The Burden of Empathy : Chapter 4

Chapter 4 

I woke up at about 7:30, and cursed at myself for not being able to sleep in more.  But I was up, so I leaped my torso forward and erected my position, and pushed down to get rid of my morning wood.  I was dreaming about her.  It wasn’t a sex dream, I can’t remember what the whole dream was about but I did remember it was about her.  

Once my hard on was limp again I got dressed in my Shins t-shirt and a new pair of jeans.  I then smoked a bowl and read one of my books.  When I was tired of reading it was 8:30, I was killing time until my parents got up so that I could get to the cooler without disturbing them.  So I smoked more and waited.  They said we’d meet Jill Around 11, so they would be up soon, and I figured since we are meeting early, we were probably eating out of the cooler for breakfast.  By nine I heard both my parents up.  So I waited a few more minutes so that I wouldn’t walk in on them dressing.  I just sat there, high as kite, in silence, and just trailed off into my thoughts.  Which started about me fantasizing about being a well liked and much desired playboy of the school.  But were shattered when I remembered the whole school is already aware of my nonexistence of confidence.  Which sort of goes hand in hand with my previous epiphany of just passing my problems off to other people.  

My thoughts were still stuck on my crimes of a violent nature which reminded me of all my other fuck ups, but it was now one of those pieces of guilt that you just push back into your mind and forget about for a short while, but every few minutes or hours or so, it just comes back to your mind screaming at you to confess.  But it was pushed back again when I was thinking about her, like I do every morning.

I realize I sound like a stalker, but I’m not.  I’m not a creeper when it comes to girls, I’m just the nervous dorky guy you see in 80’s movies, except my lack of confidence is more subtle, I should hope.

Finally I heard my mother call my name, I immediately entered there room, to see my mom getting her shoes on, and my dad I could hear was in the shower.

My mother looked at me and smiled, “Good Morning.”

“Good morning,” I replied.  After last night I decided to stop avoiding conversations with my mom.  My thinking was that, “I might go to jail for a long time, I better make sure my parents know how much I loved them, especially my mom.  I’ve been unfair to her for too long.”

I tried to think of something to talk about, so I picked a standard conversation starter, “So how did you sleep?”

“Not bad. Your father didn’t sleep well at all, just so you know,” she said, referring to his occasional temper. “We are probably gonna just get breakfast out of the cooler.”

“Yeah, that’s what I figured.”  I thought of another thing to say, as I sat in the chair adjacent to her.  “So we go see Jill at…”

“11, we’ll leave here around 10:45.”  She said.

“Cool.”  I said “So… It’ll be cool to see Jill.”

“Yeah, when I talked to her on the phone she seemed real excited.”  My mom said nothing while she thought for a minute.  Eventually she said, “You know, it makes me so happy that you two get along.”

“Now we get along,” I said with a smile.

“True, but you weren’t as bad as me and my brothers, trust me.  It was not fun growing up with siblings that hated each other.”

My mom was referring to being the youngest of three children, with two older brothers.  I knew they had their feuds and there would always be some unforgotten tension, but hate was a strong word.  She assured me she didn’t hate her brothers anymore, and that she loved them as one should love ones family.  But when someone is a dick to you, even just once, you never forget.

My father came out of the bathroom in nothing but his briefs and socks.  He pulled his long hair into a ponytail while walking out, he then put on jeans, his tai chi t shirt, a flannel coat, and his home made leather belt.  

“Good Morning Dad,”  I said with another smile.

“Good morning son.”  My dad said in his humbling monotone with a sigh.  “How are you today?”

“Great.”

“Good.” He breathed  two meditative breaths while putting on his boots, “So are you excited about seeing your sister?”

“Yeah.” I said.

“Good.”

I sat and chatted with my parents a short while longer about the whore John Mccain has become and how were all fucked if Obama loses.  I then returned to my room and got more stoned, flipping through Songs of the Doomed with the TV on UNDERCOVER BROTHER.  

I sat and daydreamed about a few of the chicks at my school, who I wouldn’t mind fucking, but then I end up thinking about her, and when I do I don’t think of her like I do the others.  She is so much, better.  Prettier, smarter, more mature and respectable.  She’s more than a piece of meat for fucking like the other girls at my school dress themselves up as.  She has class.

