the daylight, which meant that evening was ready to begin. Soon, the sky would turn into a band of wonderful color, which we all know as twilight, before changing and slipping into a sea of shining stars
I always loved the twilight. And for a while, I knew better than “They” did. I knew better than anyone else did, for that matter. The terms of my rebellion became the meaning behind my journey. One strange trip like this into the atmosphere—and all was revealed
The beginning of trouble was a clear and present sign. One night, we gathered across from the McVey Elementary School playground and leaned against a fence, which belonged to the Town of Hempstead’s water department
Someone I knew brought a small container of gasoline because of a drug test that was coming his way. While the rest of us smoked, and passed the weed, one of my friends huffed the fumes to get high
Chris tried afterwards, then Myles, and then me. I took in the fumes as deep as I could. Panting in and out; I felt the change take place. It felt as if the gasoline lined along the walls of my lungs, clinging to the fibers in a thick yellowy velvet.
Suddenly, my breath changed as I sunk backwards into the inside world of my own mind. I was immersed in a sense that where I was had transformed into someplace else. I felt deadened to the touch. My ears clogged and my head sunk through a swirling downward spiral
I could feel my heart thumping inside my chest. The nighttime sky changed into blurred vision, the streetlamps glowed and grew rainbow halos around them, which lasted only for a few seconds.
On the way down, or should I call this the rebound, the yellowy velvet feeling remained in my lungs and the aroma stayed thick in my nose. The pulsation stopped and I was aware of myself
Jay asked me, “Is that the first time you ever huffed gas?”
It was . . .
We took turns with the small container of gasoline. Someone had a bottle of beer, and we took turns with that too.
Our backs leaned against the fence that surrounded the tall water tower, which to me, was a symbol of suburban safety, and somehow symbolized our small town ignorance in the belief that we were much bigger than we were.
God . . .
We were just little kids then.
There was a mix in the crowd and the only way into her blouse was through an image. So of course, I tried.
I knew her somewhat well. She fooled the world with a smile, though none of it was real.
She told me, “I know what they think of me.” And when you’re young, the term “They,” means absolutely everyone. The term, “They” represent the crowd. “They” represent the social status and the opposite of loneliness.
She was a girl to me. She was absolutely marvelous. She was thick in figure and curved at the hips. She was beautiful to me. She smelled like a fresh bath. He hair was long and smelled clean. Like most girls in my social surrounding, she sprayed her hair up high in a crazy style. This was the stile then. High-sprayed hair, right jeans, and white keds sneakers with scrunchy socks pulled over the hem of her tight fitted jeans. I remember her very well.
She and I sat on the bleachers at the back field in a series of baseball fields that bordered Merrick Avenue and Earl Ovington Boulevard. This was a great time. Our town had yet to be broken by the infestation of real crime and junk sickness. There was only a breath of innocence left, but at least we still had it.
She and I sat close together, talking, and overlooking the half-bent grass in the vacant lot near the tall glass buildings on Earl Ovington Boulevard. Aside from the hospital on Hempstead Turnpike, and the water tower on Franklin Avenue, the glass buildings were the only tall structures in our town.
I mention that we sat by the vacant field because I find it apropos because there are always vacant fields and empty parking lots in small town tragedies
She said, “It’s not like I wanted him to.” And by that, she meant the touch of a grown man passed onto a young girl who never knew the difference between lust and love. By that, I mean a grown man aware of his desire while imposing his lust for a young girl’s mistaken identity for someone in love. This man poisoned a young girl, leaving her vacantly unaware of how beautiful she had yet to become. Of one thing a girl has of value; it is her body. This man was the first to take hers. After that happened, the young girl seemed to age. In my eyes and in a rush to grow up, she lost her sense of value and gave herself to others in a far too easy fashion.
I asked, “Is that why you do it?”
Meanwhile, I wondered why she wouldn’t do it with me. Her slight grin surprised me and she answered as if she was a full grown woman, jaded by time and age. “I guess so,” she said
“It lets me know I’m alive”
She slept her way through crowds, being temporarily wanted . . .
Wanted, but less meaningful
I thought about what she said
I thought about the way she took men into her . . .
. . .in order to keep them away.
I relate to the degrees of loneliness and the weight it holds. What was cool yesterday—was cool yesterday and the grins from that time transfer themselves into new bottles of amusement. Of course, the key term in this phrase as it relates to me is, “Bottle.”
Little boys play with blocks and matchbox cars until they grow to love something else. Young girls play with dolls or hopscotch. They jump rope until they change into someone different
I stood in a schoolyard too drunk to make sense and wondered why no one else was laughing at the jokes. Then again, maybe too many yesterdays passed and it was no longer funny. Maybe the joke was old and I was the only one laughing.
At the park after sunset, I was in the playground and away from everyone. We called this place the “Tot-Lot.”
I lay down on a bench because I couldn’t hold myself up. The progression is what I found amazing. What was supposed to be fun, turned wrong.
We, and by we, I mean a select few, spun into different sources of amusement. We found the white powders to react like a sea of electricity that wired us into something incredible.
This was brilliant. The lights were so incredibly bright and blinding. The cool sense of numbness was overwhelming and convincingly deceptive.
I was intrigued. Same as a flying bug at night is tempted into the brightness of a blue and glowing electric death-light, and drawn in until crashing and exploding against the electrified mesh; I was dragged in to the glow of a brilliant white light.
I was aroused by the perfect chaos and blinded by the poetry of such beautiful catastrophes. Then, I found a different powder; one that would slow down the magnificent spins of the world and turn my life into a slow and manageable crawl.
