Anything can happen. It’s funny that you mention vampires…the difference now is that I don’t go out hunting. I hold myself back, but they come to me nevertheless.
I saw this girl I used to shoot up with yesterday afternoon, on the L train. She got on at Bedford and got off at Union Square. She had the same dark hair and white skin— the same pretty hands. Only now they were clean. The nails were polished a bright red that I found jarring—her style used to be so indie rock. When it comes to fashion, eight years equals a thousand. The last time I saw her she was wearing a thin gray tank top stained with drops of the orange juice she’d vomited a few hours earlier. The force of her retching had popped a vessel in her left eye, causing the white parts to fill with blood.
She had been so skinny—her skin was tight junkie plastic that glistened with sickness. Her tits hung like sad sacks. You could see all her ribs. It was completely concave beneath her shoulders. A thin coat of anorexic fuzz covered her body.
The image I have is of her backing up flat against her bedroom wall, trying to get as far away as possible from the EMS guys as they struggled to lift her dead boyfriend’s body on to a creaking, clumsy gurney.
I remember thinking, “It’s just like in the movies,” as she closed her eyes and turned her head. All that was left was a scream—I could imagine it in my head and would have given anything to hear it out loud. I waited on the bed, high and patient with my arms wrapped around my head—all set to hide away from the blast of sound--but it never happened.
Her boyfriend’s name was Sean. Besides artsy movies and heroin, the main thing he liked to talk about was how much he wanted to die. He was the kind of guy who would come to with the bed covered in blood from inch long shards of glass shoved into his palms and have no memory of how they got there.
He’d been drinking all day when we scored. He fell asleep and threw up and didn’t sputter awake the following morning like the rest of us.
Death is as simple as that, sometimes.
Yesterday, on the train, I was pleased to see that the girl was plump and healthy—and although her face and arms were covered with scars, her skin was still china white. I think deep down, I always knew she’d be OK. She was a chameleon—she bought her ticket for the H train at TRUE's college, where she’d arrived as a blank slate from the Long Island suburbs. It wasn’t long before she traded in her V-neck sweater and Tiffany tennis bracelet for smoked-out, 2AM lit crit discussions. She borrowed the haughty tones of the pseudo intellectual, floppy haired boys who had their way with her in quick succession. Like many drug abusers she was terrible at taking drugs. The way she got so out of control made her the butt of our jokes. We pretended to put up with her and her silly stoned prattle, when the reality was that she had a lot of money and anyone with a lot of money had automatic membership into our little club.
After Sean died I took myself and my habit to Europe. I didn’t keep in touch. The girl transformed into something otherworldly in my mind. She was a character in a book—a plastic idol on the dashboard, a weeping mother Mary with melted blue tears. When she got up to get off the train I saw that her fitted black t-shirt said “Genesis” across the front in an iridescent, retro font. She had one of those expensive bottled juices in her hand and she was looking at the display on her phone. I stared into her face but she never felt the downward tug of my gaze.
Posted by sterling at 6:53:00 AM