Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Voice That Only I Hear

This morning, I was riding the train. Normally, when I ride the train I am completely immersed in scrolling the internet. I am looking for the the next wave of drama in the world to distract me from my emotions. As long as I tune out the rest of humanity, I don't have to feel anything. As I was zoning out, my zombie status was interrupted by a voice. I didn't just hear a voice. I felt this voice. I felt a deep, male voice. It was like it was reverberating through my mind. I looked around the train. I thought I was losing my fucking mind. I have heard voices before fro all my meth use. For a moment, I was convinced it was a flashback for a few seconds.

Finally, I looked in front of me. There was a young man standing directly in front of me but I would have completely overlooked him. He had a backpack on. He was tall, with clean clothes, and a scruffy beard. At first, I thought he was signing along to music. When I looked with desperate intent, I saw he was singing with no music. He had this beautiful voice inside of him. He was singing in this deep bass voice on the train that cut into my morning. I felt this voice. I heard him.

He got off the train when I noticed no one around him had heard him. I felt sad for them. They really missed out on something special.

People ask me why I work with "junkies". My response is that there is so much beauty inside everyone. The drugs may or may not mask that. Having a person who connects with you is so important. Harm reduction is about having someone see the humanity within you. We care about someone in a time when they may not have the ability to care about themselves.

I assume that because I used to be a heavy user, there are times when there is a voice inside someone that only I hear. It may be a voice that someone else has forgotten. It might be that the person has lost their ability to speak for themselves. I am not sure why I am so drawn to people living in hiding. We need to live our life outside of the shadows. We need to be okay with who we are.

No matter what choices you make in life, find the beauty in the world around you. take time to listen to another person. That connection, that spark of life, it is what drives our humanity.

Remember that someone out there wants to hear your voice. 

Love Tracey. 




Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Vital Signs

"We are here to take you pulse Miss Helton" the nurse told me.
"Do they ever let you sleep in this fucking hospital?" I asked as I put out my arm.
 "Can you provide me with your date of birth?'
I pointed to my wrist "It is right on my wristband 5/29/1970."
The nurse smiled at me with her best fake smile as she tried to take my blood pressure.
"When will I get some more morphine?" I asked.
"I am not sure," she told me "Are you in pain?'

Yes. Yes. Yes. I am in fucking pain. I want to get the fuck out of here. There is one small problem- I am hooked up to all these tubes. I have a tube letting fluids in and a tube letting fluids out. I don't remember exactly what caused the abscess. I sort of remember jamming a syringe into my arm of unfiltered tar heroin few times when I was sick. I developed two infections close together to the point the doctors felt it was necessary to slice me open five inches long.

Yesterday, when they pulled off the bandage to change the dressing, I started to cry. I really did. I felt this unfamiliar feeling. There was this hot wetness streaming down my face. I remember taking the air and setting it out the window of the passenger side of my friends' car. I loved the way the wind felt against it as we drove around. She had no air conditioning in there. I liked to think my hair looked better blowing in the breeze as I imagined myself escaping Ohio for somewhere else. Now, my arm was sliced open. The red, raw scar looked like a massive cavern of puss and hamburger. My tattoo was sliced down the middle. I felt myself crying. I almost lost my arm but I am crying over my god damned tattoo. These fucking medical residents here could have done better, I tell myself as I sink into my bed.

At least, I won't be kicking this time. I am not just in any hospital. I am in jail. When they arrested me, I didn't even make it through medical triage. I have four abscesses. One in my thigh. I left the bandage on for a month. It stank so bad, the police argued about letting me go. Neither one of them wanted to take me to the hospital. I had one in my wrist. That one was the size of a golf ball. I guess I didn't notice. Then I had tthe twin towers in my upper arm.

My mother said that jail saved me this time. Maybe it did. When you don't care about your life, it becomes hard to fear death. All I care about is my next dose of morphine and getting out of here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Snowball

I have been fostering this little guy so I am a few days behind with a new post. I will get something posted soon! 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Woman Alone is in Bad Company

To understand the depths of human depravity, a person certainly must have lived there.

I had an uphill battle from the start. I was an addict. I was a woman. I was homeless. I was alone. When I came to San Francisco, the first thing that struck me was the fact that there were so many homeless drug users here. I had lived in many other cities across the South and Midwest. In all those places, I had known users and hard core alcoholics. None of them were what I would describe as homeless. They found places to stay each night.

