Drama Fiction LGBTQ+

CW: drug use

The last of the cricket's song was fading and dawn was on the horizon. I laid in bed watching the sun peek over the Phoenix skyline. Dew glistened sharply on the blades of grass causing me to squint my already heavy eyelids. Everything outside my small window was shiny and sleek. There is always an air of newness after the first rain of monsoon season washes away the layers of a full years worth of dust.

I stepped out on the balcony and slowly peeled the cellophane off a new pack of 99s. The smell of fresh clay hung heavy in the humidity of the morning and I paused to breathe it in before I filled my lungs with smoke. The sun was gaining strength quickly as the morning grew old and the light streched across the asphalt. A small lizard darted across the road the find shelter in the shrinking shadows.

I stood by the kitchen sink waiting in vain for the water to get colder than luke warm. Eventually I conceded and gulped the small puddle straight from my cupped hands and grimaced at not only the warmth, but also the faintly metallic aftertaste. I brushed my hair and teeth and threw my hair in a hasty bun, not bothering to change yesterday's clothes. I would stop at the smoke shop on my walk. I never go to Nat's house empty handed, she usually provides the beer and I bring the spice and rolling papers, it's our unspoken agreement.

Outside the heat was thick and heavy. My clothes clung to my skin and a layer of sweat made the back of my neck itch. I observed the business of the mid morning traffic, the cars slowing only to avoid the bucket-sized potholes that littered this side of town. I walked past a small street taco stand, the savory aroma made my empty stomach ache, reminding me I haven't eaten in almost two days. I felt weak and hungry, but I knew that I would soon be high enough that the emptiness would mean nothing.

The smoke shop was cramped, dusty, and bright under the harsh florencent lights. Looking at my reflection under the giant circular mirror in the corner proved to be a mistake. I looked sick. My high cheekbones jutted out sharply. A few stray peices of stringy blonde hair had escaped my messy bun and they hung limply, framing my dark sunken eyes. I browsed the selection of pipes, tobacco, lighters, and various chips and snacks before buying my spice and rolling papers.

The cashier eyed me speculativly before deciding I was harmless and returning to watch some sort of soap opera on a small outdated television behind the counter. "Thank you, have a good day," he said in a thick middle-eastern accent. I thanked him and grabbed my things off the counter, hastily shoving an extra lighter into my pocket.

I blinked in the piercing brightness outside. Tentatively opening my eyes against the assaulting sun. One more mile until I get to see Nat. The walk was mercifully quick, and soon I was rounding the corner to her apartments.

The laundry room was next to her building and the smell of laundry soap floated upstairs as we laid on her bed. I watched her roll a spice joint, her fingers moving quickly and expertly. She carefully licked the seam and passed it to me to light while she opened two beers. "How's the job hunting going, " she asked, smirking when I rolled my eyes. "I keep telling you to let me know when you are ready to make some serious money. With a body like that you could make a small fortune in a week. We could start slow, you could work for me."

"And that would make you... what.. my pimp?" I asked choking and sputtering on the smoke as I held back a laugh.

She pulled me closer and wrapped her large arms around me in a tight hug. I breathed in her scent. She always smelled like warm Cocoa butter. "You'll get back on your feet babe, your too smart not to," She said but her words came out muddled, almost as if they blurred and spun with the room. Everything moved slower now, but somthing important was happening. Nat dropped on the bed too fast, and started convulsing. It took valuable time for my affected brain to comprehend that Nat was having a seizure. I had heard of spice causing this before, but had never seen it. The panic rose in my chest as I fumbled for my phone. A wailing sound filled my ears, making it hard to think, it wasn't until later that I realized that I had been screaming.

I sat on the curb, damp from the evening rain, and watched the flashing lights of the ambulance illuminate the wet asphalt. Nat was already awake but too out of it to understand what had happened. I wanted to call off the paramedics, to just take her back into the apartment. I wanted it to be a joke, because this was all too much. This was too real, and I was too high to deal with it. "She's stable, but we are going to take her in to have her checked out," one of the paramedics said. I declined a ride to the hospital, I couldn't deal with a bright waiting room right now.

She's stable, the words hammered in my head on repeat. Stable. As if anything in her world was stable. We were a mess, the hooker and her girlfriend, the druggies, the fuck ups. I dropped my head on my knees and watched the dirty rain water flowing in the gutter at my feet. Bottle caps, trash bags, and candy wrappers all became passengers, willing or not, in the rushing water. Surely some of this trash had been sitting, baking in the desert sun for months or more only to be carried away in a single night, in the chaos of a monsoon storm. Where they would end up now was anyone's guess. Everything was a little chaotic, before a new beginning. Perhaps that's all this was, a clean slate. A chance to wake up sober in a clean city, made new by the monsoon rain. 

September 24, 2021 04:05

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