So it has finally ceased, has it not? No longer do words flow from your lips like the rushing waves that still crash against the white beaches where you once lived. Silenced are the legions of fans who used to follow your every move, tracking you like hunted animal, desperate for a very glimpse of your face as you hid behind smoked glass and tinted mirror.
Gone are the piles of riches, the gifts bequeathed by corporations eager to see your famous name plastered on one product or other, begging you and pleading with you for endorsement, for you to whore out your image to the highest bidder.
Empty is the bed you once laid in with her…gone is the scent of her perfume, her clothing, the towels she would lay in a heap in a corner, infuriating you to no end.
Still remaining are the less-than-savory trappings of fame…the reduced sense of self, the hangers-on and entourage, still expecting gifts and tokens of affection you can no longer afford.
The drugs are still there…the piles of plastic baggies, the scorched spoons, the empty vials and wasted syringes, laid in a misshapen mound like some bizarre offering.
In the middle of it all, blood on your lips and glassy haze in your eyes, you lay, half in the world of the living, half still in the world of dreams. Your breathing is shallow; your chest does not rise and fall the same easy way it once did. It’s as though some terrible weight, some unseen burden, has been placed directly over your heart, stifling your air and weakening your limbs. Your teeth chatter and your fingers curl into themselves, though the air outside is frightfully warm and equally humid. Doubtless you even know day from night anymore. You’re a slave to the chemicals’ potent caress.
It is then that I approach you, feet treading lightly over the wooden floor, littered with shards of glass from bottles that lay broken nearby. To my knees I fall, my soul filling with pity for your plight. Three times you have called for me, three times I answered your call, only to see you turn your back on my eagerly offered help. Instead, you ran yet again into the arms of your angel, flinching as is your custom when the needle pierces your flesh. Many nights I have held you when the shivers rocked your body like a paper boat upon a vast unforgiving sea. Many nights have I tilted your head to the side as the contents of your stomach expel themselves violently. Many nights I wince as you curse the one who might help you, indeed, the one who has given you the very fame you once coveted.
But I am only a messenger, a comforter, a witness to the tragedy your life has become. I cannot undo wrongs. I cannot change what has already been written. I can merely offer you solace in your times of need, should you only be humble enough to accept it. I am here merely to stand in silence, guiding you on this journey that is fast approaching its end, if you do not change your current path.
What lies in that thin sheath of plastic cannot and will not save you. There is no hope in hopelessness; you of all people should recognize it. One who has seen such dizzying heights should appreciate all the more the depths to which despair can take you. But I cannot make that choice. It is up to you.
The broken man blearily opened his eyes, twisting his aching head to the side as though he had heard a phantom voice whispering in his ear. His body throbbed with weariness; his skull screamed as though it had been ripped open, but save for the blood seeping from his cracked lips there was nary a tear on his once-luminous skin.
Hands trembling, he reached for the plastic bag laying mere inches in front of his outstretched fingers. When his fist closed around the parcel he sighed mercifully and relaxed, dipping his narrow fingers into the mess of white powder.
Rest…just for now…rest.
Sighing, he entered another sleepless night.
© 2002. ~A.