It’s funny how good things happen when you stop caring about whether they will or not. It was like that with me and bail – the news arrived when I was lying in my bed after another court hearing, staring at the ceiling. The lows have gotten worse and worse, but I’ve always been really bad on a low.
One time I got so low I went back to the hotel room, opened the window and was about to jump out, but for Nancy, who found me in time and made me get down. We got into a fight, and I hit her. Well that was us all over, really. We treated each other really badly until it mattered.
And even then one of us took it a step too far.
I was on a low when I went back on the streets of New York. Mum and McLaren were there to greet me, but I didn’t feel like talking. We got home and I said I wanted to be alone for a bit. Mum took McLaren out so I was alone in the room.
My methadone supply was on the side where I’d left it: the parole agreement is that I take it instead of heroin. It isn’t my favourite drug, to say the least. I open the cupboards, but Mum hasn’t brought any of the proper stuff with her.
I sit down on the sofa. I stare at the floor. The only sound in the small apartment is the ticking of the clock. The TV is in the corner, but it’s off. Even the streets have gone quiet.
It’s time for my methadone supply…
Oh, what’s the point? I mentally howl. Ten minutes of escapism! Then what? Even if I took my bloody methadone and pretended for a bit that it was all right, well, it doesn’t change that these last few weeks have been like a long, drawn-out murder mystery, except that there’s no mystery because I’m the murderer.
A fat, wet tear rolls down my face. I don’t want to be here any more, I think. I don’t want to be in this horrible place. I don’t value life – at all.
I’m seized in a sort of angry panic. Within two minutes, all of my methadone is gone I’m looking around for a knife. I have to end my useless, stupid self tonight. It’s what I deserve. I’m not going to die in prison, or on the electric chair. I’m going to die right now.
There is no knife. Damn! Isn’t there something I can smash?
I look up and see the yellow lightbulb, radiating light the colour of Nancy’s hair. I slam the switch, grab a stool and unscrew the thing and throw it on the floor. It smashes at once. I pick up the biggest piece, and, rolling back my jacket sleeve, gouge it into my wrist.
I hear the door unlocking. McLaren and my mother are back. Yeah, well, see if I care.
Mother exclaims and stoops down. “What have you done?” she cries. It’s then that I finally start crying, sprawled as I am among the bits of broken glass and discarded needles and bottle, and my own blood.
“Just finish me off,” I sob. “It’s part of a suicide pact. Just stab me or something. Make sure I die.”
“Sid, we’re not going to do any such thing,” says McLaren. He smooths back his tight curls. He’s probably thinking of all the money he’ll lose from me when I die.
“Suicide pact?” asks my mother, deeply concerned. “What’s that about?”
I love my mother. I’ll really miss her when I’m gone.
“Just stab me!” I order McLaren.
“Sid, no! You don’t want this.”
“No, it’s you that doesn’t!” I cry. “Just kill me and say it was suicide! Don’t you see? I deserve to die!”
“Oh, for God’s sake.” My mother bends down. “Listen, dear. Hold on until we call the hospital. Honestly –” She reaches for a towel and wraps it round my bleeding wrist. In what little light there is, I can see tiny lights shimmering at the edges of her eyes.
But I’m fading fast. I close my eyes. Soon I’ll be reunited with Nancy. I don’t remember the next bit because the methadone reaches its miserable high and makes me feel warm and calm again, and in the panic of the evening I think it’s death.