She wanted to get a Christmas tree and I was dope sick. I texted her from bed that I would meet her at the tree place beneath an overpass and near her gym so by the time she was done working out I would be arriving.
I took a hit off a roach and went into the bathroom to puke. My body wanted everything out. My guts were empty and I was dry heaving with my knees on the floor. I opened the small window above the toilet and looked into the empty courtyard. Everything was damp and cracked peeling paint and ugly wet concrete.
I washed my face off and tried to look better than I felt. I have always been trying to look better than I feel. I walked into the living room to get my skateboard but felt that I wouldn’t make it, my legs weren’t strong enough. I wasn’t sure I could make it on foot. I shook my head and walked out the door.
I walked down Foothill to Lakeshore and despite the weather there were people at the Lake hanging out and smoking weed. My vision got blurry and saliva filled my mouth, like I was about to puke. I stopped at a bench and sat with my head in my hands, and then I watched my hands shake for a while.
I stood outside the tree place waiting for Liz. I saw her walking across the street. I said hi, she said hi, we kissed and entered. There were rows of trees and makeshift cashier stands and Christmas music and tinsel and I felt myself ready to throw up again but I held it down. I started to get sweaty, my palms greasy, my skin began to hurt. I balled my hands into fists. We walked through the rows looking for a tree that would fit in our tiny apartment, one that wasn’t too small either. I agreed with everything she said.
We got a tree and decorated it and I kept getting high and finally told her I was using. It was all too much, the lying, the manipulation, the terrifying ways I was turning into my father. She left me. I worked the steps in NA and with my psychoanalyst to try and navigate this part of my life and I still came up short. There was a dead weight of regret in my gut, a painful static in my brain that told me to run away from myself, away from the machine that is the future, an indestructible force that relentlessly takes and takes and takes.