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Contains adult content: Drug use, death

The first time my cousin Holly died, I was sitting in my new apartment. I turned off all the lights and drank a 40 oz of beer myself. I knew she was all right, I knew they had resuscitated her, but, I also knew this wasn’t the end. I remembered when she told me that she had started to use heroin. I asked her if she still did and she said “No.” That time in her life had passed and she wanted to make good decisions for now. I believed her. Not because I really did trust in what she was saying but because I wanted to. I promised myself that I would never put myself in that position. That, was the summer of 1998, I was nineteen.

By the time I was twenty, I was living the nightlife in NY. My apartment was a dump, I was living in the ghetto, working and going to school full time and frankly I just wanted to escape. At first I was just going to clubs, excited that I could get in even though I didn’t have an ID. That changed after a few weeks when I was introduced to cocaine. At first I declined but my curiosity got the best of me and inside the bathroom stall I took my first taste of what would become my drug of choice. It was different from what I expected, it didn’t burn, I didn’t sneeze, and instead there was just a metallic aftertaste that seeped into the back of my throat every time I sniffed. The way it made me feel was what made me fall in love. I felt like a rock star, like I was the most beautiful girl in the club, I was sociable, a great dancer, I went home with numbers and free vials every night. I even managed to stay on top of my classes and work. Life, was, good.

Five months later that would all change. I got a slip from one of my teachers saying that if I missed another class I’d flunk. I was appalled; I had done all the work. Why was he acting this way? Later in the evening over dinner with a friend, she laid it out to me. I had missed a few important events and my friends and teachers were just plain tired of my erratic behavior. I swore that evening that when I went out that evening it would be the last time. In a way, it was. I was on fire, with ten rum and cokes in my system and a vial of coke to myself. I danced my way into oblivion only to find myself in the middle of Sixth Avenue with a guy I barely know spooning coke into a straw and up my nose. Cars whizzed by us as we tried to walk the straight yellow line. He asked me to come home with him; I declined swearing I could do it myself. I hopped in a cab and danced my way home from the backseat. In a hopped up state I told the cab driver to stop a block away from house and walked down the street, my mind playing the movie of my life over and over. I sat on the sidewalk and played with the street cats, I ran down the rest of the block until I got to my apartment and fell up the stairs. I literally dragged myself to the door and into my bed where I danced some more, moving my arms frantically around while the beats from the club played in my head. My heart was pounding, I was sweating, and I was trying to sleep. I started to realize this was turning into a nightmare.

I felt nauseous, my heart was racing, and I was having trouble getting out of my bed. I managed to crawl to the bathroom before crashing to the ground. I started to throw up and managed to lift myself up to the toilet. I lay there face pressed to the side of the seat and then a small red trickle into the toilet. I touched my face; my nose was a red sticky mess. When I tilted my head back I started to choke. All I could do was keep my head tilted down. I fell to the floor and started to black out. I’m not sure how long I was on the floor for, but I know that I prayed. I prayed that I wouldn’t die and that my parents wouldn’t have to deal with another addict. I was a mess of blood, tears and vomit. All I wanted was to just go to sleep and I knew that was the one thing I couldn’t do. I knew the outcome. I thought of Holly, is this what she went through? Once again I swore that if I lived through this then I would change my life for good.

I was blacking out, I could see my vision blurring and fading the way an old black and white television would, my vision condensing into one small dot only to disappear. I could hear noises faintly in the background. I could only take tiny breaths.

SPLASH! I opened my eyes and started to shake. I looked around, my vision still blurred but I could make out my housemate hovering over me trying to shake me awake. I was in the bathtub covered in vomit and blood. I looked around for a moment.
“Ah, Kate what have you done?” He shook his head before turning the shower on.
I looked up at him wide eyed and scared. I threw up again.
He ran into the kitchen and got me some water.
“Drink this?”
I drank it and he filled it up again. He made me drink glass after glass until I threw up again.
“It’ll get it out of your system.”
I sat there for a moment, not sure how long I had passed out for. “Whatever you do, just don’t call an ambulance.”
He held my face and checked my eyes. “They’re not as dilated anymore. You should be okay.”
“Thank You.”
“Don’t thank me. You’re the one that will be cleaning up the mess later.”
“I breathe in. The stench of vomit is repulsive. “Okay, I’m just going to lie in my own filth for a while.”

I kept my word. After that night I never touched coke again. It wasn’t easy, I had to leave friends and lovers behind and start fresh. I became addicted to making good art and I forgot about drugs, until I was twenty-two. I was visiting my family and friends in Ma. I got the phone call; Holly was dead. She had overdosed on heroin. I walked around the house in a daze; I sat in the corner of my bedroom and imagined what it must have been like for her. Her last words were, “This doesn’t feel right.” She died in a park, alone on Thanksgiving. I cried for her, she was my best friend. That night my dreams were dark.

