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Last Smoke

TaJuan is an aspiring writer hoping to gain experience and growth through publishing passionate works, like this one, online for the world.

It was nearly pitch black. The sun was long gone by this point. The moon had retreated behind the clouds, along with the stars, if there were to be any visible that night anyways. Most people are in their houses, doing their nightly routines, whatever that may be. The birds have taken to their nests, the bugs roam around at their fancy. It was a simple, peaceful night.

I laid in my car, taking in the serenity. A deep breath, two, three, however many I took to take in this beautiful scene. I grabbed my headphones and placed them gently onto my ears. I picked out my playlist and put it on shuffle. It was time.

I lit up the blunt and inhaled the poison. I held it in for a second, fully taking in the moment. I feel as though people take it for granted sometimes, the little moments. We have a fixed amount of these moments, a fixed amount of time on this Earth. I find that we spend far too much time dwelling on the future or focusing on the past. I am not perfect, I have followed both those roads countless times. That’s why I try to remind myself from time to time to take in the now while I have it. I don’t know, I am probably spouting nonsense. I am a pothead after all.

I finally exhaled the poison from my lungs. I felt nothing. I used to be a featherweight with these things. Marijuana, alcohol, caffeine, you name it, it affected me easily and to the extreme. Now, I’ve built up such a tolerance that I have yet to find a person that can outsmoke me. And that is extremely sad.

I used to swore off all of the drugs. I wanted to live a straight edge life, to be completely clean of all of the toxins. Then I became depressed, and all morals went out the window. Depression, true depression, is a monster that is nearly impossible to accurately describe, and could only really be understood by those inflicted by it. Thus, I used anything and everything that could make me feel even slightly better, and whatever worked, I clung onto until it didn’t work anymore. My current poison of choice: marijuana.

I was introduced to marijuana by this guy I was seeing at the time. His name is not important because neither is he (my heart has never been the same since him). I am certain he had problems he was masking by abusing the drug, but if you were to ask him, he’d tell you it was simply for pleasure. At first I was not thrilled with him using it, but I was so infatuated with him, I had let it slide. Eventually, I fell victim to its spell, and began smoking it myself.

I was transported to another realm. The world of pain and suffering was left behind, effortlessly replaced by a world created within the confines of my own imagination. Depression did not exist in my new world, at least, at the time. Of course, it’s kind of hard for depression not to slip in when you find your boyfriend of a year and a half fucking another m- wait. Return to the present.

I finished the first blunt easily and moved onto the second. I was going all out today, for today was slated as my last smoking session. I was scheduled to start rehab the following day. It was time to put my life back on the right track. Whether or not this actually marks the last time I would ever smoke, I had no idea. All I knew was that healing is not linear, and I desperately wanted to stop. So, I’m just going to take it a day at a time. Baby steps.

My favorite part about being high has to be listening to music. I could appreciate music in different dimensions while high. Not only could I listen to it at an efficiency that I’m unable to do while sober, but I can also feel the music. Each note traveled across my body, soothed my worries, and took me places I would have never reached in the sober world. It was a beautiful escape.

I might seem dramatic to some of you, but that just proves to me that you haven’t seen the true hell I live in. It’s horrific sometimes, this life, especially in the perspective of a person whose mind has been torn to shreds by an illness he never asked for. I remember when the pain seemingly had hit its peak, and I first laid my eyes on… her.

I was in college, and surprise surprise, I was beyond depressed. I had been bedridden for days, barely able to will myself to eat, let alone go to classes. That of course added more stress to my stress because I felt as though I was going to fail due to my absences. How was I to catch up? I felt like the embodiment of a failure. My family expected me to be something great, to do something they couldn’t have done: go to college, get a degree, live a life of possible success and luxury. But there I was, one step away from being considered a dropout, essentially a drug addict, and depressed out of my mind. Hope was a foreign word at that point, but there was a word that made a lot more sense at the time: suicide.

Even though my motivation was shot, I had mustered up some energy to write. Writing has been a passion of mine ever since I was a kid. That was the most it ever became, a passion, nothing more. Nonetheless, at that moment, I felt the need to write one more thing. So, I grabbed a notepad and a pencil, and just began to write:

Dear My Future Self, I am so excited to be you!

I bet you are so funny, and everyone loves you.

You will have a bajillion dollars, with a big house and dogs.

