I’m standing at my bathroom sink. Yesterday. I just got out of the shower. As I brush my tangled wet hair, I stare.
I stare at myself in the mirror hanging in front of me. Only, I’m not looking at me. I mean, yeah physically I am. But my eyes are somewhere else.
I hear a song. It’s playing in the background on my Alexa. My heart starts beating really fast. It’s racing. And I need to sit down.
I’m not sad though. But I’m not happy either. It’s a strange feeling and it starts to take over as the song continues to linger in the background.
It’s a song I’ve listened too many times —a song I haven’t really heard since 2011. It’s a song that seemed to always play every time I was with them. Jay and Matt. My two best friends at the time. We’re strangers now. Maybe that’s why it’s so weird. Because I’m standing here —in the bathroom I stand in nearly every single day. But at this moment, it’s like I’m transported back. And now, I’m reliving memories of a different me. Only it’s not.
Because I’m physically the same person. And that’s the weirdest part. Because it seems like a lifetime ago and yesterday —all at the same time. I guess what I’m experiencing is a flashback like from P.T.S.D. But what I’m seeing isn’t anything sad. It’s not bad either. Well, other than illicit drug use. Because that’s what we did back then. And at the time, I craved every second of it. I thought I was having fun. Because what I see, is this carefree girl riding around with her two best friends. And it’s killing me.
Because it will never go back to the way it was.
And even though I know that’s a good thing, at this moment, it doesn’t feel good. Why did it have to happen like that? Why did I let that shit consume me? Because one second I’m listening to “Glad You Came” by The Wanted with Matt or Rack freaking City by Tyga with Jay —and the next, an explosion. Because my life literally blew up in my face. And yeah, that’s definitely a better thing but that doesn’t make it burn any less. People say it’s the bad memories that cause the most pain.
At the time, Jay had just gotten out of jail. Some dumb drug charge turned into assault. One year later though, and he was free. The two of them had been friends for years. I was the new girl. If you recall, I connected with Matt through a friend I met when I first moved there. That friend was a Jersey Jew going to FAU (Florida Atlantic University) who —thanks to Jewish Geography (as my mom calls it), we knew a bunch of the same people back home.
I should also mention that he sold blues, which is probably why we got so close.
So I start hanging out over there a few days a week. In walks, Matt. I remember the two of us bonding right off the bat. I liked his vibe. We chill and then a few hours later, I recall one of the other guys saying he wanted to go to an NA meeting. And for whatever reason, we thought that was a good idea. So Matt and I tag along. And as the peeps in there do their thing, I’m pretty sure he and I start nodding TF out. We listened. But mostly, we made faces at each other from across the table we were all sitting at.
One of his friends told us to stop flirting. I loved every second of it. From then on, that became a regular thing. A few weeks after that, we end up making out. Eventually, we did round the bases but never made it home, which was around the time I kind of fell in love with him. And that’s why I refused to go all the way. Because I knew that would complicate things. Because I was too cool to tell him how I really felt. Because I knew he liked me but not enough to make it official (more on that below).
So we stay friends with occasional benefits.
And for whatever reason, it never got weird. Well, probably because I’d always downplay my feelings for him, which is why he kept coming back for more. I remember this one night he got sold fake molly. He was pissed. Because his friends from home were in town. And he was supposed to show them a good time. They were supposed to be in South Beach all night. But when I get a call from him asking where Jay and I were at, we knew that shit didn’t go as planned.
Because Jay and I were shooting pool at Nippers, this local bar in Boca. We went there a lot. It was one of those college kid chill places. So we felt more at home there than those bougie bars out East. We were always looking for a good time —chasing our next high. It didn’t really matter what it was at that point. We just wanted to feel good. And that night, we did. About an hour later, Matt walks in. He’s wearing this pretty hot black suit —seeing that he was supposed to be at some fancy club. Except, he was out of place for this low-key spot.
But it didn’t matter. I wave him over and he orders us all a round of shots as he starts telling us how awful his epic turned out to be. I told him, “Last call isn’t for another few hours. The night isn’t over yet.” That’s for sure. Because a few trips to the bathroom and two shots later, Jay starts fighting with these random kids. We were about to break it up when some random French guy steps in instead. After shit calms down, we’re talking with our new French friend who decides to give us some free Coke.
