For all intents and purposes* & for employers of past, present, and future: the use of “Morphine” in this piece is a stand-in word for the actual item used.
*I just learned the phrase is not “for all intensive purposes.”
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I love Morphine. It makes my pupils dilate and my smile so big I can see my 6th tooth back. I feel energy in my chest and I don’t know what an appetite is. My brain thinks of funnier things faster, and remembers more about every exact moment by the second. Morphine gets me through my hardest nights and most boring weeks.
I was introduced to Morphine at a bar in a pocket of LA I never find myself in. I drive all over the greater Los Angeles area, but no routhe has swerved me by this block on Beverly Boulevard before.
At the time, I’m sustaining old motorcycle injuries, and the wounds I thought were starting to heal via scar tissue are now bleeding again. I’m not curing right because I’m not being patient nor calm. I don’t have the time to sit and rest; there are goals to be achieved and milestones to be accomplished.
That fated night, I walk under a large neon sign in the shape of a Times New Roman “93” and into a small bar that is very wood-forward in it's unassuming decor. I saddle up next to a simple human who has preemptively purchased a beer for me. Odd—but whatever, he’s cute.
The summer after this moment would be spent becoming extremely close to that beer-on-deck dealer. Too close, too quick. We met in June, and by August I’m asking everyone who will listen for advice on how to wriggle my way out of this uncomfortably familiar position. Television, movies, and word of mouth stories have always depicted the stereotype of a dealer as someone who's dying to hang out past their needed moment. And because of that, no one prepares you with the adage, "Don't fall into some weird obsession with your dealer."
The wild summer of late nights with high highs and low lows ends, and I decide to cut ties and move on with my life. No more reliance on Morphine, no more instant best friendship with my dealer.
Until, you know, I’m in pain again.
The first time I experience severe pain is a messy night in downtown Los Angeles. I puke on the side of a building and don’t want my date to think I just puked so I kiss him, as if to prove it: “A girl who just threw up wouldn’t have the audacity to kiss someone right after! Ergo, I didn’t puke.” The fresh spot of chunky food in a hue-less orange liquid reeks less than 5 feet behind me.
Between the puke and the acidic make out sesh, I leave a voicemail with my dealer to get my hands on my favorite soothing pill. Ultimately my dealer is not at my beck and call, so I don’t immediately hear back from him.
The day after that, I have to attend a funeral. I feel tired and ashamed and I also arrive late. My family is so supportive of my career grind and insane schedule that they don’t assume I’m tardy for selfish, shitty reasons. How kind.
I think as a joke, I get half a pill mailed to me from my dealer for my November birthday, and it excites me more than my friends would like to encourage.
Come winter, the pain has begin to consume my body (and thus also my mind) and I just need Morphine to fucking relax.
I send some extremely kind and friendly messages to my dealer and he agrees to meet.
I enjoy that our friendship has rekindled and I appreciate that there are other party favors abound. I enjoy an evening of feeling comfortable in my body, even if it’s falsely induced. Like your favorite fable or Greek tragedy: as soon as the drug wears off, I feel worse. But it’s fine! We’re back in our dealer’s good graces! We’ll just get our hands on the feeling again soon.
When I’m enjoying Morphine to it’s fullest, I take mental snapshots of the moments and create lasting images in my brain. Sometimes, when I can’t get my schedule to line up with my dealer, I just use those images to regulate my body into a happier state; like having a reserve of placebos.
My dealer is a real human, with career goals and a really nice apartment. His home is near one of my favorite locations in Los Angeles and the modern interior makes me feel lighter and brighter than how I feel in my place with its chipping cream paint and decades-old bathroom mold.
And since he’s a real human, my dealer goes home for the holidays, to see his family. I’m not really supposed to bother him when he’s with his family. Imagine a text coming in asking for a hook up while your mom holds your phone to take a picture of you and your niece. I try to hold off on communication, but sometimes he'll take the initiative to reach out from his future time zone. I’ll receive messages asking if I’m able to lock in an order in advance. Sometimes it’s exciting to think of when I can get my hands on Morphine next, and sometimes it makes me feel like an addict.
Actually, I feel like an addict more times than not. (Once again, I can’t really say what this item was, but I’ve had friends and licensed professionals say it’s not an addictive substance.)
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A note from Olivia:
I actually don’t know if I’ve ever had real, pure, Morphine. I think I’ve taken Vicodin for my removed molars, but I don’t actually believe I’ve been prescribed Morphine. But this "item" that I refuse to officially name in this story, it makes me feel as good and relieved as how I assume real Morphine does.
It must be confusing to see me attempt to reach through the fourth wall to express truth on what already seemed like a pretty vulnerable piece. It's like my hand gets only so close to connecting with yours before realizing there’s a thin film of saran wrap between us. It's clear and maleable but it's a barrier. I know what vice I'm referencing, but I’m too embarrassed to name it. I don’t want to be seen as “an obsessive, crazy girl” but by avoiding the truth, it leaves you, the reader, let down that I can’t make a strong bold choice to be vulnerable, all while getting lost as to whether I’m actually on drugs or not.
I’m currently a few years sober. The last time I dealt with “Morphine” was September of the year 2,022. Professionals and friends won’t say I broke sobriety with the item, but for the years I relied on it for happiness, it might as well have been the same as falling off the wagon, time after time again. I remind myself of my own saying (vain), “It’s okay if you fall off the wagon. Wagons aren’t that fast.”
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New Year’s Eve going into 2022 I’m assaulted. I call my dealer because I don’t want to bother my friends on any of their fun nights. The next day we arrange to meet, and Morphine has never felt more warm and soothing for my body. But it is temporary and come February my dealer expresses to me that they’ve gotten a “real job” and don’t have an interest in keeping up a relationship.
I go most of the year with out it, but I miss it every day. A friend consoles me by saying a friend of hers was addicted to meth and also misses that every day. I feel better that I’m not alone in being daily-obsessive, but I wish I wasn’t.
To be honest, I wish this piece had been a little more secretive. I'm tapping at the saran wrap between you and I again. Just to see if I can tear through it with one of my fingernails. I wish I was better able to paint a picture of Morphine as the fun that it was, the happier moments experienced with it, insert blissful montage. But the truth is that my relationship with Morphine was touch-and-go. I relied on it when I was in pain, and it was a fantastic temporary fix. I wish every day that Morphine could’ve been a daily vitamin to keep me peppier and more alert.
I’m happy to say that even thought I relied on “Morphine” to help me through extreme bouts of pain, in the milder episodes of pain I had a great therapist, patient friends, and a belt of self-help tools to keep me as much on the straight and narrow as possible. I’m happy to say that I’ve found companionship that comforts better than any pill—or unlikely friendship with a dealer—could.
I love Morphine. Loved? Morphine. I really enjoyed Morphine.
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This has been a part of the series Sad Stories To Make Sense of My Mind. The Table of Contents will direct you to a list of descriptions to choose what heart string you'd like pulled next.