A few months back, before I cleaned up again and after I started snorting a shit load of MDMA, I sat in a train station with a friend of mine. She was dropping me off so I could get back to Brooklyn. We ended up in the drug/booze/addict conversation which was a familiar situation from just about the exact moment I started drinking that year. At the time I was still acting as if not being an addict was an option. I was pretty hopeful about it because I desperately wanted it to be true. There are things that this friend has done to me that i will never forgive her for (I actually can’t recall them right now) and there are things she’s done for me that I will never forget (those I can recall with clarity). She took a sharpie and wrote on my one hand “Little Bitch” and on my other “Addict”. She said “You’re one of these two.” I got on the train, my phone rang and for the next two hours she talked. Talked about nothing. New York, dog shit, umbrellas, bad retail jobs. At some point I realized the only purpose of this was to keep me out of the bathroom, blowing shit up my nose. I never called her out on it because I was muted by the overwhelming knowledge of my indebtedness. I kept the sharpie on my hands for as long as I could, reapplying lines when necessary, following the original handwriting.
I wanted the answer to be Little Bitch so badly.
I like to win things. I like to be the winner of any competition no matter how pointless the title or activity. The only things I can think of not possibly wanting to win is an obesity contest or an ugly contest.
Today I would have had eight years of sobriety. It’s fine. I feel totally fine about it. Every year I send a thank you to this one counselor I had when I was in rehab twice at the age of seventeen. I usually include a tagline that says something like ‘I’ve been sober all this time, aren’t I great, blah, blah, blah…’ I sent the thank you, as I always do. Because I’m thankful. Today in this moment, I’m utterly grateful for who she was and how she impacted my young life. So since I’m not dead yet and still have the ability to say thank you, I will.
My past is covered in ‘one friend at a time’ relationships. It’s always been my nature. It’s like your natural body weight. Despite the fluctuations, you find yourself returning to just about the same number. I met my first best friend when I was five. We shared a kindergarten class and subsequently every grade after that until the fifth. During sleepovers we spent every waking hour laughing so hard we were silenced, crying and pissing our pants. Each coming in at 50/50, together we made one complete person. She was timid and interested in doing the right thing, I was intense and interested in finding trouble. I would try to get her to play truth or dare which is a battle I never won. Spin the bottle – again she very wisely watched on keeping a close distance – far enough to not be involved, close enough to have your back when shit went down. I once thought it’d be a good idea to play red-rover, just the two of us since we had learned it that day in gym. If you know that game, a two person red-rover makes no sense. Essentially there’s suppose to be a wall of children arm-linked together, barricading one child who’s running at them, from trying to get through the human chain. I told her to go to one end of the field as I stood at the other. Once she got over there, I instructed her to run at me and once she got within arms reach I pushed her to the ground.
I’m not sure what I was thinking. I remember being surprised. I remember laughing so hard that I could not stand. It wasn’t out of violence. Maybe I never came up with a plan and by the time she got to me I just reflexively acted out of a sheer will to win.
She lives in Harlem now and is as lovely as she was at five.