Heroin: not a love story, just a holiday romance, a short story by A. B.. Date added: 2012-07-21. Times viewed: 844.
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- Intro: Description of my first time on heroin.
Watching him prepare it, it looks so cliched and yet so new and terrifying. He tells me how you get to fantasise about the liquid bubbling in the spoon, rushing into the barrel of the syringe. The prick of the needle, the explosion of the drop of blood in the clear liquid. It's all the stuff of films. I find myself grinning in excitement and anticipation, try to suppress it as an inappropriate expression. I am conscious of the unevenness of my breath.
"Are you ok?" he asks, looking up from sending the liquid through a red wheel filter from one syringe to the other. Don't call them needles, he said, it's a horrible word. Say "syringes" if you must, but better to just say "gear". I got them from the DHDP in town yesterday, handed over the handwritten shopping list. They didn't comment on my obvious inexperience. "Of course they didn't", he said. "They're not there to judge you." I didn't know picks came separately; they didn't have cotton filters and I wasn't sure, were cigarette filters cotton? I tried not to look too clueless.
"I love you" I say. He looks at me a second longer. "You're beautiful" he says and goes back to preparation. He shot up already before i got home from class. I've only seen him like this once before. He is so caring on opiates, so loving and affectionate.
"Which arm?" he asks, and i indicate my left. He examines my arm and wrist for a few seconds and selects the cliched inside elbow vein, hands me an alcohol swab which i clumsily take out of its packet and brush my elbow with. The sharp smell stings my nose. Now he is looking for a clean sock, saying how belts are traditional but socks worked much better. He ties the sock around my upper arm, and I whimper as he pulls it tight. My arm looks thin and vulnerable. I am sitting on the edge of the bed and he sits down next to me. Taps the barrell, squeezes of the syringe letting out a tiny squirt of liquid, taps the inside of my elbow with two fingers. Just like in the movies. The vein is easy to see, blue against my pale skin.This feels like a big step off the beaten track.
"Battle City Rules say you have to try once yourself, then if you fail someone will do it for you", he explains, grinning and offering me the syringe. I take it slowly.
"Now imagine the vein is a straw, and you need to put the needle along the straw, not just through it. Here, a little shallower..."
I grit my teeth a little and the point of the needle just touches the pale translucent skin above the vein.
"It'll burn for a few seconds, it's the citric acid. It's not exactly painful, but it can be a bit disconcerting, the feeling."
I give up. "I can't. Do it for me. Please. I'll try another time."
He kisses my forehead and takes the syringe, and I bury my head in his shoulder, not sure whether to look away. "I love you" I say as he lines the needle up. He kisses me again. "I love you too."
I gasp a little at the prick. He pulls the plunger up slightly and a drop of blood rushes into the barrel. "That's how you know you hit the vein", he explains. My arm is trembling, and the liquid hurts going in. He caps the needle and stands up to find a tissue for the spot of blood. I am watching him across the room and I fall over backwards. Less romantically expressed, I feel a wave of nausea and hurriedly lie down. I forgot to anticipate the rush so soon. I am shaking, my mouth open. He kneels down on the floor next to the bed. He's worried he gave me too much. "I think. I'm ok." I manage to say in a broken whisper. "Just. A bit. Overwhelming." I feel like i've been blown up like a balloon and there's an odd feeling in my head. He kisses my temple. "I love you so much." he says. "Come outside for a cigarette?" I smile at the utter impossibility of this suggestion and shake my head. "I can't get up." "It'll settle down soon", he says. "In the meantime, at least lie on the bed like a normal person." I manage that task. He sits down at the pillow end of the bed and takes out his laptop, and i curl up next to him. "Want to watch a movie?" he asks. "I just need to. Close my eyes for a few minutes." He puts an arm around me and strokes my lower back slowly, and I snuggle a little closer, my head on his chest. The physical aspect of the feeling subsides slowly and I feel warm and comfortable.
"I feel quite good" I murmer, perhaps 20 minutes later.
"That's good", he says, brushing my hair off my face. Then like it's a revelation, he says suddenly "I love you. I mean, I really fucking love you. I don't know what I would do without you. You're so important to me..."
I take his laptop out of his hands and put it on the floor, and he holds me.
"I feel fucking amazing."
It's satisfaction purer than anything the real world offers. I imagine an elderly monk in Buddhist robes sitting serenely cross-legged on a mountaintop, saying "the path to enlightenment is long, and paved with many obstacles, my child." I laugh to think of this shortcut to complete contentment. I try to explain it and he strokes my hair. "Somebody likes heroin", he says, smiling. "Most people take a few to really enjoy it". I don't find myself grinning or laughing stupidly as i would stoned, but it's a far deeper form of happiness. He's explained that everything we do is motivated by a chemical reward system centred around endorphins - endogenous morphine. Heroin is converted to morphine in the body. The body deosn't even recognise it as foreign, it's so similar to the natural chemicals, but comes in volumes no real-world event, no matter how pleasing, could trigger. The body's job as a mule for our genes isn't to make us happy, it's to survive. It only makes us happy for training purposes and behaviour modification. It's like heroin is the most primitive happiness there is, just more of it.
The texture of his skin involves me completely, cheek against neck, nose behind ear. We take off our clothes and rejoice in the skin contact. Heroin makes sex impossible, but the touch of skin against skin is beautiful, natural and guilt-free as if we were animals with no self-awareness.
It was a nice date, and so kind of you to stick around for the next few days, but i'm just not looking for a relationship with you. The real world has a lot to offer too. It has someone i care about in it.
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