[Fiction] Her

Posted on 2019-12-24
Also posted at https://archiveofourown.org/works/47710399

I could live forever in a day with her
I don’t want to live it if it ain’t with her
I could go up out to outer space with her
All I need is one more day with her
– Chase Atlantic, Her

You saw me when I was up in the heavens. Oxy running through my bloodstream. Perhaps that’s why I was your angel. You flipped your fingers at me and I nibbled on them. You dragged me away from our friends and I kissed you till you were red and your eyes couldn’t meet mine.

Did I start loving you because I was high? Did you start loving me because I was high? It didn’t matter: oxy always made you pretty. People said I could do better. I told them they didn’t know me.

Then again, neither did you.

I loved the way you would protest when I told you that you were adorable. I would lay in bed thinking of how you walked away once our first date ended. Your lips were my heroin. And me? I was your only plug. Your source for oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. I was the rainbow in the rainy days of your life. It didn’t matter that your parents weren’t talking to you, or that your boyfriend wasn’t there for your meltdowns: not when we were having fun. Not when I was popping methadone like candy and you were dancing with me high on molly. You didn’t mind. You knew I was just running away from the pain, just like you were. You were so smart, but not smart enough to know who to stay away from. You didn’t know where to stop. I didn’t know I should stop you. I was too high out of my mind to care.

You only saw my highs, never my lows. I didn’t let anyone see them, I was too afraid. I was too ashamed. And so it went: high in public, low in private. You couldn’t bear watching me suffer. You couldn’t bear watching me so cold and hateful, especially with you. You didn’t understand: I was paying the price of the high, and I could do that. I could suffer, and I wanted to suffer alone. You didn’t understand and you wanted me to stop. You didn’t understand that it was never about you. You didn’t understand that I wasn’t pushing you away. I was pushing the world away. I didn’t want you to see me like this.

And I didn’t want you to start taking opiates too. I know I hurt you but that didn’t mean you had to break your own rules. I threw my bottle of pills at you but that didn’t mean you had to take it.

You were so strong. You needed no one, and nothing could break you. But I was your weakness, and it was my fault you started spending all your dad’s money refilling your bottles of oxycontin. I hated who I had become, and worse, I hated what you were becoming. You were my reason to get sober. That means a lot more than you think. I was never in control of my addiction. You saved me and in exchange I lost you.

I loved you but you closed yourself off. So I stayed clean and stayed away from you. But I was always there for you when you needed my help. When you needed money. When you needed a place to stay. When guys kicked you out of their house when they were done with you. When you wouldn’t eat and I had to feed you so you ate at least once a day. I would hold you all night because every morning you were gone.

You wanted me to get back to using too. I told you that I was clean for you. You needed someone in your life who wasn’t there just to use and throw you. You told me that I was being selfish because I wasn’t fun. There is more to life than having fun! And you would leave and I would be all alone in my apartment fighting urges to take one pill, just one pill from your stash that you left on my bedside table. Just so I would feel normal again. Just so you would return to my arms.

When you used to speak, I would be entranced. You had a rhythm to your voice and you used it to hypnotize me as you gushed about the books you read and the music you made. Now I see your mouth spout foam as you overdose. Where did I go wrong? I thought I did everything right to help you stop. Then I find myself sitting in front of your prone body at the hospital, crying my eyes out.

Three days after you are out, you take my wallet and leave for the streets again. I tell you to come home, and you ignore me. I beg you to give me my car back, and you tell me you sold it. I call my bank and I find that I’m out twenty thousand dollars. I call my friends and we take you home. They tell me I could do better and I tell them to fuck off. I go to the bathroom and sob.

And when I woke up, you were gone again. This time with my phone, and I can’t find you. I’m a broke man wandering the streets at 3:45 AM asking homeless people whether they have seen an emaciated young woman in a dirty blue crop top and white jeans nearby. You aren’t in your usual haunts. I borrow a phone and call your parents. They end the call when they realize it’s me. My friends are asleep.

I wake up to the sound of police at my door. It is 2 PM and they say they found you. They say you overdosed on heroin. They say they found your body, curled up in an alleyway. You had survived so much worse, surely you wouldn’t die to an overdose? I couldn’t understand it, and I was so numb.

It took me another pill of oxy to make me feel again, and yet, all I feel is the pain of losing you.