I think he was looking for some company.
So we play the part and ultimately, ditch him a few lines later. And then, the kids Jay was fighting with, were now his best friends. And so, they invite us back to one of their houses for some wannabe after party. And this is the best part. Because we’re all hanging out outside around this bonfire, drinking beer and listening to music when I realize Matt is nowhere to be found. That’s around the time the kid’s house we were at yells, “Um what is this (referring to Matt) doing in my bed?” Because Matt went to the bathroom and never came back.
Because he got lost and then passed out in that dude’s freaking room. He didn’t like that very much. So we were basically kicked out after that. But not before Jay and I come running, which is how we found Matt drooling in that guy’s bed. We were laughing so hard we almost peed our pants. Jay called his roommate who was also named Jay to pick us up. So we carry Matt outside who is basically stumbling out the room and into the car —where he proceeds to start fake vomiting.
That’s also when he asks me to sleep over. He said he needed some help talking to his mom who happened to love me. She was asleep when we got there though. No buffer needed. But I was happy to be there. So, we go straight into his room. I remember cuddling in his bed and making out before we eventually pass out. I remember waking up smiling, which is something I rarely did. I also remember the two of us snorting a few pills before we getting up. Because we had too.
Because we needed a little something to start the day.
And I made sure to always have a stash. That day though, I pretended to be low. I did that so he’d feel bad and give me some of his for free. I needed to preserve as many as I could. And it worked. So, we quietly blow that shit and make our way into the kitchen for some breakfast with his mom. Not that we were eating because we definitely weren’t hungry. But she was pleased to have some company. We hang out there a little while longer and eventually make our way to Jay’s.
But not before stopping at my spot for a change of clothes. So yeah, there was Jay. Everyone said he was in love with me. But he knew I was in love with Matt. He did his best though, which didn’t really work —at least in the way he wanted. But he always protected me. I felt safe with him. With them both. Because whenever I was alone —well, that’s when shit got really dark. Because I’d make it seem as if I was still happy like I used to be. But the truth is, I hadn’t been in a while.
Everything was a lie and I was the worst of them all.
On the outside though, you’d have no freaking idea. I mean, I was a girl living in East Boca Raton —the beach was nearly a block away. I had a few good friends, a decent job and a sick fucking car —at least that’s what I thought at the time. Because I felt pretty damn cool riding around in my very own C280 Mercedes —a college graduation gift from my dad.
Thankfully, when I was with the two of them, I felt better. So I made sure to be alone as little as humanly possible. We were three best friends. Except, as I mentioned earlier, Jay was in love with me. I was in love with Matt. And Matt only liked me. Somehow though, it didn’t matter. Because it was different with the two of them. It’s hard to even explain what I’m trying to say. Because even the most awkward shit was never actually awkward. So yeah, we got close. Really close. I remember going on some pretty epic adventures with Jay.
Matt too but he did some shit part time for some boat caption up in Jacksonville. He worked two weeks on and then two weeks off. It was during his two weeks off that Jay and I got even closer. Anyway, on a normal day, Jay and I usually started in Boynton. That’s where his kind of friend —mostly dealer, Kee Kee lived. Eventually, Kee Kee and I became almost friends too. He was a really chill dude who lived with his baby momma and their two daughters in the hood. I can’t lie about that. Shit was sketchy AF.
I remember being scared.
Was today the day? The day we’d get pulled over and arrested. Or, worse —beat and who knows. Somehow that shit never happened. Kee (that’s what we called him) became fond of me. Not in a weird creepy way. He just thought I was cool people —as he’d say. Literally, “This chick is cool people,” he’d announce to anyone new I hadn’t met yet. At the time, I fucking loved it. Later on, I start going to Kee alone. I did that with most suppliers I met through other people. Same with Matt and his dude Junior.
Because I thought those drugs were the only things keeping me alive. So I thought I needed them to survive, which in a way was true. Because I was useless without that shit —thanks to a little something called opioid withdrawal. At this moment though, I was flying high (pun intended). So I didn’t really care. Because this is around the time, Jay decides to buy us some hard (that’s what we called crack), which happened to be his drug of choice. And Kee’s main supply. He sold pretty much everything.
