I had never done anything like it before – but, as I think about it, I had been doing a lot of things I’d never done before at the time. It was like some new addiction I’d picked up: acting completely unlike the normal self I’d been acquainted with for years. My tongue rolled around the world addiction – so delicious, so energizing, so… frightening. That could be because these “new experiences” I was trying weren’t like riding a new roller coaster or trying out a new recipe; they were a little darker.
I remember the night so easily. It was clear, a star or two was out. I was surprised I was able to park on the road I did, my little Audi cramped in between car after car. I was particularly surprised I parked so well, considering successful parallel parking is one of my flaws. Christie stared at me from the other side of the vehicle, motioning to me with her hand.
“Are we going in or not?” she asked, and wiggled her eyebrows, which made me laugh off my nervousness. Somewhat.
The house was small, yet still managed to look ominous. My gut quivered with an awful feeling. I wasn’t usually one to discard my instincts, but I reminded myself it was my idea to drag Christie out at 2:07 AM, and that I was trying to have fun. How was I supposed to have fun if I was too afraid to put myself out there? I sighed, and made my way over to Christie so we could walk up the stairs to the front door.
“Well, look at you lovely ladies,” Evan’s voice greeted us, and my grimace melted into a smile.
“How are you?” I asked, and gave him a hug. “I haven’t seen you in a long time.”
His hand rested on my back after I let him go, and he replied, “Borderline six months, I’m sure. You must be Christie.”
“Pleasure.” She grinned, and her eyes flickered to Evan’s hand that still rested on the small of my back. I stepped out of his continued embrace and shot her a look that read, Weird.
“Pleasure’s all mine. This is Andrew and Ron. Guys, this is Katrina and Christie.”
“You can call me Kat,” I said, and shook the guys’ hands. Andrew wouldn’t look me in the eye as he shook my hand, and his grip was too loose. He made a face when I shook his hand with a little more strength. Ron’s handshake was firm, his gaze steady.
“Ready to do this, Kitty Kat?”
I flinched slightly. Collin used to call me that.
“Isn’t that nickname clever,” I droned, and I added in an eye roll. “Yes, let’s go.”
Evan smirked and winked at me before he started to walk through the house. He was flirting with me. I didn’t like it.
“You want to smoke before you buy?”
Have fun. “I’m down if you are,” I said, and my line of sight traveled to Christie as I shrugged my shoulders.
She giggled. “Sure.”
The house wasn’t any bigger on the inside – in fact, it was a little cramped, like my car on the street. There were beer cans that littered the floor, and Cheeto bags that held the couch hostage. There was a bed in what I had assumed to be the living room, along with a large TV. Overall, it wasn’t a bad layout. It would be better if they picked up a little bit, but only so much could be expected of college guys. After all, we were just there to buy some weed.
Evan led us through an open glass door and onto a porch, where a bong was waiting. That awful feeling had come back to haunt my gut; the last time I had an encounter with a bong, it hadn’t ended too well. In fact, the entire experience had me so terrified I had sworn off Mary-Jane for months. It had only been recently that I had started to dabble again. Was I ready?
I situated myself in the cushioned chair and leaned over to Christie.
“I’m not going to smoke very much, okay?” My voice sounded braver than I felt. “You can do however much you want, but I want to make sure I can get us home safe.”
She smiled and another giggle escaped. She was a nervous giggler, and these guys were making her nervous. Was it because they were cute, or because she felt uncomfortable? I should have followed my instincts. I didn’t.
Someone – Andrew, I thought? – took the first hit, and passed it to me. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as idle conversation took place, and I felt the ridiculous need to impress Evan and his friends. I snatched the lighter, lighted up the contraption, and took a hit.
“Wow,” one of the guys remarked as I found myself in a coughing fit. “That was a huge hit.”
“Totally ripped it,” Evan agreed, and eagerly took the bong from my grasp.
On the bright side, I had managed to impress the guys. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stop coughing. I thought I was dying. My chest was on fire, my throat was scraping against itself aggressively, and my eyes were leaking pools big enough for small children to swim in. The bong had already made it back around to me, and I waved my hand dramatically. Somewhere along the line, I had stopped coughing. I couldn’t remember when. My entire world was rocking, and it made me feel like I was on a boat. My peripheral vision was completely useless, considering everything around the object I chose to stare at would disappear entirely. What had I done?
