By Maaaaa

He's addicted, you hear them say, voices echoing, drifting in and out of your awareness.

He's addicted.

And you crumble, all the bits and pieces of who you are - shattered.

Tears, hot and prickly, burn the corners of your eyes and run ice cold down your cheeks mixing with gooey snot and coppery tasting saliva, drooling no matter how hard you try to stem the flow, across your lower lip and onto your chin.

You pull yourself to your feet, slowly, drunkenly…no, not drunk…wasted, buzzed, and you can't for the love of god remember how, why.

You inch your way up the padded wall and realize in a fleeting moment of clarity how much you take your arms for granted. You tug futilely, trying to release yourself from your own arms, and a wave of panic slaps you and slaps you as you remember lashing out at voices, blurred faces, and voices repeating help him, don't let him hurt himself, no blair, we're trying to help.

The walls aren't white, they should be white shouldn't they and you laugh even as you try not to because you know the sound you're making isn't humorous. You wonder how you are able to see the urine stains and the vomit stains and the spatters of blood and saliva because don't they clean this room and scrub it and bleach it and oh please you hope you aren't responsible and oh please you hope they aren't from someone else, some poor unknown schmuck who was here before you.

Addiction, addicted, addict. You try to dredge up the thesaurus in your brain that used to be at your beck and call and make sense of the words that have been echoing, bouncing off the walls of the tunnel you're in. And fragments slide through your mind…craving, dependence, narcotics…and something clicks and then fades and you see yourself from afar, huddled in a dirty alley trying to fight off the shaking and can't someone please stop the bugs and tiny creepy crawly things from burrowing under your skin.



He'll be here soon; you know he will. Time has stopped except for Jim; you measure your days or is it hours, weeks, by Jim.

You look up, you look at the camera and you beg but you know they don't hear you because they don't come. Please don't let Jim see me like this you plead. You'll be good you promise. You'll be a good boy you tell them. You weren't trying to hurt anyone. You weren't trying to hurt yourself. You'll be good. You don't want Jim to see you like this. If he sees you like this, if he sees you like this…

You can see his face, aw chief he'll say, aw chief. You can see his nose crinkle. Dial it down Jim you tell him dial it down big guy. You know you smell of sleep-sweat and dried salt tears and pee and vomit and his nose will crinkle, you can see all the little ridges and valleys and nooks and crannies of skin. You know it is the smell, you tell yourself it's just the smell, you don't believe yourself and you know he tries to hide it but he wrinkles his nose in disgust.

You feel tears again, cold, icy in the corners of your eyes. You blink and blink and you try to stop it but the shaking starts and you bang your head against the wall and you bash your shoulder into the padding and you howl as spasms of pain and need rip through your body. Give me more you scream just a little of whatever your body is demanding and you wonder how you can't even know what it is that you need but please just a little more all you need is a little more.

You can't do this you can't do this you need more you can't do this.

Yes you can do this you hear Jim say you can do this you hear him whisper in your ear. You feel his arms wrap around you and you feel his strength seep in and you lean into him and you shudder.

You can't do this you hear yourself tell him. You're so sorry so sorry you tell him.

Not your fault buddy you hear him say. Your cover was blown remember chief you hear him explain and you try to make sense of the words. You feel him ease down onto the floor pulling you with him to land in a boneless heap of helplessness and need and you try to stop him try to tell him the room is filthy and you hear him say no it's all right chief I've got you chief.

Those bastards did this to you you hear him repeat over and over. When your cover was blown they shot you up, got you hooked you hear him stutter the bastards did this to you. Not your fault buddy not your fault chief you're the strongest person I know you hear him tell you.

You feel him cup the back of your head nestling it in the warm crook of his shoulder and you know he's pulled you onto his lap and you feel him rock gently and hum softly as he strokes sentinel-tender fingertips through your hair, massaging your scalp.

You let yourself fall into the safety that is Jim and you let the pain ride itself out on the promise of Jim staying with you buddy we'll get through this together buddy.


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