But most of his customers preferred hard just like Jay.
And since I was in no position to turn down any type of substance, eventually, I started doing it too. Sometimes Jay would steal shit and then buy us hard to go up and I’d get us blues to come down. He’d only steal if we were short on cash, which (who am I kidding) was most of the time. I remember this one day in particular. Jay and I were hanging out at his house. I was already 200 milligrams of oxy deep; so I was feeling good. But Jay wasn’t. He was feigning for a rock (that’s what we called a small piece of crack).
I remember him begging me to drive him to Kee’s to pick some up. He had lost his license right before he went to jail. So it was me or nothing. Me driving or him begging me all day to drive him. I couldn’t handle him bothering me; ruining my buzz for the next few hours. So I tell him yes but only if he buys me some. “I was already planning on it, Mace.” So we head North on I-95. Ugh. I hated driving. Even then. Especially then. And at night. In the ghetto. No thank you. But this junkie bitch would never turn down free drugs.
I told myself, it was just a ride. And 15 minutes later, we were there.
We weren’t really hungry. But after we do the deal, we decide to take him up on his offer and hang out a bit. Because we wanted to get high like right away and since we were feigning, we didn’t really want to wait. Because using in the car was never a good idea. At least we were smart enough to remember that. The thing is, we end up getting really high. Too high. And so, we want more. Jay promised tonight was on him. So I figured he had it covered. He didn’t. Because this is when things got a little more interesting.
Because he didn’t have as much as he originally let on —what else is new?
But it was on him and I wasn’t too worried. I should have been but I should have been a lot of things I wasn’t. By the end of the night, Jay had to sell his freaking cell phone to cover everything we snorted and smoked. Jay said we’d be back tomorrow with the cash. He’d exchange some bills for his phone. And Kee agreed. “But not until I have the money in hand.” At that, we head home. Flashforward to the next morning and Jay’s mom calls his houseline freaking out. Apparently, she tried to get in touch with him.
Like she called her son’s cell phone earlier —expecting him to answer. Only he didn’t have his phone. Kee did. Long story short, she was pissed. And we were dying. Dying of laughter. Needlesstosay, he scrounged up the dough and we make our way over to Kee’s merely right away —still laughing at the whole interaction. Because when we get there, Kee busts out laughing too —telling us about his convo with Jay’s mom. Re-reading this back, I see how that it might be another you had to be there type of funny.
But I promise you it was.
So it wasn’t all bad. Well, until it was.
A few hours after that, I drop Jay off and head home. I get there and run straight into my room. If you recall, I was subletting from this really nice guy who lived in this really nice house. But that didn’t matter. Because I was miserable. I hated myself. To top it off, I was nearly out of pills. I thought maybe my roommate Kent would give me a hit since he was a certified pot head. And when I smell the lingering bong rip enter my room, I say to myself, “Maybe if I smoke, I’ll be able to sleep.” Since Kee was out until Monday.
Because at the time, this shit was my life. I did what I had too. In this case, I’d text random people —people I thought were good. Or people I thought knew someone who was good. Because if I didn’t find someone who had something. I’d feel the dreaded withdrawals I worked so hard to avoid. And that right there is why I couldn’t stop. It was legitimately my worst fucking nightmare. Luckily, that didn’t happen. At least not tonight. Because this is when I find another 10 pills in my emergency stash.
So yeah, enough of that.
Anyway, I’m sitting on my bed when Kent peaks in telling me, “I hope you had a good night, kid. I’m smoking if you want a tock.” Um. Yes, please. You read my freaking mind. That’s when I get up, shut the door (he could not come into my room for obvious reasons) and step into his. We small talk for a few, take a couple hits, talk some more and eventually, say goodnight. That’s when I make my way back into my room —slowly shutting the door and locking it behind me.
Kent could never find out. I couldn’t add homeless to my list of fuck ups. Luckily I had gotten pretty good at this whole innocent girl thing. A master manipulator as they call it, which was the cherry on top of my double life. I remember crawling on top of the pink floral comforter Kent gave me when I first moved in. I tried to make it as homey as possible, but I had pawned most of my decent looking shit to support my habit. So Kent’s décor it was. Plus, I didn’t really care what it looked like.