The next few months I walked around in a daze. I couldn’t produce art, I could barely write an article or a story. I just wanted to be with her. I spent hours at her grave bringing her flowers, reading by the grave, and talking to her. As it turned out this was to be one of the most beneficial times of my life. My own experiences started to gain perspective. I was becoming stronger and I vowed that I would make something of my life, not only for me but for her also. I took my wrong turns and put them into my work, I started to write again.

Since then I’ve turned myself around, made a career. Sometimes in bed I wonder why she was taken and I wasn’t. She was talented and beautiful. When she walked into a room, she shined. I wanted her to be remembered; I started to write about her. As I wrote it felt as though she was right in the room with me. I felt a surge of energy that I had never felt before. I lit candles in her honor and prayed that she was safe. Then something beautiful happened. The stories I was writing were getting great feedback. Teenagers and young adults were finding similarities from Holly and my experiences. They wrote me letters telling me they didn’t feel alone. I was helping people to understand that drugs were not the answers to their problems.

In the greater scheme of things I know Holly would be happy. The one thing she wanted in the world was to be remembered and through these writing not only was she remembered but she was also helping out another human being. Through my own experiences I came to understand Holly and through her death I came to understand myself. The circle of life continues.






------
"In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed."
William S. Burroughs



Comments

The following comments are for "Walking The Yellow Line"
by KatHarlander

We lived!
I'm glad too. On both of our accounts. On a completely unrelated note I keep seeing all my grammatical errors. *sigh*

This is why I can't type at night! I type with one eye open and the other closed and sleeping.

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

life + death
"the circle of live continues" + you lived!

( Posted by: MrSmith [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

Oh. My. God.
I knew you went through a very bad period in your life, but I had no idea just how bad it was.

You are a very lucky girl to have survived all that.

Ochani Lele

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

turning around
a well elucidated and mindful account, resonant to anyone who has wrestled with their own demons, and an inspiration to those who are still to fighting that battle…

you afford both yourself and Holly with proper human/humane dignity. I’m glad you truned your life around. welcome to Lit.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

Just curious . . .
Would the color "blue" have described your roommate at that time?

Just curious -- and only KatHarlander would understand this!

Ochani Lele

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

@ MrSmith
@ MrSmith Yes I did live and I am very grateful for that. I think it's the exact reason I am so driven in my life now.

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

@AuldMiseryGuts
Thank you for your kind words. I'm always afraid that I won't give her the proper respect when I write about her but it's very good to hear that I did.

I appreciate your comment very much.

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

@OchaniLele
And now you know why I am soooo sensitive about drug use and people who use. No the "blue" period had not started yet.
;)

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

@tinalouise
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for the comment. I appreciate it. It's odd thing when you write. I always think I've done a terrible job at explaining things but then a comment like yours comes along and makes me realise that I am my own worst enemy, but then again, aren't we all. Hahaha.
Thank you again. I am truly appreciative.

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

Chloe
Thank you Chloe!

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 20, 2008 )

Welcome KatHarlander to the Lit.Org
Quite an amazing thing, we've some things in common concerning users of hard drugs, I have a close family member who was a performer, once associated with and performed with well known performance rock band, I would rather not mention publically, but will gladly tell you via the Lit.Org Pm (private message system)...
.... she was also a dancer performance artist, model, etc. She was very sick for a while. Now, she, is very happy, sober, and clean, and is also engaged to be married.

I was never an addict, but I have survived unbelievable circumstances, against all odds, to name but a few, such as molestation, rape, physical and emotional abuse, so I know what it is to be a survivor...

'What does not kill me, makes me stronger', I always kept that Nietzsche quote in mind, and passed it along to all those that I loved or saw suffering over the course of my life.

Any friend or acquaintance of Ochani Lele (or Dagger too) is a friend of mine...

Happy to have you here at the Lit.Org, please come and share more...I am impressed by your writing skills, experiences and more. Blessings to you and yours!


Tashi Delek!
Lena

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

Actually . . .
KateHarlander is a very interesting woman; and, as an artist (she is a painter, among other things) she is far more talented in her medium than I am in mine. Her writing skills are on par with mine, which causes me quite a bit of envy!

I'm thinking of doing an Exposed! on her for the forum!

Ochani Lele

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

Lena
Just a further side-note: Just as you are one of the very, very few people who has never betrayed me or done a bad thing to me (and we span 20 years my friend), so are KateHarlander and Dagger two people who have never betrayed me or done a bad thing to me.

