There’s something magical about this feeling. The slow rip of the aluminum foil almost feels like I’m removing a page from the notebook of my life. There’s no better way to waste time than spending it getting high. A smudge sound quietly rings with my thumb running down the middle of the thin silver sheet, creating a long swell, and a place for my friend to sit. My teeth clinch gently against the plastic of the straw, and my heart says a quick prayer. For a moment, everything lowers to a whisper, and all my problems seem to fade away. The angels come down bearing wind in their wings. At this moment, I’m made brand new. There’s a warmth that slides up from my feet, climbing slowly, reaching past my knees. It almost feels as though I’m stepping across a line drawn between heaven, and earth. My eyelids rest. My hands are forgiven. The tips of my toes are satisfied, and in the absence of everything– I float, and drift.
It’s a warm afternoon in October. I peek through the blinds to make sure she’s still outside. There she is, singing, with her head under the hood. I’m very lucky to have such a strong, independent woman who cares so deeply for me. I turn from the snap of the old blinders leave my fingers. This is my new place. It isn’t much. Honestly, it’s just a roof over my head, but Barb seems to love it. She likes it here so much that she hardly spends any time back at home. That’s Barbara outside, messing with her truck. I swear she loves that truck more than anything in the world.
The old hardwood creaks against the bare heels of my feet as I make my way back to the bathroom. The transition of the kitchen tile scrapes along the bottom of my foot. This reminds me of living with my parents years ago. Never wore socks in the house much as a kid. I lock eyes with myself in the mirror for a second to make sure everything’s alright. Don’t look like I’ve aged much since moving out of my parents. My right hand grabs for my wallet. Let’s use a new crisp twenty dollar bill. The twenty dollar bills seem to work the best. I begin making a tiny fold at the very edge, followed by a small shift in pressure to one side, forcing the paper in a tightly rolled cone shape. This line isn’t quite as thick as I like it to be. My buddies, and I call lines like these “eyebrows”. Out from the cloudy bag fell two more crumbs of fentanyl. I crush them down with my driver’s license, smashing it flat. After chopping it all, I scoop, and drop. I repeat these steps a few times, until I can’t wait any longer. Taking the edge of my card, I make sure my rail, or “eyebrow” is perfectly straight.
The cool breeze begins to swirl dead cigarette butts around the parking lot. The neighbors chimes begin playing their tune behind me as I watch my hand move toward the doorknob. As the door opens, I call out to him, “Baby, have you seen my.. Oh, my God! Baby?! Talk to me! Wake up!” I race for the phone. He wasn’t responding, just laying there in the bathroom doorway. I attempted CPR for the next few minutes before police arrived, and along the other first responders. They quickly stepped inside to assist me. I told them I was outside for maybe five, or ten minutes before finding him like this. “Careful with his neck! Let’s get him up, and out of here now!”
“Mr. Hand? Can you hear me? Tell us. Why are you doing drugs? You know this could’ve killed you.” The nurse felt compelled to keep speaking. “You’re depressed? You’re lucky to be alive. That’s what you are.” She made a good point. The last thing I can remember was sitting down, turning to the left, bending over the bathroom counter, and that was it. Everything went dark after that. “You overdosed. How long have you been using fentanyl? Well, maybe it’s time to quit.” I know she’s right, but she has no clue what my life feels like, or what it looks like in comparison. “We’re keeping you a little while longer before you’re released. Is that your girlfriend outside? She’s worried sick.”