I met her several years ago and she made a drastic impression on me. She was in her early twenties and very pretty in a frail, delicate way. She was the kind of person you immediately want to protect or rescue. Epic, punishing drug use had turned her into a damaged shell. She had vacant, permanently-glazed eyes. A kind of dead gaze. She moved gradually, as if she had to concentrate on the smallest gestures, and spoke slowly, forcing out uncomfortable-sounding words. She stumbled through sentences in a halting manner. She was so fragile and edged I was afraid that if I surprised her she’d shatter like glass. She told stories and they all involved drugs. Like the time she kicked heroin (cold turkey) while watching a Leave It to Beaver marathon. The show became a traumatic trigger for her and now she couldn’t watch it without suffering drastic flashbacks. She bragged about shooting meth at her grandmother’s house and spending two days maniacally rocking in a chair on the front porch. She stole cocaine (and a car) from her mother. She told me that she once ran out of heroin so she shot up with water just to shoot something. I asked her if shooting water had made her feel better and she shrugged and replied, “No, not really.”
She seemed doomed and carried the weight of tragedy like a boulder on a cliff. She was hovering over death. I still think about her often. I wonder what happened to her. I can’t seem to remember her name.