Chapter 2

Cocaine Cowboys

What is it like to live with the madness, the constant go, go, go, like it’s never ever going to stop. The ups and downs that you have, literally, little to {none} control over. What is it like when madness is constantly around the corner, waiting to creep into the front of your mind and project herself out into the world.

Up and Down.

Round and Round. 

Forever on the Merry-Go-Round.

I met her and my world changed, BAM! just like that in a split second. My life altered its course and down the rabbit hole, I began to fall. Those four simple words “want to be friends?” forever changed who I was as an individual, a young girl, and later as an adult. She was everything to me, and my world began to spin around her. She was the sun and I was only within her orbit.

My first best friend and my greatest love. Still to this day, after everything we’ve been through, I miss her. I miss her like the lost love of my youth.

We met when we were five, we built the beginnings of our great friendship at eight, and for fifteen years we would be inseparable. We made plans that would last us a lifetime, envisioning ourselves as two craggy old birds talking shit with each other. I was going to follow her to the grave.

fifteen years.

As we began to grow into young adulthood our needs shifted and grew, but were always parallel to what the other needed. We experienced the wild days of our youth in dances, clubs, and bars. High school brought about the beginnings of alcohol, weed, and cocaine. And the faces…  the faces which continuously went through a revolving door of promiscuity. The door showing the exit and entrance for countless more faces which just become a blur. Each night a new high and a new man, and faces that still to this day I don’t remember. We were unstoppable, at the height of our beauty, and literally a force to be reckoned with when together. In public we were girlfriends, but in private the men rotated endlessly, searching for something which we would never find. Not in these anonymous faces, and not in these drug-induced nights.

They don’t exist.

If I can’t remember them, then they can’t exist.

I’m not that person.

The madness is a sweeping feeling once it takes over. It’s like a tsunami crashing onshore dragging the helpless in its wake. You can sink and drown in its power, or you can ride the wave like a high that will never end. Its strength is enough to tear down the sturdiest of houses, brick by brick. Battering at its walls until nothing but the shell is left. A hollow of the beauty she used to be.

But the cocaine can make you ride the tsunami, surfing her swell and absorbing her power. You are unstoppable, you are the power, and nothing can bring you down. The problem with this? The farther up you climb on that high, the harder your fall is going to be when you hit rock bottom.

I rode that tsunami so many times. Still to this day I miss the feeling of the high, and the distinct sting as the white fluff goes up the nasal cavity, and the unstoppable power you feel as it begins to course through your every nerve.

But rock bottom is always there, always waiting for you, and sheesh we’ve hit rock bottom on more than one occasion. If I’m being honest, more times than I care to count. And somehow it’s always the support group that pulls me out. The people who are tied to my life through the blood sweat and tears we shed together in these dark moments. By the people who have shared in each joy and each pain. The people that are still here, still to this day.

Now as an adult? I’ve noticed one face was always eerily missing, or silent when my life was at rock bottom.

fifteen years of friendship

But I can’t remember being pulled from the wreckage by her face, not once. Not ever.

Only by the Mother. The one person who forgives all, and sees the courage in failing. The Mother is not only benevolent and kind, but she is also understanding. Why? She’s been at rock bottom too.

She’s seen what the misery looks like in this deep dark hole that you come crashing into. She knows the work it takes not only for the individual suffering in the madness, but from the entire support group, as they begin to pry me from my hole. They know the work, because they do it with us.

The work? What work?

The work of putting that animal back into her cage, which is locked in the deep dark corners of my brain. She stays locked in the shadows, as I hope endlessly that she never escapes.

But somehow, at one point, she always does.

Illustrations by Alexis Bringas

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