Olofin knows I have been used and abused by people who I thought were my friends!

I met Dagger 11 years ago (we keep forgetting to add the years as they pass, Dagger) in the hospital. He was one of my patients! We slowly forged a friendship that has withstood the test of time, and he would no more hurt me than he would cut off his own hand.

And I would do anything for him! I even sat at his side when he was deatly ill, at his bedside night after night when I was off duty, and when I was on duty, I made sure I was his little slave . . . i mean . . . nurse . . . which IS a slave, after all!

Kate and I met online; it was followed by a series of phone calls, and then we met at my godfather's house in Brooklyn. She's drop-dead gorgeous, and reeks of art (as if art was a smell, and as if one would describe it as a reek). I've told her a few of my deepest, darkest secrets that I've told no one, except you, and Dagger as well.

You take one look at Kate, and you just KNOW that she is about to be the rock star of the art world. You need an AGENT girl . . . but then again . . . so do I!

So if the three of you ever want to compare notes on me and gain insights, feel free -- because I have nothing to hide from any of you. I trust you three with my life, and it's about time you all met anyway.

Two other friends are joining soon . . . one of them is trying to find "just the right pseudonym to use. That would be Mandy. While Kate is drop-dead-gorgeous, Mandy is an ethereal beauty whose exotic looks hint at otherworldly desires. It's incredible, and fresh. She writes well, too; and she's a fabulous, practical herbalist. She's a perfumer with natural ingredients, and makes her own oils and incenses and bathbombs . . . all in addition to working as a Pharmacy Tech. And I trust her even though I haven't known her long. She's got a sweet soul, full of suffering and suffrage, and would actually hurt herself before she hurt me. I can just see that in her eyes.

All there of them are fabulous!

And then there's Lani. I'm convinced Lani and Kate should meet and create art together. They are both so talented. And Lani has a talent I wish I had -- she writes poetry that will reduce you to tears before you've finished the last line. I don't know how she does it, but if you let yourself get into it, you are a babbling fool. When she gets here and starts writing for everyone at lit, I guarantee you will all fall in love with her. She, like Kate, makes her living with her artwork, and does the writing on the side.

Anyway, I just wanted to write a bit about some of my other favorite people. The only one you have to watch out with is Dagger. He's Puerto Rican, Boricua to be exact, and when he gets angry, there's nothing short of an act of God that will get him calm again.

But his rants are quite funny. If one ever ends up here, we'll list it under "HUMOR."

:) Ochani Lele :)

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

REALLY? More Coming? FANTASTIC!
Stuart,

Wow, thanks for the details, and SO HAPPY that even more of your friends are coming here. You are such a positive influence here, I just love it! Thanks for sharing the details of your friendships with Dagger and KatHarlander! Both wonderful people as have been all your friends and associations, I don't expect any less....you have good taste and the intuition to know the essence of the person. I have that too...that is why we both have been such constant and good friends for so many years.

Like you, I believe that BETRAYAL is the worst form of friend, and that is why I have so few that I trust in my life, especially that go back as far as you. You have never betrayed me either, and thank you for the compliment my old friend!

ALL love,
Lena

PS. By the way, I STILL love that newest Orishas story about good food bad food, the one I titled GOOD TONGUES/BAD TONGUES!

If harsher critique is what you want ask Shannon, or Ogg or RCallaci or few others here that have been around awhile and can critique story. Remember I am but a...well, you know what I am. Art if I like it, I like it. Writing or whatever. I have emotional responses to art, and to me it was perfect as I read it.

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

Oh, No! SCREAMING again, hahahaha!
Wow, she is a painter too, well, you know that is my main forte (I must get to know Kat better) and I am visually oriented in most art, so I use writing only to incorporate it into mixed media or concept, or Dadaesque to protest, etc.--Amazing, keep on bringing more of them in, Lit.Org needs lots of NEW BLOOD to help boost it, though most all of our old time Lit.Org writers here are by far exceptional as you have said, and I too believe. Yes, as I have told Rogan, I like using caps! It is a DADA art movement thing, hehehehe;-)

Again, thanks for the compliment in your above comment old friend, I adore you and welcome all within your circles, and I know you are quite well known by many, so keep them coming, YES< keep them coming!

ALL love,
Lena

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

Padrino
You are too good to us. I think those who have been hurt in life tend to find each other. We have all had hard experiences in life, we have all been hurt and betrayed and we find each other because we know what the other has gone through. This is one of the most beautiful descriptions of me. I am so touched. (I promise I won't get too mushy for you.)

You have been my rock and there is nothing in this world I can't or won't tell you. I have called you in my darkest times and shared things with you and Dagger that I don't tell anyone. And you my dear friend ARE the rockstar of the Lucumi community! Your writings are amazing and I am honored that you feel they are on par with mine.

