The Trip By Sophii Jones
This time he felt dead. All the life those pills held was no where to be felt. The same brilliant colors and strange shapes danced above his head. But their energy was fleeting tonight. Was he becoming immune? Could you become immune to these amazing little pills?
He hoped not. If he didn’t have those, he had nothing. Shaking away that painful thought he focused on his high.
A blue square hopped up and down beside his bed.
“You’d miss me, wouldn’t you?” He asked, smiling when it jumped so high it touched the ceiling. His delusions never talked back, just moved and pulsed when he excited them.
He never had to worry about his parents hearing him talk to them or catching him while he was high as a kite. They didn’t come up to his bedroom and ask him about his day anymore. Even if they did, he’d just say ‘fine’ and that’d be the end of it. He didn’t have to worry about that though, he wasn’t sure they even remembered he existed. Some mornings when’d descend the stairs to the kitchen he would swear they looked surprise to see someone else in the house.
He couldn’t remember the last time they’d struck up a conversation with him, but he knew it was before she died.
Tears stung his eyes and overflowed down his cheeks instantly.
God damn her, he thought, covering his wet eyes with his forearm and felt his soft duvet against his back before he’d even realized he had fallen back onto his bed. He always ended up here, on his bed, tripping and loosing grip on reality.
No, this was his reality. 4pm everyday this was where you would find him until whatever time he passed out. He never knew the exact time, but he was always well rested the next morning.
Even though this trip wasn’t the hardcore high he was used too, he took refuge in what intensity it held. Staring up at the ceiling he let his bedroom slip away and the swirling colors took over.
A few streams of sunlight filtered through the broken off-white blinds that hung on the window beside his bed. He lay there staring at them, wishing he could just pop another pill and loose today like he had yesterday but it was Monday and despite being high 90% of his life, he still valued his academic future. After all, he’d heard university students lived for raves and other parties that would hold a lot of interest for someone like him.
He hated the realization that he was a ‘druggie’. He hated that he had to have his pills to cope, but at the same time he reveled in the knowledge that peace was always a pill away.
With more effect than anyone should have to exert he finally got out of bed, pushing back the thoughts that always came to his mind when he sobered up.
The way her long dark hair fell across her face, the way her big green eyes stood in contrast against her dark bangs and her smooth tan skin. And her laugh, a laugh that would brighten anyone’s darkest day. He heard it now, echoing in his mind and threw his toothbrush down. If only he could find something that would keep him high from when he woke up just until he made it to school. The sort of high that cleared your mind but still allowed you to get what you needed to get done. He knew weed would work, but his parents would smell it when he went down to the kitchen. He could smoke it in his room and they’d never get close enough to smell it but once he left his room he knew he’d be caught.
In a hurry to get out of the lonely room, he threw on the same jeans and black shirt he’d worn yesterday. Who cared what he wore anyway, everyone always gave him that same look.
Sympathy. Poor Casey.
Like most mornings his parents seemed shocked to see him come down the stairs.
Without stopping for a good morning or anything to eat he walked straight through the kitchen, to the hall and out the door.
He didn’t know that every morning when he left his mother cried into his fathers arms, afraid of what the accident had done to her son and praying everyday that he’d walk down those stairs the bouncy, outgoing, happy boy he’d been before.
The drive to school was short and he parked in the back of the lot, away from his peers and anyone who might decide to strike up a conversation.
He’d never been the favorite jock, captain of the football team but he’s always gotten along with everyone, even those outside of his ‘stereotype’. It was just his personality, it drew people to him. Everyone laughed at his jokes and the girls had always wanted to play with his thick dark shaggy hair, even the cheerleaders. Despite looking closer to what the cliques liked to call ‘emo’ he had been a favorite with everyone.
But that personality like a gravitational pull disappeared the moment Hannah’s heart had stopped beating.
“I’m sorry about Hannah, Case. I really wish you’d return my calls.” That voice belonged to Melanie, he didn’t have to look up from his notebook to know. She had been Hannah’s best friend and one of his.
“Who?” He said, nonchalantly, as if he had no idea who ‘Hannah’ was. It was the only way he knew to make people stop saying her name. He didn’t care how damaged he sounded as long as it shut them up.
And just as he hoped, Melanie didn’t speak again. She knew it would do no good to say anything else, Casey had been lost to her and the rest of his friends for too long now. They knew better than to even try.
He hadn’t looked at his phone in a couple days and could care less who had text or called. Without looking he knew it would be full of text about parties and hang outs, his friends trying to pull him out of the room he kept himself held up in.