There was a time when I was complete broke in Louisville Kentucky. I had left everything to get away from  my abusive boyfriend. People would let me stay with them- a night here and there. No one even considered letting me leave their house with absolutely NO place to go. If they did, I just didn't know it. There was always a back room, a couch, a closed in porch. When I got too drunk, there was a few times strange men brought me home. I would wake up in strange t-shirts and shorts. They would be smiling, asking me if I needed breakfast. They all declared I was "too drunk"  last night and they didn't want to "take advantage" of me. That would soon change.

San Francisco was a different place. I was struck by the volume of people sleeping in full view of the public. I had seen crackhouse, squats, even 8 people crammed in a van. I had never seen encampments of people at the corner of every block. I had never seen a public park full of urban campers. At first, the idea of complete freedom was exciting to me. After a few years, it became more and more tiring.

One day, I was laying outside on the concrete. I remember it was a hot day for the city. I was laying on a towel on the concrete. I was sleeping in an alley by a corner store. It was right of a major street. My head was facing the walkway. I had been up too many days. I was the kind of tired where it made it impossible to keep my eyes open. I hated sleeping at night because I had to worry about someone raping me. It didn't matter if you were male or female as I had known friends of both gender to get assaulted. It just happened more to women. I had no ID so I couldn't get a hotel, stay in a shelter, or get any kind of assistance. I was a non entity, using one of my mug shot print out to prove my identity.

I had this mysterious thing happen. It shouldn't have been a mystery but it was. I started bleeding. I was bleeding and bleeding and bleeding and bleeding. Bleeding for days. I had these yellow shorts on. They were kind of long. They almost came down to my knees. I bled all over my shorts, my underwear. I sat in nearly the same spot for a few days. I was so exhausted, I only got up to go to the store or go to the bathroom. Outside of course. Because that was where I was living at the time.

I was one of those nasty people you pass by where you can't tell if they shit one themselves or what the fuck is wrong. I didn't know myself. I didn't know if I had a miscarriage or gotten my period. It had been so long, I had totally forgotten about the functions of my body. The strangest part was no one thought to ask me what was wrong. No one asked me if I needed help. No one called an ambulance, No one covered me in a blanket. In reality, no one fucking cared. I walked around and sat around in two days covered in blood. I could not function for two days.

After sitting in my bloody shorts, by third morning I finally decided to take care of myself. The problem seemed so overwhelming. Where can I get clothes? Where can I change? How can I wash myself? I had nothing. None of these things. No money either. People want to help a cute young woman, one who is attractive. They don't want to approach one covered in blood. They only want to point at me and laugh. Look at that chick, she is so fucked up.

I went to the gas station. I walked around a 1/4 of a mile there. I knew the guy that worked at night would help me. He treated me like a human being. He had a low paying job and dealt with assholes all day. I think I made him sad. He saw his sister in me. Never did anyone ever imagine one day I would become a mother.

People asked me how I could use heroin all those years. At some points, using heroin was the least of my problems. Worrying about getting my throat cut was at the top, Getting raped was in the middle. Heroin provided a brief reprieve from the reality of my situation, I would think, yet it was the root cause of my condition.

I write this post to say a woman alone on the street is in bad company. It is amazing that I survived.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Not my usual post

Sometimes I get lonely.
I get very depressed.
Some weekends, I just want to sleep.
I am afraid to talk to people I don't know.
I avoid going places because of anxiety.
My heart races with fears of the future.
I have thought about killing myself more than once.
I binge on food until I feel sick.
I look at porn and feel disgusted with myself.
I wear loose clothes because I hate to see my rolls of fat.
I look at my phone so you won't talk to me.
I am afraid to get close to anyone. I am afraid they might leave me.

I am saying all this to say I am human.

Recovery did not fix all my feelings. I have many good days. I have fucked up days as well. My life is far from perfect. I go through a full range of emotions. I just want to let you know that feeling these things are normal. You are not alone.


I am like my cats. 

Joy can be so simple - 
like a nap in the sun. 

