My bare feet drag themselves down the cold, dark hallway floor. Rubbing the sleep from my blurred eyes I can still taste what’s left of last nights late snack in my mouth feel it on my tongue. Forgetting in my drowsiness to swallow the last of it as the dope slowly took me under..depositing me into a land of nod for the midnight and beyond hours.
Oh the disgusting reminders of an opiate stupor, they are what nag at the coherant mind when it comes up from its influence…what reminds us of a life before them.
All around me the dust is flying, it’s everywhere..my apartment is filthy. Lighting a 3rd cigarette in almost as many minutes I check for messages on the phone, there is one…I enter my 1234 password..easy enough to remember lest I forget. I hear my mothers voice on the other end..she sounds happy on this day and gleefully informs me of her pending noontime visit. “I hope you’ll be up schatz..if not I have the key.” I hear her blow kisses before I delete the message.
I’m starting to get edgy, I slept on edge, I woke up on edge, I am now on serious edge. “Fuck” I mutter to no one “fuck fuck fuck..there’s just no way I can clean this place before she gets here..I just can’t.” Working up the courage to let her down once again..I resolve to call and say I’m too sick to see anyone…but I already know her answer. “I’m you mother Mary..I’m not ‘anyone,’ if you’re worried about the place don’t be..it’s me..I know you sweetie, I know you before even you know you.”
Putting the phone back down in its cradle I give up before I even begin. The cats pace nervously..tails twitching, all too aware of my mood..7 pairs of uneasy emerald..gold & copper slitted eyes watch me from out of their corners, they are hungry for breakfast. I do not heed their wants. Today..today has not started out well. I plug in the kettle for coffee, cats tredding all over the counters, still waiting, wanting breakfast, I stare at them..hostile, swear through my lips, bang a few things around, they scatter, they run, paw prints left in the dust where they were but nano-seconds ago. They’ll be back soon enough. Water is raging and boiling, demanding my attention..I roughly yank the electric cord out of its socket and all but throw a spoonful of instant into my cup..missed grains scatter all helter skelter like on the counter..on the floor…leaving little pools of greasy lakes where some have landed in spilled drops of water. I poor the boiling water into the cup, ice cold milk impatiently waiting to combust in the bottom. It all melds & blends together..reminding me of my lifes blood as it mixes with the heroin in my syringe when I pull back the plunger, swirling together until the darker red eats away at the golden liquid. Shaking my head to loosen the webs of confusion..I raise the cup to my lips and take a long but hurried sip, more like a gulp really. It’s not hot..I haven’t the patience for hot..for it to cool down..hence the milk going in before the boiling water.
It tastes like shit..like you’d expect it to taste, oily something floating around the top..a grain or two still visibly bobbing about in defiance..refusing the melt into oblivion that ate up its brother & sister grains. I laugh as I imagine even coffee grains, gendered coffe grains at that, fighting to live..resisting a death of meltdown. Survival of the fittest coffee grain..yea right..but my good God girl..have you lost it or what.
One of the cats creeps back in, looking quickly at me..making..but not keeping eye contact, used to my erratic behavior, she knows I’m not ready, she sits..looking downwards..pretending to busy herself with grooming. She waits ever so patiently, statuesque like.. safe in her knowledge that inevitabley I will get to her and the others. She..the matriarch of our tamed, housebroken pride has surely telepathically related this back to the other six..for there is an air of stillness all about the house. Not a creature was stirring, no sir-eee not even a sacrificial mouse.
Somewhere deep inside my heart I feel pangs of guilt at her kindness..her patience..her catlike understanding. She who once saved my life by licking & howling me back into consciousness while my mattress smoldered heavy smoke besides my head..or so I will believe until my dieing day. By the time I actually got up I could see nothing..not even my hand in front of me..her howls led me to the front door.
My Baabsy..my Baabalicious…my briiliant, tiny but very tough..black domestic , heavy lidded..copper-eyed cat..who at no more than 6 weeks old found me in the woods one late August after-noon, picking the last of summers sweet plump strawberries. I hadn’t the heart to leave her for some fitter carnivore to toy with & make supper of. Seventeen plus years later she’s earned her place hundreds of times over..being a far better friend to me than I to her. Gently rubbing her ears as I leave the kitchen..muttering I’ll be back soon Baabs, be back real soon.
Slowly I make my way over to the computer..coffee cup & methadone in one hand..cigarettes and lighter balanced in the crook of the other arm as I squeezed the power bar switch on. Without warning the smell from the litter boxes assault my nostrils, burning them. I really can’t take living like this for much longer.
God please, a heads up, what is wrong with me? The puter revs itself into life, screen flickering, waking too..for another day, it is my lifeline, of late anyway.
I light my fifth cigarette of the morning…the smoke curls & dances up around my face, the cats prepare for another day of lung assault, I look away and close my eyes. A familiar voice pierces the silence….
“You’ve got mail.”