I followed the grimy young man down the dark alley that was littered with paper and cigarette butts. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was, except for I knew it was somewhere in the bad part of town. What had I gotten myself into?
Some people would say that whatever I got, I had it coming. They would say “This is exactly why you don’t do drugs.” Well they don’t know the whole story. They've never had to make the choice between clarity and near insanity and chosen insanity because it hurts less. I’m not a bad person. I have a reason for doing the things I do.
If only those people could have kept their mouths shut. If only I had kept my damn preferences to myself, none of this would have happened. I wouldn’t have had to see my girlfriend in the hospital because some homophobes decided they didn’t like the fact that she dated girls. If only I had been there, I could have done something, even if it was to distract them enough so that they would leave Lisa alone.
I wasn’t there.
I was supposed to be. She was waiting for me at the park. I was late. Why am I always late? I got there in time to see the police. I got there in time to see her mashed up face before they loaded her into the ambulance.
I didn’t get there in time to make a difference.
She won’t talk to me. I want to tell her how sorry I am, that it’s all my fault.
But she already knows that. There’s no point in talking to me.
I was at a friend’s the first time I used heroin. I had been hanging out with some of my less than savory friends and it was the first time I had gone out in over two months. We were sitting in my friend, Matt’s room and some of the guys were shooting up some brown liquid I didn’t know the name of, when Matt asked me if I wanted some.
“Come on Morgan, do you even know what this stuff does? It makes you happy, really, really happy. I think you need to be happy. You can’t cry over your girlfriend forever, you need to move on. This stuff can help you do that. Just a little couldn’t hurt.”
I looked at the syringe, then at the heated liquid, then the syringe again. Happiness in a needle. Matt was right, I did need to be happy.
“Sure. I’ll try some. But you’ll need to be in charge of the syringe, I’ve never done this before and I hate needles”
As Matt got everything ready. I rolled up my sleeve and braced myself for the pain that I knew would come along with the injection into my vein. I watched as he filled the syringe with the drug and winced as he put the needle into my arm. As Matt pressed on the plunger of the syringe, I asked, “What’s this stuff called?”
During the weeks that followed, I became more and more dependent on the feelings that the drug brought. First it was want, then need, that drove me to buy heroin from Matt, but as time went on, he no longer was willing to sell it to me because of my constant need for more and more. He did, however, point me in the right direction, so that I could buy more from some people he knew.
“What had I gotten myself into?” I thought to myself as my reverie was broken by a nearby gunshot. Suddenly the man halted and turned around to face me, “Wait here, I’ll go get the person you’re looking for,” he said and disappeared into a nearby house.
Not only am I buying drugs in the middle of the night, in a part of town I’ve never been in before, now I’m alone.
I didn’t have to stand long, though, before a different man came out of the building. He was tall and lanky with greasy black hair that fell over the left side of his face. His hands were heavily scarred from what I assumed to be knives and fist fights, while his arms were covered in puncture marks that were hauntingly similar to my own. He was like me.
“Do you have the money?” he asked with a crooked grin. I handed it to him and he gave me a small bag of yellowish-brown powder. I realized then, that I had spent the last of the money I had saved up from bagging groceries.
“I need a job. Is there anyone down here that would hire me?” I asked him nervously, expecting at any moment to have a knife pulled on me for asking too many questions.
But this wasn’t a movie. He just smiled and said sweetly, “Come back on Tuesday, ” before disappearing back into the house that he had come out of.