We arrived at my apartment around 1AM. Sweaty and on the brink of collapse, we were glad to be safe. My apartment is not anything grand or majestic, really it’s what one would expect a bachelor’s to look like. It was a large studio with the bedroom, living room, and kitchen all in the same space. A small sofa sat front of a table with cds and records scattered on it. My bed laid on top of a colorful oriel rug with a wooden nightstand next to it and a guitar on the other side. On top of the nightstand laid a pipe with a bag of weed and a pile of ash from burning incense. The kitchen was small and plain the whole floor was wooden.
We took off our shoes and dragged ourselves to the bed, collapsing side by side. We laid there in silence trying to absorb the chaos that just went down. All could hear was the hum of the ceiling fan our breathing. I sat up and grabbed my pipe and packed some weed into it. After a puff I passed it to her and began to calm down. She did the same and sat next to me on the edge of the bed.
“That was fucking crazy” I said.
“I thought you were caught up in the middle of that, I was freaking out waiting for you to get out there alive.” She replied, letting smoke slowly trail out of her mouth and disappear into the air.
“I think I got hit on the back of the head.” I said.
She grabbed my head and brought me closer to her, running her hand through my sweaty hair. “Well you’re not bleeding, just don’t pass out anytime soon.” She said, letting a grin escape her tired face.
“I’m not tired anyways.” I said.
We sat around for some time, passing around the bowl. The ecstasy was still very much in effect—though not as strong as when at the bar.
“I never got my water at the bar” she said.
“Yea I was interrupted.” I said, I walked to the kitchen and poured two glasses of water. I walked back and saw her leaning over the bed and grabbing my guitar.
“You didn’t tell me you played.” She said, adjusting the guitar on her lap and plucking a couple of strings. She was now sitting cross-legged in the middle of my bed and I say at the edge looking at her. She looked natural holding that guitar, comfortable and content running her hands up and down the neck and along the strings.
“I tried, I remember seeing my dad play for my mom when I was younger.” I said.
“Your dad sounds like a cool guy.” She said.
“They both were, they met as some music festival. My dad played guitar and my mom liked to paint. They were pretty artsy, even when they got older I would still see my mom paint every once in a while and every anniversary my dad would play the same song for my mom. He played it every year.”
“Are you as romantic as your father?” She asked.
My cheeks grew hot and I knew I was blushing. She said it in such a playful tone, I couldn’t help but imagine myself with her, being romantic and sensual. “Well I can’t serenade you unfortunately.” I said, chuckling and taking a long drink from my water.
“Well I can.” She said, she started at me with this hopeful expression, hoping I’d say the right thing.
“That sounds perfect.” I said.
She smiled and adjusted herself, tucking her hair behind her ear. “I wrote this one and you’re the first one to hear it, so appreciate it!” She said, pointing at me and squinting her eyes. That look dazed me, already my heart was pounding. The night was quiet, everything around us was still, and the chaotic feelings from the night were not settled and gone. It was just the two of us alone in my studio apartment, in the middle of somewhere, far from nowhere. It was a state of peace, the soft golden light from the kitchen spilled onto the hardwood floor. I felt my cold feet against the soft rug, it was a peaceful moment when she began to play.
Her eyes closed and she strummed away, soft gentle music spilled out. Her head was swaying gently k and forth, like a flower would, being pulled and pushed by soft winds. I stared at her pale complexion, at her lavender hair, and her fragile hands moving across the guitar. Her lips just barely touching. A heat rose up inside of me, this white energy trying to push itself out of me. She began to sing, words falling out of her like leafs falling from a tree—softly twirling and landing upon my ears, it felt pure. “Let me meeelt away…Let me melt into you.” Every bit of her being was pushing and pulling me. My hands went frigid and yet my whole body was burning. This fire inside of me, thrashing, trying to burst out of me and engulf us in a passionate flame. “Let me melt away… let me melt… melt away.” My eyes did not move away from her, they wouldn’t dare give up a second of this. I wouldn’t allow it. Every word, every strum of the guitar, every second, I was entranced. My heart beating to the breaking point, yet my mind was still, focused on just her nothing at that moment was real except her and her voice. “Melt meeelt away now baby” weather it was the ecstasy or my true emotions I do not know, but the fire inside burst clean out of me. It blasted forth and engulfed us, I leaned in and kissed her.
She tensed up for a moment and then relaxed into me, she pushed herself closer. She pushed the guitar to the ground and pressed her hand to my burning cheek. I inched closer and grasped the back of her neck, kissing her, tasting her, melting away with her. Our bodies fell together onto the bed and we held on tightly. Our hands wandering around and discovering each other. Nothing but the sound of our lips and warm bodies rubbing together. The passionate flame welded our bodies together and through the night we moaned our emotions until finally collapsing into each other and floating into deep sleep. I dreamt of the stars that night.
I woke up the next morning alone. I stretched my arm out and grabbed air and cold blankets. The sun peeked through my apartment window and shone on just me. She was gone again, just like the first time we met.
