I wanted, above all things, to be off my head.
Staring at the walls, at the floor, at the covers on the bed, the room was stifling. Every surface I saw smeared with dirt. The urge to get up and shift some of it, to move some of the clutter, to clean out my brain, became strong and unbearable: I couldn’t move. The piles of laundry assaulted me, until my vision pixilated and I could hear the blood pumping in my ears. The power of the mundane itched and pressed down on me.
When I moved it was to slam through the house, urgently ferreting through drawers, bags, cupboards; anywhere there might be a stray pain killer.
There weren’t any.
I drank some of my sister’s bourbon. It burned, but it wasn’t enough. I was warmer, slightly sicker, but no calmer.
‘Fuck it.’ I thought, and pushed on into her room.
It was no better than my own. Covered in crap, clothes thrown on the floor, bottles of perfume, deodorant and hand cream strewn across the top of the dresser, bills and receipts on the bedside table. I went through her drawers. She must have hidden them; there was no other explanation for the dearth of strong pain killers on the premises.
I found them in the top drawer of her dresser and immediately swallowed two. But it wouldn’t be enough. I was determined that it wouldn’t. So I took a sheet with me, rationalizing that she’d never know how many she had. If she did, so what? She could get more. Or I would replace them. I didn’t care.
For ten more minutes I sat outside, smoking, waiting for them to kick in. I made myself read, to take my mind off the wait. After ten minutes, I cracked two more from the packet and went to swallow them, but I didn’t want to waste them, so I made myself wait another five minutes.
A soft, creamy haze alighted on my shoulders and neck first, smoothing down my body. My blood was warm and tingled in my feet. My head contracted and then relaxed and I could breathe…
Mmm. It was a blanket of comfort. I didn’t feel happier, but I was okay being sad. It was kind of nice. I stretched like a cat and relaxed back into my chair. I lit another cigarette; without ferociousness, without fear. I inhaled slowly and closed my eyes for a moment. It was about to get better.