Sometimes being clean means watching Cops and flinching every time a bag of speed is found. But you still watch. Sometimes the yearning burns hard through your body.

A sudden memory comes along, the time when you and Jeff spent days in his parent's mansion while they spent time at their beach house. The sex that went on for hours. Grasping a cold Fuji water bottle and walking barefoot on the dark hardwood floors just after getting out of the pool. Nothing felt so good as that floor on my barefeet, still damp, while I was high. Flinch.
I would play numerous song fragments on the piano in the living room. Moonlight Sonata; simple, before the pages go black with notes.

On the television screen, the handcuffed man denies the crystal is his.
"Then how'd it end up on the back seat?" asks the cop.
"Man, this guy earlier ran by my car and he opened the back door. I was like 'what'? I didn't know what he was doing. Then he ran off, real quick like. I had no idea he threw that stuff in there!"

A few times this girl Lena, Jeff's friend, came over to the mansion. We sat in the jacuzzi and played around by placing the water jets in just the right place against our bodies. She was beautiful. A stripper. A prostitute. I gave her a backrub once, and she felt like fine satin over her exquisite bones. This was a high in itself.
She loved rap, but I couldn't play that on the piano. I played part of "Memory" for her, but then I forgot the rest.

Sometimes being clean means swallowing an entire box of Mucinex-D for a cheap speedy high. Sometimes the boredom and desire gets to you that bad, and when you're throwing up at 2 a.m. you still feel it was worth it.

Every year the crisp autumn air will do it to me. Flinch. The powerful memories of spending time high with Jeff hit me, since our romance was mainly during one fall. That slight cool breeze on an October night just before dusk...
The sex was like nothing else. We were having a ball. His terrific lips on mine after I danced around a little to Monster Magnet's "Silver Future." Turning to watch in the mirrored wall as we writhed against each other in the chair. Yes. Flinch.
We watched "The Professional," his favorite movie, one day.

Stansfield:"I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It's like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growing and you can hear the insects. Do you like Beethoven?"

Once, he showed me footage on his computer of the tsunami that had hit Sumatra. With dilated pupils I stared as an entire beach-side bar slowly filled with water. Spun out, I ran out of the room for a moment in amazement.
Later that night at my apartment alone, I would listen to Philip Glass as I tried to drift off into a much needed sleep.

Can you hear it? The calm before the storm...

Circles and circles until eventually I lose everything.

Sometimes being clean means remembering how you got to living in your mother's house, working a minimum wage job, and taking several meds to ease the pain.

Eventually, eventually, things will get better. Like Beethoven.

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