But if his friends knew about his nearly constant high they wouldn’t be amused, in fact some of them would probably tell his parents and he couldn’t afford for them to put him in rehab. Too take away the one thing he had. He would never forgive them.
Casey had always been a decent student, never failed a class although he’d come close once or twice but now he was near honor roll. He found it ironic that as soon as he started doing drugs he became almost a model student.
Take that media, he thought with a smirk.
But when all you do is get high and get a good nights sleep it wasn’t hard to pass your classes. And when you hate socialization, lunch time serves as a perfect study hall. Homework was never an issue.
The problem is, when you actually enjoy the distraction of school it goes by quickly. He’d thought about taking a college course or two, some of his fellow seniors were taking night classes at the local community college, but that would cut into his ‘trip time’ and that just wasn’t an option.
When the final bell rang at three thirty, Casey always felt excited. He was minutes away from salvation. Sliding into the drivers seat of his black firebird he pulled the painkiller container he always kept with him. It hadn’t held painkillers in weeks. Instead it housed his escape.
With a swig of his soda, he downed the pill, knowing it wouldn’t fully kick in until he was safely up in his room, but when it started it kick in it made his drive home much more lively.
Casey’s parents were still at work when he got home, allowing him to make his way to his room in peace while the shapes and colors began to form around him. They were his only real friends as far as he was concerned. They never asked about questions or wanted to talk about their feelings. They were happy to just dance and light up his room.
He sat down in his computer hair and waited for the trip to take him, fully engulf his body and wash away all his problems. But just like last night, it never fully took him. He was high, very high, but not so high that he didn’t know who he was and that’s the high he needed.
In desperation he opened his drawer and pulled out a blunt, he always had several rolled for when he felt like smoking. That amazing smell filled up his room and his head, but he’d known it wouldn’t be the same. The hallucinations weren’t strong enough and the high wasn’t high enough.
Concentrating on the cherry of his blunt in the darkness of his room Casey tried to fend off the thoughts of her. Again her laugh filled his mind, almost sobering him. It wasn’t long before the lights and shapes started to disappear into the walls, leaving him with nothing but the light off of his blunt.
Staring at his blind covered window he realized it was dark already, how long had he been sitting in that chair? Just as long as any other night. He put out his joint and collapsed onto his bed, realizing tonight wasn’t going to be like the nights he was used too. He wasn’t going to pass out without knowing it and wake up sober. He was going to have to fall asleep sober.
He’d known this last night, but only now was it really true. The pills had lost their effect or at least, the length of their effect. His escape no longer lasted through the night, it was short lived and he had to do something quick, he needed something stronger, something that would make him loose his grip, something that would occupy him like that pill had always done. Something stronger.
Downstairs his parents were unwinding from work and probably cooking dinner, something he usually went down stairs, grabbed and brought to his room. Carefully avoiding eye contact so that they didn’t see how out of it he really was.
He needed to get out of the house. He needed to go to Loy, his dealer, and see what else he had to offer. Would they ask him where he was going? He hadn’t left the house other than for school since Hannah…since the accident, surely they’d know something was different. Loy always left the pills in his locker, in place of the money Casey put there.
With every passing second Casey became more anxious, more sober. Memories always flooded back when he was sober. Great memories, ones most people who cherish forever but ones Casey wanted out of his head. He couldn’t deal with things like ‘normal people’, he liked to avoid dealing with them altogether, replace the grief with a false reality.
“Shit, shit, shit,” Casey said, holding his face in his hands and holding back the tears threatening him. Unable to take it anymore he grabbed his car keys and flew down the stairs. Hell, maybe his parents would think he was normal again and leaving to hang out with friends.
“Casey…,” His mother asked, apparent shock on her face as Casey flew down the stairs, keys in hand and out the front door.
But he didn’t care anymore, what his parents thought was the furthest thing from his mind. He had to find Loy. For the first time in weeks he flipped open his phone and dialed a number.
“Yeah?” Loy sounded groggy when he answered the phone, either he was really high or Casey had woken him up.
“I need to buy,” Casey snapped, flooring it all the way down the empty neighborhood street and onto the highway.
“Alright, come over.” Casey shut his phone and took a deep breath, he could always count on Loy to have the goods.
He drove through the entrance of the decrepit apartment building Loy and his roommates called home. The paint was barely clinging to the cheap wood siding and most of the windows were boarded up. Loy’s apartment was on the top floor and the stairs up to it were dangerously in need of maintenance. Casey hopped over all of the ones that didn’t look safe and knocked on Loy’s door three times. Anyone looking to buy always knocked three times.