I can not wait until I am your age.

Until then, bye!!!

Love,

Past Me


Hello My Future Self, how are you doing?

I am sure you are doing great, you can handle anything.

I personally can’t relate.

Like, things are getting kind of rough right now;

I’m sad a lot.

The shine that I used to have has dimmed,

And I feel as though I am disappointing everyone

I don’t know, but I’m sure everything will be okay

Cause you will be there.

Sincerely,

Past Me


Hey, My Future Self…

I really wish you were here.

My mind has been real clouded lately;

The thoughts are getting worse.

I feel like I’m spiraling out of control.

My loved ones try to help,

But they simply don’t understand.

You’re the only one that would.

Please write back.

I’m scared.

Past Me


I’m so sorry, My Future Self.

I just can’t.

Nothing’s working.

I’ve lost hope.

This is gonna be my last letter

Because I don’t think you’ll ever

Exist.


Tears welled up in my eyes. I knew exactly what I had to do, and never in my life had I ever had more motivation to do it. I grabbed a pair of scissors and I began to pierce my skin. The deep crimson liquid slowly poured out of my body and trickled down my left forearm.

The cut was not deep enough, though, and that’s when I realized that I could not build up the strength to produce a fatal slice. I kneeled down with my head buried to the ground, crying and screeching. I desperately wanted to exit this world, no matter what laid beyond. I yearned for death. That was when she appeared.

She was tall and thin, with skin paler than paper, nearly see-through. With dark black hair and a pure black dress to match, she stood in front of me. A complete stranger but I instantly knew who she was: Lady Death.

She saw my troubled state and giggled. I pleaded for her to give me a solution to my dilemma, to guide me to my demise. She merely nodded her head towards my desk, and that’s when I saw it: a bottle of my sleeping pills. Of course, kill myself from the inside. Induce an eternal sleep with the pills best suited for such an endeavor.

I thanked her gracefully as I rushed to the pills. One by one I swallowed the pills until I had ultimately lost count. After I took my fill, I smiled for the first time in weeks. I was triumphant, I had won. Lady Death smiled along with me. It was time to celebrate.

I played this song titled “SAFARI,” by Tyler, the Creator. A song which feels just like the climactic end of a journey, almost as if an exclamation point embodied as a song. I serenaded Lady Death as I rapped along with Tyler, as me and her were both thrilled about the seemingly inevitable. However, before the last note could hit, there was a knock at my door.

I paused the music, and Lady Death disappeared. I opened the door and behind it was my friend Emily. She looked at me for a long time, with a knowing glare. I was scared, I could feel the medicine beginning to kick in. I just needed a little more time. I began to ask what she wanted, but she just pulled me in for a hug. We hugged for a beat, then pulled away.

“I love you,” she says quietly, but the sincerity could be felt miles away.

What did she see in my eyes? Whatever it was, in hindsight, I’m thankful. Because as I opened my mouth to return her love, she jabbed her fingers into my mouth, which caused me to aggressively throw up the pills. I fell down to the ground, near tears.

“Why did you do that,” I ask between dry heaves.

