By Alexander Michael Ziperovich
I climb back into the ketamine cave and into the fire, into the luminescent thrashing mind-rape of disassociation. I’m inside Annie’s condo and everything is spinning and shooting these beautiful, malevolent stars and nothing makes any kind of sense. Everything is a fucking mess in my head. Her disorder is on full blast tonight and she’s toying with me on the K, telling me I’m hurting her, she’s screaming at me playing these twisted back and forth games that I can’t even understand in my identity-challenged, ego-blurred condition. She is cannibalizing me as I try to numb or poison her voice out of me. I feel some dark masochistic crevasse inside of me, some tumorous cave within is actually enjoying all this pain. The screaming mixed with the ketamine like a storm, the K hurts me and I feel my brain liquefying but more for me is good, the K talks to me and it just says more and everything is simple that way.
Finally, she goes to “sleep” after circling, hovering around me like a vulture as I sit hunched over my pile of glistening powder like a praying priest. She was stomping her big legs down into the wooden floor, enraged, all around me screaming and screaming and I don’t understand why or about what, not that the K is responsible for that, I’ve never understood what she does or why. I stay up to snort more powder, of course. She’s upright in her bed just howling for hours days weeks years, she’s dying for me to come to bed, to come lay down next to her, a wounded shrieking beast. Even now on the unmoving K platform of cognitive paralysis I know somewhere deep inside that she is gone, that my lovely Angie, the Angie I thought I had or would have or would have had, that that Angie, she’s gone because she never existed. In that long and beautiful dream we shared, us both privy to those few perfect moments but all of it is lost forever, it was never really real. It was drug-induced chemistry like a beautiful nod after a perfect shot of good heroin. The worst moment doing smack isn’t when you’re all the way sober after a really exquisite shot and you feel filled with the anguish of loss. No, the worst part is when you’re just coming to and barely sober enough to realize you are going to be truly sober again. You think about time and how badly you want to just go back and stay there in that wondrous warmth forever. That’s what it’s like with her, I just want to go back to the way things used to be but Angie, the pretty ugly butterfly from the broken cocoon is now resigned in my mind to the equivalent of a dirty black splotch of residue on a burnt spoon after I woke up from our dream, wistful reminiscent, thinking about all that fleeting, impossible to hold on to beauty, wasted gone but I’m still chasing her because I think how, “You do this thing that makes me believe it’s still there and I can’t leave you, baby. I feel abandoned and wrong and scared and crazy, too.”
Let me go, fucking let me go, let me fucking die alone at the bottom of a dark hole. Just no more of these nights. No more pain. Please, no more.
I rise up from the chair I’ve been glued to with K and she’s screaming harder and louder as she hears me trying to slip on my shoes and jacket. I’m trying to be quiet so she doesn’t know I’m leaving or else she’ll stop me but I have no coordination and as I grab some cans of red paint I’m making noise bumping into walls and her door. I stagger out and down the stair well and I start crying as I walk into her lobby, numb and I feel something, some part of me is dying. I fall out of her building into the heaving rain and the black wet night takes me into its arms and I start painting these big sloppy hearts on every flat surface I see. It’s a kind of frenzied reverie for me and I do this when her apartment is filled with too much horror and when I do this I run and I paint and I sweat as I run and it feels invigorating, all the rain pouring down my face onto my chest with the sweat dripping down my face as I write and I write and I write, I LOVE YOU and LOVE and IF NO ONE LOVES YOU I DO and my red dripping hearts are everywhere after a few seconds. I spray on walls that look lonely and dark, like I’m painting hearts on myself. I’m looking up through tears back at the rain being tossed from the sky as if to argue with the sky as the clouds smash down into my face commingling with the sheen of tears and snot running out of my nose.
I call my mom, delirious. I’m in so much pain. She is trying to talk gently to me as I pace around painting walls in black drenched avenues using my phone and a lighter for light to write my little LOVE idioms. My mom keeps trying to figure out what the fuck is going on at 4:47 at fucking Angie’s place. My body is jerking these little sounds out of my mouth through my desperate crying to her and I look at some cars speeding up Madison and I think that it might be better to just walk into the paved street and lay down on the soft, gleaming concrete in a little puddle and wait for something to just take the pain out but something says no. “Mom, whaaat… the… fuuuuuuuuuuck?” But she doesn’t know why. None of us know, her family, mine, me, her. No one fucking cares.
I think about her as I push my body down the street with my phone and my can. This poor fucking girl, already in so much psychic and emotional pain that her pain is all there is now. I never wanted to hurt her; I wanted to save her so she was able to save herself. Maybe by witnessing me kill myself through drugs and I said to her without words, I said, “I’ll be the sacrificial lamb. I’ll die for you, I know you want me to. I’ll do it for you, baby.”
I’m talking to myself and my mom and Angie who sits inside my head as a screaming that echoes in my skull at the same time, walking, staring up at the black nothingness squinting trying to see something through the endless sheets of cold droplets.
Everything hurts and every time I spray a big stupid red heart on a wall and I watch it drip crawling down to the street I feel a little relief from this nightmare. I see some cold junkie walking alone through this same lonely rain in the same lonely pain seeing my dripping hearts. I hope he sees them and he feels better or warmer. I want someone to feel some relief from all this. I’m passing on love Angie keeps telling me I don’t even have to give but this aerosol paint on these broken concrete streets in a downpour creating these horribly broken totems for the hopeless and the damned makes me feel better.
I tell myself I give everything I have to give, but it isn’t that much anymore. I gave her everything. More.
Her and the drugs took most of me.
The drugs robbed me of so much. I work with what I have left, some streaky red graffiti that looks like sad, dripping ignored love notes smothered in darkness, running off of walls into gutters like the buildings are bleeding.
I’m walking down these empty streets with the sky smashing into my face clutching my single can of red paint spraying it until it’s dead and I throw it, sending it careening into the street and suddenly she appears at my neck, grabbing at my arms, hissing at me like knives.
I’ll always be alone and then I will die of prostate cancer.