Find your joy today. 
You deserve it. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chester - the sickness of the streets

The story of Chester is a complicated one. It started soon after my arrival. After a month of bouncing around San Francisco, it was not long before I ran out of money. That $900 lasted a total of three weeks with multiple people sponging off of my cash. I had to learn the ropes of survival but I was still a little naive as to the ways and means of the street life. I wasn’t ready to engage in survival sex and/or prostitution, so I learned the ways of pan handling and scoring things by engaging people on the street. People are surprisingly generous to younger fresh faced travelers, especially in the traditionally gay areas of the Castro and Polk Gulch. Castro Street begging was very competitive. Therefore, it was generally left to cute young men who were willing to flirt with passersby. The Polk Gulch area was a more eclectic area of alternative types, punks, queers, trannys, homeless people and junkies. This was where I belonged and this was where I stayed for many years.

The street was accepting of the wayward youth. Many came here to escape prejudice in their homes as young queer youth. Others were in search of a quick high, but the streets of the lower Tenderloin area from Geary to Market were full of opportunistic criminals that would rape, rob or pimp the faint of heart. The Polk Gulch area was the traditional ho stroll for men, the start of the ho stroll for women, and a high density drug area where Larkin Street Youth Services attempted to save the lives of the willing street urchins in search of some rest.

I had hooked up with some other Cincinnati exiles in San Francisco. They were beautiful young boys who made a killing pan handling in the Castro. They were slumming it by hanging out with me in the Gulch. Young people are safer in packs and I was smart enough to want to be safe. I met Chester one night on the sidewalk between Sutter and Bush. I was with a group of kids and he struck up a conversation with us.

 I had the feeling he really was not interested in me. According to the story he had told us over coffee, he had been a queer youth on the streets of San Francisco. He had scraped together the money to get a place while finishing high school.

“Hey would you all be interested in being interviewed for an article about homeless kids for the school newspaper?” he asked. He talking to me but looking at my friends.

 The offer of a free meal was always enticing.
We all agreed- "yes".

 He had his friend with him, a female, which also put us at ease. The whole thing seemed easy enough and a pleasant distraction from the street. That was the start of a relationship of mutual usury and deception.

Chester was small, almost tiny in a way that would have made you describe him as nearly delicate. He had a very small frame. He could not have been more than 5’8” or 5’9”. He had a smooth round face and tiny wrists. I imagined it must have been tough for someone so small to make it on the streets. He would have certainly struck the interest of perverts looking for a particularly young looking man. He invited me and my friend to spend the night at his place in Noe Valley. There was a kindness about this person. Plus, I was not alone. I felt as if he could somehow understand me.It gets so cold at night. Many nights, I stayed outside. Other nights, I would go into abandoned buildings known as squats. Many such buildings were around the city, still damaged from the Loma Prieta earthquake. Chester was an unassuming person that seemed harmless to me.

Noe Valley, where Chester lived, is now one of the richest areas of San Francisco. It is the area where modern families with new wealth relocate to be a part of a vibrant neighborhood. In 1992, however, Noe Valley was full of working families, affordable apartments, and junkies. Chester had a tiny studio apartment above a Thai restaurant on 24Th and Castro that he got for $450 a month. The apartment smelled vaguely of peanut sauce. His small back porch overlooked the back of an elementary school yard. Many afternoons, I would sit in his darkened closet praying to be able to sleep, while children were busy playing outside.
The apartment would be part home, part torture chamber. Chester invited me to stay the next night, too. It was clear he was also very lonely. As a nineteen year old, he was older than most of the
other students. He was one of the only ones that had to work to provide for their needs. He was offering "therapeutic massage" in the Bay Area Reporter, a gay magazine, but most men wanted sex. He
had returned home from a summer abroad teaching English in Thailand. He was depressed about his job in sex work with no real career on the horizon. He also had trouble saving because of his speed binges, Although he was proud of the fact that he always paid his bills. He was the first person I ever knew who could use speed for a few days and stop because he had to work. It was clear that he needed more
than a subject for an article. He wanted a friend. I was his confidant. And later, he wanted me to be his drug connection. Sex for money frequently ends in drugs and drugs can some times help earn money for sex. He used his money from tricks to pick up boys off the street.

Chester was very generous with his drugs and money. This was the kind of friend I needed as a new person to the city. Especially one that had zero interest in fucking me.  But frequently, I would fall out of favor and he would ask for his key back. One weekend he would talk to me about his background as a foster youth that had been molested by his care giver. He needed me. He needed me to listen- to believe him- he told me. But our relationship would quickly turn with my moods. Other weekends, I would get too
crazy for him. Me and three of my friends spent nearly a whole month getting high in his place. When the boys ran out, I got kicked out. Or maybe I left. I got kicked out so many times.

