Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It was around 6:30 in the morning, and we were sprawled about the room, giggling to ourselves. Heath lay on the couch, chewing on the keychain he'd steadily destroyed throughout the night, and Ron and Amber had flung themselves onto their bed. James and i had made a nest of cushions and pillows and blankets on the floor of Ron &

natalie's fiber optic lightImage by radiospike photography via Flickr

Amber's efficiency apartment. The light were all out save the fiber optic Christmas tree (or "Hannukah bush as Amber preferred) and we laughed for ten minutes or more at the idea of what a bunch of kids standing outside at their bus stop would think if they could see the five of us. James wrapped his arms around me, and began to nibble at my ears and neck.

Electrical explosions were going off, just beneath my skin, and the soft stroking of his wet tongue along my neck made me think of fireworks. He was testing my resolve. It was early on the morning of January 2nd, and he was hoping to end my New Year's resolution to be celibate for all of 2000. He failed, but I thoroughly enjoyed his attempts to tempt me from my course. Never mind that I was coming down from my first dose of paper acid, in a room with three other people was not how I was going to go. I thought over the previous night.

James was the only one I had known already. Ron & Amber were his friends, and Heath was one of theirs. No one else in the room had a car, and I had been willing to drive Ron to Sarasota, an hour away, to meet the guy who sold it, so my acid trip was free, once they gave me $5 for gas. When we got back to Cookie Cutter Cove Apartments* where he lived with his girlfriend in a one-room apartment, Ron snipped up the tiny slip of paper into little squares and divvied them up between us. Only after they were all in our mouths did we realize that James had been left out of the occassion. Not to worry, Ron was a pot dealer and there were forty-five pounds or so of weed in his closet - he pulled out an ounce and gifted it to James as an apology for the oversight. I smiled, thinking of how the other three had periodically referred to James as "sober guy," I kept pointing out, "He's not actually sober - just more sober than us" which always brought on a new fit of giggles from the room. The giggles! Why hadn't anybody told me how wonderfully giggly you could feel? At the beginning of the night, as the drugs kicked in, we had laughed for over an hour, over nothing, through tears. I wouldn't have been able to stop if I had wanted to, but why would I want to? This felt great.

We had played with the lights and with textures and at my visual peak I had been "walking through the garden on the ceiling." I remember Ron had pulled the bush out of its stand, casting the color changing lights onto the walls and ceiling. I laid back on the couch and saw how the color played across the popcorn above me, which twisted and morphed and became a collage of leaves - every size and shape and color, big tropical ones, tiny oak leaves,palm fronds, and pine needles. I strolled through the garden in my mind, smiling at all the leaves in turn.

At one point in the evening, it had all been too much for me. The tiny apartment grew stifling, the smoke from five people dragging down a cigarette every ten minutes was crazy thick, and I just needed a moment from all the weirdness - the assault of sights and sounds in the room, so I pushed through the curtain into the corner kitchenette and towards the front door announcing, "I'll be right back. I just need to go find the real world for a moment" - breathe some of the cool January night air outside, smoke a clove without having to give away four of them, maybe just listen to the night. From behind me a voice cackled, "There IS no real world - you're tripping!"

Whoa. It was such a profound statement. My back against the wall, I slid down to the floor, thinking. After a minute or so, I became aware of the hum of the fridge, and after a few mintues more, I started to harmonize with the fridge. I wanted to commune with it, be one with it, sing with it. "Hmmmmm" I intoned, sitting on the floor, my face pressed to the fridge door and my arms hugged around it. Eventually, Heath came into the room to refill his glass of water from the tap, and he asked me what I was doing, and I rejoined the room.

I drifted off to sleep that morning, as the rising sun peaked through the bent and broken blinds, and James made my nerves sing.

Uh, drugs are bad kids. Really. This passage is necessary for the book though. I didn't just do drugs to rebel or make Baby Jesus cry - I was actually usually trying very hard not to get caught. The part they never seem to mention in after school specials or rehab is how much fun you can have. Would I do it now? No, probably not. If I was going to, it would certainly have to be planned (like, hotel room and sitter and carton of smokes planned) and frankly, I don't even have those kinds of friends anymore, and doing drugs was always an incredibly social experience for me. I got into XTC because I loved the "PLUR" (peace love unity respect) movement and wanted to be friends with the raver kids, not the other way around. Just be responsible people, okay?

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