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[ Personal Narratives ]

Love in Addiction: Seeking Contentment in Plastic Bags and Bottles

Well he wasn’t just your average earthling; he was particularly redolent of peril and cigarettes. It was equal parts mesmerizing and disheartening to watch him attempt to navigate through his own existence, but we all fell for it, just like any impressionable heart would do. We all fell. We were all convinced. He had us wrapped up in his seemingly blameless magnetism and beguilement. I surely excused the smoke that he blew into my face even though my lungs would whisper at me begrudgingly with every toxic inhale; I think he was carelessly hopeless and satisfied, and that was the part of his essence that I just couldn’t comprehend. How would one be so content with oblivion? It was that paradoxical yearning of wanting to know the formula for his relaxed nature and yet pitying his ability to settle for less. What an interesting little creature he was, and yet many lost interest in him ever so quickly.

Let me start by saying he was brilliant. Brilliantly cerebral and rational he was. We were complete opposites and I was quite alright with that. I was mollified by his sweet nature, his perpetually disheveled sandy blonde hair that fell just above his thickened eye brows. His eyes were the kind of blue one can only locate in pacific waters and they sort of gaped into you without his ever even trying. It was startling and effective, which is just the way I tend to like it. He always had a glimmer of hope in the corner of his left eye but his right eye often appeared glazed over like a befogged cloud on a rainy afternoon; He knew exactly what he was looking for and yet he seemed so apathetic, so tortured, so done. It was like you could tell he had a history of trauma without him ever uttering a single word about it. He didn’t want to tell you any of his personal stories; his whole mystique was remaining emotionless and ambiguous. I think he knew how frustrating it was and he liked that for this was his greatest talent: frustrating you to the point of deep, convoluted, meandering love. He walked in at a staggering 6 foot 4 and his body was burdensome and unwieldy, his arms were strong but his core was soft, his legs could hold but his chest crumbled easily. It was kind of humorous really, but his laugh was always substantial. It makes you wonder doesn’t it? Are we speaking of his appearance or his persona? One might never be able to fully separate the two.

One day we were spending a few rounds of the clock together when he began hitting me with question after question. He first asked me “What do you want out of life?” “Well, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it?” I responded, because it was a loaded question. I mean, Goodness gracious, really? How does one really answer that? “I just want to be happy, content, comfortable, secure, you know, I just want to make some meaning out of my time here, that’s about it” I answered. “That’s a fucking terrible answer” he countered. I really had no idea what he was getting at so I just let him continue arguing his point as usual. “We’re all just gonna die anyway Aralyn, who cares about making meaning out of life? The goal should be feeling as good as possible at all times no matter what that requires…” I knew he was talking about getting high, which made perfect sense at the time, because he was as high as his brain would allow and he coddled plenty more substances in his reservoir of potions to last him through the rest of the week. The thing with Kent is that he would always share. He would always share, but only with me. 

He liked me high; he did not like me sharp. 

My intellect annoyed him and he never hesitated to let me know. If he scored us the downers he would have me where he wanted me, if he scored us the uppers he would have to sit through my mania and wait for me to shut my fucking mouth every once in a while when I finally paused to take a breath. Worst of all was when he had to interact with me when I was sober; he couldn’t stand it. I would notice how he would strategically plan ahead in order to keep me high and tolerable. It was somewhat offensive, but I could understand it. Why would he want to deal with me sober? Why would I want to deal with him sober? It was a twisted little relationship and we knew exactly what the set up was.

The one thing I will say about Kent is that he never strayed a single mile, as far as I know at least. We were in many situations in which his eyes could have, and probably should have, easily wandered, and yet they did not. He would always keep his gaze on me; it made me feel important and beautiful. He never told me that he thought that I was beautiful but his behavior indicated such. Whenever the opiates would settle into his system and we were alone together he would lay his back unto our couch and close his stately blue eyes into a somber half conscious stupor. He would begin to blather somewhat lifelessly about a wedding, us spending our lives together, children in the future, fun times, always “feeling good,” showing our fucked up parents just what we were capable of, and defying the odds. Every once in a while he would mention us getting clean together, we would tell the drugs to “fuck off” when we were ready and take over our planet. We just weren’t ready yet, the world just wasn’t ready for our energy yet. He would convince me that we still just wanted to use, not that we needed to. I would sometimes believe him as the needle slid underneath my nearly necrotic unnerving skin, but I always had that inkling deep down in my gut that we were slaves to this. We had become enslaved; we weren’t always this defenseless, but once we reached this level of fragility and dependence it seemed that there was really no questioning it.

I remember when Kent and I first met; we were both 14 years old and the life in our veins was pretty radical and electrifying. We were honor students, student athletes, and honestly somewhat gawky and clumsy. He wore thick framed glasses and I always thought they hid his most precious feature, his eyes of course. I wore these gaudy sneakers, even with dress pants; I really had no fashion sense until upper classmen started pointing out my mismatching clothing attire and I amended the situation as best I knew how. Kent was nice to me, which was different. I didn’t have to be theatrical in order to garner his attention and he didn’t have to clean up after me the way he did his mother. We both came to appreciate each other quite rapidly. The first time we hung out it was to study for an Honors Geometry test that we were both relatively nervous about taking. Not much studying actually happened; we spent 4 hours talking about our childhoods, our siblings, our parents, astrological signs, and our favorite sports teams. It was almost as if we were meant to be. I’m not sure when we transitioned into being boyfriend and girlfriend, but we became inseparable in no time flat and both of our lives changed for the better…at first.

What I will say today, at 27 years of age, is that it’s not the drug that stole the love of my life and cremated the hardened layer that rests upon my organs; it was the dependence. The dependence killed Kent and the dependence nearly murdered me as well. I surely miss the euphoria but I do not miss the hunt. I undeniably miss the first sweet spot that was once attained, but once it passed, so did our lives…right before our eyes, just like a prey of a night stalking carnivore…our systems were wrecked, our families were torn, our dignity was deflated, we sung for the stinging and we died by our own hands. We existed for the numbing, but we could never quite get numb enough. We sought contentment in plastic bags and bottles and a plastic bottled life is what we got.