And I needed to get high.
So I open the drawer on my nightstand, which held all of my drug paraphernalia. A few weeks back, I jimmied something together to hide all that shit. And as I remove the false bottom, my eyes fucking sparkled. “Just where I left it,” I thought to myself. Good thing I was crazy and way OCD. Because that shit carried over into my addiction. Because I had been pretending those 10 pills weren’t there. And since I was starting to feel like shit, I knew it was time.
Meaning, I had to get high every few hours or I’d feel like crap. It was a full-time job I never applied for. And lately, I had been smoking them on foil. People call this chasing the dragon. And I loved it. Because it gives you a different kind of high than when you straight up snort it. And as weird, as it sounds, I had become addicted to the process of smoking those things. So, I take the hollowed out pen and place one end in my mouth. The other would chase the pill as it slid down the foil. I’d inhale and all was well.
Instant relief. My drug of choice had become my best friend. And my worst fucking enemy. Crazy how that’s even possible. Like the thing you think is saving your life is actually responsible for ending it. At that point though, I didn’t really care. I take a few more hits and then my phone rings. It was a text from my main supplier. He had just re-upped and said I could come by whenever. I was pretty tired. So when he says tomorrow would be better, I gladly accept and continue where I last left off —chasing the fucking dragon.
I don’t know what came over me after that.
Because that’s when I start crying, which I usually only did when I was coming down. But at that moment, I was feeling good. Like physically, I was high. But mentally, I was absolutely nothing. Because I wanted this bullshit to end. I was over it. That’s when I start thinking about all the awful shit I had done. The awful shit I had to do in order to keep everything up. And that’s when the room starts closing in. That’s also when I remember this one time at Matt’s. His mom went away on some business trip.
Turns out, it was a family heirloom. And we almost fucking stole it. Except, Matt grew a heart that day —at least in that moment. Because when he says, “We better not,” I was mad he didn’t want to do it. Because I did. I didn’t really. But at the same time, I really did. So yeah, don’t see why I was so fucking exhausted? All the scheming. The planning. The waiting. Making sure I had enough. Making sure I didn’t get beat. It was all too much. And it definitely wasn’t fun anymore. What was I still chasing? Why did I let that shit consume me?
Because no matter how hard I tried to pretend I was OK, I simply wasn’t.
That’s when I realized I wanted to die.
Because that was the night, I tried to end my own life. I think it was more so a cry for help than anything else but I did, in fact, slit my left fucking wrist. I remember grabbing this cold sharp blade I kept for protection. And as I’m sitting on my bed, isolated like always, I start diagonally digging the razor into my lower arm. I’m pretty sure it went dark after that. Because the only light I saw came from the foiled reflection as I start digging the razor deeper and deeper. At this point, there’s a little blood. And that’s when I lost it.
A few minutes after that, I think I threw everything off the bed and decide to lay down. I wasn’t going to sleep. Because that’s the last thing I could do. But I recall just laying there absolutely numb. Because my eyes were crying. And my soul was crushed but I felt nothing. Maybe that’s why I wanted to feel some fucking pain. Because the only thing I felt was misery. Misery loves company. But tonight, like most, I was on my own. About an hour later, I eventually pass out.
And when I wake up the following morning, I realize it didn’t fucking work.
What else is new? What now, Macey? Seriously, though —what now? Unfortunately, at that moment, I didn’t know. I was out of my mind and simply out of options. So, do you think I’d try again and dig a little deeper? Or, would I pretend none of this ever happened? On the contrary, could I confess how utterly depressed I was to the people that I loved? Was it even possible to find my way back after that? Spoiler alert, I’m here now —healthy and mostly happy.
I say mostly because no one is happy 100 percent of the time. And you know what? That’s OK. Because I see now that it’s OK to not be OK. So once I got away from that all or nothing behavior, things got better. And that’s when I started to heal. So whatever it is that you’re going through, don’t wait like I did, to be honest about how you’re truly feeling. You’re never as alone as you think you are. And things are never so bad that they cannot be undone.
*names and some details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.