Short Story: Drug Affairs
I just want you all to know that although this is not a true story, and I have been lucky enough to not have any of my family affected in this way, it is still a very important issue which I hold close to my heart. I hope that one day I can actually make a difference, perhaps raise enough money so that I can start a foundation to help people with addictions.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this.
People tend to think that reporters are heartless, unable to feel emotion in their cold shrivelled hearts. I guess I understand that - despite how terrible the circumstances that may have occurred, they still have the nerve (or perhaps the strength?) to write the story for the rest of the world. Reporters are expected to keep their own personal beliefs and emotions at bay, producing a piece of writing that is unbiased and undemanding of what readers should feel or believe.
Lucky for me, I'm not a reporter. I'm merely an unspecialised writer, an amateur, which means I can express the pain that those reporters can't. Maybe it's a good job that I'm not a reporter. Maybe this is far more personal than I initially thought.
The reason for this piece of writing - whether you want to call it fictional or partially fictional or whatever - is because I was offered illegal drugs on a night out in town. My friends and I find there's no better way to forget the world than to close our eyes and dance to the loud beat and drone of the music in a club, surrounded by strangers who don't care enough to give us a second thought. It's great. We centre all our emotions on that dance floor, dancing our frustrations away. We don't need any substances such as alcohol or drugs, so when I was offered some cocaine by some guy I happened to start talking to at the bar; I quickly declined and left with my friends.
The problem is that some teenagers wouldn't. Some teenagers need more than just a spot of dancing to get through the bad times they're experiencing, deciding instead to turn to alcohol, or cigarettes, or even drugs. Thomas was one of these.
Thomas, my cousin, used to be a confident young man. Top of his class in Maths and Mechanics, he inspired to be an engineer, though I always thought he’d thrive as a football player - he would've made a fantastic goalkeeper for West Brom or Aston Villa or some other team. He was very popular not only for his good looks and skills on the pitch, but also for caring for people. He was a good listener known for giving good advice to those who asked for it. But it all came crashing down, and he became a shadow of the guy I used to know and respect.
He fell for a girl, Maddie Collins. I cannot trust myself to be around her anymore; I’m afraid of losing control. As is usually the case, it started off with a bit of cannabis, and then escalated from there. I can only imagine how much he liked her – in any other circumstance I am certain that he would’ve said no to the weed, turning his back on whoever it was who offered it him. But no. He liked this Maddie Collins. He liked her a lot.
I blame myself every day for not realising sooner that he had been turned towards drugs. I always considered ourselves to be close, yet he didn’t trust me, and I didn’t realise until it was too late. Until I walked in on him with a needle in his arm, pushing heroin into his veins. By that time he was an addict, not just a let’s-have-something-to-turn-up-the-party kind of user. An addict. I was ashamed. Not of him, but of myself for not being there for him. We had vowed to always keep each other in check, ever since my older brother passed away after years of heavy drinking. Only now Thomas was in rehab, and the guilt washed over me as I realised I’d failed him.
Many drug addicts never manage to admit to themselves – let alone anyone else – that they have a problem. Thomas could have easily just pushed me away and snapped at me to mind my own business, but he allowed me to express my concern and then told me himself that he wanted help. Although my heart ached for him as he was taken to rehab, I was so proud of my cousin. He was going to be one of the lucky ones. He was going to beat this.
It was a second relapse that killed him. Even to this day I blame Maddie – if it hadn’t been for her...
She told me herself. I slapped her. I yelled and screamed and hit and scratched until my father had to drag me off her.
“You bitch!” I’d screamed. “You murderer!”
She’d invited him round to hers while her parents were out. He was head over heels for her and she knew it. He didn’t protest as she pushed him over to the bed, took off her top and crawled on top of him. He did protest, however, when she asked him to steal some money from his parents so she could buy a big bag of heroin. She’d kicked off, calling him pathetic, telling him that the only reason she’d bothered with him at all was because she thought he would do anything for her.
That night he overdosed on a mixture of cocaine, ecstasy and heroin. To this day I don’t know where he got all that from, but I do know that I won’t rest until high schools become what they used to be – safe. It has become so easy for teenagers to get their hands on all sorts of illegal substances, harming themselves, killing themselves. I want to help sweep clean the streets of dealers. I want to help people who do have an addiction get the help they need to overcome it.
I want to save people. I want to save people where I couldn’t save my cousin. I owe him that much.
And so, as I sit before Thomas’ grave, writing this on a pad of paper, I feel a soft breeze which I believe to be the confident, sporty engineer I was so lucky to have known, and whom I will never forget for as long as I live.