Effigy

I split wood for the fire. Tonight will be a bonfire.  

We are burning ourselves in effigy. 

I have soaked my insides in flammables. One hundred proof as I step barefoot on the pyre. ‘Don’t forget me’ the words mouthed softly into the night to no one in particular. 

Don’t forget me. 

The words freeze in the air like silent scream. I close my eyes, in hopes of opening them and finding this is but a dream. 

There’s no waking up tonight. 

*****

At the height of my young adult adolescence, I swallowed a handful of Klonopin and chased it with beer after beer. I don’t remember much from the night, random cups being raised to lips and projectile vomiting around a room. When I came to, I had lit ablaze half a dozen friendships. Laughing, I reached for a half-empty cup of beer and washed the bile back down my throat.

I ripped through a few years of my teens like a bong, fancying myself a Mr. Goodtime. For the most part I was. The problem is, for every good time there was, I surely felt the drop. Like a slow-dripping in an empty tin, the lack of moral fiber made a loud *clank* as the drop hit my hollow home.

I read years later about people dying from drinking. It wasn’t just Amy Winehouse. It was Ashley, who had babies at home. She drank herself to death one night, leaving two kids without a mom.

It struck a chord with me. Not because she and I were close. We had made-out a few times, texted a few times and never got around to being anything more than drunk and horny at the same parties. After I began to dry out from the copious amounts of drugs and booze, I guess she didn’t.

It reminded me how close to death we lived back in the day.

There was the time Sean swore I smoked crack with him. After chasing a Xanax bar with beer after beer, I woke up dazed and confused, unsure of how long I had been out. As I emerged from room, people shouted, “You’re alive!”

One day I will inevitably have to sit my children down to give them the drugs are bad speech. I don’t know how fire and brimstone it will be. There will be know “IF you do drugs, you will get addicted and start sucking dick for them until you die in a desolate hole and kill your mother with a broken heart.”

It also probably won’t be “Drugs are bad, but really, REALLY, fun.”

I don’t know the first step in educating my children about drugs. I know I did my fair share.

Maybe I will tell them for every night I survived, someone else died. That’s how it feels sometimes.

Ashley wasn’t the only one who died. Sean overdosed a few times. He had a few friends die. I saw an old roommates face show up in the local paper for selling H to the kids. Fucking junkie, selling the same shit that he once told me made him hate himself. He might not have died to anyone but me, but he’s long gone may he not rest in peace.

I drove drunk and smashed the car. Cam drove drunk and never got to graduate high school.

It isn’t enough surviving yourself.

I toss the word ‘addict’ around on my tongue, testing out it’s textures. I still don’t have the appetite to swallow it. It doesn’t feel like a word for those who survive themselves.

Some get to where I am in twelve steps. It took me a mile.

It always felt like just a phase to me. For some, it was life. We weren’t having a good time. We were trying to die.

Burning ourselves in effigy.

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