Apology to the Young Addict by James Brown

Apology to the Young Addict by James Brown

Author:James Brown
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Counterpoint
Published: 2019-12-10T16:00:00+00:00

Apology to the Young Addict

You post your picture on Facebook. It’s a close-up. Your long hair is dark brown. On one side you have strands of it curled behind your ear. Your eyes are dark brown, too, but they are also glossy and red. In your hand is a glass pipe, the bowl hot and alive, swirling with gray smoke. You’re holding it out to whoever is taking the picture, but it looks as if you’re offering it to me. And in a way, I suppose, that’s exactly what you’re doing. One of my sons went to high school with you and tells me that you had a reputation for using drugs. By your junior year, he says you’re MIA, and I’m guessing you dropped out or moved off the mountain. Either way I don’t see or hear about you again until your picture pops up on Facebook.

You must be about twenty now. I lose track of time. In the beginning, as a child, you probably wonder why, when I come to see your father, he always asks you to go to your room and watch TV or take the dogs for a walk. After a while, though, and I don’t suppose it takes more than a few visits, you must catch on. By no means am I his only friend, if you can call his many visitors friends, because truthfully we are not. Sure, we laugh and joke and talk too long, like friends do, but we always leave looking and acting differently than when we arrived. Sometimes we move in slow motion. Sometimes we’re fidgety and nervous. It depends on the drug, whether it’s a stimulant or depressant. Heroin or coke. Or meth. Or all three for an interesting little cocktail. And then you detect that strange smell in the air that not even our cigarette smoke can mask, and it’s not marijuana, either. That odor you know well because everyone in junior high is smoking it, or almost everyone, and maybe you’ve even sampled it yourself already. But this other odor, it’s different, a chemical odor, kind of like burning rubber. It’s hard to describe but it smells nothing like weed.

Other times your father’s friends come and go so quickly you must wonder why they ever bothered to visit. Some of us meet him at the door and a minute later we’re back in our cars.

Your mother, where’s she?

When did you last see her? I’m not familiar with this part of your story, knowing only that she’s not there for you at this point in your life. She’s an addict, too, this much I do know, and maybe she’s still using when your father is clean. Maybe that’s why she left. If this is the case, at least with your father you have a roof over your head and food in the refrigerator. At least with him you attend school instead of bouncing from one dope house to another, crashing on beat-up couches or dirty floors, and sometimes, when your mother wears out her welcome, having to sleep on the streets.


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