The Abbey was my home away from home. Everyone I knew hung out at The Abbey. I spent so much of time there, drinking and waiting for dope, or coke, or whatever else might be coming my way. I tried heroin for the first time at The Abbey.
It was my twenty fifth birthday. I sat at The Abbey that night, while Genevieve worked behind the bar. Genevieve’s thin; brown hair was slightly curly, as she pulled it back in two ponytails. The curls grasped at the thin air, giving the wild and wind blown appearance. On her temples, two tattoos peeked out from her hairline, purple little comets, sailing across her head, and peeking out from the tiny wisps of baby hair that cluster by one’s hairline. Her arms covered in tattoos of Pinups and Pan, and everything going down in flames. Her teeth slightly gapped in the center, making her smile that much more real and radiant. She was charismatic, and people were drawn to her, as she often shouted insults across the bar after a few shots Jameson.
I sat at the end of the bar, by myself on my birthday, as I waited for Liam to meet me after work. Genevieve beckoned me towards the bathroom as she walked out from behind the bar. The Abbey bathroom was widely known to host more drugs in one night than many well- versed people see in an entire year.
Generally, these bathrooms were flooded with cocaine, and much of the bar was waiting on the coke man at any given point during the night. I faithfully followed Genevieve, looking down at my shoes as I turned the corner into the narrow hallway that lead to the bathroom. On a busy night, this hallway was packed tight with people, waiting to get in and out of the bathroom, as the lines got loner and longer, with everyone going in in twos, and taking a few bumps while they were in there.
This night was much slower, as customers sparsely spotted the bar. It was much earlier, too. Genevieve closed the bathroom door behind us, and her eyes lit up with a mysterious and excited glow I had not noticed previously.
She sat on the toilet, and pulled out a tiny, little aluminum foil. It sparkled in the light. I knew right away what it was, although I had never seen it before. She whispered the word, HEROIN. And we both nodded in agreement.
She unfolded the intricate piece of aluminum foil, revealing a light brown powder on the inside. She dumped a tiny little bit in the sweetmeat between her thumb and forefinger. She held the foil tight with one hand, and raised the other to her nose and snorted. Then, she did it again, but this time using the other nostril to snort the powder. Her imploring eyes looked at me. We said nothing, and I held out my hand.
I bent my thumb and forefinger, holding out the sweetest meat I had. She carefully dumped the powder on my hand. I looked at it, and it seemed to glisten in the yellow light. It did not glisten because it shines, like cocaine does. Instead, it was a more dull reflection off a substance more chalky and earthy. I noticed the light brown color, and the clumpy dirt like granules. I lifted my hand up to my nose…and snorted.
Bittersweet taste hit the back of my throat. Sweet. And slightly earthy. I could taste something that reminded me a little of dirt, and then it was bitter…bitter like a pill given by a doctor. Bitter, and sweet, and earthy. It tasted really good, settling on the back of my throat.
I did not feel a rush that night, and her effects crept up on me instead. Soft hazy lines began to take over everything. Soft faces, and soft eyes, patio lights twinkling in the night. Soft, and subtle…and everything seemed perfect, as my body tingled slightly with perfection. I drank more, taking a few more bumps in the bathroom, and remember having one of the best nights of my life. Just calmly discussing the ways of the world with the others, outlined in soft, hazy lines and edges, with the Christmas lights that lined the little patio behind The Abbey, twinkling like magical stars.
The nest morning, I woke up with one of the worst hangovers I have had in my entire life. I swore of the heroin, assuming its pleasure was not worth this pain I felt the next day…the worst hangover I have had in years. It was several months before the alluring powder would begin to creep back in my life.