If that sounds sexist, trust me, I’m the farthest thing from sexist.  From what I have seen, teenage girls are some of the most annoying, stupidest, self centered bitches to live.  But her, Ill put it this way, and I hope it doesn’t sound lame but it probably will, the girls at my school are just that, they are girls. They may think they are young women, because they look like it, but they aren’t, they’re girls.  Her, she is a woman.  Maybe that’s why I have such trouble getting her, maybe I’m still a boy who just thinks he’s a man.

Well, now that I might be wanted for beating a rich kid to death and assaulting his girlfriend, I have no choice but to be a man.  A boy would tell his mom and dad so they could get a lawyer for him and they could share in the burden.  But I was the one who committed the crimes, not my parents, the burden was mine and mine alone.

By the time it came to go I was so high I wasn’t even thinking about the possibility that I could now be wanted by the Humboldt Sheriff’s department.  We got in the car and drove off.

I listened to my distraction brick while we drove up the free way.  Some Nirvana and some Foo fighters, and some Bob Dylan, and some Ludacris, some Rob Zombie, some Jimi Hendrix, some TV on the Radio and then finally we arrived at the place to pick up my sister.  

The group she works with as I mentioned before is a church organization called NSP or Native Service Project that acts as a camp were groups of teens from church youth groups and Sunday Schools agree to a week of hard labor to renovate worn houses on Native reservations.  They camp wherever available in the community, usually it’s a school cafeteria or dorm of some kind.  The staffers, such as my sister Jill, would sleep in an adjacent room separate from the campers.  The school was your standard single story elementary school, no real indoor halls and large concrete squares for play.  The front of the school was adorned with the most gorgeous bouquets of flowers.  

These deep purple and blue flowers which I had never see before, vibrant hydrangeas, and white roses.  Surrounded by the lush green grass.  

We parked in front of the flowers, got out of the car, and as we started our approach to the building, out the front of the cafeteria steps emerges a 5’7” girl with long brown hair, and amazingly fashionable hipster style.  It was in fact one of my best friends, my older sister Jillian.

She ran up and immediately hugged Mom, Dad, and myself.

“Hi,” she said in her perfectly feminine yet strong tone.  The tone which she shared with my mother. “How are you guys?”

“Hi Jill,” my mom spoke first. “So great to see you.”

“Hi dad,” She said to him, noticing his new cane.  “How’s your hip?”

“It’s fine, pains easing away, I just brought the cane to be careful.” He replied.

“And how are you, and…”She just noticed my hair was different, the last time she saw me I had dreadlocks. “Oh my god your hair looks so good.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I’m so happy to see you.”

“Me too. How are you?” She said.

“I’m great,”  I lied with a smile on.  “How are you?”

“Great, Just great, I’m having such a great time here,” she said with a real smile.

We walked to the car while passing stories back and forth.  She went on about how cooking for so many people was so much fun and how she buys everything in bulk, but it was difficult for me to pay attention.  I was listening to my sister, and was incredibly excited to see her, but I couldn’t help be reminded of my misdeed at the site of my sister.  The girl who was a second mother and best friend to me mixed into one.  I came to think that one day I might be thrown behind bars for life and never see her again.  And the site of her is a simple reminder of the fact I hit a woman.  Something that would be enough for her to never speak to me again.  The guilt was back in my mind again.  But I smiled and just pretended to pay attention to the conversations. Nobody noticed.  I don’t usually say much anyway.  

We stopped in one of the many small Humboldt towns and got lunch at a café.  My Mom and Dad were at the counter ordering, while my sister and I got a table out on the front patio.

“So how are you?” She asked noticing I was staring into space not saying a word.

“I’m fine,” I said.

“Good. I’m really glad to see you,” she said.

“I am too.”

“So how long ago did you take out your dreads?” She asked.

“About a month, I took them out sometime in July.”

“Well, you’re hair looks really good now,  I mean not like it didn’t before but now you look much more…”

“Clean?” I said.

“Well, I don’t want to say…”

“It’s okay that’s what everyone else has been saying.  I think it goes with the fact I’m shaving more often now also.”

“Probably,”  she said.

“Neck beard and dreads don’t attract girls,” I joked, but not actually kidding.

“Yeah,” she now said shamelessly, but still smiling.

“So you showed Flight of the Conchords to your other staff members?” I asked amused.

“Yeah.” Her eyes grew exceedingly wide at the mention of Flight.  For those of you who don’t know, Flight of the Conchords was a show on HBO.  If you haven’t seen it, go rent it, it’s the funniest show from HBO next to Bored to Death.  And those who have seen it, congratulations you’ll understand the rest of this conversation while others remain outside of the joke.  

