Sleeping In The Shadow Of Morpheous – Part Four
“What happened?” I asked; I knew what happened.
“You nodded off and got sick. I let myself in to get some stuff; and found you on the ground. You were still heaving when I got you in here. You feel any better?”
“I guess so.” I wobbled up and began to dry myself off with a ratty towel. I walked over to the sink to gargle away the leftover sick in my mouth and to rinse my clean shaven face. I saw my face in the mirror and my dream popped into memory piece by piece.
I put on the clean clothes Jackie pulled out for me and sat down on the couch. My stomach began to churn again; I self medicated with a few more hits of reefer. Jackie flipped through the 12 channels I could get with my rabbit ears. She paused on each one, making sure that there was no signal before going on to the next one. She cracked the seal on the now lukewarm forty and took a nip. Jackie had just enough to drink before she came over. The way she got lost even in the smallest bit of motion on the television gave it away. I could still read her like a book.
“Want some?” I offered.
“It have junk in it?”
“Not the weed, but I’ve used it as a pipe before.”
“No thanks, I don’t even wanna risk it anymore,” she said and took another nip from the bottle. I lit the end of the glass tube and inhaled the burning bud.
I saw her forming again in the corner of my eye. The particles that made her pulled together on the couch behind Jackie. I could almost feel her emotions. She was thankful that Jackie was there for me and saw what could see in her. She knew what I was looking for. What the similarities were, but she knew Jackie wouldn’t be able to set me straight like she would. She stared at Jackie’s long black hair. She thought it looked like her own would in this existence, a corporeal form. She reached out to touch it as Jackie had the large glass bottle to her lips. She ran her fingers through Jackie’s sable locks and sent a shiver all over her body. Jackie sprayed beer all over the living room. She scattered, spooked at the unexpected reaction and reformed again in the corner of my eye. She didn’t know that would happen, but still thought it was funny.
“You alright?” I asked as I patted Jackie on the back.
“Yeah.” she took a sip from the forty to clear her throat. “I got kind of a chill all of a sudden, didn’t expect it is all.”
I grabbed 2 cigarettes and put one in each corner of my mouth. I lit one and passed it to Jackie and then lit mine. Laying back on her lap like we used to do sent me into a nostalgic melancholy. The feeling of her nails running along the length of my scalp sent me reeling back to a time where she still loved me. The way she smelled sent me to a time when the world seemed more right. She didn’t seem to mind that I laid there, though she knew what I was up to. “You scared me earlier. I thought you were dead for a second. I hate to see you when you’re sick.”
“I know, but Da’Neil left town without telling me last week…”
“You’re gonna OD if you keep trying to compensate for being sick. Have you talked to anyone at the clinic yet?”
“No, I’ve been busy.”
“You need to. What about NA? Do you still wanna go to a meeting with me?”
“We’ll see; I wanna get into a clinic program first. All this shit you keep saying sounds a lot like you still…”
“I meant what I said. I can’t love you. I’ve come too far to still love you and I won’t get pulled back down, but I can’t make myself not care about you. I don’t want to see you on ice at the morgue. Do you know what it was like having to call my Mom and let her know Austin stopped breathing in the middle of the night? I don’t want to have to give that call to your parents. When my brother died it almost killed me and it was a turning point. If you were to go too I wouldn’t know what else to do. I’d fall back again, I’d OD within the month.” She wiped a single tear and the mascara that ran with it and got up. She grabbed a box from the dining area and began to walk towards the door. “Here, let me help.” I said.
Jackie opened her trunk and I set the box down on top of the one she had brought.
“You gonna be OK going home? You wanna sleep it off on the couch and leave tomorrow?”
“I have to go babe.” she said again out of habit.
“I’ll sleep on the couch.”
“I can’t stay; all my stuff is at my Mom’s place. I’m fine to drive. Please promise me you be careful the next time you dose.”
“Yeah. I promise.”
I gave her a hug and she kissed my cheek goodbye. She shivered again.
I drudged back upstairs and took out my kit again. I rolled a tiny little ball and set it on the tin foil still covered in black lines from a few days ago. I stuck the one hitter in my mouth and sucked up the fumes as the little ball melted under the heat of the flame. It drew lines along the crinkled foil as it burned. The smell of scorched coffee grounds filled my nostrils. I lulled into another glorious nod.
first chapter: Sleeping In The Shadow Of Morpheous – Part One
more by JORDAN CLAYTON
photograph by Milada Vigerova