Baltimore's July

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
a story about a girl's infliction with drug abuse

Submitted: June 12, 2016

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Submitted: June 12, 2016

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It’s very very cold. It’s very cold down in the summer days of Baltimore. A city so rested, and yet so charred with a cold shoulder to those who don’t follow their norms. The “norms” weren’t charted into existence by the indefinite grovel of the filth below the city. It was the everyday chill, the one that spread from whispering lies and fabricated gossip. Once that enter the summer days of Baltimore, it was very very cold.

The first memory of this chill came from a woman no older than death and no younger than life. She had been on this earth long enough to see its mistakes, especially the worst mistakes in the city she once cherished. Before in her youth, the childhood she recalled was one of warm summer days where the truth was as easy to sell as oxygen. The necessity of truth seemed so fitting that it felt like a birthright. It was noble to understand that truth was spoken to and spoken back. But a memory of childhood is a chill of the past. Especially in knowing that the truth has died in this city. This broken city.

She first noticed it in the middle of July, coming home from a resort in northern Tennessee. She believed that it could be fitting to come back to the place she loved, even though she had challenged the thought before. She left Baltimore to the resort so that she could not come back. She thought if she settled in comfort that she wouldn’t come crawling back. But it wasn’t quite what she expected. It was dreading and daring, challenging her will and crushing her might with every step into that existence. Of course, she couldn’t imagine it any other way. It was simply a constant gravitation to the city of Baltimore.

So as she came crawling back to it, she found herself at a doorstep. One familiar enough to recognize and unfamiliar enough to fear it. For she knew once she came through the door she wouldn’t want to leave it. The addicting fear kept chastising her. And she knocked four times rhythmically. 

The door opened slightly with that chain lock still upon the door. The teen looked out toward July.

“What’s the password?”

“You know the four. So what’s two more?”

She knocked 2 more times and the door opened swiftly after that, only for the teen behind the door to pull her arm in and shut the door fast. Her heartbeat raced out of the thrill.

“Pay up July. You owe us for the three years you ditched us. You thought you could get away didn’t you? You thought you could rehabilitate yourself? Not from this you can’t. It’s golden.”

The teen stretched the golden word as the teen fell back to the floor, clutching “pixies” in his hand. Pixies. They made Baltimore a cold city in the summer. It was the new street drug, sold off in pharmacies as a narcotic and mixed to be something far more deadly. A suppressant. Suddenly corner men and women from the farthest to left to the farthest to the right came wrapped in bills to spend for it. To stay high and keep there until they craved the next flight. July kept it hidden well from her family, enough spending habits to reiterate it as college spending. Her parents would have rehabilitated her had they knew. Institutionalized at the moment of revelation. But it wouldn’t happen so, and now July found herself holding a Pixie.

Pixies weren’t far off from a pill. Except it was grounded and broken, and then mixed into a cocktail of fatality. That between xanax and opium. Somehow, it was influential. It mended the minds of the youth and held them. Coddled them. All to ensure the gain gained from it would melt them into addicts.

But July questioned much of the chills surrounding it. It was bittersweet where half of her felt excited for embedding the desire to go right ahead and consume Pixie. But on the other hand, she found herself a flattering giggle in which she was strong enough to refuse its magic. But she could tame the sides. For all she knew, it didn’t matter which side she choose as long as it happened. As soon as she did choose a side, her hand tingled to the touch of another human. That, and a slap across her face.

“What are you doing here July? Drugs? Again? How could you? You’re supposed to be in rehab!”

July, barely conscious at this point, found herself outside on the street wrapped in piles of garbage. In the eyes of the person before her, those eyes she could recognize were god-fearing. She was so afraid of looking at them that she began to scurry away, but the hand of the owner of those eyes yanked her back and shook her violently.

“Snap out of it! Come on, I’m taking you home.”