“We flip the bird constantly,” she said and we both laughed.  It’s like I said above…

We were silent for about five seconds, and then Jill asked, “How mean was I to you when we were younger?” Another one of Jill’s questions she throws out of nowhere constantly in order to gain a better perspective of herself.  

Now this is the kind of situation where someone asks a question and they want you to give them a certain answer, just because they want to hear it said, even if it isn’t the truth, and most people would just lie in this situation. ‘Oh never Jill, you were always an angel and you just shove that little thought into the dark realms of your mind.’  Not me, I’m all about the truth, I’m too lazy to come up with a lie.

“Well when we were younger you were awesome, but when you were in middle school, you were kind of a bitch.” I said.

“Really…” she honestly looked hurt at what I said, but after about two minutes of silence, she returned to her chipper self. “ I’m sorry, for anything mean I did.”

“It’s past, and the past doesn’t truly exist, time is simultaneous, past present and future are the same thing, the now is both a past and present, it’s even a future.  All that is past and in the future makes up who you are.  So take in the good with the bad and learn from them. They are the same thing.  In other words, we’re cool.”  I felt like Alan Watts, or A Zen master, or Dr. Manhattan after I said that.  

“I love you, and I’m proud of you.  You’ve really grown up.”  She smiled her overly photogenic smile.

My parents approached the table carrying their drinks in there hands, iced green tea for dad, hot nonfat latte for mom, juice for Jill, and a smoothie for me.  Now that my Mom was here my sister and she got into a conversation whilst my father and I just sat quietly and randomly gave our input on a topic.  Jill raved about the new Batman movie out, and talked about work and so forth.  She went on with all of my moms questions, talking about the different work sites and campers and so forth.  Then she talked up the other staffers, and as they went on I was lost on two things.  My misdeed and her.  Now I knew I could never be with her, because she would never go for a guy like me,  a potential murderer and a, god forbid, woman beater.  

I only hit the girl once, but she didn’t do anything wrong to my knowledge.

 I couldn’t believe I did this.  I would never do something like this, but I did.  I just wanted to beg and cry, “Jill, Mom, Please help me!”  But I didn’t.  I didn’t want them to think of me that way.  

Our food arrived, so we ate and carried out the conversation.  Jill remarked on how much weight I had lost, and I credited it to my summer school PE.  We skipped from topic to topic until it was time to leave and walk around the town.  We wandered down the streets past stores and shops, then returned to our van and proceeded down the scenic beauty towards the Humboldt beach, which sits on the edge of its lush redwoods or beautiful cliffs and bluffs.  We came to the beach, talked about how beautiful the beach was and blah blah blah… I wasn’t paying attention to what they were saying, I was busy just valuing the very sight of the beach and my family.  The sight of my long haired and bearded father, who is so zen its scary.  My anxious yet always loving and concerned red-haired and freckled mother.  My porcelain skinned brunette sister, smart loving and one of my best friends.  Here we are together for what could be the last time.  All because of my fuck up.  I was on the verge of tears.   The very thought of being locked away from this beautiful place and from some of the only people who cared about me, it was enough to make me want to kill myself.  But that was the cowards way out, and this would be how I’ll prove I am no coward.

After we got our fill from the beach, Jill got to drive the van back to the school.  As she was speeding 20 miles per hour over the limit, we swung by the reservation she was working on.  It was by far the tiniest reservation I have ever been on.  It couldn’t have been more than 100 – 200 yards long.  With only a few houses, a play ground, and a community center.  Yet it was in one of the most beautiful places, a lush green cliff side just outside the redwoods right next to the shore with a beautiful view out towards the ocean and the trees.  Jill went on about the alcoholism of the tribe and how they had suffered.

“What had happened was that most of the eldest natives, long ago, were savagely murdered, so the population was basically wiped except for the youngest ones who were to young to remember the language, so the language is basically dead, and most who grow up here generally leave.”  My sister told us while driving.

“So this is the entire reservation?” my mom asked.

“Yeah,” said Jill, “Then those who do stay generally are drinkers.”

“So how do the locals feel about you guys helping them?” My mom asked.

“Well, everyone on the reservation loves us,” she said. “But a lot of the locals aren’t happy with us being here outside the reservation.  Because a lot, not all, are still anti Indian, but they don’t have real reasons for tension its just..”

“They are just supposed to hate them because they always have?”  My mom said completing Jill’s sentence.

