I’m only trying to buy Vicodin or Percocet from Ally’s cousin when I call him from the dry cleaning store. I’m at the one in Hampton after school per usual. All the homework for my honors and AP classes is finished, and I’m trying not to fall asleep. Going to school my senior year has become difficult. A mix of social phobia and boredom keeps me in bed feigning a migraine at least once a week. I’ve started writing my own excuses and forging my mom’s signature. If I can get all As by going to class half of the week, what’s the point in going every day?
The only time I feel like going, or something resembling excitement as I dress in the morning, is when I have chemicals. Drinking in the morning is too risky and besides being hard to stomach at 7am, leaves me hungover by lunchtime. Pills are preferred and can be re-dosed surreptitiously throughout the day, even if they sometimes send me running for the bathroom to throw up. Hence the call to Ally’s cousin.
“I only have bags,” he tells me.
I then make him explain what the hell bags are: heroin. Without hesitation, I tell him to be here before 7 when the store closes.
When he delivers the tiny wax packet of heroin he tells me to be careful and he shakes my hand. I read somewhere that shaking hands began in the Middle Ages to make sure someone wasn’t concealing a knife. An archaic process, one I don’t fully condone because it encourages the spread of germs. I usually oblige though because it tells me a lot about a person, the smoothness of their skin and the firmness of the shake. Judging from this guy’s attempt, his only ambition is to be black and he’s never seen a day of manual labor in his short life. All good things to know, even though I’m accepting the knife with open arms.
I take the drugs back to the fake wood table that graced my parent’s home in Philadelphia. After dumping it out I look at the empty packet stamped with green ink.
‘I shouldn’t do this….one day I will regret it’
‘God you are dramatic,’ I tell the voice in my head as I roll up a hundred-dollar bill from the register.
Soon, I feel a warmth that overpowers any negative thoughts. Addiction isn’t real, school isn’t that boring, my life isn’t that pointless. Here is the fix.
The only thing I think on the short drive home is ‘I wonder when I can get more’.