Also your description of Dagger is right on!

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

Dagger
I love you my dear Godbrother. Your description earlier today of you, me, and Padrino was touching and so dear to my heart.

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

Lena
yes we must talk! I adore meeting other artists and writers. I love surrounding myself with creative people. I believe we will get along extremely well and have many things to discuss as I see we have a lot more in common than just the people we know. I also am happy to be part of a group that nourishes that creativity that lies within us. If you have a website I'd love to check it out. I am a bit of an internet junky and so you can find me at the following places:
www.katelanfoisy.com (my art page)
http://bloodandpudding.livejournal.com
www.flickr.com/photos/katelanfoisy
As you can see my real name is katelan but I do most of my writing under Kat Harlander as well as my modeling.

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

Katelan....pics/sites/art/poetry & MORE...
On my profile page here at the Lit.Org is the myspace.com link to my social networking site, just removed about 2000 people off of myspace.com/decided with both strangers and those that I knew only those I still have some link to or connection of interests did I want to keep, so, Stuart did that too, otherwise on myspace.com it can get out of hand with all the friend requests, rather keep it simple...even dropped some family I am not to crazy about, hehehe!

Ah, well, you can see a tid bit of my art (haven't updated a while) but it will give you and idea, plus a pic of my Lama Wangchen Rinpoche, and his teacher, and my old friend Yogi John Franzoni from L.A., also, on my friends list is Kisu (I'll tell you about Kisu privately, he is well known, very successful in his field as as an advisor/expert to those(film industry) in L.A.)----also, the first pic on my top friends list is that of my husband's, Joseph and his site, then you see Stuart next to Yogi John, etc.---plus I have written BLOGS about my Lama and Yogi John and Kisu..you might find it interesting, but I do need to update photos, (pics) haven't put anything new on since July.

By the way, on my profile page here, and on myspace.com is a poem written about me and for me by AuldMiseryGuts aka Shannon, dedicated just to me, and I love it, Shannon is an exceptional poet, one of our BEST here at the Lit.Org, so he did me quite an honor with his poem--it is called:

"PROMETHEESS"

I will definitely check out your site, and Stuart can give you my email if you want it, I look forward to more of your works, writing here and your paintings, WONDERFUL!

Tashi Delek,
Lena

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 21, 2008 )

Katelan, BEYOND my EXPECTATIONS! Wow!
Went to you sites, found the photo site particularly interesting, I know there is a trend toward macabre photography, have a son in law free lance pro photographer that gets a lot of requests for that...some I found disturbing, but that is just me, you are a good model....

NOW, on to you ARTWORK! Oh, you are awesome, truly, as an artist myself, a painter, I find your work WONDEFUL, unique, moving, it was a visual BANQUET! I LOVED IT! LOVED IT ALL!

Thank you so much for sharing, now come back and share more of you writing, is there anything you cannot do besides being beautiful too?

Namaste,
Lena

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 23, 2008 )

Damn, girl.
You weren't playing around. It's so hard for me to picture you like this, knowing you now. "I'm glad you made it through," doesn't even start to cover it.

I really like this piece and how it all comes full circle from Holly to you and back to Holly.

( Posted by: Mandolin [Member] On: November 24, 2008 )

Lena
Thank you for checking out my sites. I am in MA right now with very little access to the internet.

The photos I take are a form of self therapy. They usually depict things that have happened in my life that I am trying to work through. Right now I am working on a photo book with some other brilliant women doing the same. I will have to dm you and tell you about it. I am so glad you like my art. It is very dear to me and I spend a lot of time alone working on it. I'm working on some new writing and it will be up soon. xoxoxox

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 29, 2008 )

Mandolin!
Hey honey! I'm glad I'm still around too. And I'm glad I've grown up into who I am now.
Love you girl.

( Posted by: KatHarlander [Member] On: November 29, 2008 )

Kat Harlander...MA, eh?
Kat,

I have major family in MA, was just there a few months ago...have family in Boston, New Bedford, Dartmouth (where the real Dr Seuss originated from, hehehe)....and I love MA! Love your art, absolutely wonderful...I understand the therapy thing, so very well...Blessings, and great love and happiness I send you way, just as do to my darling oldest friend Stuart...he is a blessing to this site, a major help and boost, and to me and my family, we all LOVE him, my daughters that new him back when...can hardly wait till he come up to New York after my operation, so I can hug him again!

Keep writing...keep painting, you are fabulously talented, I adore your work.

Namaste,
Lena

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 29, 2008 )

Kat...looking forward to more!
YES

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 30, 2008 )





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