My Real Friends (Finding Heroin)

Most of the definitive periods of my life are marked by people – the people I hung out with, the people I got high with, the people who lived with me, and sometimes even the people I slept with, although those tend to be less memorable. My current therapist thinks this makes me codependent. It’s possible she’s correct. I mean she does have a master’s degree, but someone named Jarrod wrote on it with a crayon, so I’m sometimes suspicious of its authenticity.

I just find people more interesting than jobs, cities, or any of the other defining characteristics of my life over the years. People are unpredictable, at least the ones I choose to keep around.

My last year of high school, the year I got addicted to heroin and accepted to eight top tier Universities along the East coast, was shaded heavily by two brothers.

I’d known Jace since I was a Sophomore and he was a Senior. Jace and I would show up at the same typical suburban rich kid parties. He had a reputation for being into drugs, so I was immediately drawn to him. I had a car and always had cash and girls around, so he usually wanted to chill. Jace’s brother Evan, who was fucking gorgeous, was two years older than Jace.  It should have been a red flag that he was attending high school parties, but my friend Courtney had vouched for him. Plus, as I mentioned, he was fucking hot.

Other than parties, we didn’t spend much time together until I was a 17. (Not counting a random football game where I caught the ball with my eye socket). By my senior year friends were scarce. They had either left for college or had  been driven away by my cocaine abuse and erratic moods. I still had Andrea, and Elena was there when her mom wasn’t throwing her in youth rehabs, but I was missing a couple of bros. I was young and still needed male validation, and they just ended up happening to be actual brothers.

It was only a couple of weeks after snorting my first bag of heroin that Jace and Evan were calling me daily to drive them into the city to cop. That’s when my first real double life began. It wasn’t everyday at first – it never is right?

Jace and Evan were both shooting up at this point, an act I found repulsive, and a sure sign that they would never do anything with their lives. At first I’d make them use the bathroom at the Applebee’s on McKnight, the first safe place to stop when coming back from the Northside. But like everything else, eventually I stopped caring and let them do it in my car.

The only thing that really pissed me off was when they would fight over who got to keep the cottons. Those were the little pieces of cigarette filter they used to suck the mixture of heroin and water up into the syringe. When I say they fought, I mean actual fistfights in my Eclipse – over fucking cottons. Sad. Although I would be at the same point years later.

Every time the fought in my car, I would drop them off at their parents house and vow never to see them again. I’d then go hangout with my ‘real’ friends. The next day, when Jace or Evan inevitably called me while I was in school, I would agree to pick them up whenever I was done. I needed them for their connects, and they needed me for my car. It was never talked about, but we all knew we weren’t just using heroin.

We usually copped from Spaz on California Ave., Killer in Brighton Heights (until somebody killed him), or Kev in the Northside Commons. There were other random dealers scattered throughout the city for when the other three weren’t answering or briefly got sent to jail.

Buying heroin in the city wasn’t like buying coke in the suburbs. I never met the dealers. We all preferred it this way, Jace and Evan so I had to pick them up, and me so I didn’t get murdered for a couple hundred of dollars.

One time when no one was answering Evan made me drive into Garfield, where there use to be a street full of dealers. They call this an open air drug market. As soon as I pulled on to the street, six or seven large black men ran up to my car.

What the fuck!?” I yelled at Evan, thinking I was about to get carjacked.

Chill, they all just want to be the one to get your money

I started popping benzos and barbiturates to quell my anxiety. I was perpetually worried that I was going to get pulled over with drugs in my car. Jace told me that I shouldn’t be mixing the pills with the heroin. “Oh that’s rich, for someone who shoots up every day” I  replied while rolling my eyes.

By my 18th birthday it was an everyday thing, which wasn’t necessarily an issue except that we started to run out of money. It’s not like we were going to let up on the heroin, so I started driving Jace and Evan to Walmart so they could fill their coats with DVDs. We’d then take the movies to a pawn shop in the Southside.

Getting high became an eight hour event. I barely had time for my ‘real’ friends anymore, and the definition got blurry.

Jace and Evan were the only people left who know the truth. What I’d rather be doing more than anything else, what I was always chasing. I didn’t have to tell them lie after lie or convince them of a story I’d just made up the night before. They saw me at my fucking worst and the rare days when I was at my best.

When summer ended that year, I left for a private college in North Carolina, and Jace and Evan were sentenced to a prison upstate for retail thefts.

We went our separate ways and never spoke again.