I made breakfast and sat in silence re-living last night. The scary parts, the exciting parts, the lovely parts. I ate and decided to spend this Saturday at my apartment. I did the usual—mostly writing with smoke breaks in-between. I even practiced a bit of guitar, which I haven’t done in years. The day crawled by and soon it was night. I decided on a walk to a park nearby, trying to clear my head or pestering thoughts.
I have a favorite bench at this park. It’s towards the middle when the foliage becomes thick and the street lights seem to break and wither, leaving you in darkness. If you sit on this bench at the right spot—middle right, you get to see a glimpse of the moon and stars past the bony fingers of the trees. I got there, sat down, and let the crescent moon bathe me in its soft light. It was dark, quiet, just perfect.
I sat there in silence for some time. I stared up past the dead branches, into the dark void with speckles of diamonds scattered throughout, last time I sat here this late was when my mother died. It was a sad time for both me and my father. I’d like to say it was life that got to her, some sort of cancer or even old age. Honestly, I would have taken some sort of sick accident to be the cause of her suffering and eventual death, but it wasn’t, my mother became addicted to pain killers when I still lived with them. My father and I talked to her occasionally, it was all very casual—“Hey watch it with those pills now.” “You look thin mom, you gotta quit those things.” Most days I wish I could’ve sat her down and told her the harsh truth of the depressing chaos that she was throwing this family into. She was hooked for around a year or two , it didn’t take long, it wasn’t some slow gradual descend into death’s embrace—it was more of a head first dive into an overdose and coma, smacking into the darkness and eventually taking her final breaths in a hospital room with a tube sticking out of her mouth.
My father fell to the bottle afterwards. I stayed to live with him for some time and most nights he would drink and play guitar. He would half sing and half sob the song he wrote for my mother, he sobered up some years later but he never was the same.
Now here I was, back on this bench looking up at the golden scythe in the sky. I sat there confused for some time. What did this girl want from me? Did she just keep me around for a fun night or two? Someone to entertain her when her other plans fell though? I became angry, first at her then at myself—how could I let this girl use me like this? Why was I so hurt by it too? I knew why, although I’d hate to admit it, I was path the point of curiosity now, it was now romantic. I wanted her, I missed her scent, and I crabbed to run my hands through her hair. It was all crazy to me, and I just sat there with my eyes flued to the moon thinking about the insanity of it all. I sat in the comforting silence for another hour before walking back home. I went to bed and let myself drift away with her lingering scent on my bed-spread, it was a melancholy night.
The bar was still a hot-zone a week or two after the fight. There was a constant shadow looming over the dwellers—they still drank and did their poisons but with a sort of hesitation and constant vigilance. The problem, the looming shadow, were the cops. There were patrols that would drift by the bar sporadically through the night, like saying yes, here we are, don’t do anything stupid. It was always short lived, we are a very resourceful group, though as individuals we sometimes might cause some chaos that would warrant police surveillance, as a group we knew better than to act up in front of the leering pigs. So, a week or so passed and so did the constant weight of oppression. Soon enough things were back to normal and everyone felt free.
I returned to the bar after my hiatus on a Saturday night at around 9PM. I took my seat and ordered my drink, gazing around at the comforting surroundings—it felt like I never left. I saw Rat again making his rounds, and thought I’d go up to him for a chat and a smoke. I finished my drink and walked over to where he was having a conversation with a tall man with thick-rimmed glasses and a full beard. I walked up close and Rat turned to me with an excited look.
“Hey man! Long time. I thought that fight scared you away.” He said.
“You were there for that?” I said. I looked over at the bearded man and nodded. Rat turned to him and placed a hand on his broad shoulder.
“This is Erick, cool guy I just met.” Rat said.
“Hey man.” Erick said, he looked at me with wide eyes and a stretched smile. I saw that his brow glistened with sweat, he was high off something I thought.
Rat motioned us both outside for a smoke, so we walked past the thick crowd and out to the lot towards a black beat-up car. He gave us each a cigarette and we lingered in silence, letting the smoke cloud around us.
“So me and Erick have been having some fun man.” Rat said, finally breaking the silence.
Erick nodded carefully, “Yea man I have some awesome white on me. Do you want? Let’s go in the car and take a line or something. I’ll give you a bit.”
Stimulants were never my favorite of substances, it was an occasion kind of drug—a, things are getting wild and I want to be up there with it, kind of drug. I always preferred the introspective connectedness of psychedelics. Today felt right though, after a long hiatus I was glad to be back at the bar and I was more than willing to try anything that had potential to stretch out the night. We all threw out our cigarettes and went into the car, Rat and Erick sat in the front and I in the back. The tinted windows let little light through so we were essentially hidden from the others outside.
Erick pulled out a small baggie and flashed it around. He opened it and we all took turned putting a finger in the bag and licking the residue. It came to me and I looked at the white powder—this was only my third time doing this drug so it was still a curious encounter. I stuck my pinky in and then sucked on it for a second. Immediately a bitter chemical taste coated my tongue followed by a gradual numbness. I gave the bag to Erick and he began to pour some out onto a cd case. My heart was tight and uncomfortable at this point, not from the small taste of the drug itself but from the anxiety of the whole scene. A mix of uncertainty, fear, excitement and impatience.
