There are places I see in my dreams; places like my first bedroom when I was an infant and living in a duplex apartment off Queens Boulevard. I can see it all very clearly. My point of view is from the inside of my white crib. The room is the kind of dim that comes when a baby is placed down for an afternoon nap.
I notice the light blue walls with scribbles of crayons drawn in large circles next to the light switch. And though I have no memory if this, my Mother once told me I used to draw on the walls, which is why they used to take my crayons away from me when I was in my bedroom.
I see this place in my dreams sometimes. The white door that leads out into to corridor is slightly opened. I suppose this is a tiny memory that was kept locked away and encapsulated in my mind, and for some reason, there is something significant to me about this memory.
I just don’t know what it is . . .
I also dream about sitting on the roof of my old home on Merrick Avenue. When I was lost as a teenager, I used to sit on the roof of my home for hours, and no, I was not doing the best of things while sitting there.
I certainly drank my share of gin on that roof. I smoked packs upon packs of cigarettes (Marlboro Reds, to be exact.) I would sit on my roof, late at night, and look at the stars while toying with the hallucinations that came with various psychedelic chemicals that I used as a means of escape.
On some nights; however, it was good enough to sit there and be sober. It was good enough to sit up there and taste the breath of a late night breeze. I looked across the street at the vacant fields by my home.
My world was so different then. My town was different then. I was young and somewhat unaffected by my poor decisions. This was before the infection took place and the town of East Meadow was overrun by young junkies and thieves.
I enjoyed sitting on my roof because it was good enough to sit in the company of silence and see the lights glowing in the distance from the parking lot at the Nassau Coliseum.
On some nights, I could hear cheers from the stadium at Hofstra University. And sometimes the cheers were closer in proximity. These were the cheers that came from the football field at a high school called Maria Regina, which later became a school known as Kellenberg. There was no one else there but me and there was no one else around to impress. I was able to speak my mind, even if it was only to myself, and feel as if i could breathe without trying to be someone else.
Sometimes it was good enough to crawl out onto the roof from my bedroom window and sit on the peak of my house. My bedroom window was open enough so I could hear music playing in the background. On nights like this, I usually went with bands like The Pink Floyd instead of the angry, more aggressive music I often listened to.
The way I saw it; there was no need for anything aggressive. In fact, I used to sit on the roof of my home to escape the loudness. This was my time to rid myself from the noise in my head. This is where I would sit to ease the ongoing aggression in my life. Along with other mood altering chemicals, I suppose this is why the gin came in so handy. I used them to handle my current situations so my mind could rest and feel nothing but easy.
In my dreams on the roof, I am young. I am long-haired and exactly as I was. I am wearing a blue denim jacket over a t-shirt, a pair of bell-bottom, or boot-cut jeans, probably splashed with stains of bleach. The wind is blowing my hair back and I am lost in thought.
I never say anything in my dreams. I mostly sit and view the world, as if I’m trying to understand something. Once again, this dream is of a memory I have locked away someplace. I suppose I keep this memory because it is somehow significant.
Sometimes I dream about the basement of a bar near the corner of Front Street and Merrick Avenue. I used to sneak into this place when I need to fix up and the weather was bad. I can see it as I remembered. The room is absolutely dark. The floor is covered with a layer of dirt.
I hid behind several wooden boxes with my tools, such as a bent up spoon, a cigarette lighter, a little bit of baking soda, and a white powder that poisoned and nearly killed everyone I knew.
This dream above any of them is haunting to me. I can hear my heart beating. I can feel the nervous anxiety rushing through my veins because I know in my dreams, it was the end of the night, and the end of the night meant it was the end of my stash—to which I had to face an incredible sense of desperation, which we as junkies, refer to it as “The fiend.”
Sometimes, I dream of me sitting in a chair. I am in a dark room of some abandoned building, which is burnt out, and used as a shooting gallery by local junkies. A beam of light from the streetlamps comes in through the loose boards that cover an old broken window. The light is bluish and dull, but bright enough to glaze passed me and shimmer along my pale, pasty skin.
My left arm is extended outward—a downward needle in my right hand is pointing straight into the pocket of my arm and pointing towards a bulging blue vein.
I was never into needles, which is odd because I dream of the injections. Needles were never my thing. But I always knew they were on the menu.
Again, I am young in these dreams. I am long-haired and exactly as I used to be. I am thin. I can see myself. I can see the look in my eyes—and I know exactly what that look means.
In spite of all my years away from the sickness, I still have dreams about the junk and the life that went along with it. I have dreams, which record little pieces of memory. I have memories of places near Liberty Avenue and Jerome in East New York Brooklyn.
We were sitting in a car and waiting at the spot. And by we, I mean four of us. Outside, a skirmish began between a local crackhead and the dealers. Next, I heard a loud pop, followed by the sound of a body flung against the side of the car. (That was the crackhead)
I can see this in my dreams as if I am a witness instead of a passenger, sitting shotgun, and freaking out in some girl’s beat-up old tan colored Dodge.
I can see the hands of the dark-skinned man flail in the air as he ricocheted off the side of the car and then ran down the street with his left arm dangling by his side. Whether the crackhead was actually shot in the shoulder or chest is still unknown. To us, that was irrelevant. Most important is how can we score now that we had just been ripped off. And secondly was how do we find someplace to get money. At no point did we consider the fact that we were all nearly shot. We all had guns at our head and we were all still wondering how we could score.
When I wake up from these dreams, I wake to a minute of confusion. I wonder if this was real or just another dream. I feel a quick pinch of fear and wonder how I’m going to explain this to everyone. My heartbeat is thumping. My body is sweating. Then I come to the realization that this was just a dream. I exhale in a sigh of relief because I know deep in my heart, so long as I maintain who I am now—I will never be that person again.