A Life and A Line

A Life and A Line

A Story by Sarah Kirk

A fiction short-story about a complicated romance with a woman and a drug.


   A Life and A Line

By Sarah Kirk

January 2013

  I felt Ashley’s warm hand on my lower back, inching up my shirt, giving me just a taste of what later would be like and I shot her a flirty smile. I saw the blood rush to her cheeks and the twinkle in her eyes �" we fell more in love with each other each and every day. 

“Save it for the bedroom, novia.”  I laughed, shooting her a dirty smile and a wink, I loved driving her crazy. 

  Working with Ashley wasn’t like work as I had known my entire twenty-one years. It was not stressful customers, exhausting work, or wishing you were “anywhere but here..”. It was secret smiles, warm touches, illicit kisses in the break room, it was love, it was passion, and it was the fiery kind.
  As I brewed a customer’s coffee, I felt the prickles of sweat and uneasiness encroach upon me. My vision blurred at the corners, a heavy fog settled upon my mind, almost like I was in such a stupor I could not think clearly. Time for another fix. My hand was already shaking, and as I struggled not to spill the coffee all over myself and the patron, this is what Ashley always noticed.
  I could see her out of the corner of my eye �" narrowed eyes and a deep crease in her forehead. It was her anxious look, one I had come to see every day for the past year.
  She was a certified pro at recognizing the side effects of drug withdrawal, and as she threatened to leave me during the bad times, she never actually went through with it. I tried multiple times to stop the cocaine use �" but all without success. The shakes and the sweats got so bad at times I would beg her to put me out of my misery. I can remember on one cold miserable night, kneeling by the toilet, my body soaked in sweat and shaking �" like I was having a seizure. The dry heaves kept coming, and I begged her to get the gun in the second room, I can remember saying, “If you love me like you say you do, you will shoot me now, I cannot take this anymore.”
  Those were the moments where she would go see my dealer, and buy some more drugs for me. Even though she was completely against it, she was afraid, and she hated seeing me in pain. This was one reason that compelled me to quit cocaine, what kind of man sent his woman into the unknown, drug dealer’s territory? The only type of man I could think of was the shittiest kind, the lowest of the low, and I promised myself that I would never be that kind of man again. This is when I promised myself that Ashley deserved the best, and so far, I was failing her and I was failing myself. 

  August 2012

  I started using cocaine my freshman year at the City University of New York, it was also the year I met Ashley. Perhaps the most important year of my life.
  Cocaine changed who I was on the inside and outside, motivation? Gone. Inspiration? Only inspired when I was possessed by the drug. Confident? Extremely. Lazy? One hundred percent. I stopped doing my schoolwork, stopped going to class, eventually, after my professors would call my phone and e-mail me frantically, I just stopped going. I did not care anymore, I just wanted more coke. I craved coke.
  Ashley fell in love with the man who was using cocaine, Ashley was now in love with the man who is addicted to cocaine. She claims there’s a difference. 

  January 2013

  I’m sitting out on the stoop in the back alley of The Green Bean, smoking a cigarette. I can feel the warmth from the butt, and the smoke blends in with the cold fog of my breath. It is January 2013.
  My hands are shaking like I have Parkinson’s; uncontrollable and unwillingly. My stomach is turning with nausea, I can feel the vomit creeping up the back of my throat. I start thinking �" just one little hit, and everything will feel alright again, I’ll feel better, when I feel Ashley’s hand fall heavy on my shoulder.

“Remember your promise, Raymondo.” Her Spanish flows off of her tongue and brings me back to safety again. I have always called her my “ancla”; anchor in Spanish. 

“Baby, I don’t think I can do this.” I’m amazed at how desperate and weak I sound. I always prided myself in being the warrior and true man that my father raised me as. The drug has stripped me off my strength, of my independence. 

“You can do this. You just can’t do it alone.” 

March 2013

These two sentences loop in my head every single day for the next three months. Rehab does that to you �" makes you rethink everything. I do this every night, and every morning as I lay awake waiting for the nurses. I rethink everything I did wrong in my life, especially that first year in college. That day on the stoop, Ashley wrapped me in a wool blanket and drove me off to rehab in the city. I cried, I yelled, I threatened, and she just drove, eyes straight ahead, trained on the road, oblivious to my utterances. The only sign of acknowledgance was the steady tears trekking down her cheeks.
  Every Saturday she visits me, brings me magazines and protein shakes. I have been clean for three months, and have decided to propose to this woman who has saved me, who has changed me for the better.

April 2013

 Rehab is boring as hell, but comforting in the fact that I have no temptation here. Our schedules are simple, yet packed, to give us no time to think about what we are missing, meaning… The high. The head-rush and the euphoria.
  We have a men’s therapy session for twenty-somethings, and I find myself telling them my regrets. My biggest regret is by far using cocaine, my second is dropping out of college.
  When my counselor hears this, she arranges a community college in New York City to set up classes for me. I begin finishing out some core classes in rehab �" English Composition, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. I have always wanted to be a Science major.
  Lately, I have taken my doctors advice and started to lift weights. The feeling is similar to a high, but more like a buzz, I find myself happy and calm after doing it. I haven’t told Ashley about the exercise but the second week, she noticed. I remember her glowing pride as she looked over my muscles, that glimmer in her eye.
  Rehab makes me feel somewhat normal, doesn’t every twenty one year old man study and lift weights?
  Other days, though, I fret and stress over life moving on without me. I worry that Ashley has forgotten about me (even though she visits every Saturday; only visitation hours) and moved on to find someone worthy. I think of my record, will I ever find a decent job or career to support me and my future family? I mourn over my deceased parents; I cannot imagine my strong father’s reaction and my sweet mother’s scorn. I remember them furiously pounding in my head: “never do drugs, never do drugs” like a war sermon. And this is what confuses me, even though I was young when they passed, I can still smell the booze on their breaths.
  When I tell my counselor this in therapy sessions, she tells me that addition can run in genetics, some stronger and more prominent than in others. Is this my family?

May 2013

“Good luck, Mr. Gomez.” Dr. Frederick says as he shakes my hand, I smile and hug him. 

“Thank you, Dr. In a way, I hope I never see you again.” 

  Dr. Frederick laughs and says, “If you ever come to see me again, it will be because you want to help someone who has gone through what you had to go through. I admire your strength, and I pray you stay strong.”

  We say our goodbyes, and my shoes slap against the painstakingly white floors, blinding white walls; white everything. And all I see is her. She is like an angel descended from heaven, those sparkling eyes, the tender caress.
  As our lips crash against one another, I am overwhelmed by the sense of strength I have found within myself, and from her. This kiss, the first in months, is more meaningful than any before, because finally, she has fallen in love with Raymond Gomez, the warrior.
  I wrap my arms around her and squeeze her tight. I will never let anything, or anyone, come between us again.

“I love you, mi Ancla.”

  I feel her wet tears against my cheeks, “You, Raymond Gomez, are my anchor.” She says against my chest.

  For the first time in my life, I am whole. I am happy. I am lucky. 

© 2014 Sarah Kirk

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Added on May 22, 2014
Last Updated on May 22, 2014
Tags: drugs, drug, love, crime, crimes, prison, life, fiction, short story, happiness, relationships, sad


Sarah Kirk
Sarah Kirk

Wimauma, FL

A writer with a lot of shot-term goals and only one long-term, I just want to live. more..