for every boo-boo, she had a fix.
for every fix, she had a favorite.
her classy, color blocked fiorinol. electric blue, deep blue. blue. as blue as the deep end of the ocean's waves you'll soon be riding. paint it black. coal-smeared black. black. black as your soul unsatisfied. always wanting more. black and blue. the abuse you boomerang back for every time. addicted to the pummeling, your soul, a limp punching bag that won't fight back. there's a slow leak at the point of your heart. with idealistic intensity, your heart refuses to be caulked and flooded with regret. steadfast and slow, it bleeds out every drug you pour inside. but as the toxins drain into the gutters and streets and sewers below, you stuff it all back into your veins, your nostrils, your throat - anything and everything that might clog up your heart once and for all.
oh, that crayola-bright pink!
such a fresh, pure pink! such a fresh, pure high!
"oh, the places we'd go!"
with animated, exaggerated, Suessical strokes, oxy painted hieroglyphics of hope on the walls of your cave - dark with disgust, dusty from defeat.
how can anything smaller than a tic tac be bad?
as small as the head of a pin, nearly impossible to see. so they are poured 1, 2, 5, 10 into your palm where they roll and collect quietly, innocent as candied beads strung on a licorice rope necklace, twisted and tied around the neck of the shrieking tween who sloppily sucks on her sugar fix between hair-pulling, ear-splitting, bieber shrieks.
"codeine. here's the truth. after all those years, i never really liked you. you are the poor-man's opiate."
still, it never stopped you from your daily worship of its chalky, cylindrical charm. if you lay very, very still in your deep-sea, duvet drown, inhaling deeply through your nose, in and out - with spiritual devotion - you would elevate and catch the wind of the dragon's tail flickering, and float away on its breeze for an hour or two.
"you were my worst case scenario. the understudy no-one wanted to see perform. my tofu tablet."
now, the dragon's tail flickers back and forth, elusive, taunting you with it's surprising flexibility. its thick, scaly flag dodges your grasp at every turn. no matter how much you swallow, pills or pinot, it's slips through your desperate grabs, denying you the exhilaration of that first ride - barebacking that rode you up, up and away into cloudless skies of clear blue and endless peace.
you were scalded by its fiery taunts, its hot-pronged jeers, but still you returned, burning, oozing for the only salve you knew.
the dragon you now struggle to tame was once a feral fear that sent you scrambling under your candy-floss bed ruffle.
under 4 thin stalks of wood painted white with labor and love, sprouted THE bed. in that canopy bed, stitched and hemmed with bedstemor's gnarled fingers; hammered with bedstefar's hands chafed raw, with detailed devotion, they realized your dream. a little girl's sanctuary, protection in pink.
staked out in that cavern of your perfect shade, you would dream. fatherless, sullied, but still hopeful enough to believe you might always sleep this way. never loaded, but light in your innocence.
oblivious to the nights they couldn't give you shelter.
"i don't want to get up."
with every turbulent toss, you block out the morning light. at dawn, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 o'clock, you keep twisting under your fort of fabric, shouting furious against a light growing brighter, mocking you with its shimmering sounds. the birds, the cars, the morning chatter all building to a harmonious declaration.
"it's a new day!"
your final rage against the machine, a snooze button flattened from frequent palming, and you are out of excuses. you no longer hear the sounds that once stirred your heart; that fluttered your crusties away with excited blinks. your arm no longer rattles the drawer's handle. there is no slow slide open, no quiet reach as you keep one eye peeled on your sleeping guardian as you reach inside for your bottled dreams. there is no "snap, crackle, pop" of the cork, no thick gurgling into a glass. but, you imagine it sloshing against the sides, staining your clothes, your teeth. vinegar sweet, but never tart enough to stain your soul any other color but black.
you place one toe on the floor, gingerly, anticipating a shock of cold, a flinch, freezer burn. and against the weight of the world you stretch your arms up and past your shoulders and towards a sky hanging too desolate to harvest any dreams.
but, you are up. and you look around. at the bed unmade. at your life, undone.
you look toward the evening with quiet, mouth-smothered giggles, your stomach back flipping with gold medal dedication. as the city grows dim, welcomed wattage pops through the quilted landscape of the silver city and green country patches spread below your cabin in the hills. and you are relieved. the day is over. night has fallen. your guilt subsides as cars pull up suburban driveways and kitchens fill with the heat and sweet of dinner cooking.
you are released.
you crawl under the heavy blanket of dark- it tucks the well-oiled mechanisms of life away for the night. the expectations of daylight have melted behind the horizon and any excuse will do under the tent of night.
life is a game, that plays out without you.
you want to join in, but you just don't know the rules.
"how many more hours before i can shut down the house for the night?", you wonder, pulling the threadbare shawl of night closer. through its holes breeze your fears, the knowledge that you are stranded on an island no-one can chart, a remote place you could never describe. drafty reminders that keep you shivering, chilled to the bone.
you put away the dishes, turn down the bed and step into a steaming soak, too hot, scalding, the perfect temperature to melt away your fears for tonight. the gentle lapping, as you submerge into silence, calms like maternal caresses priming you for a fetal slumber. you float to the surface, sputtering, wiping away the droplets clouding your gaze.
there, at the water's edge, warm in your watery womb, all seems possible.
but when you wipe away the rest of the water, you realize they are tears.
all flights on the dragon's tail have been cancelled.
there are no more pills.
with disappointment as heavy as a child's sigh when they unwrap that last christmas present under the tree, and with the velocity of their tantrum that follows, you shake.
but when you shake the bottles, there is silence. then, cutting the silence, your violent intake of breath when you realize the symphonic, discordant clash of rattling been stilled. it's so quiet in your head without the cheery cacophony of your beady, little friends - those chatty capsules rocketing around in their plastic tube. oh, those tiny tablets titillating you with tales of where you'd go as you proudly strutted with your pharmaceutical family in tow - jammed into your pants' pockets, stuffed into your leather interior or rolling around in your purse, serenading you from it's blue velvet bottom.
there are no more pills.
it's quiet. too quiet.
she inhales. breathing deep into lungs clawed by cries for help.
she coughs. clearing a throat coated by syrupy, self-loathing.
and realizes, she cannot hear her own voice.
and if she could, she wouldn't know what to say.
her dreams were once duct taped by drugs and doubt.
when she finally finds the guts to rip off that last band-aid - just rip. it. off.
3, 2, 1...
she'll find her voice.