Erick cut up the white mountain into three trailing hills, he took out a 20-dollar bill and rolled it into a thin tube, he leaned forward and inhaled the powder, breathing in harshly and craning his head back. Rat grabbed the cd case next and followed suit, stuffing his nose with the white powder and facing the sky, rubbing his nose, and exclaiming “Fucking Christ this shit burns good!” He turned and gave me the cd case and the rolled-up bill. At this point the anxiety left, there was nothing to wait on now, no time to overthink—no action to re-consider, it was only time to do. I placed the cd case on the middle console in between the two front seats and inched towards it. I put the green tube at the end of the trail and followed the path until there was nothing left. A sharp burn immediately flew up my sinus and to the back of my eyes. I shut them to stop a single tear from escaping and held my breath, letting the substance melt into my nasal cavity. I gulped some saliva and a metallic taste filled the back of my throat, it almost made me gag.
“I remember the best coke I’ve ever fucking had, man.” Erick said, his voice cutting the sound of sniffling. “You couldn’t take lines of this stuff man, it’d give you a heart attack.”
“Did you find it easy?” I asked. My chest felt like it was being pulled on and my hands were cold and shaky. I kept swallowing at the foul-tasting saliva in hopes of taking away the numbness in my mouth.
“It’s easy to get coke in Colombia man, you can go to some club or bar and go around asking for perico or llello, that what they call it there, ‘oye tienes llello?’ You go around asking that enough and you’ll find someone. I met a dude there who was really cool about it. I told him it was my first time in Colombia and he grabbed me and said he was going to show me around town. He sold me about a gram of the stuff and took me to some club nearby.” At this point Rat is setting up another three lines for us and nodding along to Erick’s story. I was becoming jittery and intrigues in the tale.
“Damn, and what did you do at the club? Did you do the coke like out in the open?” I asked.
“Dude Colombian clubs are fucking wild man.” He said. Rat passed him the cd case and he took his line followed by the same routine of snorting and cursing. “This du—fuck that was a nice one—this dude that I met, turns out he wasn’t just some fucking random drug dealer man. This guy was part of some fucking cartel. He was telling me how he left home when he was like 13 and his cousin took him in and introduced him to other kids his age, all of them drug dealers and shit. Like these 13-year-olds were in it, dealing, killing, all that man. ‘matando a jente y rovan y son locos’ he would say. So we are drinking a bunch and we are in some V.I.P room in the corner of the place and we have a small pile of coke on the table that we are scraping lines off of, we’re just talking and laughing and drinking. This guy tells me about how they would give him a fucking place to live in with bricks of coke and wads of fucking cash. They would tell him ‘look, you live here and you do what you want with the money but just sell these drugs’ and that’s what he would do, he spent his fucking early life doing that shit, eventually he got people selling under him and he got a reputation and he just spent his life partying and doing drugs and being fucking wild.”
“Some Pablo Escobar shit man.” Rat said. He took his line and passed me the case. “How long did you guys hang at the club?” He asked.
“Oh dude we spent the whole fucking night there, listen this guy had so much money that he brought some chicks in and started throwing money at them telling them to dance and strip and all that. I was high as a kite and completely belligerent, at this point we have been drinking aguardiente and doing coke for about 4 hours. At some point I guess one of the chicks said some shit he didn’t like and he started freaking out. He stood and ran towards he screaming ‘PUTA PUTA MALDITA!’ he fucking grabbed her and threw her to the ground and started smacking her, just shouting, wild eyed. I was freaking out thinking that the cops were gonna come and arrest us. After a bit, he just stops and walks back to the couch. He throws a couple of bills at the girl and goes back to talking and doing lines. The chick is just there on the ground sobbing for a bit, eventually she gets up, grabs the money from the ground and walks out the room. That was it, the night kept going—new girl came in and we kept drinking.”
“Jesus, that guy was a fucking maniac.” I said. I held the case in my sweaty palm and brought it up to my face. I braced myself this time and inhaled the white dust. The burn, the taste, all came flooding back. I felt my heart much more now, it pushed at my chest with every beat. I sprawled out in the back seat and tried to slow my breathing. Warm pools or euphoria were being splashed on top of me, my legs, arms, and torso constantly moving and stretching, I would occasionally take a long inhale and hold it, feeling my warm blood rush through my veins.
“Fuck man, we’re out” Rat said, he lowered the window and tossed out the empty baggie.
“I have my connect if you guys want. I’ll buy it and you guys just pay me back some other day? What you think?” Erick said.
I let go of my breath and it flowed out in a broken jagged trail, even my breathing was shaky. The high off cocaine is like a question that you don’t have the answer too, an action that you know is coming but you are not prepared for. It is a constant push towards anything that isn’t what you are doing at that moment. An aggressive drive to keep your brain and body stimulated, it was getting hard to even think, parked in this lot, heading nowhere, doing nothing. I felt like a drive to a drug dealer’s douse and more drugs could keep those heavy arms from pushing me to madness. “Yea” I spat out, “Let’s get out of here.”