In the drug world, a person who gives you a steady supply of drugs and money is called a mark. A mark is a person who believes in you and continues to give you money despite all evidence or instincts. I would not say that Chester was a mark at this point. I was not that sophisticated at just a few months in the city. He provided me drugs and I provided him with some sort of stability as a regular friend. I think to the building, I was seen as his bipolar girlfriend. I am sure it must have seemed as if we were having the types of quarrels that occur between lovers. We would have some sort of disagreement, but he would always take me back.

Chester had a good heart, or so I thought at the time. He was interested in finding a way to help those who had been sexually abused as he had been. There was a sick world we lived in, the sick world of drugs. So many of the children I met were on the streets as teenagers who left unsafe homes. These seemed to be the people who Chester wanted to bring to his place. The youngest and the most vulnerable youth. I was not around those days. He did that outreaching when I was out on my speed runs.

My speed habit lost to my heroin habit for a few months. I went off to the side of a mountain in Colorado for the twentieth anniversary of the Rainbow Gathering. Old hippies and burnouts met in the forest. I went there, seeking a solution for my drug habit. I spent three weeks living in the dirt. When I came home, Chester was waiting. I had to take two full baths in his huge claw foot tub just to get the dirt off of me. I was not clean, in any way shape or form.The call of the drugs was just too strong at that time. He was willing to pay and I was willing to score. Our love affair was on again.

In all my relationships, I began to question at some point when was this going to end. Where is this going? I had some little shred of morals left. I got tired of feeling like I was somehow using this person. He assured me he needed me. I heard that Chester would go to Polk Street looking for me. He would take home other people that were not so kind, these young boys and hustlers. Sometimes they would rip  him, sometimes they Unfortunately, he was always attracted to helping street kids. Especially boys. There was something he saw in them. I started hearing whispers about videos and pictures. Things I didn't understand.

 As I became more jaded, more hardened to the world, the picture became in focus. What was he doing with these boys. Why were they always taking his money. No one is as charitable as he made it seem to me. Spending time with the queens at The Ambassador Hotel taught me that things in the drug world are half fantasy and half nightmare. I never argued with Chester. Our disagreements were in hushed tones.

 “I don’t think you are who you say you are" I told him one night.
He cut me off "You are high Tracey."
Yes," I told him "I am high. And I don't think you are who you say you are."
His baby face turned red. He looked like an angry man.
"What do you mean Tracey?!"
I sat up and told him again "I just don't think you are who you say you are- just a feeling I have."


He started spinning out of control. Why was I so fucking ungrateful all the time blah blah blah. The same old tired fucking argument. Get out, he told me for the zillionth time.

"Hey bitch" I told him " money can’t buy everything."
 Snap! Fuck. Let me get out of here. Let me get the FUCK out of here.

I went home to detox at my parents house in Ohio. He called me every day. 
His tone got more urgent- “When are you coming back?”  he asked me.
"I don't know." I told him.
"My mother really wants me to stay here. She wants me to take a break. I told her everything."
He told me "I really want you to come back. Now."

He was so upset that we had fought before I left San Francisco. He called me from an airplane. Calls were close to two dollars a minute. He was on his way somewhere but was sweet enough to take the time to check on me. He wanted me to KNOW he NEEDED me to come back.

“I’m not sure. “ I said “ I am trying to work things out here. Right now, I don’t really have a plan.”

I was confused. I was not ready to stop using drugs. The bed there was so comfortable. I was JUST over my detox. I felt halfway safe. My father was not around. He was working in a coal mine doing some type of engineering, so that sinking feeling of hatred was not present. I was at a crossroads. This was my last chance not to plunge head first into my addiction. Chester needed me.

I returned to the Bay Area after weathering an HIV scare after contracting thrush, an opportunistic infection. I did not have AIDS. My parents were willing to take me back. All of these were good things. I will just stay out here for a few weeks. I had an open-ended plane ticket. I had clean clothes.

Unfortunate,y the drugs won. When I returned to SF, Nothing had changed. More drama. More drugs.