Chase, one of Loy’s consorts, let Casey in. Chase and Casey had never gotten along, not that they’d ever fought but Chase didn’t like that Loy sold to high school kids, even though Loy was a high school kid. Chase was twenty-five and sometimes forgot that Loy was the same age as Casey, seventeen.
“Sup man, you ran out already? Shit,” Loy laughed, taking a hit of the joint that was being passed around a small circle. Casey noticed Andy, another boy from their class who rarely showed up for school, passing a second joint to two girls who he didn’t recognize.
“No,” Casey hesitated. “I need something stronger.”
“Cool, cool, how fucked up wanna be?” Loy said, standing up and heading down the hallway. Casey knew to follow, all deals went down in the ‘stock room’ which was also Loy’s bedroom.
“Same as before is fine, that shit you gave me isn’t working anymore.” Casey explained, watching Loy go through different colored baggies.
“Still tryin’ to forget that chick, what was her name?” Loy said.
“Hannah.” Casey whispered.
“Yeah, that one. Nah man, sorry bout what happened to her, I’ll get you real fucked up, make you forget she existed.” Loy patted Casey on the back and handed him a bag full of what looked like mushrooms. “Shrooms man. You’ll love them.”
“Are they really worse than what I’ve been taking though?” Casey asked, unsure that this would work.
“No but it’s a different trip. It’ll work man, it’ll work.” Loy promised. “Just leave the money in here and come hang with us, I’ll do some with you.” Loy left the room and Casey pulled out his wallet, it was worth a shot. One thing Casey was never short of was money, his parents put it into his bank account all the time and apparently never asked questions when it went missing.
He left the money on Loy’s dresses and followed the hallway back to the living room. More joints were going around and the two girls were giggling for no reason.
“Ladies, this is my man Casey, Casey meet Tracey and Bailey.” Loy said, taking a quick hit.
“Hey.” The girls said before bursting out laughing again, Casey nodded.
“Yo man, you remember me?” Andy asked, reaching his arm out from the couch to shake Casey’s hand.
“Yeah, yeah, Andy right?” Casey shook his hand and dropped down into a bean bag. He never felt comfortable or safe in Loy’s apartment, it was more like a crack house. Buyers were always in and out and someone was always getting high in the living room. This was never Casey’s scene and even know he was reluctant to admit he was one of them, a druggie.
“What you got there?” The girl Loy had called Tracey asked, sweeping her hair out of her face. Casey always did it but this time he wasn’t imagining it. She looked like Hannah. Not like Hannah’s twin or anything, but she had a lot of likeliness. Dark hair, big eyes, except Tracey’s were blue and the same tanned skin.
“Shrooms.” Loy answered for him, “Can I offer you ladies some?”
Casey handed the bag to Loy, he had no idea what to do with them. A few seconds later Loy handed him something and without a second thought, Casey put them in his mouth and swallowed.
“No, just weed for me thanks,” Tracey said, her eyes on Casey. “You ever done those before?”
Casey shook his head, sure he was feeling it already but afraid to say anything incase he looked like an idiot.
“Bad stuff, bad stuff.” Her friend, Bailey sighed.
“Yeah you keep talking, you know they call weed a gateway drug right? You’ll be here soon babe.” Chase teased, taking some shrooms and following it with another hit from the traveling blunt.
“Fuck you. I’m not stupid.” Bailey snapped.
Loy and Chase laughed at her. She was stupid, if she was involved with these two, she was very stupid. Her friend stood up and handed the joint she was holding to Andy.
“I’m done, let’s go Bay.” Tracey said.
Casey felt like he was watching all of this through some weird lens. As much as he wanted to listen to what they were saying he was distracted by the lamps on either side of the couch. Had there always been rainbows around them.
“How you feelin’ man?” Loy asked, amused that Casey was grinning at a lamp. But then again, he could see why. A rainbow was becoming more apparent to him with every passing minute. Those girls really were missing out, Casey was a trooper.
Casey heard Loy speaking but didn’t register what he said, he looked up from the lamp to Tracey who was staring at him like he was an idiot.
“First time you’ve smiled since you got here.” She smiled.
“You’d smile too if you were in a rainbow.” Casey laughed, Loy and Chase were trying hard not to laugh with him.
“In a rainbow? Ok then.” Tracey laughed, tugging on Bailey’s arm to get her to stand up. “Let’s go.”
Casey watched the girls walk out but had to shake his head a few times to see where they were going, there wasn’t a door, they were walking through a wall.
