Memories of Cocaine Dreams

By Britni de la Cretaz

I chop up the white powder with a rewards card I got from a store I don’t care about. It’s got a caked white film on the edge already; this is not the first time I’ve done this with this particular card. I cut a line of powder — not too thick, not too thin. The goal is to do enough to feel good but not so much that I run out any time soon. I put the short straw that I’ve cut for this explicit purpose up to my nostril, bend down, and inhale deeply, feeling the familiar taste trickle down the back of my throat. I pass the straw to my friend and look at the clock. It’s 2:00 AM.

For most people, this is very, very late. They’ve already been asleep for a while, or are pouring themselves into bed, exhausted. For me, this is early, nowhere near time to crash. My pupils are as wide as saucers. My heart is racing, and so are my thoughts. My friend and I are having what we think is a Very Deep conversation. These nights seem to go on forever and end way too soon.

The thing about cocaine is that, if you do it right, you feel amazing. To the outside world, you’re very clearly on something, but you feel perfectly normal. Cocaine allows me to drink for hours, if not days, on end, while feeling coherent, funny, and brave. It is a feeling so elusive that I chase it with everything I have — all my wits, all my time, all my money. I put literally everything into chasing that high. becomes an unnecessary inconvenience.

But the party inevitably ends, and the cocaine runs out. Sometimes it is two days later, other times it is mid-morning. I frantically call my dealer, and sometimes, also inevitably, he doesn’t answer. I wrack my brain, desperate to find a way to avoid crashing and having to sleep. When it becomes clear that I have no other option, I lie down, only to have my thoughts keep racing and my heart keep pounding. Eventually, sleep comes. And when it does, there’s no waking me, for hours, even days. I finally wake up, disoriented. My head is pounding, my mouth is as dry as cotton. I have no idea what day it is, what time it is. Sometimes I have no idea where I even am. Snippets of a party play through my mind, but they don’t really make sense. It’s like flipping through a book — you get an idea what it’s about, but you don’t not actually know the story. But this is my life — stay up for three days, sleep for three days. The mania of the high is matched only by the void in my soul, one that grows deeper and darker every time I start the destructive cycle over again.

One day in the not so distant future, I will give this up, become a writer, learn to live without it, learn to sleep. But not just yet.

For now, I pick up the rewards card and begin the familiar task of cutting up the pile of white powder. I know it won’t last forever, but I look forward to the temporary reprieve from the darkness I know will come when that first line drips down the back of my throat. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Tags:  Cocaine Drugs Personal Essay Sleep Sleeplessness

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