Even my high mind could remember that question being asked before. What had I done? There was a pulse in the left side of my head, and each beat brought a flash of a memory. Boom. A vase cracked by my face. Boom. He pinned my arms to my side. Boom. He was yelling my name over and over again: Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina –
I had to shake my head to stop seeing his face so close to mine. I chose to focus on Christie to keep me from remembering. She was talking so loudly. What about? She seemed to be on the phone with someone – her boyfriend, probably. The guys looked disturbed. Were they uneasy because of me? Had I even said anything recently? How long had it been since I took that first hit? I wanted to go home. Now. I didn’t feel safe or happy. Crap, the guys were talking and looking at me pointedly. I tuned in.
“… inside and watch something?”
I blinked uncontrollably. “What?”
Evan smiled sympathetically and repeated, “Do you want to go inside and watch something?”
I nodded, and somehow managed to lift myself up from my chair. Christie was off her phone at this point, and we followed them back inside the house, into the living room/bedroom area. I heard Evan telling us we could sit wherever we’d like as the rest of them plopped onto the couch and chairs. With little options left, Christie and I climbed up onto the bed. My phone buzzed and I jumped, startled, It was a text from Christie: I don’t think that was just weed. Someone turned on Animal Planet, and I stared at the screen as I mulled over her message.
She was probably right. I had been high a few times before, but never had I felt like this. Yes, I had had scary moments that made me want to swear it off, but never had I felt so out of it. I knew what I needed to do: I needed to text Collin. I needed to apologize for running out on him and ignoring him, and I needed to accept that it was all my fault. I shifted as I remembered that night, that angry night, when I had sprinted out the door, away from the broken vase I had bought him and his hysterical shouts. I couldn’t call Collin. I was proving a point.
Eventually, Christie got up and I looked at her. She mumbled something about leaving, winked at me, and walked out of the room. Panicked, I tried to maneuver my legs to go after her, but they wouldn’t budge from their crossed position. I opened my mouth to call after her, but I stopped to wonder why. I felt great, all of a sudden. My body felt so light, and my limbs were tingling with excitement. Wow, I wanted to do something! If I had known how to dance, I would have been up and doing it! My heart was beating rather fast, actually. It was almost beginning to hurt as it pounded in my chest so violently, but the idea that even my heart was excited made the feeling all the more exhilarating.
I saw Evan smiling at me, and he said he’d be right back, he was going to drive one of his friends home. The words had hit home enough to bring me down slightly from my euphoria. Could he take me home? There was no way I could have driven like that. It was so late, too! It had to have been so dark outside. I remembered the few stars I had seen on the way in, so pretty… I had gotten sidetracked. I needed to ask Evan to take me home! But he was already out the door with his friends; he left me in an empty house.
An empty house? I could dance! I wiggled myself off the bed, my legs suspiciously more than ready to move at that point, and I imagined some good dancing music in my head. I bounced around to the music until I fell smack on my butt, and I giggled hysterically. That was how Evan found me: on the ground and in a fit of laughter. How long had he been gone? Not that long…
“You’re a mess,” he sighed, and scooped me up into this arms to that he could situate me on the couch. “How are you liking the high?”
Could I even string together a proper sentence at this point? “I’m great!”Apparently I could. “I feel… more different.”
Evan’s eyebrows rose. “Have you never had it laced with Molly before?”
The smile remained plastered on my face, but inside, alarm bells were ringing with such fervor that annoying pulsing was back. Lacing weed can be dangerous, Collin had warned me when I asked about the concept after hearing about some people doing it. Never smoke laced weed.
My mind started to panic, and I felt Evan’s hands push me back onto the couch. He grabbed some blankets to put on top of me. At least he was being nice and letting me crash at his place. Where had Christie gone? I checked my phone, and stared at a text message that said: Thought I’d give you and Evan some privacy 😉
He climbed onto the couch next to me. That awful feeling became a huge ball in my stomach and made me want to vomit. Not only had he climbed on the couch, but he had climbed on top of me, and his lips seared my neck while his fingers pushed down the straps of my shirt and bra all in one. He was everywhere as he unbuttoned my jeans and unclasped my bra and I heard myself whimpering, crying for him to stop. He put his hand over my mouth, shushing me, trying to sooth me, which just made me cry harder. I had known Evan for a long time. What was he doing?
My knee slammed up of its own accord, and based off the stream of expletives he released, I assumed I had crushed what I intended to. He rolled away from me and in an instant I was up and running for the door. He was yelling my name, Katrina Katrina Katrina as I fell down the steps in a hurry and sprinted to my car. I jumped in and locked the doors and drove as fast as I could. I had to get home. I had to get home safe, but I wasn’t sure if I could. Funny how, in trying to get away from Collin, I found someone else just like him.