I started hearing more  rumors about speed fueled pornos. Young hustlers would approach me, with freshly minted dollars filling up their pockets. “I heard about the way you treated Chester”, one had me cornered on the dope track. They just did not know about Chester. Just wait, I thought. Just wait until the mood changes and this person puts you out again on the street. The reality was there was no replacing me. I had something Chester needed that one other young punk could provide. I provided some front of normalcy. I was the crazy girlfriend. I was the drama queen. I was his excuse and his cover. Everything was starting to make sense.

I walked the streets of San Francisco. I heard whispers in the wind, more like rumors about unspeakable suspicions.  I saw many things a person should not see in a lifetime. The rapes, the beatings, my own life was becoming a fucking horror show. Many things I ignored because they some how benefited me. Other things, I cast aside as part of my own denial process. My life was slowly crumbling around me. I was not in denial anymore.

Things began to change rapidly between Chester and me. As my life was spiraling out of control, I had no time to deal with anyone else’s problems. Chester and I were no longer sparring partners in a drug love triangle. And he hated it. The more I pulled away, the more desperate he became to try to shore up my support. He told me he was not sleeping, he had so many things on his mind. Speed can do that, but he assured me it was not the speed. He had a new boyfriend. Some freshly scrubbed new love; much too innocent for our dirty business. He had started buying pills off the street but he wanted ME to get them. I knew there was a catch. No one likes me that much. He had wanted me to cop him pills. Fifty at a time to save a trip to the hotel I had used for my new residence.  It was not the apartment in Noe Valley. I no longer wanted to go there. I felt dirty, it felt dirty there. I wanted to sink into my own familiar misery. I had one rule in my addiction no kids. I do not fuck with newbies to the drug game. I would rip off a senior citizen but do not bring a high schooler to me expecting me to do any sort of transaction in front of them. I did not want blood on my hands.

“Do not bring him here, Chester.” I insisted on the phone “Do not bring that fucking kid to my place.”

Chester assured me his parents were okay with this relationship. The boy was going off to college in the fall. The parents knew that he was gay. They were accepting of their relationship. They would never be accepting of this, even a person like me could see this picture. Chester was just stopping by for his medicine to help him sleep. He would give me hundreds of dollars at a time to get his pills. I would pocket a hundred dollars for myself. I would get the pills for much less that what I charged him and take my end ; a fortune for a few minutes work. I would leave them in my place and shuffle off to pill corner. When I handed him the pills, he would rush off. No fucking newcomers to this life. Ever.

I was over the whole arrangement. It was one thing to be a junkie; it was another thing to be a friend to this man. I had an uneasy feeling. It was nothing but a feeling. He was feeling it, too. He was very uneasy with our relationship. He was very uneasy with my feelings. I was rambling at this point. I was staying up for days and weeks at a time on speed. I was down to a shadow. I had a criminal record by this point. A few arrests related to prostitution. No one would believe my feelings, my ramblings. It all came to a head in a conversation with him.  I was fucked up, yes. But I could no longer deny the evidence that was right in front of my face.

“What if I went to the police Chester?" I confronted him " There is something about you that does not add up.”
“Why do you have two passports?" I yelled.
 I was on a roll now. "I know you went to high school here but what happened before then?"
"Where is all this money coming from" I pointed to my stack off cash  "and did you see a plastic surgeon?”
"You are rambling" he told me. "Another crazy Tracey delusion!"
"You think the police would believe you.." he hissed at me.
"You are fucking insane!" he told me s he slammed my door.

The last time I saw Chester, he asked me to get him more pills than usual. Would I be willing to see him? 
No motherfucker, I will get you the pills. Four hundred dollars. That was a hundred pills; the whole pill corner emptied their supply.

I was sitting in front of the youth center when I got an unexpected apology. I was too old now to go inside. I sat outside to rest outside the Hospitality House youth services. This place, strangely enough, was a few buildings from where I would live in the first four years of my recovery. As I rested, one of the hustlers asked me if I had heard about Chester. Apparently, he had tried to kill himself. He had taken a bunch of pills and was in the hospital.

"Why are you apologizing to me?" I asked.
"You were right," he told me.
"Right about what?" I asked.
He shook his head "you were so fucking right."
This piqued my curosity "About what?!!"
"Chester...."

My mouth hung open as he told me the story. Chester had tried to kill himself. He had taken a handful of pills, this I knew. Chester was in a coma, in the hospital surrounded by all his street friends when an older woman appeared.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.
They had explained their relationship to Chester.
"He isn't 20 years old," the woman told them.
"I am his mother." She is explained. "he is a 33 year old convicted pedophile. Now get the fuck out of here!"

