The Shades of 4 a.m.

I’m inbetween.

A quotidian, Persephonic curse.

I inhabit the underworld – the land of the dead, though walking they still be. Though by some grace I’m still free to join society. Some people can’t tell; they can’t read the signs: tiny bruisings running along the path of veins, a certain paleness, a certain gait, the pupils, the irises; it’s all laid out for one who knows how to read. The fact that people don’t tend to look too closely means I can have been scoring, shooting-up, and enjoying a little death (not la petite mort, you understand, but it’s not dissimilar) of a morning, and be sitting in Fortnum and Mason’s with the family in the afternoon and no one’s any the wiser.

Now, perhaps, they choose to not see; my sister, certainly, finds my little anecdotes of life in prison and criminal rogue-ery (not sure if that’s a word but it suits) rather distasteful, wishing I wouldn’t bring up such taboo concepts up in polite conversation, whereas my father chuckles away and comments and questions, as though I’m one of his learned Oxford fellows, a scholar in criminal behaviour and the pschology of addiction. Yes, perhaps they choose not to see deeper; my sister not wanting to imagine her middle-class, picture-perfect fantasy of her family tainted by a heroin addict and convicted criminal to boot, and my father, so convinced he was a cruel, heartless father, is easily swayed by the part of me that is practised at putting on a facade in order to soothe and manipulate the hapless victim into handing over money, though I now use it to convince him that I’m recovering well and haven’t touched a needle in weeks. It pains me, but on the other hand, the idea of him thinking I’m a failure, and discovering that he really can’t help me is worse.

No one can help an addict. We are undead. Heroin addicts are like vampires. One even becomes addicted to the sight of blood in the syringe – the rush before the rush. We use the massive confidence boost tempered with care-free, laid-back cool like “glamour” to navigate social events and captivate the opposite sex, while, later in the addiction, we learn to sniff out targets, bleeding them dry of money, valuables, energy, and eventually, care, in order to feed our beast. And when the thirst is upon us nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will deter us from getting our next fix.

Similarity is uncanny, no?

You can see it with other substance abusers, as well…

Alcoholics resemble zombies mostly: lack of motor control, bad skin, terrible smell, and wandering around crying “Brains!” Well, obviously: alcohol destroys so many brain cells it’s no wonder they want new ones! They’re also prone to bouts of violence, against anyone and everyone who happens to be in range.

So, what does someone trapped between life and death do? It’s a form of cowardice: too disdainful of life, too despairing of death, I walk between. I would like to say that Love could break the spell, draw me out of the mire, but I just don’t know any more. One needs a reason, a fire in the heart, a voice urging you on to face any obstacle.

I have none.

Everything I touch, hope for, believe in, dissolves into dust. There’s only so many times you can rebuild… aren’t there?

What would I like this Solstice? A reason to live.


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