Photo from the Daily Post
Being hollow is something you can’t ever really explain. It stems from deep within the darkest corners of your mind. Once it fully takes hold, you are at its mercy.
I stood in front of my mom’s antique vanity, that conveniently had a crack running down the dead center of it. A metaphor for my life. I lined my lips with the reddest stain I could find. It never seemed bright enough. I stood there lifeless and gazed into my reflection – I was empty. I could easily blame it on my shitty home life: the fact that my dad left when I was born and never looked back, or the fact that my mom had to work two jobs to support me but never was around to actually raise me. I would like to think that all of this adversity was the cause of my hollowed soul but in reality I don’t think I would have felt any differently if I had had a perfect life.
A motorcycle pulled up and parked in the driveway. It sat there idling. It was him. I instantly felt the buzz of excitement from within. He was always late but I had never said a word about it – ever.
I tiptoed past my mom who was obscenely snoring, passed out on the couch while the Price is Right blared from the TV. She wouldn’t even miss me.
I stepped out into the dimly-lit night and there he was in his usual dingy jeans and aged leather jacket. His eyes were the deepest shade of blue-black as he piercingly glanced my way – it sent a shiver through me. He was my perfect Jaden. What more could I ever need or want in life but him?
“Thanks for picking me up,” I said swaying back and forth nervously. He always made me just the slightest bit insecure.
“No problem. Hop on, let’s go,” he said as he tossed me the helmet. Every time I wore it I wondered how many other girls had worn it before me. I tried not to breathe in as I put it on in fear I might catch the scent of someone else.
“Where are we going tonight?”
“I have a surprise and I can guarantee you will love it,” he said with a devious grin.
At the time I had a naive idea of what it could have meant; he was finally ready to commit.
We pulled up to this old brick building in Downtown Los Angeles. It seemed somewhat dark and lifeless. “What are we doing here?” I asked confused. I was expecting something slightly more romantic – not this cold abandoned place.
“I’m picking something up, wait here,” he said as he walked away through the brick arches that seemed to continue on forever. I didn’t ask what, but from the looks of it, maybe I didn’t want to know. I was always in denial. Something just drew me to Jaden, even though it was so obviously wrong.
He came walking out with his hands buried in his jacket and wearing that look on his face… again. The look that would be burned into my memories forever. Memories I wish I could erase.
He hopped back on the bike and we drove off in silence.
We went up a dark, steep road that led up to the top of a hill overlooking the city. We were so high up that the city lights looked like stars, if you squinted hard enough. I followed him over to a concrete bench and sat down. Something was off but I couldn’t quite tell what it was. I could never read him. What was he really thinking?
“What if I told you that you could experience pure pleasure?”
I grinned and said, “Where do I sign up?” I nervously laughed but stopped once he leaned in close and gently rested his lips on mine. He wasn’t kidding.
“Do you trust me?” he asked.
All I could do was nod. If I had tried to speak, he would have heard my trembling voice.
“Okay, close your eyes and just breathe…”
Those were the last words I heard before I felt a tiny prick, followed by a warmth that poured through my arm. He was right. It was purely euphoric. It was something that I would try many times to replicate but somehow would always fail.
Jaden and I had finally connected on an entirely different level, a way I never had with anyone before but was always in search of. We spent every loaded minute together. The times we spent together sober grew fewer and fewer. Once I had made a connection with his dealer, Jaden was no longer necessary. I no longer needed him to fill me up. All I needed was my ace of spades.
I was in search of something that would make me whole. I would drag myself through those arches time and time again – I always told myself it would be the last. Nothing could stop me. Not losing my mom, friends, or even my humanity was enough to make me stop. It wasn’t until the last time I passed through the arches – just as Jaden was walking out. I almost didn’t recognize him. I thought if I saw him again I would crave him like I had in the past but instead I craved something else more.
Jaden had become entirely hollow. He stared blankly ahead as he walked away. That was the last time I would see him in this lifetime.
Hello. My name is April. I am a recovvering heroin addict.