I can’t recall, pinpoint when the change happened. But there was a switch in me. A more recklessness and “I don’t care” attitude. Home had become a place where I never wanted to be. A place where I couldn’t escape Mama spewing out her anger at what my dad was doing. How he was spending his money. The hate she had for “Her”. And Dad wanting us to meet “Her”. And Mama throwing a fistful of nails under the tires of “Her” car. And “Her” lying to Mama that she was pregnant with Dad’s baby. It was all too much. Way too much, and I was caving under the pressure. I wanted to be there for Mama, to ease her pain at what Dad had done. I wanted so much to hate him for ripping apart our once picture perfect family. But then I would feel guilty for hating him. And guilty for loving him. The hurt was suffocating me, and I didn’t know how to express it.
The two of them had destroyed in me that innocent bookwork that was praised by her teachers for excellent grades, the little girl that respected and obeyed her parents out of a simple love and belief that they could do no wrong. Now, all that was left was a dull ache inside the shell where she used to be. So out of desperation to grasp back control over what I was feeling, I picked up a razor blade and dragged it across the pure, white skin of my wrist. The thin red line sent a shock through me that I liked, so I did it again. After that, I focused my cuts on the insides of my arms or legs where no one would notice.
Sometimes I would take a lighter, captivated by the flame as it heated up the metal tip, and once it was hot enough I would press the metal hard against my flesh. The sting and the sight of the blood seeping from a cut, or the welting blister from a lighter would remind me I was still alive despite feeling like something in me had died.
But was I really any different from them? Because in being so caught up in my own anguish and path of self-destruction, I never stopped to see how Becca was dealing with everything. I never paused to wonder if she was coping at all. So instead of being there for my baby sister, only 7 years old, I just checked out. Just like Mama and Daddy. I stopped talking to her, and she became the little kid I was forced to watch while Mama was out. So I would feed her and stick her in front of the TV and then forget she was even there.
It was a week night, and Mama was out again. So after feeding Becca a grilled cheese sandwich, I sent her to watch a move in her room, warning her not to come out unless she was bleeding or dying. Thomas was over, and I didn’t want her hanging around bothering us.
We were lounging on the couch in the living room watching a scary movie, Scream, when Thomas said, “I got something I think you may like, Mellie.”
“Huh?” I vaguely replied not taking my eyes off the TV. He was interrupting the best part where the killer is on the phone with Drew Barrymore when she finds her boyfriend slashed up outside her back door.
“Look,” he said impatiently, digging around in his backpack, which went everywhere with him, and he pulled out a Jane’s Addiction CD case.
Instead of a CD inside, the case contained a small plastic baggy with shards in it, a razor blade, and a small piece of straw. Mesmerized, I watched as he dumped a few of the shards out and chopped them up on the CD case into a fine powder made of two separate lines. Putting the straw up to his nose, Thomas bent over the case and snorted one of the lines up his nose. He passed the straw to me and without any hesitation, because of my unwavering trust that Thomas would never do anything to hurt me, I followed his lead. Leaning over I inserted the tip if the straw into my nostril and snorted up the remaining line.
What looked like shards of glass also felt like shards of glass slicing its way up my nose penetrating deep like lightening. My brain was on fire directly behind my eyeballs. And then came the drip. That nasty drip alone had me already regretting my impulsive experimentation as I gagged on it trickling down the back of my throat. But it was a fleeting regret, because then the rush hit. Oh sweet Jesus, that rush! Like a surge of adrenaline coursing through my body, firing of everything all at once. It was swelling and expanding my mind, and I was in a state of hyper alertness. My dilated eyes were honing in on taking in all of my surroundings, making me more focused than I had ever been in my life. That miraculous drug had me soaring, feeling no pain, for hours.
That’s how Crystal Methamphetamine became my new love affair. And she was so damn good to me. Whether she came in the form of glass or the dirtier version, Anhydrous, dubbed Anna, I didn’t care. I was up and alive. I was unstoppable.
February 18, 1999
I still hate the drip of Anna after snorting it, but the high is so worth it. I can walk down the halls at school and not feel unbearably awkward. That shy insecurity I get when talking to people, completely gone. I wish I could do it every day, but Thomas regulates me. Says he knows best. But the high makes everything so much easier to tolerate. I actually finished a report for my history teacher and made a B. I thought Mama was going to cry when I showed it to her. So if I’m doing better, and she thinks I’m better, how could it be so bad? Besides, everyone is doing it.
Not long after my first taste, the drug was responsible for the birth of the 240 Tribe, made up of James, Beau, Robbie, Evan, Lane, Lynette, Shay, and Thomas. The numbers 240 was meant to represent meth in the way that 420 refers to marijuana. They all got 240 tattooed in Roman numerals make the 240 Tribe official. All but me and Thomas.
And Crystal was everywhere during that time. At every party. At every house we went to. And being affiliated with the 240 Tribe, I never paid a dime. There seemed to be this endless supply that was mine for the taking. I never thought to ask how.
March 5, 1999
Thomas still controls how much I get, and it’s driving me insane. So I talked Beau into giving me some on the side. He lets me “borrow CDs” always with a half a gram inside. I have to pay for it when I get it from him, but getting up is worth it.
March 25, 1999
Dad showed up at the house tonight. Mama called him after she found half a joint while snooping in my room. Guess they figured we would sit down all family like for an intervention. Funny how I’m suddenly not invisible to them when I’m being the trouble maker. Oh yeah, and they decided I can’t be with Thomas anymore, because he is a bad influence on me. I can’t believe they can actually agree on something. They need to go back to ignoring me.
May 19, 1999
I don’t have much to say these days. Mama pulled me out of school and put me in rehab when she found a gram of meth in my room. Which is where I’ve been for the past 2 weeks. This place is horrible. The other girls in here are fucked up. Not like me at all. I can’t go to the bathroom by myself because Mama told them I throw up. I tried to tell them that I’m not fucking Bulimic. That I’m just trying to purge out all the hate I have for them. I can’t have shoelaces or anything that could be used to hurt myself with. I’ve been told Thomas isn’t allowed near me. No talking. Nothing. I’m not sure if he even knows where I am. They are calling for lights out. I don’t want to wake up in the morning.