The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Kyle has abused many drugs, but his substances of choice were methamphetamine, heroin, and whiskey. He was living in a squat with 2 other users as permanent residents and a revolving door of other characters. His last time using was January 16, 2013, the date of this story. Being able to get clean at a treatment center gave Kyle three months that showed him how good life can be and that he can live life sober. He now guides others through the 12 steps and their struggles with addiction.

It’s empty, finally, and it feels good. Our “home” is always a revolving door of people drifting in and out to do whatever drug it is they do. We just shot the last of the heroin — my girl and the other girl that’s living with us — and they went out to cop again. 

I’m nodding off, just sitting on the sofa with a needle and a baggie of crystal in my hand. It’ll even out the smack a bit, pick me up — at least until they come back with more junk. It’s a ritual for us junkies, going out and copping. It’s part of the high, the anticipation, but it’s a part of the high that doesn’t even matter to me anymore. I just want to not be dope sick. 

It’s a lot of work, cooking the crystal, tying off, shooting up, but when it hits, it hits. I feel normal again. Not high, but normal. I can’t decide if that’s a blessing or a curse. I don’t feel sick when I’m loaded, but I’m not high. I just spent money and put a needle in my arm to feel normal. 

I need to eat, so I wander over to the gas station next door, squinting in the bright light. My hair is around my ears and sticking up everywhere and I can smell myself. My cheeks are all broken out and I’m skinny, man. I’m really skinny. 

I walk in, grab a bottle of Vitamin Water, and pay, giving the cashier a crumpled up bill that someone probably used to snort coke with. 

When I get back to the “house,” I just lay on the sofa. I think about the time I had spent sober —forced rehabs — about how I had tasted the good life, how I had seen the good life, but I had given up on it. 

“I can’t do this anymore!” I scream at nothing in particular. There is no sense to it. All I do is use, and for what? To use again in a few hours? This isn’t living! 

Social D's “Dope Fiend Blues” is playing in the background when the door handle turns. My probation officer walks in with two other officers and the landlord.

Before they can say anything, I let everything pour out. “Help me, please! I can’t do this anymore! I want to be done! I need to be sober!” 

Tears run down my face as I offer them the last quarter gram of the meth and my rigs. They take them and I stand up, willingly. No matter what I’m facing now, it has to be better than staying out there, living in this God forsaken squat waiting to OD or be killed. 

I follow them outside and wait for them to open the doors to the cruiser. My PO hesitates though and asks, “Hey… Kyle, you wanna smoke a cigarette first?”

I smile, dumbfounded at life. I pull one from the pack and light it, exhaling the smoke and thinking about the opportunity that I’ve been given. 

“Wanna smoke a cigarette first?”

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January 16, 2013

Kyle has abused many drugs, but his substances of choice were methamphetamine, heroin, and whiskey. He was living in a squat with 2 other users as permanent residents and a revolving door of other characters. His last time using was January 16, 2013, the date of this story. Being able to get clean at a treatment center gave Kyle three months that showed him how good life can be and that he can live life sober. He now guides others through the 12 steps and their struggles with addiction.

Recorded by Vince Bellino on December 2, 2014
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