no recess.

In an effort to be economical–or more likely, a futile attempt to convince myself that I really do possess some level of will power–I try to ration my purchase. I’m going to make it last until Friday. And then that’s it; I won’t buy any more. Cheryl and Nate will be back from their Thanksgiving trips. There’s no way I can continue this while they are around.

I have it all planned: Friday night I will clean the apartment. I haven’t really been eating and I’ve barely left my room, so tidying up will be easy. And then I will shower, take some vitamins, and practice smiling. Back to normal with minimal effort! Maybe I’ll even bake something for my roommates. Welcome home, friends!

But either Wednesday is too boring or my appetite is just too voracious. Honestly, it’s all just a blur of listening to the same records over and over again. I force myself to drink water occasionally. Ryan calls at some point, but I can barely speak to him.

–You sound kind of strange, like you’re on the verge of telling me a secret.

I try to feign nervous laughter.

–Anyway, you must have some kind of magical powers.


–Because I can’t stop thinking about you. I might come back sooner than I planned, so maybe we can hang out this weekend.

Yeah, maybe.

–I mean, you’re probably busy or something. But you know, if you aren’t, maybe we could go to that vegan restaurant in Wrigleyville.

Sure. Yeah. Great!

My ability to care about anything seems depleted, but a tiny shred of concern must remain somewhere inside my head. Or at least, I know that an air of mild enthusiasm is required.

When I open my eyes Thursday morning, the first thing I see is the empty plastic bag on my bed table. Fuck. I’m sure I will be fine. It’s not like I’m addicted or anything. I don’t need it. Now I will be forced to do something productive with my time. Sew buttons on my coat. Laundry. Read a book. Organize my closet. Maybe buy a shelving unit for all my shoes. Yeah, see…I’m going to be okay.

I try to force myself back to sleep, but my thoughts are racing. What am I going to do for the next two days? I made a deal with myself. This is my vacation. Now I’m supposed to short myself?

Okay. I definitely have enough money to buy more. That’s not the issue. But do dealers observe Thanksgiving? Is he closed for business because he is somewhere like Schaumburg eating gravy with his quirky-yet-charming family?

I guess I could call him. But I’m pretty sure that true professional drug users don’t call before noon. I have to wait.

I stumble to the kitchen and pour myself some whiskey. Taking a deep breath, I lean against the counter as I drain the glass in two painful gulps.

Back to bed.

And then it is two. Zach is going to be ringing the buzzer in an hour. There’ s no way I’m going to be able to procure drugs and pull myself together in a mere sixty minutes. I’m going to have to wait until later to call the dealer.

I don’t know if I can wait that long. I should just cancel on Zach. Yeah, that’s it. I’ll tell him that I have the flu. Or the holidays make me depressed. No, no…then he will definitely want to hang out. Maybe I have food poisoning. But from where? Oh god, I can’t even think of any restaurant names. He’s going to be able to tell that I’m lying.

And then I remember something. I have a few Tylenol with codeine stashed away in my underwear drawer. Ryan insisted that I take them. Some kind of misguided attempt at showing his love.

They are hidden in a striped knee sock that lost its match months ago. Five pills! A gold mine, really.

I take two without thinking. There’s no way that one could ever be enough. Now I have the strength to take a shower and floss my teeth. I even wash and blow-dry my hair.

But as I’m standing at the sink applying mascara, a wave of nausea washes over me. Opiates make me vomit. And it’s not just pills that bring it on. It’s safe to say that I have thrown up EVERY single time I have done heroin. I’ve tried snorting only the tiniest of doses, thinking that this would somehow save me. Instead I just feel nothing. So I end up using more and more…until I’m on my hands and knees in the nearest bathroom retching up foamy bile. Hence the frequent tooth brushing. A truly savvy individual would be able to track my drug use based solely on my rate of toothpaste consumption.

A random guy at a party once suggested that shooting it would alleviate my tendency toward vomiting. He argued that it was dripping down the back of my throat into my stomach. I could save myself a lot of misery. But somehow track marks and blood infections make constant puking seem like a minor affliction.

So, yes…I’m definitely going to throw up right now. In a flash of genius (or something like that), I hold my teeth together so no pills can make their way out of my mouth, into the sink, and down the drain.

I brush my teeth and wash my face. The second makeup application in an hour. More flossing. A careful inspection of my hair (errant vomit). But at least I feel pretty good.

It’s always worth it. Every single time.


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