Waking up, I snatch my watch from the bedside table. It’s just after half four in the morning. I take a sip from the glass of water Lorna used to make up the hit. I turn to the other side. She’s in the bed next to me. We have our clothes on. At least nothing’s likely to have happened that I should have remembered.
“Are you awake?” I ask.
“Hmmm,” she grumbles.
“Do you mind if I make myself another hit?” I hope she doesn’t because I need one now. When I close my eyes, I can see my youngest sister, Milly, bleeding. When I open them, the sight in front of me is the same. There’s no escape from that image. Only a fix can fix it.
“Go for your life,” she whispers.
I prepare another hit. This is how it’s going to be. I know the cycle. I know it well. Once I’m back on it, it takes me over. I am a robot controlled by a powder. How did this happen to me? I knew the damage heroin wreaks, especially knowing Shelley. But after what happened last year, there was nothing else to take that pain away. The crack and the coke made it worse. With the amount of heroin I’d been using, I was expecting to be dead within weeks. But this doesn’t seem to be a fast death. Maybe I need to do something different. If I honestly want to die, there are other ways. Am I a coward?
Selecting a vein at my wrist, I wrap my tan belt tightly around my lower arm. I insert the needle then pull back on the plunger. Staring at the barrel, I watch the blood meet the liquid. It twists like skinny, red ribbons. I push the plunger hard. I want the hit quickly. I want to feel the rush pulsate through every cell in my body. I want it to take me to oblivion.
I feel a hand rubbing my right breast. I open my eyes. Lorna’s face is next to mine. Slowly, she moves forward. Our lips are touching. I open my mouth slightly. She slips in her tongue. It’s like jelly. I don’t like how she’s kissing. This isn’t good. I take her shoulders and turn her to lie on her back. I pull her white long-sleeve t-shirt over her head. I kiss her neck then her breasts. On her tiny frame, her breasts seem huge. I like them.
Sucking a nipple, I pull down her jeans. I kiss her ribcage and her stomach as I make my way lower. I lift my head up as I tug her knickers. She’s shaven. There’s agony in my stomach. Electric shocks power through my legs. My body’s screaming from the inside silently; I can feel it. Not again. I have to stop.
“Sorry. I’ll be back in a minute,” I say, pushing myself up from the bed.
In the bathroom, I light a cigarette. This never used to be an issue. Psychotherapy is what made it one. Okay, that’s not completely true. It’s what made me realise why a woman who’s bald there sparks a flashback. I’m used to having flashbacks near enough every time I’m with a man. But with a woman, it only tends to happen when they’re shaven. And somehow, a flashback feels worse when I’m with a woman. With men, it’s usually a psychological flashback I have – in my mind. But with women, when I do have one, it’s more often a physical flashback – a body memory. Perhaps that’s because women are the gender I feel safe with. I can’t stand this re-feeling of my past abuse.
I slide my hand between my legs and feel my wetness. The body responds even when the mind doesn’t. That’s been discussed countless times in therapy too. I hate that. I drop the butt of my cigarette in the toilet then return to Lorna in the suite.
7 thoughts on “The Good Night (Part 2 of 3) – 21 December 2000 – 4.35AM”
As someone who has suffered posttraumatic stress disorder for many years, I would be happy to talk about the subject and the treatment that’s actually worked for me. Feel free to post any questions about this. I would also love to hear your comments on the story.
I’m working my way through your posts. This one brought me up short. Your description of your PTSD flashback is visceral and terrifying, just like the “real thing.” I’ve written a few blog posts on PTSD, kind of warming up to writing my own story…. my latest posts were written during a three-day bout of dissociation after someone triggered me… have you found a publisher yet?
Hi Laura, thank you for your comment. I haven’t found a publisher for my first novel yet but hopefully writing this (my second novel) on the blog will change that. That’s what I’m hoping anyway x
I don’t know if I can describe how I feel when I read your blogs.
I’m not even sure if I want to try to share my thoughts, but I want to at least try to put some of it into words, even if its just to make it clearer in my own head.
My reactions seem so intense that I want to be selfish and keep them to myself, sometimes I want to hide them from myself…. I don’t know if I’m ready to honestly share something so personal and private as ‘feelings’. But I’m learning to find my voice and something deep inside is urging me to keep going.
I feel intrigued, I want to keep reading, I want to get closer.
I feel confused and a little scared, maybe like a ‘healthy’ fear of becoming familiar with something ‘unhealthy’. I’ve never felt comfortable about asking my friends about the practicalities of using different drugs, sometimes they mention things and I don’t understand, I’m scared to ask, I don’t want to upset them, I don’t want them to think badly of me. I know we “look for the similarities not the differences”, but sometimes the differences seem so marked I feel like I don’t belong.
I feel stupid, I had always assumed that crack and smack were the same thing (because they rhyme!), that they were both just different names for cocaine.
I feel excited, I feel turned on… The blood excites me, that excitement scares me.
I don’t know the names of my other feelings…. One of them makes my heart beat faster, makes tears come to my eyes, makes me think of my friends who understand what I’m reading because they’ve done it… And I don’t like it, I want to make it all go away.
I’ve tried three times this evening to write about the feeling inside me that I wanted to look at and hide from at the same time, but deleted each attempt. I don’t know what to say except, when I first started reading your blog it was about something far away that I didn’t really understand, then it got a bit closer and I could see my friends, then it was really close and I saw me.
But I still want to keep reading, I still want more.
Thank you for your comments. I am really moved that you’re engaging with, and feel touched by, the story x
i want to read all your books all your blogs and every single thing you write!!!!!!! i really i mean really hope you get published! your style of writing is so real so raw and so worthy of exposure… i’m officially a RUTH JACOBS FAN!
Thank you so much Jainiz. You’ve just given me a massive smile 😀