The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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MH is a woman recovering from abusing an array of drugs, meth being the primary substance. She is autistic and was talked into using drugs by much older teenagers starting at the age of 12. Her use quickly escalated from there, when she used cocaine at 15 and shot heroin at 16. Meth was her drug of choice throughout high school and college.

The room is poorly lit, not too different from the way I imagine Chinese opium dens in the worn paperback novels that I’ve read. There are people all over the room, some on couches somewhere between awake and asleep while others pace the room anxiously, grinding their teeth and bouncing on the balls of their feet. 

There is a girl, probably in her young twenties, who lays on the floor, drawing in a sketchpad. Her broad strokes of the pen and sharp attention to detail remind me of nights once spent creating sprawling oil pastel landscapes and songs with melodies that were the only thing that made sense at the time. 

I sit alone now with no creative forces flowing through me.  My husband is sitting with a different group, smiling as he talks to them. He works too much now, so I’m glad that he gets to see his friends.Watching him, I wonder how he’s manage to avoid it all throughout the years. His friends have used every day of their lives since they were teenagers. 

The screen on my phone lights up, one of the online groups I am a part of. Now at least I don’t feel totally alone. On the internet, I am shielded from social anxieties and autism giveaways. There is no stuttering or not having the right word or being looked down on. I’m just another person there. 

Most of them won’t ever figure it out unless I choose to tell them and isn’t that the greatest gift of all? In a way, the internet is sort of like drugs used to be for me. 

On meth, I could interact normally with people. I’m not always stimming when I’m high. Instead of waving my hands around like an idiot or stuttering my way through simple sentences, I am in creative motion. My skin isn’t too thick, suffocating me. I don’t need to crawl out of my flesh, on drugs. 

Behind the computer screen, I don’t have to worry about those things. People talk to me because they like me and they aren’t uncomfortable by my actions. When I stand from the group to use the bathroom, no one even notices that I’m up. Like I said, always being on the fringes is just my reality. 

I sigh. Life’s not necessarily better now. Life just… is, now. 

I walk into the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror. The light catches my blue hair and I’m pretty sure that I dress like a homeless, colorblind kindergartener. I run my hand through my hair and try to give myself a smile. I can’t go back, so I may as well.

Stimming

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