“Yes, just because it’s always been like that, they have no idea why,” Jill said.

Goddamn rednecks, I thought. What the fuck is the point of hating something and you don’t know why?  Goddamn white wastes of space, they probably voted for McCain.  

After Jill’s break we returned her to her work place.  We met her other staff members, they were all very friendly and nice.  But the only name I remember is Andrew.    

We then said our goodbyes and promised to be back for dinner, as we had been invited to dine with her and the campers and staff.

So we returned to our hotel room and waited out the three hours until we would go to eat.  My parents were in their room, my mom on her lap top, my dad working on his leather craft.  I sat in my room getting stoned and watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on my portable DVD player.  After that I just smoked and read until it was time to go.  

When packing my third bowl, I noticed something odd in my stash, there a was an odd, round nugget stuck with and unusual black resin.  I assumed it was just a mild hash of some kind.  So I packed the nugget and smoked it, but my first time hitting it, I was caught off guard, and my lungs were in stung by the harshness of the hit and out went the smoke from my coughing, drooling mouth.

“Dear god,” I thought, “what kind of a resign is on this thing.”  It was so harsh I didn’t even care if my parents smelled my hit which was wafting towards the door.  Normal people would have stopped smoking at this point, but I was dedicated to getting a serious case of the munchies for dinner.  

After I had finished the bowl I noticed something was different about my high.  I felt sluggish and slow in a completely different way.  I checked my eyes in the mirror to find them not glassy and blood shot, but ice white with pin sized pupils.  My skin was also pale white, and doughy.  I felt warm and languid, untouchable in a way.  Weed had never done this to me before but suddenly one of my memories that had been hidden in my mind decided to come roaring forward, it was when I was leaving Raymond, Eric, and Mad Dog.  

“Care, f..  There… Opium…” was what I heard, now I realized he must have said, “careful bro, there might be a little opium in there.” 

 Goddamn it, that fucking bum snuck me opium, that bum!  I couldn’t believe it, but then I realized that once again this was no ones responsibility but my own, had I listened I could have taken the opium out before hand.  But low and behold, here I was about to go have dinner with a Christian charity camp, with my parents, high on opium.  It made sense, I had all the symptoms, tiny pupils, pale skin, a self proclaimed aura of untouchability, as if I could make sense of them all.  I noticed this when I flipped though channels when I was done critiquing Fear and Loathing, I usually talk to the screen when I’m by myself, but the opium had left me with a need for little or no words, as they were coming out mangled and slow any how.  Then came my parents beacon, it was time to go.  I put on my glasses hoping they would distract from my tiny pupils. 

 I pulled myself together, and walked as normally as I could out the door towards them.  My dad sniffed the room loudly so I could notice it, he looked at me through his glasses and said nothing, as far as they could tell I was normal, but walking without swinging around or struggling was taking all my strength.  I did my best to avoid conversing with my parents, fearing my words would reveal my true self.  

“Have you been smoking in there?” my father asked me, off guard.

“No!” I replied in an offended tone, hoping going on the offensive rather than defensive to truly portray I have no idea what he’s taking about even though I damn well do. “Why?”  I asked, playing the fool.

“Because it smells like smoke in there!” He replied, almost furious.  I wondered if he was going to hit me.  He doesn’t do it often, he hasn’t done it for years, but he has done it.

“Dad, do you think I’m stupid!?” I asked. Yes! Brilliant, take offense, make him the one at fault in the situation.  “You know I’m responsible, I wouldn’t do something like that.”

“Okay,” he said, reluctantly believing me. “Because you know it’s a 500 dollar fine if you do that in a hotel.”

“I know,” I said, offended believing my own lie, “I’m not stupid.”

“The smoke is pretty stale,” my mom put in, “some one before us probably did it, this IS Humboldt.”

“Exactly,” I said, relieved, with her believing me it didn’t matter what my dad thought, I was off the hook.  I love how this part of the story makes me look like a good person.  Said the narrator with sarcastic overtones.

All my dad could say after that was, “Okay,” sigh, “okay.”

The upset blew over as we drove to the camp, or school, or whatever the fuck you want to call it.  This is the mentality of opiates, “Fuck it! I cant move a muscle, so what can I do about it but sit and observe.”

I was relieved I was able to talk my way out of trouble.  I found it so hard to talk, I could move my mouth but I couldn’t properly construct the words.  The fact I was able to plea to my parents in such a normal tone was amazing.  This would be one thing that relieved me of the stress of going to a Christian summer camp dinner, stoned and high on opium.  I’m normally shy and quiet in new situations, so the fact I wouldn’t be talking much wasn’t a problem.  However the pin sized pupils, and lethargic attitude would be a problem.  