“Because it’s not your time yet. Not today.”

~~~

I left the college following that event. More accurately, the college had kicked me out. I was deemed a “disturbance to the community,” which I translated as, “go deal with your problems elsewhere.”

I haven’t spoken with Emily since.

I felt heavy. Memories like those contain so much weight, it’s almost unbearable. I took a long drag. Once I had hoped to be able to smoke away these memories. It was futile, for I have tried for months.

I sat myself up and reached for my phone. I saw that my favorite song was coming up. It’s a deeply melancholic but peaceful song. I once thought dying to it would be a nice end, but those thoughts don’t belong in a mind attempting to recover from its depression. The song is titled…

Shit.

A wave of hunger suddenly overcame me. I felt as though I hadn’t eaten in days, no, weeks. This can’t be happening. I know for a fact that I don’t have any snacks in my apartment, and I couldn’t even cook while sober. My stomach roared at me now. The pangs of hunger passed the point of discomfort now. I let out a long groan while I shakingly reached for my keys.

It was time to hit the road.

The nearest gas station was about two miles out, so it would only take a couple of minutes, and there was no one out now, so morally, I think I am okay. I finished the rest of joint three, fixed my seat settings, and hid any damning evidence. I switched the down to earth music to some rap, and my whole demeanor changed. Confidence took the wheel, and it wasn’t here for a test drive. Oh, the power of music. I looked at myself in the mirror. Hair: a mess. Eyes: squinted and redder than blood. How would they know?

Unsurprising to many, this does not mark the first time I have driven high. Yet, surprisingly enough, you could never tell if I was under the influence or not. Whether that speaks to my heightened ability while high or my lack of skill when sober is up to interpretation. No matter, the driving experience while high trumps driving sober without challenge.

I do not mean to endorse driving under the influence. Again, I do not even endorse intaking the poison to begin with. I guess I tended to lean to the self destructive side of things. I glanced at the many battle scars on my arm and frowned.

To distract myself, I began to look at the lights. This may be a good time to note a quirky effect the poison has on me. Once past a certain point, my eyelids would rapidly blink uncontrollably. Yes, without any thought or motivation, my eyelids would move at unbelievable speeds.

No, I am not epileptic nor was I having a seizure. My friends once mistakened one of these episodes as a seizure, and appropriately freaked out. Of course, I ended up fine, but they remained shooken up by the event. I don’t see them much anymore. I guess in a choice between them or the poison, well, I think you know the answer to that.

Anyways, while at first frightening, I now have better control over it, and let’s just say, it produces magical moments. For example: the lights. It is truly a sight to behold watching these lights dance around the night sky. From street lights to headlights of cars, each blink contorts their shape and size, creating this dance hall where the dancers are moving at light speed. It’s absolutely marvelous.

Now it’s time for a friendly reminder to the drivers out there to refrain from taking your eyes off the road, for when my gaze returned to where they should’ve been, I found myself on the other side of the road, headlights eyeing in on this pole.

Suddenly, I could feel Lady Death breathing down my neck. Do it, she said. Fuck, fuck, fuck. At first conflicted, I eventually frantically realigned myself to the right side of the road at the last moment possible. My heart was reaching tempos that a metronome could only dream of achieving. Drenched in sweat, I halted my car abruptly and put my hazards on. I turned around, but she was nowhere to be seen. Most of me was thrilled she had disappeared. Only most of me though.

I yelled “coward” out of the window, and continued my drive to the gas station.

I finally reached the gas station, but instead of hurrying in as my stomach desperately wanted, I sat back for a second. I reexamined my battle scars, and I found myself focused on the one from college. A single tear escaped from my left eye. I shook my head aggressively and exited the car. I looked up at the sky. I wonder if you still think about me, too.

~~~

I quickly picked out some snacks and returned to my driveway. Although I devoured the food without a second thought, something began to feel off. I started to feel a little weak, a little light-headed. I shut my eyes for whoever knows how long. Maybe a short little rest is what I needed.

I open my eyes and find that I am welcomed with my favorite song playing in the background, and some company. I didn't even have to look at her to know she was there, Lady Death. The question remained, why?

That was when the coughing fit began. Uncontrollably, I began to cough and gag nonstop. What was happening to me? I looked at her with concerned eyes and attempted to ask her, but no words could come out. I was so high I could no longer articulate words! How much did I smoke?

Lady Death began to laugh hauntingly. I would describe it, however I hardly heard it over my excessive coughing. I laid myself down. My strength was fading rapidly. I took a look around to find my phone, but it was difficult to see from all of the sm… smoke. That’s why she’s here. I’m suffocating. It was a pointless revelation, for my strength had long left me. I could hardly move an inch.

The song continued on, though the raging pain in my chest made it difficult to appreciate. The vocalist sounded different, however. I turned my head slowly to find Lady Death serenading me this time. A fatal lullaby.

Unable to move, slowly decaying from the poison, while my favorite song played in the background: the stage was truly set. I was to die tonight, and right before I was to get help: what a sick joke life is! I began to recall all the terrible choices I have made along my path, but also the beautiful memories I’ve created as well. Was I okay with this?

The song began to near its conclusion. Lady Death moved closer to me and asked, “Are you ready?”

“Y-y…” I struggled to speak due to the coughing. Or was it due to the uncertainty? Regardless, she moved in anyways, to seal my fate with a kiss. Forgery. Nevertheless, before the final note of the song played, I opened my eyes, and with such quickness, I cracked open the door window ever so slightly. I took in multiple gracious breaths.

Not today.

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