“Shit, watch out.” Casey said, “Use a door.”
Tracey narrowed her eyes at him and sighed. “Thanks for the tip, don’t drive tonight.” and she disappeared through the rainbow covered wall.
Just like his former love, shrooms left him hang over free when he woke up. He had no memory of getting in his car and driving home and wasn’t sure what his parents would have to say. For all he knew he’d walked into the house, tripping hard and had a conversation with them. But what he was sure of was the shrooms. They’d worked even better than the pills. He’d woken trying to remember the previous night instead of thinking about Hannah.
Taking a deep breath, like he did most mornings, Casey rolled out of bed and sat there. On his bedside table sat the baggie. His mind went into tunnel vision and it was all he could see. The sooner this school day was over the better, he couldn’t wait to be alone with his new friend.
Casey took the stairs to the kitchen cautiously, afraid he’d made a show of himself in front of his parents last night and that they might have something to say today.
“You were out late.” His father said before Casey could make it through the kitchen and to the door.
“I was with some friends.” He murmured, hiding behind his side swept bangs.
“Well, isn’t that nice honey.” His mother beamed. “Will you be seeing them again tonight?” She sounded so hopeful it almost made him guilty.
“No.” Casey said and made his way for the door. He had no intention of going back to Loy’s place unless he had too.
Even the drive to school was better this morning. Everything was better. He had something new and exciting to look forward too. He liked being high in his room, his friends and family thought it imprisoned him but he considered it paradise. The one place no one bothered him, he was free to do as he pleased. What more could a drug addict want?
No, he wasn’t an addict. Addicts had to have their fix, he choose to have it. At least, that’s what he’d keep telling himself. He could stop anytime he wanted too, but until the pain went away he choose not too. That was his prerogative.
Instead of walked, head down and shoulders slumped to his class, he took a look around him. Nothing had changed since the accident.
And he’d ruined it. For once he was feeling alright and he had to think about it. Pain shot through him as he heard her laugh and remembered that that’s the only way he’d ever hear it again, in his mind.
He fell into his usually seat in the back of the classroom and continued like any other day, the quiet, damaged boy who no one spoke too.
For once there wasn’t on the top shelf of his locker, no waiting money and no illegal contraband. The deal had been done the night before. Casey grabbed a math book and replaced it with his history book, closed the locker door and almost walked right into her.
Tracey. She went to school here?
“What’s up?” She asked, leaning up against his neighboring lockers and looking more like Hannah than anyone had a right too.
“Huh. Have you always gone here?” Casey asked, not worried about sounding rude.
“Yeah, I keep to myself, Mr. Popular.” She smiled. She was always smiling.
“I’m not so popular anymore.” He said, walked towards his next class.
“Yeah I noticed, what’s up with that? You went all weird last month.”
“You don’t go from being cool with everyone to cool with no one for no reason.” She laughed, keeping up with him.
“I said nothing, ok?” Casey said sharply, turning towards her. The hard look on his face froze her where she stood and Casey walked on to class. She shouldn’t have pried.
He closed his bedroom door, dropped his books and made a beeline for the baggie. Holding it like a prized trophy he stared at it for a few seconds, he’d waited all day for this. The confrontation with Tracey may have been the longest conversation he’d had with anyone except Loy in a long time and it didn’t help that she reminded him of Hannah.
With that thought Casey took out as much as Loy had instructed him too the night before and ate it. Chase had advised him against taking it dry every time but he didn’t give a shit what Chase said.
He put the rest of the baggie in his dresser drawer, turned on his stereo and laid back on his bed. Before the high really started to take him he had to admit he missed his shapes and colors, they’d been his best friends for so long. But friends changed and so did highs. Anything that helped him loose his grip was alright with him.
His cell phone sat on top of a shirt on the floor beside his bed. It lit up and beeped a few times, and that was the funniest thing Casey had ever heard. Lying on his stomach he leaned over the side of the bed and grabbed at it, a rainbow of colors emanating from the lit up screen.
A text from Melanie read: Party. BYOB. Clive’s place. 9pm.
Clive was Melanie’s boyfriend and at one point a friend of Casey’s too, he’d kept his distance since Hannah’s death, giving Casey all the space he needed. He discouraged Melanie from inviting him to all the parties, knowing it did no good. But Melanie couldn’t just ignore Casey, not when he’d been so amazing to Hannah.
Casey knew he was becoming more and more intoxicated by the minute, which made his decision easier. Without a second thought he grabbed his keys.
(((to be continued)))