I am 9 and it is summertime. Beautiful, humid, upstate NY weather with the cicadas and soft breezes. Naked outside weather, not too hot to sleep weather.  

It is an early night for us all – I am in my bed and hear my parents snoring – my father a roaring drone, my mother softly on occasion. I know they are asleep and I rise from my bed still in my favorite navy blue sports shorts and red tank top trimmed with navy. I put on my socks and shoes quietly.  

My shade is open as I am prepared. This is premeditated. I know what I’m doing, and where I’m going.  

Earlier, I planned my escape by leaving my shoes in my room, my shade open, my clothing on, my pockets full. I make little noise as I slip out of the open window.

My belly is already heavy as I scrape across the sill and let my feet to the ground. It’s never comfortable, but I’m proud to be strong enough to still get in and out silently.

I keep to the shadows as I cross the lawn – it’s a full moon tonight and the streetlights are on even though there is still light in the sky.

Once I hit the road I am free. A wave of pleasure crosses over me.  I’m unseen, untracked, and can do as I please. Must still be wary of neighbors spotting me so I hurry quickly down the street and listen for sounds from yards.  

I am getting away with it.  

I pass the neighborhood friend’s house and note that their lights are out – they are asleep too, all six of them. Holding breath until I am out of risk of their prying familiarity with me… their numbers baffle me. I’m an only child.

After the big fir tree is between their house and mine I slow down. I savor the time alone, breathing deeply – trying to inhale a store of this uncaged being. 

I feel oppressed by childhood.  

Moments alone are the only time I do not. I desperately crave to have adult experiences so that I can feel that increased level of choice and independence. The craving never goes away.

At the bend in the road I take a left through the cul-de-sac as I’ve finally found a big shortcut. Usually it scares me to do it at night, but tonight I feel infused with courage. And power.  

I walk through someone’s lawn to a path through a dense patch brambles and junipers.

At the end of that path the grassy, dark field behind the police station.

Here my policy is to walk to my destination with purpose. Even when officers have noticed me, I’ve never been questioned. My heart quickens every time, with the danger of the cops and the nearness of my journey’s high point.

The convenience store shines fluorescent light on my desires. It is designed to be what it is – a beacon. I go straight for what I want. The clerk recognizes me and smiles his enabling smile.  

“Thanks champ!” he says to my exact change. I wonder whether he knows that I am a girl. People often make that mistake, or simply can’t tell.

On the way home I quickly eat one candy bar after another, until the 2 Zero bars, 3 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, 2 Twix, 4 Peppermint Patties and the giant Hershey’s bar are gone, gone with the $12 in smaller bills and coins I’ve had in my pocket all day. Scrounged from the couch, borrowed and stolen from my parents and friends’ parents. By the time I hit the path again, all of this is gone. 

When I pass the police station I transfer my remaining loot to one hand and give it the finger with the other.

I’m high all the way home. Ecstatic, flushed, warm, filled. In the present moment feeling no anxiety of time passing. As I clear the final stretch a pacified numbness sinks in. Regret sings when I haul myself back into the house, but I’m too apathetic to listen.  

I don’t want to be back here.  

Gone is the freedom. What’s left is the teasing I’ll get tomorrow for my body. This thought crashes me, and I hit my bottom bunk bed and am asleep to escape the gas and discomfort and self-flagellation.  

Tomorrow, or maybe in a couple days – or maybe, maybe even a week I’ll chase the dragon. My grownup quest with the rainbow’s end proving my identity as an eternal child.

Another origin story.

Like stories about buying drugs (sugar counts)? Here’s more:

1: Drugs and Sex: The European Lovers: Hookup

2: Christiania: Christiania

3: Hasidic drug dealer: Padding the Pushke

4: Route 36 cocaine bar: Route 36

5: Mezcal: Ruta Del Mezcal

6: Sonoma County, California: Tweaker Pool

7 Happy Pizza in Cambodia: Happy Pizza

8: Bhang in Delhi: Cannabis in India: Bhang

9: Buying Drugs in Iconic Places


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