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Out of Focus Memories
“Tell me your story,” Leo Farren, a friend from my rehab, half commanded, “Before you leave.”
Leo was a tough looking man, with dark brown eyes and a thatch of dark colored hair. His stout body was filled with hidden muscles and he was loyal to his gang. He was a main fight guy. A drug runner. I looked small in comparison, with narrower features and a small body. My eyes were dark blue, fading as it reached the edges of my iris and my pale brown hair was long, cutting at about my eyebrows.
“As long as you don’t go tellin’ everybody,” I said, gazing past Leo, into a spot of sunlight far away, then added, “Or write it down, for that matter.” Out of focus memories sharpened as if brought under a magnifying glass and words traveled up my throat and flew out of my mouth, taking flight like birds finally freed…
Three years ago---
The joint was passed around. It reached me. A crossroad was right in front of me and I didn’t know.
My first instinct was to shake my head politely â€˜no’ and walk away from their illegal doings. But, with all my friends watching dumbly, I stuck the stupid joint between my lips and inhaled. Disgusting. But behind the bitter taste, a fiery sweetness rushed under my tongue and filled my head. Like a lullaby, it beckoned me to take more and more and more. The world unwound and distorted around the edges; it looked beautiful, nothing perfect, no differences between people. Just blurs, like paint smudged across a canvas.
Finally, Gregory nudged me, “Come on, Davy, pass it along.” I ignored him. I wanted more of the sweet release that filled my body. My lips were paralyzed on the joint. Someone, probably Gregory, pried the drug from my lips. The sugariness didn’t leave my mouth. It was honey, stuck to the roof of my mouth. I was afraid to free my breath, afraid of losing the beautiful taste. Gregory laughed.
“Isn’t it wonderful? Next week, okay Davy?” he elbowed me and chortled deep in his throat, “When the world is seen through drugs, it’s perfect. Nothing wrong and nothing right. So perfect.” Gregory sighed. His friends and he soon disappeared, their black jackets
blending into the night sky. They left me in my high. I felt on top of the world and nothing could drag me down.
That was my first “experiment with drugs”. I was nineteen. I hated the saying “experiment with drugs” because I hadn’t experimented with drugs. I chose them.
Two years ago---
Pot was my drug until cocaine. Gregory gave it to me for my birthday. What a brilliant gift.
“Happy Birthday, Davy.” Gregory smiled, his teeth stained yellow from his years of drugs. His looks consisted of a bent nose, sharp green eyes, and thin blond hair. My mind whirled at the prospect of my problems being swept up in one snort. Charlotte, my girlfriend, found out about my drug use and instantly confronted me.
“How could you, Davy? Why would you do something so stupid?” she yelled at me, in till her words had no effect on me anymore. I didn’t care.
“You think I’m stupid? I love pot more than you!” I screamed piercingly. Charlotte drew back, sudden fury turning to misery. I had
reduced her to the little girl I knew when I was a child. A crying girl who had skinned her knee. But I wasn’t going to clean her up.
As she sat there sobbing, I stood up, “Go away, Charlotte. I can make my own decisions.” Annoyingly, she sat there, a crying mass of chestnut curls and blue tears. So I left. I wish I knew she was only trying to help.
Gregory met me at the steps leading out of my college.
“How’s it goin’, Greg?” I asked, pulling out the bag of cocaine. He smirked and led me away from the school until we met up with a few of his friends and were in a deserted alleyway. Once there, Gregory expertly divided the crack into five perfect lines on a hand mirror. The white powder looked like snow as it fluttered when Gregory moved the mirror.
“You first, Davy. It’s your birthday.” Gregory pushed the mirror my way. I stuck my nose to the first line and sniffed the powder through my nose. The pain was a fire that ran up my nose, following the cocaine. My head started clearing, thoughts rolling away like waves. The mirror was passed around and I drifted into my own world.
“Wow.” I muttered under my breath, amazed by the feeling. I hadn’t known feelings can kill.
A few weeks after my birthday, the phone in my dorm rang, its loud ding vibrating throughout the room. I picked it up and jumped onto my bed, the phone cradled in between my shoulder and neck. I was waiting for Charlotte to call. Instead, Gregory’s voice filled the phone.
“Donavan was caught with today’s cocaine. I’ll call you when we get more.” The phone died in my hand.
Donavan had been a sturdy built man in his early twenties. He usually got the drugs for us. I remembered a time he had stood in front of me when another guy had picked a fight.
A loud knock and the pounding of footsteps shoved me rudely out of my reverie. I opened the door to find a small brown bag. It held a bottle of gin. That same night, I downed the bottle. I was drunk for the first time in my life.
The next day, I barfed in the toilet for a while before wiping my mouth with the back of my hand and started towards class. My head hurt and I wanted to just sleep but to keep up appearances, I went
to class. It didn’t do me much. I was still stupid enough to abuse drugs and alcohol.
One year ago---
I was legal now to buy cigarettes and alcohol. Everyday, I received a small amount of alcohol until I turned twenty-one and was allowed to buy my own booze. It was almost graduation when they found me out. I was just outside of school grounds having a quick snort and a beer when the policemen in the black and white car spotted me. I was taken to jail and stayed there for a long while before the authorities said I could go to rehab. Rehab! I was angry and revolted. I had no intention of stepping foot into a drug and alcohol-free zone. But my resolve was broken by a single phone call. It was a quick one, no more then two minutes, but it broke my blurry world in half.
“David DiLantlay? You got a phone call.” A man said, brushing crumbs from a doughnut off his blue police uniform. I loped to the bars and stuck my hand through.
“Gimme.” I mumbled, my words strangely garbled. The phone was placed in my hand and I quickly whispered, “Hello?” I could see
the policeman listening hard to his headset, the one that enabled him to hear both me and the other person’s words.
“Gregory’s dead. Died of a heroin overdose yesterday.” A dark voice said. I could hear others talking in the background.
“Who was with him?” I asked, blinking away tears. He was my only friend.
“We all were but Frank gave him a bit too much and his body got all twitchy so we ran.” The voice announced with no remorse and hung up. The phone buzzed quietly in my ear.
As I handed over the phone, I asked shakily, “So what’s this re-rehab called?’
“And you know the rest.” I held up my palms at shoulder height, fingers spread.
“Wow. My story is I was just a drug runner and I got caught. Sent me here, thinking I was major druggie.” Leo leaned back against his chair.
“I wasn’t thaâ€”” A volunteer’s hand touched my shoulder, my luggage in one of her hands.
“Are you ready to leave, Davy?” she asked sweetly, “Remember, no drugs. Never again, okay?” I felt like a three-year-old as I nodded dully.
“I’m ready.” I said, taking my bag from her hand. The volunteer led me to the door and opened it. Sunshine poured in, bathing me in its bright colors. Red leaves danced across the browning lawn and blue birds tweeted playfully from their trees. Gregory was wrong. The world was perfect without drugs interfering. And drugs bound you to them. Finally I was free of the horrible addiction that had slowly carved out my head and heart. Amazement replaced Gregory’s words in my mind as I realized that drugs had no hold on me. I felt new like spring even though fall air swirled around me. With one last glance at the rehab, at Leo, at the volunteer, I started my life over again as a twenty-two year old, walking down the steps of the rehab.
Wow. I did it.