Artificially Sweetened Lie

[Throwback Thursday — originally published May 2013]

Sometimes you just get lost. You don’t realize the world around you. You can’t smell the animal shit, the rotten food, the mold. It all blends together.
I’ve been
                 for years.
There’s no turning back at a time like this. It’s all or


Photo Credit: Stocksnapp / Found on: NY Daily News

I still remember that very first time. When you came home and lied to my face, took my money and left. When you didn’t deny it after I asked you, but simply said, “I won’t stop, do you want some?” I still wonder if that was the beginning, or the end. Maybe a little bit of both. I can see it now. Your eyes so sunken, your skin so taught. But then it was just fun and games.

Sometimes you think you’ve found solace. Sometimes it comes in a powder form. Of course it makes everything
How could it possibly make anything

That sting on my septum, that taste in my throat. It’s things like that I’ll never forgot. How my eyes rolled back and my skin got itchy; how every little touch felt euphoric. How could any of those things possibly be bad? I had seen friends die from overdose. I had seen relatives go to prison. But that wouldn’t happen to me. I just wanted to feel good.

Sometimes, reality hits you. But all it takes is another hit to make it all
                                                                                                               go away.

I remember doing dishes. A lot of dishes. Why didn’t any of our roommates ever clean their own? I remember you laying in our king-sized bed with pizza hanging out of your thin lips, and I laughed. I fed you like a baby, falling in and out of consciousness. We chain-smoked, even though we weren’t allowed to inside. The smoke made symbols and pictures of happiness.

Sometimes love overpowers common sense. And in the beginning, that’s what it is.
It’s not until later that it turns to

We sat on the swing out front. I’m still not sure where that swing came from, but I do know that we carried it, giggling, from the backyard to the front-yard. We sat on the damp, scratchy cushions, with their ugly floral design, and we swung, and we talked. We reunited. We let out everything we held in over the past few years. We bonded. And then we fell off that swing, into the dewy, much-too-long grass, and laid on top of each other looking at the stars. There were thousands, and they blurred into one another to form one giant light in the sky.

Sometimes the world has different plans for you than you have for yourself. It’s not too hard to fight back, but it’s nearly impossible to realize
                                                                          you can.

We spied on our roommates, and made our own secret club against them. We hid on the side of the house and I climbed up onto your shoulders like a child. I held on to the rotting siding and peered into the upstairs window. We watched our friends pant and hump and bounce, we watched them as if they were animals on display. We then went inside and made love, panting and humping and bouncing, better than them, of course. We weren’t animals, we were supreme beings in love, becoming one. When we climaxed, we came together and we called out for each other and ourselves. We obviously had just experienced something no one else ever had.

Sometimes, it all seems to be surrounding you. Objects, thoughts, emotions, actions—they’re purpose is for you, and you
It’ll take much longer to realize that’s just it. You are
And the world doesn’t give a crap. It’s up to you.

We did a bit more—the vomit-inducing taste did just that, but I didn’t care. I emptied my insides with grace; I allowed all of the negativity to flow into the toilet with the leftover Chinese, and then I flushed it away. Twice. You held back my hair, with your rough, calloused hands, and when we became entangled we stayed right there on the cool tile floor and got naked again. This time it was impossible to get off, but we didn’t care. The feeling was more than enough.

Sometimes, you can’t wash it all away, no matter how hard you try. A life like this needs an
It can’t last

We walked past our roommates with smiles, and they smiled back. They questioned why we were up until 5 am, but we just shrugged. Our bodies shrugged naturally, or chemically-induced-naturally, anyway. We couldn’t sleep. What was the point in sleeping if we were finally experiencing true bliss? We stayed up until the sunlight threatened to bring us back to the real world. Then we just covered the windows with my Starry Night blanket. We made our own oasis. Once the feeling wore off, we fell into another fake reality, and slept the day away.

Sometimes, you have to peel back the mask to reveal the
But of course it’s much easier to live in an artificially sweetened



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8 thoughts on “Artificially Sweetened Lie

  1. While I’m sincerely sorry you had to experience this in order to be able to write about it, I am glad you have written it. Surely there are many people whom what you’ve described here won’t help avoid having to live through it. However, I expect there are others who are just self-aware enough to recognize they are in danger of repeating the experience you describe so vividly, and able to make the choice to avoid falling into it.

    For those, what helps might be the way you describe so honestly — in such graphic detail — just what the experience was like, how irresistibly attractive it felt even while some aspects of it were so repulsive. This is powerfully written, and I hope it finds its way to some who could benefit from thinking about the experience it conveys while they can still choose to avoid it.

    Mostly, though, I’m glad you have decided (repeatedly) not to go back into this world, or at least to pull back quickly when you’ve fallen back into it. From what you describe, “falling” seems to convey the relentless pull it exerts on a user, and your writing makes it seem almost miraculous that you were able to come back from there. I’m glad for you — and for us — that you have.

    Thank you for reposting this.

    Liked by 1 person

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