It all made sense now to me.
The teaching English in Thailand
The two passports
The living behind an elementary school

What did not make sense? How the fuck did he end up going back to high school? Jesus fucking CHRIST this world is fucked. I need a hit- now. My hustler friend agreed. Heroin- stat.

No one ever believed me back then. I hardly believe this story myself but it is true. Chester survived. He was brain damaged from what I understand. I can't say I feel sorry for him. I wish Chester was the only person I met like this in my year on the street. He was just one in a long series of them. People wondered why I liked to use alone. Because you can never truly trust anyone in the world. You never know if secretly, they are another Chester. 


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

"Are you done yet?" he asks.

I attempt to ignore this person. Why do people find it necessary to approach a random stranger in the park. I hate being a woman alone in this world. He can't stop me from completing my business. I am searching through my backpack for some dope I am sure I lost a few days ago. I tried to shove it in a hole I cut near the zipper. Now, it has disappeared. More than likely, it disappeared in my arm but it doesn't hurt to look. Today is going to be an awesome day. I am well, for once. It is nice to get off that bag chase. I even brought some snacks along with me when I left my room this morning. I got some vanilla wafers I plan to dump into my pint of milk. My teeth hurt from the sugar but I don't mind. 

The man moves even closer to me. "I said," he says more forcefully "are you done yet?!"

I am not sure why this person finds it necessary to single me out. This is a public space. I have just as much right to be here as anyone else. Not sure what is going on today but the park is empty. I got a space all to myself in the middle of the lawn. I feel almost...normal. I left my rigs, my cooker, and my tie back at the room. I am enjoying a chance to get away from the Tenderloin for a little while before I have to plan my next move. I even brought the sheet off my bed. I spread it out carefully on the grass like I was having a real picnic. I took my shoes off, my hoodie. My track marks look faded when I let them get a little bit of sun.  

The man is not leaving. "Am I done with what?!" I ask him.

 I truly am confused by his behavior. He isn't dressed for a day at the park, either He has on a light blue button up shirt with khaki slacks and dress shoes. He is clean shaven, well groomed. He reminds me of the kind of person that feels superior to me yet snorts a little bit of coke on the weekends. He is the type that drinks and drives yet is bothered by me sitting alone in the middle of the park. 

He leans down. I assume he is trying to intimidate me. 
He asks me in a low voice "Are you done shooting up or whatever the fuck you are doing here? I got my kid over there...." He points to a small group of women and children. 
" Can't you get the fuck out of here? We  re about to have an Easter Egg Hunt!"

Now I get it. He has promised his girl and his kid that they are going to have an Easter Egg Hunt here. The junkie in the middle of the lawn is fucking up the photo opportunities. This is probably his girlfriend and her kids. The probably of him getting laid later increases exponentially with her having the perfect Easter Experience.

My mind goes into junkie overdrive. "Well" I tell him "this is a public place. Give me a reason to leave."

He exhales loudly as he looks over at the little family that is waiting. He has to be the big man here. 
He reaches in his pocket and pulls out his stash, neatly arranged in a money clip. Begrudgingly,  he pulls out a twenty dollar bill and throws it at my face. He does this like a trick does when he thinks you gave a bad performance. This isn't his first time.

I have no choice now but to leave. I wish I wasn't the type of person to take his money. More than that, I wish I wasn't the type of person to ask for it. I am a junkie. I need to hide in the shadows. I need to be invisible. In the back of my throat, I hear all the things I want to say. I want to tell him fuck you. I want to tell him he is wrong about me. I want to assure him I will take this money for some thing productive like food or the movies. Instead, I feel my stomach start to churn. Before my mind can even react, my body starts packing up my shit to leave. It doesn't take long for my picnic to be over. Within five minutes, I am headed for the open air.

I walk past the church services. I walk past the children dresses in little suits and fancy dresses. I pass by candy that has fallen on the ground. Normally, I would not ignore such treasures. It is as if my feet are pulling me, pulling me along. I see myself in the reflection of a store. Who is this person in the mirror. I see a person that looks like me- a thinner, older, tired version of myself. I sold my Turkey for Thanksgiving, I sold my presents at Christmas. Why should today be any different? I sold myself short again. At least I will have some dope to keep me company. Happy Easter.