Amber used to get high inside of her tiny room in Selden out on Long Island. The floor was literally knee deep with her stuff. There were old stuffed animals from local carnivals. There were rolled up bundles of thrift store clothes. There were books filled with her talented doodles and sketches. Others were full of collages she had created mostly from photos of her friends and pages out of fashion magazines like Vogue. She would have made one hell of an artist.

Her window was hidden in the front of the house by a tall bush. Late at night, after her boyfriend had cum and gone, Joe would squeeze behind the bush and climb through the window…. just for sex. Both of them had movie star good looks, the pair a twisted, subterranean, surreal Jack and Diane or Ken and Barbie. It was very mature of them; to be able to do what they were doing without falling in love.

Back in the other world –the one outside of Amber’s window- in bed and fast asleep, Joe’s not-so-pretty girlfriend dreamed about how perfect everything was. One day they would marry. Like her older sister, brother and parents before them, she would marry at the local church. Then she and Joe would have a reception at the Bavarian Inn over by the lake. All of their friends would come and she would look so beautiful in her wedding gown.
She would lose that weight God damn it!
She would do it for Joe, and for the sake of a nice photo album. Joe would get a good job to support them and their four kids.

But Joe was thinking about none of those things right now. He had told her that he was going out to “the city” to skateboard with his friends. Now, he sat on Amber’s floor, half submersed in the sea of plush animals and oversized sketch-pads. He took his wallet out of his pocket and removed four small rice-paper baggies. Instinctively, and without missing a beat, she passed him a small, rough-edged mirror which she produced from deep beneath her mattress. Joe ripped open the bags and spilled the white powder onto the mirror. They sniffed the miniscule, brown-ish-white lines from the dull and scratched reflective surface and in tandem fell back into the soft, furry and brilliant plush sea.
They always sniffed it.
They swore to each other –and themselves- that they would never; could never do that other thing.
After a little while, and a world of fun, Joe would climb back out of the window quietly, careful not to wake her sleeping parents in the next room over.

And when he was gone and she was alone again, surrounded by her dolls, art, sketches, doodles and collages of her smiling, happy friends, she would shoot a couple more bags of heroin. Then she would put on her Mazzy Star record, sit amid the knee deep sea of her own creations, and scratch her long, slender legs until they bled and scarred.

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