It became clear that my cure was also the most pertinent of my symptoms. Dissolving my youth for the sensation of a slow but yet, incredible high, I drew softly into the soft hum of electrified light.
And like the bug against the electrified mesh of the death-lamp; I don’t think I would have felt a thing if I exploded.
Mike found us a ride into Rockaway. The late January froze the ground, and back in our small town, we staggered through a dried stream that ran along the side of a parkway.
The stream was dead for the season; it was abandoned and lifeless. I suppose it was no different from me or Mike at the time
After one drug, we went to another. We pulled out our small packages with the words “Hi-Power” printed across the front. We picked them up on B15 Street.
Ten bucks . . .
It cost ten bucks for a small packet. It was a little envelope of scaly powder, which to the new eye, seemed like such a tiny amount. This is when I learned that only a small amount of poison can do a monstrous amount of things.
The best dope I encountered in my time was from 134th and Willis in the Bronx. The tiny white packet had a purple crown printed on the front, and beneath it read, “KING”
–But I digress
Back to the creek:
It was cold that day, but the substance in our bloodstream, kept us warm enough to disregard the temperature. It was as if there was a shell, or layer between me and the world. It was like living in my own private cocoon, and like a child in the womb, I was separated from the world with my eyes closed and safe in the embryo that comes with heroin.
The nod unfolded. Similar to a dreamy séance, thoughts melted into color, crashing into the mellow production of suspended time. I say I was suspended because I felt suspended in a state of gentle animation. There was no pain or concern. I was simply and totally free from gravity.
I followed this dream inward through my vision, losing the straightness of my spine, losing posture, losing the frame that holds my body together. I went missing in the pulse of a gentle but mental orgasm
I had no idea about time, or how long the suspension cured me. And by cured, I mean preserved by my sickness. I started hearing a sound. But I could not tell what that sound was. Then I heard my name sounding so faint and shouted from so far away. I felt something hitting my side. At first the hits were slow. Then the speed of these hits against my ribs began to pick up speed. The sound of my name being called became louder and clearer. It was Mike
Mike told me, “Man, I thought you were dead.”
Maybe I was . . .
The demons tore into the town and switched our youthful innocence into something more tainted. Those who left their front doors unlocked were now inclined to lock them. Homeowners decided to buy burglar alarms. They were sure to lock their car doors and garage doors. The town was no longer innocent. Its youth had turned on it. I know this because I was amongst the first to turn against it
Tommy and I found a way into Brooklyn. He was new to the life and I was the one who introduced him. See, that’s how the sickness spreads. It’s like a germ. It touches the mind and infects those around us
Tommy said, “This is the last time.”
I didn’t listen to Tommy because I knew it wasn’t
Paul stole a car, but not really…
it was his neighbor’s and we planned to bring it back
(As soon as we were done with it)
I had this looming question in my mind
“How long will this last?”
I knew an end was in sight.
I knew the struggle was too much. The sickness turned me into 80lbs of pale bones. I was one month before my 17th birthday and wondering how much longer I would remain alive
The sobering minutes found in a jail cell can tell who is tough and who is not. Needless to say . . . I was not one of the tough ones.
The plastic masks I chose to hide behind were no match for the heat of jailhouse cruelty
It is hard to believe that I found redemption in the darkest and dingiest of places. I watched a frosted window at the top of the jailhouse corridor from inside a small cage. Looking at the frosted window as the late hours turned to dawn; I felt relief.
I felt relieved—not because I was locked up, but because for the first time, there was a break in the madness. I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe . . .
I could change
I was not scared of dying as much as I was afraid of living without feeling alive. The definition of spirituality is simple this; balance. Spirituality is a state of mind. Religion is not spirituality. Religion is a vehicle to achieve a sense of oneness. Hat’s spiritual.
I tried for as long as I could to find myself in the greatest sense of oneness. In my efforts to find spiritual comfort, I sought through chemical reaction to find myself in a total and untouchable sense of balance. But there was a trick. In order to balance the scales, one would need to weigh the sides down. My weights were too costly and heavy. For every weight I offered, I needed a counterweight, and then a counterweight to counteract the weights from either side.
Essentially, this is one of my many explanations of drug addiction. I have come to the understanding that there will be those who understand almost instinctively and empathetically. There are those who do not understand. However, they would like to. They want to understand, and because of this; I find these people and their desire to grasp this sickness in an effort to help or save an addict like myself to be some of the greatest in the world.
Third and lastly are those who cannot understand. They see the world as they see it. They are unable to grasp a concept any different from their own and when encountered, I refrain from my explanations because like the bible says, “Do not cast your pearls before swine for they will trample them under their feet and then turn to tear you in pieces.”
In an effort to bring awareness, I write to the first two groups of people. I find the third to be too troublesome for me to explain they whys and why nots to them
Back when we were kids in the park, I used never want to go home. The worst thing that could happen is I went home only to find out I missed something. The worst feeling was missing out and listening to my friends talk about it the very next day.
But we grow and we get older. We go off in different directions. Somehow, the action changes. The thrills are not what they were.
I sometimes feel like I missed something. And to some degree; I missed a lifetime. I never walked up to grab my diploma at high school graduation. I never went to junior or senior prom. I was so busy trying to feel something better that I never took the time to feel good about life as it unfolds.
I was always afraid I would miss something. But in my crusade to feel everything and nothing at the same time—I missed out on the benefits of my youth.
I never wanted to feel like I didn’t get the joke. I never wanted to feel like I didn’t fit in or like I wasn’t liked
I was trying so hard to see it all that I didn’t see anything –
Until it was too late