This is the last of my submission to Miami VONA. This may be too revealing but I believe in telling the truth.
I got down on my knees and reached for the stash of pills underneath my bed. This nightly ritual had become my prayer. I genuflect before you Prozac, I hope you hear my penance and my prayer. I rummaged through the buffet of happiness and wondered what my selection would be that evening. Paxil or Zoloft? I looked at the clock on my wall and it ticked one notch after 2:30 A.M. It’s so late, do you really want have to take one? It’s been 2 months. You can do it, you don’t really need it, do you? You’ve been doing so well lately.
I flipped through the packets and saw one pill at the bottom of the bag without a plastic casing. I reached for it and examined the small purple pill. It had a jagged “x” etched onto its side. Unlike the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills, this one was specifically designed for a purpose higher than that. It was meant to skyrocket you into the upper echelon, up to the K2 of happiness. It was meant for Xtacy. But after you hit that moment of extreme happiness, all you’ll want to do is leap off that mountain without a parachute.
This was a pill I had meant to throw away. In the last few months of our relationship John and I would take frequent trips up this mountain. This was our escape. If our relationship was falling apart, at least we were numbing ourselves to the pain. It would happen almost every weekend. We never went to the same dealer twice. But in the end in didn’t matter because this wasn’t an addiction. This was a way for both of us to stay up and talk endlessly into the night; the X filled our minds and our mouths with something to talk about, now that we had nothing left to say.
Sex was more like vengeance. There was no joy. It was quite literally putting a square peg in a round hole. I didn’t want to do it. It had become mechanical for me, and maniacal for him. X made me forget that. And after the high, we’d spend whole weekends in bed, attempting to recover. The whole weekend, lost to one little pill.
I realized that taking these anti-depressants now was no different than when I was taking the X with John. I was still leaning. I was still using something else to make me happy, to make me forget. I held up the blue Prozac in one hand and the purple X in the other. I looked at the clock again and it spun faster towards morning. I grabbed the stash and a pair of scissors. I went to the bathroom and closed the door behind me and slid down against it. I stared at the X and the pair of scissors and wondered for a moment what it would feel like to hurt myself. Would the X play tricks on me and tell me it would feel good to have blood spilling from my wrists? The idea was tempting but X had lied to me before. John had abandoned me. No pill could change that now.
I sat up on my knees staring at the open toilet bowl. I spoke to it.
“Sorry to have to do this to you. But you’re gonna have to take this whole bag down. Do you think you can handle that?”
It said nothing.
“Well, it’s one big bag full of happiness. It shouldn’t be too difficult to swallow.”
I cut open each casing and dumped each of the pills one by one into the toilet. I wrapped all the casings in a paper towel and stuffed it deep into the trashcan. I pulled out the X for last.
“Bye ecstasy. It was nice knowing you.”
I flushed the toilet and watched the rainbow of pills swirl into the septic abyss. I got up slowly, one knee at a time and reached for the light switch as I walked out. I looked back at the toilet and spoke again.
I went back to my room and looked for another kind of medicine underneath my bed. Throughout this whole mess, my journals lay untouched. It had been months since I’d written. I picked up my pen and began again.