The bottoms of my feet are blistering. My mouth tastes like I have been chewing on sour fruit. I haven’t spoken aloud for long enough that I fear I will forget how to form words. I study every crab grass filled crack in the sidewalks so as not to meet anyone’s eyes. The scent of baked nicotine mixed with sweat and anxiety continues to swim from my skin and crashes up my nostrils, making my empty stomach turn over. Chills rack up my spine and ache through my shoulders every few minutes. My thoughts surf by before I have a chance to catch one to see that they were once his words but now circle through my mind as my own.
“You can’t survive on your own.” It’s gone before I can ask why or to even sullenly agree.
“You will not look anyone in their eyes.” Wait, what if it’s by accident? Gone too fast.
“You can’t afford to gain anymore weight.” Come back! I won’t! Look, I haven’t even eaten in weeks!
My energy has evaporated. I am no match for the speed and strength of these thoughts. I just allow them to swarm. I pause my steps by the mound of black ants next to my red and oozing feet. Shallow breaths. Muffled sounds. Honking traffic. A mother scolding her child. A convenience store door dinging surprise at each customer.
“You’ll always be alone.” This thought makes the sour fruit start to rot on my tongue and all sound dive even deeper underwater. I am alone. Alone, starving, homeless, exhausted, and withdrawing from the poison I would give anything for right now. He was right. I will die. Maybe today, hopefully. A tingling as I notice the ants mistake my toes as part of the earth.
“Ma’am are you okay? Ma’am!” Her voice sounds shill yet so far away.
More honking but now I can feel it directed at me. The pavement is even hotter on my cheekbone than it was through my paper thin sandals. Rotten fruit and pennies now. No more energy. No more will to keep shuffling on away. Away from him. The game of cat and little sick mouse is over.
That days haunts me most nights now. That was one of the days in which I had given up and realized that, being the true addict that I am, I had successfully shoved every loving person who didn’t want me to drown in the poison- right out of my life.
“The wounds that never heal can only be mourned alone.”
― James Frey,
I did read this book before before I delved into the depths of my self inflicted torture. There was a whole lot of controversy over whether it was a memoir or fiction. Oprah kicked Frey out of her little club. But honestly, absorb the words. Did Frey actually go on a run so bad that he woke up with his body mangled and his memory shot to shit? Who knows. I have, and I’ll tell you Frey’s words written about coming back from something like that- That is Real. I, too, had been shattered. You do not put the pieces back together. That’s not how it works. I have since reread this book and am just as much comforted by the tale as I am any NA handbook, if not more.
We aren’t alone, we just shatter differently sometimes.