We arrived at the site, what was once an almost empty school was now bustling with teen bopper Methodist charity campers.  A mix of Hannah Montana innocents, reformed junkies, and trapped & confused wayward youth.  We walked into the cafeteria/ sleeping quarters, which was now bustling with hormonal Christian youths and the odd characters who volunteered to escort them.  

The age range of the youth was from 14-18.  So every teen age drama possible would be assured to happen at least once with the entirety of groups.  As we made our way in, a fat girl of about 14, with spiky hair and a bullring nose piercing came walked past and stared at us.  The stare that says, “Who the fuck are you people?”  So immediately, to reassure the girl my mother told her, “We’re Jill’s family.”  She immediately understood smiled at us and walked away.  Though you could tell she was still confused as to why we were here.   I could tell by looking at her she was either on of the progressive liberal Christians or one of the former wayward youth getting their life back on track with a Christian youth group to distract them from the evil temptations of the drug and alcohol lifestyle.   Liberalism but with god not pot.  Or both, to each their own right?

I remember being one of those youths when I was in the camp the summers before and after my freshman year.  My first year was after I took LSD for the first time, and I had just started to smoke weed, plus I was already drinking.   Sure enough, I found myself in this group, by my own choice for some reason, to show off how I was a lost cause.  No matter how liberal, or progressive the church may be, I just couldn’t be tamed.  Now matter how much they tried to instigate new age practices to widen the market I was still coming to youth meetings high and drunk.  Hell, my first year I snuck in a flask and water bottle full of rum.  My next year I brought 2 grams of hash, and a fifth of jack I snuck in coke bottles.  No one caught me, not even once.  

Then when I had just started my sophomore year, I quit the church.  I couldn’t handle the faith in god, or the hostile youth anymore.  I was the only one of my kind in this youth group, the older cooler youth who were my sister’s friends were gone, and most of them hated me anyway.  They were just afraid of me, afraid of the beer on my breath and the skunky aroma from my left pocket.  

 Her friends on the other hand, were not the kind of people to accept me.  I was everything their parents told them to stay away from, and since their parents where the volunteers and therefore overseers of the youth group, I was either approached as a kid in need of help, or a rebel dooming himself to a life without god.  All I can say is that I didn’t need help, so I just walked away from the church one day, vowing to never return and my mom supported my decision and accepted that her son was a blasphemizing stoner leaving behind a whole group of church goers who watched him grow up, and she tried to hide that she was just a little proud of it.  

I’m sure she was upset when I decided to leave the youth group, but she understood, and through that understanding she came to agree with my decision, and although the church I just left behind was a very open, freethinking, and charitable church, I had to accept the fact that this isn’t the true face of Christianity.  Most Christianity isn’t founded on pragmatic practices, reconciling a congregation to ban homophobia as a church practice, or on practices welcoming people of other faiths without threat of conversion.  Most Christianity was the opposite of that, but the church me my sister, and my mother grew up with, and my grandma is a frontrunner for, was this type of church, and that was this type of group.  And I was damned lucky to be come from this church instead of some Neo Nazi psycho one.  Hell, at least at this one there were a few people in favor of legalization.

Jill waved at us from the kitchen, and told us to wait outside because they were about to, “Circle up.”  So we waited out side.  Eventually the entire group, adult escorts and youth and all came out of the building as the site manager or lead staff member called out “Circle up!”  He then gave his nightly announcements. “Okay so tonight we have our nature walk, which will be after song time.” He then pointed at us, “This is Jill’s family, they will be eating dinner with us tonight.  Please be courteous and kind to our guests, and make good examples of our campers.”  He then looked to one of the campers “You wanted to do the super man prayer?” The camper, a blond girl with the most lopsided breasts I have ever seen, became ecstatic and jumped up and down clapping “Yeah.”   Everyone went quite as she lead them in a campy prayer, sung to the tune of the Superman theme music, all of which I have forgotten because of my brain cell slaughtering habits.

Finally after watching the entire group pray, which was like torture to me, the group filed in to get their food.  As courtesy for welcoming us we waited at the very end of the line.  Finally we moved up to receive a plate of spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread with a drink of water to wash it down.  We then sat at a table near the end and were eventually joined by Jill and twelve others.  