The eyes. Fear? Or love? She recognized them now. The brown hue to them. They were her younger brother’s. Old enough to love her deeply, and old enough to hate what she was doing to herself. So as she let herself clasp around his grip, she couldn’t help but wonder why she was afraid. She assumed it was the drugs, but she knew she was afraid of what she looked like to her brother. She couldn’t live with herself knowing he hated her so. But she could barely make clear of herself.

Having passed out again, she awoke to a darkened stripped road. Only the headlights cleared the way as she watched the white lines repeat in the speed of escaping her eye. She turned to her brother who was driving the car. Her brother turned to her, looking more receptive of grief than her.

“Why were you in Baltimore? You know why we don’t come there,” her brother said.

It was an unspoken truth.

“That’s…that’s exactly why I came,” she replied tiredly.

The brother sighed, reliving a past they both lived. Luckily, he figured the long drive could distract him from it. The darkness of the road was forgiving that way. But he soon noticed July pressing her face against the glass of the side door, staring helplessly at the road too. So he patted her shoulder.

“I’m not mad at you you know. I’m mad at her. For what she did to us.”

July nodded. Her breath condensed on the glass, only to melt on over and drip against her lips. She didn’t seem to mind it.

“I can’t help it August. I need another fix-”

“No! No you don’t! I’m sick and tired of having to pick your sorry ass up off the streets!”

“And I’m not asking you to!”

August signaled the car to the right of the highway and harshly stopped the car. 

“Do you honestly think you need to ask? Don’t you know that I would do anything for you? Do you think that I want to see you raped or murdered because you’re so drugged out that you can’t remember where you even are? This is the fifth time you’ve returned to Baltimore and this always happens! You think you’re rehabilitated and that you can face what’s there in that city but you know we can’t! And you do this to yourself!”

August paused. A tear snuck away from his eye down his cheek. He looked in the rearview mirror and wiped it away. And then he turned to July, just being a little bit calmer.

“I don’t want to lose you July. It was always us remember? July and August. Against the world,” he chuckled a bit.

July took her face from the glass.

“When I first started…doing it, I thought that maybe if I was high that I could find my way to her without having to remember any of it. I thought that maybe…just maybe that I could talk to her again. But…I don’t know.”

“July, you can’t do this anymore, okay? Let it go. I have and so should you. She’s not a mother to us. For all the times she dragged us to her…’clients’ homes, for all the times she beat us and burned us with her cigarettes…there’s no turning back. And there’s no changing her. That’s why we left when we could. But I…I just don’t want to see you turn into her.”

July started to cry as she thrashed her back into the car seat.

“I just want to die August. I just want to forget what happened to us and not have to know it was my life. Aren’t I allowed to just have that?”

“No! Because do you think I could live without you? You’re the only one that has kept me tethered to this earth and if you go…what do you think I will do? Do you think I could live?”

July stopped crying, still in and out of harder breaths. But she looked at the white lines on the road that were stopped, no longer darting past her eyes. It was the repetition that she missed.

“I’m not good for you. As a sister. As a family member. You don’t need me. No one does.”

“That’s not true-”

“It is! Look at what you’ve done with your life! You have a job! You heal people! And what have I done? I’ve done nothing but drug out in hopes to reunite with someone who doesn’t even love us! I’m pathetic! And…and that’s all I’ll ever be.”

August didn’t say anything at first. Instead, he started the engine and drove back to the darkened road. For a few minutes, he continued the reputation of keeping silence as he concentrated on the road. It was as dark as everything he knew to be the world, and as he spoke, he kept that in mind.

“I’m taking us home. And you won’t take your life.”

July couldn’t help but stare at him as he said that, as if knowing fully well that the thought hadn’t crossed her mind. To kill herself at their home. The thought sounded more and more suggestive, not so much pleasing though. It was a misconception in her mind. Suicide wasn’t about feeling pleasure for dying; it was the idea that’s it the option in life. It was ironic she thought, thinking that the only way to live was to end it. But now she knew the only thing to do was stare at the road, with no hope for the light ahead. 

 


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