Hi all. This story is going to be in segments – I’m undecided if it will be two of three parts – but it will be positive at the end. Promise! :)
My Decline and Rebirth
I was just a young man when I first went to college. Truth is I really didn’t want to be there; I was just going because it kept me off the streets. And I was one for roaming the streets. I had already picked up a few strays in my travels, my Mum had to move to get me away from that trouble. She hated it, I was always a good kid.
I was a good kid trapped in a sea of despair. You see, when I grew up I was a straight A student, in the right social circles and never creating an ounce of trouble outside or inside school. But all it takes is to fall into a bad crowd, and that can be game over. That’s when you can only watch as the beautiful young prince is turned into a nasty, stinky troll by the other trolls.
I remember having a friend, my best friend at the time, his mum couldn’t give a shit what time he came in at. He could stay out until 5am for all she cared, and it never seemed to worry her when he was running from the police. I always thought I wanted a Mum like that, but now I look back and think he lacked the most important thing in life as a kid,
As a teenager when you walk down the path of alcohol and drugs there’s very little escaping, few do, especially when parents like my best friends Mum couldn’t care less. We used to drink vodka and punch holes in his wall, but no-one gave a shit. It was a world without borders.
I always remember the ‘night of the smoke’ like it was yesterday, it’s what I call it, my introduction to cannabis, and the profound effect it had on me. It’s a wonder why I still engaged with it, perhaps because it was the forbidden fruit. I don’t know.
Night of the smoke
It was a beautiful summers evening, the skies were luminous red which added a lovely pink fluffiness to every cloud that slowly trundled by. The wind was slow and warm, a perfect addition to the dropping temperatures of the evening. We had just finished our work in the fields, and eager to spend our takings we burst out of the workers van and sped back to our homes to get changed and have dinner. The summer holidays were always the best.
But this was no normal night, my friend and I had talked at length about me ‘getting high’ for the first time. I was always a good kid. I always wanted to put my best foot forward, and this wasn’t a good thing in my current social circle. The worse a person you were, the more revered and awesome you were. You had to do bad stuff to get credibility points in the neighbourhood. So I wanted to be bad. I wanted to fit in. To be cool for a change.
So tonight was the night. Tonight I was going to be awesome and bad both at the same time. And it was strange but all the other kids seemed to like the idea of me sparking up a massive joint. I didn’t know why. It seemed appealing to them as they giggled amongst themselves. I didn’t know whether to be cautious or proud. I was a very cautious lad, but sometimes my wanting to fit in would overrule my aversion to risk.
There was always ‘that spot’ that was well known as a drug den at night and locals would mostly avoid and spin tails of drug taking to exaggerated proportions. Nevertheless it’s where we all went to avoid hassle and take our demon seed in peace. Some would drop LSD, others would end up snorting lines, and the smaller fish like me, you’d see smoking a joint. But today was to be marked.
Unknown to me it was funny to them to see the good kid get ‘off his tits on illegal shit’ so I was in for more than I bargained for. There was no light introduction, only a massive jump into the deep end for me. I was unaware of what I was doing, I hadn’t done it before, so for me it was chaotic.
They hot knifed quarter of my gear for me. Truth is I only bought and eighth, and it wasn’t much but there was no break in between, just constant smoke to lung from cannabis resin. It burned profusely, I could only describe it as constantly inhaling and exhaling hot, sweet smoke, that had a sticky feeling on my lungs. It lay heavy as I coughed and spluttered and gagged to finish the lot.
“Is that the way?”
I asked my friends after I had just hot knifed quarter of an eighth on my first time ever. I could see that they were laughing and pointing at me; there was a mixture of sheer enjoyment and also mockery in their eyes. They thought it was hilarious; something I actually never lived down for years to come.
I’d love to say that everything was fine and nothing happened after that but I would be wrong. It wasn’t long until I could feel as if I wasn’t there. It was a strange feeling, everything went completely numb. I couldn’t feel it, and that was just the start. I was relaxed at first; their laughing hadn’t bothered me too much.
It wasn’t until I realised how much everyone else was hot knifing in comparison to what I was, the difference was huge. My lot was loads compared to theirs. I could feel panic set in; that nauseating freezing feeling in the testicle area when I’m scared. I felt petrified.
And then I could feel the red hot blood rush to my head, I couldn’t just feel it I could hear it in its gushy raw panic. The feeling was fight or flight. Truth be told I wanted to stab every last one of them, but I ran. I just left my shit and ran as fast as my little legs could carry me.
I managed to get back to the house before my legs gave way and in bed before it felt like every organ was shutting down, I was in a horrific state of panic, I could barely move, and I was scared, and I felt alone. Mum was away for the night so I was lucky, or she’d have panicked too. I eventually slept.
The following day I woke up fine, no scars, no nothing. But I was angry; I wanted to kill my friends for doing such a thing, but I couldn’t, they all had brothers older and harder and built better than they were. It was a losing game. I swallowed my pride.
I look back at that event and I feel bad that I took so many attempts to try and be ‘in their gang’ until I eventually gave up and owned my position as the outsider. My family cared about me, I was a good boy, and this is what it will always be no matter what I did. If that happened to me now I’d have disowned them. No friend leaves another in such a vulnerable state, or even creates a scenario when a friend is placed in such a vulnerable state.
In the end it was my Mum who had enough. She couldn’t see me stripped of my dignity anymore, so Mum did the best that she could. We moved. And that was it after that. I started fresh with new friends and different people. But sometimes the nastiness can lurk behind even when I leave certain circles. It wasn’t so easy to claw my way out of some of the bad habits I had picked up since being with those people. I was drinking at least a half bottle of vodka per day by then. And it was hard to stop. And it showed.
I had joined college as a way to escape the troubles of life, to keep me off the streets. And it did, to an extent.
Part 2 tomorrow