“I’m so glad you guys could make it,” she said with a smile ear to ear.

“We wouldn’t miss any opportunity to see you,” my father said, dead serious.

“So how are you really?” My sister said to me.  I should have known she’d try to get me to talking, she hadn’t seen me in while, and I said very little to her when I saw her earlier. 

“I’m great,” I lied.  “Couldn’t be better, I’m here in a new place, on a new adventure, I get to see you, and get a free dinner out of it.”  I was amazed I said this without stumbling into inaudible mumbles because I was so drowsy.  But my sister laughed and went on.

 Then all of sudden, when I looked at one of the staffers caring a bucket of water to the kitchen, but all of a sudden the bottom of the bucket broke, and the water spilled all over the floor.  And then, when I saw that, for no apparent reason, I felt something never felt before.  I felt a sense of knowing because I was so lost in not knowing, and I felt joy because I was so lost in my suffering and the suffering I caused.  There is no way I can explain what I felt in words, ecstasy is too extreme and to call it a mere epiphany would be an insult. 

 She went on to talk to my parents about the different campers, such as the one with aspburgers, or the parent escort who was a reformed drug addict, and I was there laying out my life in perspective.  I was so caught up in my revelations I didn’t even get up for seconds.    I realized, somehow, that I was the only thing keeping me from talking to her, and I wasn’t going to hold my self back anymore, then I remembered that I committed a possible murder, and I realized  that was a more important thing to think about than a high school social life.   Yet I had realized high school is only four years of my life, so fuck it.  Just hold your breath for two more years and don’t beat people anymore, it should be smooth sailing.

As we finished our meals we gave them our dishes to do, then spent a little more time with Jill in the staff quarters.  Where Jill showed us what she had learned on the guitar here, 3 chords.  Then I showed her up by playing “Jumping Jack Flash,”  and I taught her “Smoke on the Water.”  We then embraced and said our goodbyes, promising to come by again before we leave.

With my parents back on the road, this time I decided to keep my ear plugs out, and I just listened to the sound of my parents searching for topics to discuss and the sounds of the highway.  Playing every event back in my head, the trip so far in its entirety, which only had two more days left.  Tomorrow we were scheduled to tour Humboldt state, then the next day early morning we were due to ship home.

We came back to the hotel room and returned to the same routine.  My parents turned on the television and their laptops, while I went to the shower.  Sitting under the waters, just meditating, trying to make sense of it all.  Why had I done what I did?  Why was my life filled with all these complications which make no sense?  Why Am I so scrambled? What the fuck is wrong with me?  Is their anything wrong with me?  All these questions and all the possible answers swam in my head, and then I remembered I’m insane.  People were never hesitant to remind me I was crazy, the people who knew me best didn’t tell me I was crazy though it was obvious they knew.  The people who watched me from a far could automatically tell I was to.

“Why?” you might ask.  Well, simply because I had everything they had.  I lived in the suburbs, I had middle age parents who paid for everything, yet I didn’t want to fit in.  I didn’t want to be one of the standard middle and upper class teens in high school who shops at Pac Sun or Abercrombie. I wanted to be something all my own, and then I had to complicate the whole thing by feeling like a reject.  Well fuck it!  If they cant accept me that’s their problem, because I’m here to stay.  And if they want to call me a fag for wearing blue or purple round shades with a tie dye shirt, to hell with them.  Hell, I just beat a man to death so I knew I was capable of it, and at least this way I wouldn’t physically hurt any one.  Something I truly never wanted or expected myself to do.  But I made my decisions, so it was time to live with them.  So I carry on.  I felt invigorated by my new acceptance and remembrance of my insanity, but still forever nervous that I was going to jail.  Every time I turned my back, I would turn around again because I would hallucinate a cop walking towards me.  

The shower helped me sweat out some of the opium, and the effects had begun to wear off.  But the comedown off opiates is always a hellish ride, filled with sweat, anxiety, and a nervous twitch, all of which were roaring at me at 100 miles per hour.  I returned to my bedroom where I just sat smoking in order to alleviate the withdrawal.  Soon the anxiety began to dissipate, and I became very calm, very drowsy.  Eventually, I would just fall back and pass out on my bed, I didn’t even check to see what time it was when I fell asleep.  I had no more energy, it was already a huge drag on me to tolerate prayer and dinner with a religious organization, but top it off with bad memories from youth group and dealing with it all on opium I didn’t even want to take, I simply couldn’t go on.

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