Philadelphia is for lovers. And really good dope.

It’s Christmas night at residence – i have to leave around 3 for the airport so I forgo sleep – instead i lay on the couch staring up at the ceiling, anxiety brewing. Everyone there has tried to convince me to stay – staff and clients, right up until I step out of the techs car and am handed my ticket. They say I’m going to get high – a fact I can no longer deny, for I too know going back to philly is perhaps a death sentence. But I’m so scared to be alone. I allow my fears to grab hold of me and escort me through the terminal right onto the plane – a thousand different deaths await me.

I pick Jay* up from a rehab about four hours away in Altoona also known as the middle of fucking nowhere. He hops in my car and hands me a Christmas card he got for me – a small gesture but one of the things I love most about him. We have spent 6 weeks apart – if anyone’s been doing the math, Jay and I at this point have probably been away from each other more than we have been together, but we are so in love. I mean I know the essentials – his name, his daddy issues, random stories from his childhood, and what kind of cigs he smokes.

I’m kidding.

We were two strung out people who thought our codependency and addiction looked like love – and when you think you are in love, you don’t want to know about the things that can end it.

We enjoy our first night back together, we stay up late talking and being stupid in love. We make it to the next morning before we get high on two $20 bags. Who the fuck pays that much? We head back to philly where it’s cheaper.

The first three weeks back are a mix of extreme highs and lows. One day we are hysterically laughing as we almost get caught smoking crack in the Marriott (jay tells the guard the scent coming from our room is incense πŸ™„) and the next we have both fallen out on half a bag .

Half a fucking bag.

We had just woken up, no habits yet or an actual physical need to get high, we had been binging on the previously mentioned crack the night before. There was a bag left over, we planned to split it before we went to get more.

I stand in the mirror holding my breath as I look for one of my neck veins to pop out. I run my fingers along the vein, the needle goes in after a brief struggle, sometimes I have to dig a little before I hit – my skin scarred, I navigate the long tip in and out slowly, I know I’m in when I see blood flow through the barrel. I ease the heroin in – it’s warm, I start to melt -everything goes black.

I wake sprawled over our luggage, the needle lying on the ground beside me – what happened? Where’s jay? I fill with panic. I run into the room to find him passed out half off the bed, the needle still in his arm. I smack his face, screaming his name Jay!!! Jay!!! He comes to, no recollection of what happened either. The dope cut with fentanyl – I know it from having overdosed on it before. But never half a bag.

We are both startled but the fear wears off astonishingly fast, we continue to get high. For every time I fall out or go blue in the face, Jay matches me with a seizure or a half hearted suicide attempt. —>IN THE FIRST THREE WEEKS.

Our lives are pure chaos and though I come to loathe him for bringing me back to this, I now have a point to make: we can get clean together. I will die trying to prove it.

Our days are monotonous- we pull the same tricks we did in Lancaster and york, boosting merchandise to flip into drugs and money. We walk every day from center city to north philly sometimes twice to maintain our supply of drugs and shopping requests. Doesn’t matter the day – rain, snow, whatever, nothing stops us. Our dealers are the best dressed dudes on the block, cashmere sweaters, polo, northface, tims, whatever you want you got, hand delivered to 3rd and Indy. by yours truly in a peacoat. 🀣

We stay in Philadelphia from the end of December to end of March, it is a long cold winter. There are days when I can still find a cheap thrill in it all, where I look at Jay and believe I love him, but more often than not my emotions are muted by heroin, i find i am filled with only hate – at me, at him, at this. All of this.

Death is always on the table when you’re using but you can die a thousand different ways without actually dying. I feel it more than ever – the whole dying inside thing, over the last few weeks I stay in Philly. Late at night in between nods, I browse Facebook on my laptop – I see people I was in treatment with looking happy and carefree in Florida- I think of how that could have been me, how it could still be me but I am so stuck. I glance over at Jay, I don’t want to live this way, both physically and mentally addicted. My vision tunnels I see no way out – I weigh my options but they are few. I could go cold turkey again but it would be too hard with another person there, the only other option – death.

(Obviously rehab is an option but I can’t bring myself to tell my dad I’ve been fucked up again).

I am weighted down, my insides numb, I beg a god I barely believe in for relief.

Well I don’t get relief but I get the scare of a lifetime in a nice little bag of coke a few days later. Jay* and I have found a new connect – the $20 bags are packed like forties and it feels like a clean shot. We split the bag, he tells me to let him go first so he can make sure it’s not too much for me. I watch him draw back and then throw the thumbs up – it’s okay for me to go. I shoot in my neck – instantly it feels like there are flames making their way through my veins, bells start ringing, my legs give out. I drop to the floor. It’s too much, too much. I am trying to scream but it comes out jumbled- I watch Jays horrified face, everything is happening so fast, something is wrong, and as I feel my eyes start to roll back I think this is it, I am going to here die on the bathroom floor.

Jay pulls my face close to his, panicked, “lex look at me, who am I? What’s my name? Say my name.” But i can’t get his name out correctly, I try to call for my dad who is clearly not there. And then banging on the door. Our dealer is here to get some orders and drop off the dope. Jay looks down at me, torn he turns toward the door, hesitates then says, “I’ll be right back, I promise!” as he runs out and down the stairs to meet our dude.

There’s too much noise going on in my head for me to care that he’s left. I attempt to drag myself to the bed which is a good ten feet away. My arms have some strength but my legs aren’t there yet – I army crawl my way to the bed, repeating too much too much. My eyes still feel like they’re rolling, I fight it, focus, keep trying to talk, I have to stay conscious, I don’t know what will happen if I just give in.

I lay on the bed, drenched in sweat, I come to fully a few minutes later. Jay has returned to my side. I’m shakey, we both are. So we mix a few bags of dope to calm down. This one has shook me to my core – I know I don’t want to die, but clearly I can’t stop. I again call on a god I’m not sure exists and instead of relief, my selfish ass prays Jay gets arrested so I can leave and go back to Florida.

Days later he does.

Picked up for a new charge and then held on a warrant.

Shiiiiit god does exist.

I call Naz- I need to come back.

(besides my peacoat I always wore sparkly headbands, as pictured above, while delivering tons of Macy’s bags on the block – Jay loved how I really tried to blend in πŸ€£πŸ˜­πŸ™„)

More to come 🀣😘

As always love and light,

Lexie PS πŸ’™β˜€οΈ

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