It was a small bathroom. The light flickered on and off, accentuating rips in the aged, floral wallpaper. The linoleum was peeling from the corners, and there were a few patches where water damage had caused it to rot out completely, leaving revolting water stained patches of plywood clearly visible. Overwhelming amounts of rust yellowed the toilet bowl and the sink, accompanied by strands of hair and black marks where the porcelain had been chipped away. The door’s hinges squeaked when moved, and it had been unable to close completely for perhaps a decade.
“Home sweet home,” I murmured, pulling my kit out of my large, canvas purse.
I put the kit atop the edge of the pedestal sink. I then reached into the depths of the pockets of my oversized jeans and pushed my dark hair behind my left ear. The rustling of plastic was heard and I could feel my recent purchase at my fingertips. Carefully, I pulled it out of my pocket and placed it next to the kit. My sea-foam eyes stared thirstily after the items in front of me. I licked my cracked lips and leant forward, untwisting the metal tie from around the plastic bag. My hands began to shake as I grabbed the cold, silver teaspoon from my kit. I pushed the spoon into the plastic bag, scooping the first scoop of the thick, white powder atop the small Bunsen burner. It was as I reached towards the small bag to get a second scoop that some force stopped me.
“What are you doing, Evangeline?” a condescending voice asked. “Succumbing to temptation once again?”
“It’s not much,” I protested, looking at myself in the mirror. The small bag full of my beloved possession was within reaching distance—my fingertips could almost touch it; however, she was holding me back. I could reach all that I wanted, but it would not be within my grasp anytime soon. I was unable when she was around. She was so much stronger than I.
“You disgust me,” she spat. “Unwilling to deal with your problems, so you go running back to this. Tell me, Evangeline, how are you going to cope with your problem when this kills you? Or is that your plan? Take the pussy’s way out? Wouldn’t fucking surprise me. You’re weak.”
“Please just go away, Victoria,” I said, firmly, my voice trembling as I felt tears sting behind my eyes.
She laughed and grabbed my syringe, holding it high and dancing around as though she had been driven to lunacy. She stopped, syringe raised above the toilet bowl. Slowly releasing one finger at a time, Victoria wore a smirk. She removed her last finger.
The syringe went spiraling downward into the toilet bowl with a splash. Quickly, I pulled it out of the toilet and set it in the sink, turning on the faucet to wash away any germs that could have contaminated the sterilized needle. I turned the faucet off and tucked the syringe into its designated pocket within my kit.
“Sorry ‘bout that, Ev,” Victoria said, snidely. Her eyes got big and she said, “Must’ve just slipped.”
“Fuck you, Victoria,” I bellowed. “Fuck you and fuck everything!” I felt myself collapse against the wall, though I do not remember asking my body to do so. I became a bawling wreck, waiting for some form of comfort. Victoria said not a word.
“Aren’t you at least going to say something?” I asked, bitterly. “Anything?”
Victoria tapped her chin and nodded, “You can accept reality, or you can accept your fucked up world of make believe. Ain’t my problem.”
“That’s it?” I bellowed, getting to my feet. “That’s all you have to say for yourself?”
Victoria chuckled, “Sweetheart, you have two options. Spend what little money you actually have on grams and grams of this shit,” she said, holding up my small plastic bag full of heroin, “stick that needle in your arm, and create a paradise until your veins turn black and you’re hospitalized, or, and I know this may sound crazy to you, accept your past. Remember what you don’t want to remember. Get a job, maybe go back to school—“
“SHUT UP!” I yelled. “I have no options. And neither do you! Get the fuck out of my house!”
A deep laugh emitted from Victoria’s throat, “You call this a house?”
I screamed. I screamed louder than I had ever screamed before. It came from the very depths of my stomach and echoed throughout my small flat. I could not contain it anymore. It was far too much.
“Scream, for all I care,” Victoria retorted. “That resolves a lot, doesn’t it? Let out a scream and save the world. Save myself from my daddy, save my mommy from that car crash, save—“
“Please, be quiet,” I said, feeling tears brimming my eyes.
“But I’ve only just begun, Em!” Victoria said, tauntingly. “There’s so many things you wish you could change but the past is the fucking past. You can’t fucking change it. So why don’t you get a Goddamn clue and just give it the fuck up!”
It was silent, then. After the long argument, it seemed odd—the absence of sound. I did not speak. Victoria did not speak. I was enveloped in my thoughts, and I was unsure what she was doing. My head began to throb as a thousand stiletto knives bore into my skull. I bit my bottom lip, to keep from crying out. I could not give in to her.
Images from my past flooded my mind. I saw my father’s face, eyes glazed over in carelessness as my pain grew. I saw my mother’s smile before she had gotten into her car to go to the market on the corner. Everything that had ever haunted me wove into a blanket of betrayal and agony. It suddenly occurred to me why I craved the drug. Without it, I was dead.
“Finally seeing the light?” Victoria said, chipping her black nail polish.
I felt a raging fury burning inside of me. After provoking me, after causing me all the heartache that she had, she had dared to patronize me. I looked up at the mirror and saw the fires of hell within my eyes. What was once a soft, sea-foam green was glazed over with black hatred. I was trembling as thoughts ran rampant through my head. My eyes darted from left to right, scanning the items I could quickly retrieve before Victoria had any time to react. It was then that I saw the syringe tucked safely within its small pocket.
There was one simple, primeval thought going through my head when my hand shot forward and pulled the syringe out of the portable laboratory. Sweat boiled out of my pores as my mind became hazy with lack of any thought process. My hand was shaking violently as I began to comprehend what it was that I was about to do.
A thick wave of fear filled the air. It became difficult to breathe. With such a weapon, there were so many things that could go wrong. I realized this and my heart began to beat vehemently in my chest. If I were to fail, or if I were to be caught, there were so many things that could become of me. I knew this. Still, I pressed on.
The syringe plunged into the vein of the wrist exposed before me. Once I was positive it was inserted deep enough, I dragged it in a clean, straight line. The crimson liquid spouted as though it were a fountain, leaving the sink and the bathroom floor bejeweled in magnificent red beads. The aftermath of my crime was mesmerizing, leaving me captivated by its beauty.
Suddenly, I felt my palms begin to sweat. I could not breathe. I gasped for air and felt a terrible agony in my forearm. I tried to scream, but I could not gather the energy. My heart was pounding in my chest, attempting to compensate for the blood that I had lost. It was a lost cause.
And then it was over.