by Keri Carlson
Although I’m staring at it, I can’t find anything of real interest about the bathroom ceiling. Fighting for control can be very overwhelming for a girl.
I vaguely consider the options I have laid out in front of me. Think of it like a hypothetical deck of cards. My thoughts are rolling over as I empty a coin bag into the palm of my tremoring hand. I’m utterly focused on the task before me. Even the drip, drip of the faucet leaking is impenetrable to my chemically dependent brain.
I’m gently chewing the last of the ten painkillers I’ve just popped into my mouth. The bitter taste of the medication is sticking to the chewing surfaces of my teeth. I don’t want to miss out on any of the euphoria, so I pick out the remnants nonchalantly from the fissures with my fingernail.
Afterward I examine the half moon crescent on that same finger for any evidence. Running my tongue gently inside my lips, I ensure that nothing has been missed. Laying back, I rest my head on my hands and wait.
Wait for what? The million dollar question. I haven’t known for months what I’ve been trying to achieve, and to be quite honest, I couldn’t tell you much about that time frame at all, except the reverberations echoing in my soul from the pain I feel and keep guarded inside my heart.
It’s an agony comparable to the black dawn aftermath of a thousand lives lost without reason. The release of that agony is what I’m waiting for, and in my own way, I’ve already died a thousand times too.
Ah, the euphoria kicks in. A warmth spreads through my chest, extending down my arms and legs like an old friend embracing me. My muscles relax, and a smile breaks out across my face. The back of my throat is tingling with a familiar numbness. Maybe life isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Now is a good time to rationalize my thoughts.
Now I’m drumming my fingers on my chest. I may not be very good at math, but I’m contemplating some real life equations in my head. Of course, this all pertains to the amount of drugs I’ve ingested. Everything in my life revolves around altering my mental state.
40 mg of Roxicet x 10 pills = 400 mg oxycodone.
If it goes as planned before I took the pills, nobody will ever have to know the embarrassment and shame I’m enduring because of my addiction.
400 mg of Oxycodone can cure me of internal torture and perpetual hopelessness. 400 mg of Oxycodone can safeguard the people I love but have mislead against my weakness and medicinal perversion.
400 mg of Oxycodone can stop me from using.
400 mg of Oxycodone can stop me, indefinitely.
My euphoria was short lived, as it often is these days.
Now my senses are heightened and I’m realizing the consequences of my actions. Oh, Keri…what have you done? My heart is beginning to race. I can feel it beating against the inside of my rib cage relentlessly, a reminder that fate doesn’t exist and our destinies belong in our own hands. Now the sound from the faucet is pounding in my head, is in rhythm with my pulse. My breathing is becoming short and shallow, and I know why it’s occurring.
Being a drug addict is bad. To be an intelligent, informed, and self aware drug addict is horrible. My heart rate is accelerating due to the rapid intake of Roxicet I’ve taken. Looking down at my body, I can see a shimmer on the surface where I’ve broken out in a cold sweat. The perspiration starts to shimmy as my heart rate throws me into a state of levelheadedness and vertigo. Shoot.
I don’t want to die.
Using all of my strength and reminding myself to breathe slowly, I turn over so I’m face down. The smell of stagnant water hits me in the nose and makes me gag. In the back of my mind, I remind myself to wash the bathroom rug.
I pull my knees up under my chest, clasp my hands together, and place them on top of my head in an attempt to make the spinning stop. I need help, and I’m not sure where to turn. I turn right, and see the mirror. I turn left and close my eyes. I’m not afforded an escape at this location either. This malignant mirror is not one I can run away from by redirecting my line of vision. In my current frame of mind (or any frame of mind, for that matter) I can’t fathom peering into either of those mirrors. To me, that would be suicide. But isn’t that what I’m trying to accomplish anyway?
I place my palms on the floor and post to stand up. Once on my unsteady feet, I stumble towards the other side of the bathroom, grasping a damp counter for stability on the way. My eyes haven’t so much as glimpsed the enemy (the dreaded looking glass) yet, but I can feel it’s intent stare falling upon me.
Terror creeps up my spine like a child’s nightmare in the dark, and that’s how I feel. Somehow I’ve fabricated my own bogeyman. If my heart could quicken any more, it would. The vice grip I have on the sides of the sink have me in fear that I may actually crack the porcelain. Of course, this isn’t possible, but it’s a true irrational thought I have while under the influence of my own insecurities. Adorned with a cloak of fear, I slowly shift my vision so I’m gazing directly into the eyes of my foe.
I don’t know what I’m looking at.
I’m paralyzed by a face I don’t know. Alabaster skin with no glow. Dark circles that are intensified by the pale contrast of the skin. I can see dark streaks running from lash to jaw line, the end of a marathon run by tears. The lips are cracked and dry, set lowly on the face in a diseased version of a smile. I run my tongue over my lips. This stranger’s face does the same.
Scanning the image before me, I hitch a breath and look into the eyes.
Turning my back to the wall, I wretch in a sob and slide to the floor. My brow starts to twitch, so I carelessly rub my finger across it. Keeping my hand on my forehead, I let it shadow my face. I welcome the darkness that single gesture offers, and consider myself disguised.
I cry. The tears start slowly at first, and I utter no sound after the true depth of my personal hell surfaces. A single, fat drop forms in the corner of my eye and circles the lower lashes before streaming down my cheek to follow in the footsteps of the previous marathon runners.
That single drop gave license to my mind to allow many others to follow. I tip my head back and feel the weight of them as they snake down my face in small rivers. These may be the last minutes of my life, and I’m alone.
The faucet stops.