I was sent to what they called a “hospital for the feint-hearted” in casual conversations. Irony has a feeling of compliancy. In reality it held some of the toughest and most scary people I knew. The nurses were ruthless, more than you could image, taking any chance to hold you down and drug you until you could no longer stand.
I was sent to this “haven” in hopes that I would break my own cycle of addiction. The irony started day one when the life changing never happened and was replaced with a deeper sensation of addiction; I was drugged more to keep calm.
I escaped one day. It was probably the bravest thing I’ve ever had to do. Running on pure adrenaline and yet stumbling at the after effects of pure doped liquid pumping harder in my veins from my racing heart. This world is full of vicious cycles.
So many emotions washed over me and my sweat seeming to be that metaphoric water giving me new meanings as I run through the woods. I had no clue where I was going. The people I had left behind running out onto the yard to watch as a victim of torture escaped. The nurses stopped chasing at the entrance of the tree line. I turned back to see the little boy who would one day invent the most amazing maze the world had ever seen waving me goodbye. I had given him the task of saving my cat. You learn to cherish the little things. The idea of not having her to help me through what I already knew was going to an intense journey broke me on the spot. I fell to my knees in heartache. Seeing a moment of weakness, a nurse tried to make a run at me but, I had caught it just in time to speed off into the darkened trees just like a freighted doe.
And that’s how I met Leonard.
Leonard was more than I could have ever asked for with his nurturing yet firm personality that freed me from my dark addiction.
I remember stumbling into his arms and laying there so comforted for the first time in years. The smell of him blanketed me in warmth and for a moment I was still. Our time wasn’t always so easy. I remember the yelling when I snuck more drugs into my system to ease the shaking and the sweating from the withdrawal. The nurses had kept me in a state of haze that the cleansing never truly happened.
I hated disappointing Leonard, he had been so kind to me but, the feel of the hot liquid racing through me was enough to forget about feelings and obligations.
Looking back at times of being restrained, it all seems to go in slow motion as a new wave of drugs were forced into my body and I grew numb. Except this one time. That was the time I escaped. It all seems like a dream now. The nurse that had come in was named Bobby. I knew that when Bobby came in from the hallway, it wasn’t going to be as vindictive of an injection as the other nurses. I knew that was my chance and a part of me apologized for being as aggressive as I was with Bobby; the other part was working off pure instinct. The needle stabbed into my right leg and as I went to kick him away, I felt myself dive into that anesthetizing feeling and my body grew heavy with imagery weight. The seconds were passing by too fast and knowing Bobby was sensitive and weak, I threw myself onto my with all the energy I could muster forcing the heavy weight that was trying to sit on me turn into something from within that I could use to my advantage. I attacked Bobby with all my might with thrashing arms and loud grunts, I only knew I had succeeded by the look of his surprised face and limp body. I have never killed anyone, Bobby was only unconscious, but I can image the act could be justified.
The little boy who was good with puzzles came into my room, nervous about what he had heard and at the sound of plighting feet at the stairs. I had asked him to take care of my cat and build her a world she could never dream of so she will always be happy. Tears fled my eyes hoping that one day I’d be able to see my little friend that was like sweet therapy again and fear passed before me in hopes that I could do this alone.
I ran. If you’ve ever had dreams of running where it feels you’re moving so slow that there was no way you would make it away from whatever it is you were running from, then that was the feeling I had as I made my way out the window and across the lawn. The drugs glazed over me, each new cycle of effects more daunting than the last; numbness, fear, adrenaline, fatigue. I had made it to the woods. I had broken down. I had said goodbye to my only friend. I had taken on a journey that I saw ending as in death of my sanity or possibly my life.
I slept in a pile of leaves. I was used to the scratching feeling from within; it was rather comforting to be blanketed in it for once.
The hangover stage can be devastating for anyone, it was something I hadn’t experience since the days before the hospital. I threw up a couple of time and decided that I wasn’t going to die in this pile of leaves. If I was going to die, it was going to be after I had proven to myself leaving the hospital was worth it. I had a quick lapse of determination that allowed me to push forward after I had awoken. The loud noises of a highway engulfed my head, giving the pounding migraine more fuel to chug on. Bright lights and the shaking underneath my feet put me in a daze of confusion. I saw so many things that day, dreaming about my grandparents walking beside me, giving me the strength to keep walking.
The screaming woke me from my fog for a split second and my eyes focused. Two cars had collided and a girl had gotten out of her little yellow car to yell her frustration. The numbness was slowly wearing off and a sensation of sheer pain over took me as I looked down at my leg. A group was forming and I soon found myself fainting only to be caught by the most inviting arms I had ever met. Leonard. It was those arms that comforted me and I had decided I never wanted to feel anything else. He was there holding me as I moved in and out of consciousness.
I awoke due to the ache. My body had been drained of drugs; clean from years of pumping those shots of heat and ice through my blood and pain embraced me. Tears formed and noises left my mouth that seemed so foreign. It had seemed I had been silent for so long. Leonard must have heard me because he came in with face full of concern and love. He face was so angelic, he had been my savior.
It was a few days and the pains from my legs had subsided but, my hangover still lingered. I yearned for something to fix the holes inside of me. I hadn’t told Leonard where I had come from, he didn’t seem to care.
Leonard had made dinner that night. Food wasn’t any friend of mine and I was still having difficulties enjoying the tastes and textures without it sending me over the edge. It had been a week since my last injection and Leonard could only assume that it was withdrawal that was taking a hold of me. The screams and the sweating seemed to be a dead giveaway to what I was going through and no infection from my leg injury could cover this up any longer. I had to sneak out and find something to ease the inner torture and it was only that one second I wished I was still at the hospital. The addiction was too strong and every depressing moment filled me up. I had wished I let myself die in those pile of leaves as I was comforted by their dry starchiness.
Leonard wasn’t as clean as one would take him as, I discovered a few days into his care-giving that he, too, had an addiction. And I knew where to find it. It had to be tonight, one more second of that throbbing was going to kill me; my heart needed every drop of his liquid gold or else it was going to explode.
I crawled out to the garage. It had seemed months had past before I finally reached his hiding place and before I knew it, Leonard had discovered what I was attempting. He was screaming in frustration to the walls that surrounded us both as I was cowering behind one of the vehicles. Sadness gave a quick pulse of electricity through my chest and then desire took over. I no longer wanted it, I required it. Everything happened so fast and before I knew it, he had found me, needle and all. It was those comforting arms again that embraced me and once more I looked up at the man that saved me. I slipped out of my hangover as my heart pumped every drop through my veins and I took a deep breath of fresh air. It felt like my chest hadn’t breathed that hard in years. The shaking stopped and I felt human.
I ate that night. My body was tired, but it had the energy to digest what Leonard had made. Only a few times in my life have I experienced the feeling of disappointment and it was hard to look my love in the eyes. It was then Leonard confessed to me.
He had seen me at the wreck, what must have looked like I had died and knew what my symptoms looked like only due to having experienced them himself. He had picked me up and took me home allowing apprehension overtake him. He was going to fix me. He had pleaded that night, telling me he was afraid that because he himself was not clean, he could not help me.
Now that the monsters were at bay inside my body, other emotions rushed in to take its place. There, right in front of me, was the same person as myself. I never had time for love other than the love of the addiction but, I loved Leonard. I stood up and walked over to him, taking his warm cheeks into my hands and we looked deep into each others eyes.
I only said one thing; it was from a book I had read in the hospital; Winston Churchill. Words never meant more to me than in that place. It was the only thing needed to be said between us that would give understanding that we both could conquer these demons.
“Sure I am of this, that you only to endure to conquer.”
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