Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Shooting time

Chemicals dancing through my veins, if you kissed me you could taste it. I lick my lips, not savouring the flavour, savouring the maximum hit, a rare treat. Back from the bathroom, it took an hour for the heady rush, legs shaking, one heel starts to click, a staccato tile tap, arms reach out to steady, cubicled in brace. Brain singing, a-hum with tingles. A collection of too-blunt needles, dead or dying, lying on the hammock of my skirt. Vital to sort through pre-standing, or skittering they'll sppin away, under the toilet door, a dramatic entrance from backstage. Introducing my own final act. No claps. But, still spinning, I remember, stuffing my secrets, my coffin's nails, deep, below the bric-a-brac of purse filling. My black top, baggy, almost to my knuckles, white lining screaming with blood, red and brown and black. Pretty smears of every size and shape. An ad I carry with me. Cool my puffy arms under the tap. Alert for the sound of a footstep outside the door. Blood flooding around the sink. Sometimes, complaining, my arms seem to bleed forever, soaking and re-soaking toilet paper, racing for the floor. I never realized how hard blood clings. Stubborn. Refusing to be unwanted. The fastest way is Grandkma's, warm, soapy water. Push through the doors. Nod to the uniforms, heavy belts, bouncing conversation between them. Silence shouts as I appear. Funny the way the security guards flirt, attempting english, eyes caressing my calves from high black heels, scarf around my neck. I can read their eyes as they categorize me as lah-de-dah, expensive needs, gleaming manners. I can see it fills their purpose, a reason to feel proud of their fat asses, flat to chair, 24 hours. The reason men go to war, or open doors. Protecting us, the ladies. The ladylikest ladies, streaming pricey perfume, manicured, articulate, we make their muscles bulge.

I came into work this morning, late as usual, despite my 8.30am promises (embarrassingly adament). Almost on time, until the shot-stop, a few blocks from work, fighting for a vein, 45 minutes of increasing bluntness. Have you ever tried to push a soup spoon through your skin? Meet my bloodstained needles. Bent and encrusted. We hate each other, but we're nothing alone.

Into my office, my colleague already in his seat. A wry smirk. It was him I made my early-start promise to. Out of excuses, I've milked every possibility and more. I just said said hello. A flesh wall, he seemed icy. Not like him at all. I slid my slouchy leather purse beside my desk, filled with gear, packets of coke to snack on through the day. Leaning down, something familiar caught my eye. Beside the trash can, an orange lid- a syringe lid, with a bloody syringe beside it. My heart squeezing, I swooped casually, palming it to pocket. Two feet away from my quiet partner. Unusually so. Fuck, is this a trap? The obvious hit me, too late. Had he seen it, unsure who owned it? Waiting for my silent claim. A mouse, mouth stuffed with cheddar, a sigh before the spring, the clack of snapped spine. I watched him for a twitch or cough. He stared ahead. Are you okay? I asked, breath held. He's a good guy. Very good. He wouldn't care about weekend drug binges, but during work, me his partner, intentionally wounding our duo? From the top of the hydrosllde, peering over, sick with dread, I was 7 years old, but it would repeat. The pushy boys, building up behind. Teetering, shrinking to the side. I couldn't get back down. The ladder was packed. But fuck, I couldn't step over, steep nothingness ahead. Tears streamed down my face. Quiet, breathless sobs I didn't want to show. Then one hand from behind decided it. One hard shove. I stumbled over the metal edge, other kids' knees and feet and elbows clunking me, spun down the chute choking with fear.

The day is gone now. I think I'm safe. Saved by the wind, a leaf, a blade of grass, who knows? I can't imagine what I'd do, his finger pointing at it, I know the disgust people feel for used syringes, as if they're all crawling with maggoty disease. And then, they'd ask to see my arms. Usually not shocking, now like anti-drug bilboards, or connect the dots, red and swollen, mangled. Small bloody holes 2.5 cm apart, tracing each vein from hand to elbow, only breaking slightly midway, as the flesh deepens. The bruises are fading, they're blues now, peacock shades. Forget-me-nots to night sky shadows. Large scarred mounds at my elbow crook, bold white. Impossible to mistake, no lie could ever save me then.


Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Wow -- the images in this are beautiful. Have you ever read Dry by Augusten Burroughs? It's not the same thing at all except he writes about being an alcoholic working in advertising. I love the writing you're doing, Tui!

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the writing's amazing. i'm starting to be less entertained, though, and more worried about an articulate, gentle stranger washing down the drain.

9:17 AM  
Blogger The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...

beautiful, sad, sad imagery

11:01 AM  
Blogger The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...


i would think the one benefit of being estranged from Heroin is your sex drive is coming back?

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Broken said...

Yes, beautiful writing...but Tui...I fear for you...I gave up methadone for cocaine...it was a disastrous plan...never meant for it to happen...and i fight daily those demons...

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gorgeous. now, save yourself.

4:05 PM  
Blogger TTQ said...

Breathtaking. I held my breath till the end of the post, then exhaled a sigh.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Too Dark Park said...

another breathtaking post Tui...

it hurts me to see you like this... i know you can shake this.. i have a suggestion for you that i'd rather share with you by other means than here.. i will be contacting you shortly ...

be well please.....


1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

miss tui,

hows it goin?

your friend,

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tui, you write beautifully but i worry for you so.


2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just as worried as everyone else. at least get new needles.

7:07 PM  
Blogger tui said...

I'm going home in two weeks. A month of vacation, nightmares haunt me every night. The plane swooping down, familiar curves, dark green, sparkling sea, cars like toys. Crying for the state of my return. The hollow ache, the best friend who hugged me tight, tears on both our cheeks, love and strength passed between us. He promised he would come, like apple halves, we matched, he loved to be mistaken for my lover, he made me toast and tea while I slumped, hungover in his bed. Snuggling in his tiny bed, skinny dipping in the silky summer nights, my mother thought it was weird. His mother hoped I would change him, un-gay her embarrassing son, be his girlfriend.
Instead of him, the phone call came. The worst phone call of my life. 'If only's' are my best friend now. I don't want to sit, cheek to airplane window as it unfols its wheels, bumping, rolling, the door swinging open. Nodding at the air hostess. And at the gate, a blank shape, shouting at me. The space he should be standing, bursting with happiness, talking fast, excited.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Too Dark Park said...

this will be the best thing for you. you might not see it that way.. but i think it will.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tui -

today is a good day to find long lost earring pairs...

hows it goin?

awaiting your latest post,

10:15 AM  

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