I was not having a good day. I'd gotten fired from my job as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) for dropping a patient on the floor. It wasn't my fault, I needed to take my break and the woman was not cooperating with me at all. Being a quadriplegic is no excuse for being a bitch.
So I went into the bathroom to shoot up and my boss came looking for me, but couldn't find me in the break room, and I was in trouble already because of the bitch but that didn't make things any better. No, he doesn't know I do drugs, but that's none of his business. He suspects, though. When he finally found me, he said that in order to keep my job I would have to do an alcohol and drug screening. So I quit. Actually, I refused and he told me to hit the road.
Anyway, so I went home. My dad was still at work, lucky for me. I wouldn't have to tell him for another few hours at least. After all the stress, I needed more cocaine. So I went into my bedroom and got my needle and supply out. I'm always careful, I put the end of the needle into the flame of my lighter so it's clean, especially after I share with my friends. I don't want to get an infection.
I was so busy preparing the drug for injection that I wasn't listening to anything around me. That was a mistake. I looked up and there was my dad, standing in the open doorway.
"What are you doing here?" I said, dropping the needle. "You're supposed to be at work."
"Your boss called me. Seems there was an incident at work today," he said, just looking at me.
"Yeah, so?" I said. I watched his gaze drop from my face to my arm, to the needle, to the white powder that I'd spilled off the spoon onto my comforter.
He stood there for a long moment, then asked quietly, "Why, Tessa?"
I didn't have an answer for him. So I just sat there. He finally walked into the room and came over to me. That was when I felt the tears coming, the ones I had refused to let fall for years. I saw that look in his eyes, the one he'd had for me when I was still his little girl, before I found my circle of friends and started carrying their baggage everywhere I went, before the drugs and the anger. And I was that little girl suddenly, and I thought my dad would reach for me just like when I was younger. But he simply picked up the needle and the baggie off my bed, let one hand rest on my shoulder for a brief instant, and then turned away from me. But at the doorway, he looked back over his shoulder, saw the tears I couldn't hold back any more, and said something I hadn't expected: "I wish I'd known, honey. Maybe I could have stopped it."
Then he was gone, and I didn't even have the strength to go after him.