My boyfriend and I had been staying at this seedy hotel room for months. It was one of many seedy motels that lined Aurora Way in North Seattle. His responsibility was paying for the hotel. He did this by calling his grandma every week and asking her for money. Every week I would sit and listen while he called his grandma and made up another bullshit story for why he needed money. I was good at lying in a different way. Every day I would ride the bus to the mall and walk around asking people for spare change. By that point I had been doing it so long I didn’t bother making up a lie for why I needed the money. I would just look as pathetic as possible and assure them that anything would help me get back on my feet. I would sort through the change, organizing it by size, until I had a few dollars then I would stash it away in my pockets. I threw the pennies in away in the gardens and bushes surrounding the stores and the mall.On the way back to the hotel at the end of the day I would stop at the bank and trade all the change in for bigger bills
At that time, my spanging was supporting both myself and my boyfriend’s heroin habits. We each needed about a gram a day to keep from getting sick. That meant I had to hit as close as possible to earning $170 a day to keep us both well. A lot of days if I wasn’t getting close I would practice a back-up plan in my head. If I was short would I have the guts to offer the dealer a sexual favor to make up the difference? He was a short fat Mexican and I had never yet had to sell or trade my body for drugs. I imagined that when that day came, then I would know what it feels like to have your soul break into pieces. Everyday I would return with the money, call the drug dealers and sit and wait for them to come wherever they said they wanted to meet me. If they didn’t show after too long, I would walk back to the pay phone and call again. Sometimes, they had had to stop somewhere else first. Sometimes they had gotten paranoid and wanted me to go somewhere else to meet. Sometimes I had to wait hours.
Once I got the drugs, I would go home and we would shoot up together. I started getting resentful that I had to do all the hustling these days. We had been together on the streets for over a year. He kept getting arrested for stupid hustles. Finally, I told him to just let me make the money spanging. I was sick of him going to jail. Being strung out on the streets sucks bad enough, but when you don’t have a lover to protect you, keep you warm at night, and help participate in the delusion, it’s almost unbearable. We hadn’t had to sleep outside in a long time and things were always better with him there.
Despite this, I would skim some of the drugs before I brought them back from meeting the dealer and stash them in the seams of the window curtains in the other room of our hotel. I felt justified because I was working harder. He usually wanted to get some coke too. Otherwise it didn’t really feel like you were getting high anymore. You did all that work hustling just so you didn’t feel like you were dying. I hated the coke, but that didn’t stop me from doing it. Every time I did a shot, everything would get really loud. I would turn the tv way down, go check the mirror to make sure I was ok, then go peep out of each window in that motel to make sure there weren’t cops outside.
On February 11th though, there were. Cops always pound on the door so hard and distinctly. As soon as you hear it, you know your fucked and are trying to come up with a plan. My boyfriend had already gone over it with me many times. He had the bed in the back room set up so that he could hide between the wall and the bed. The covers hid him and it looked like the bed was against the wall. As soon as he heard the knocks he went back and hid. I felt abandoned, scared, and angry as I let the cops in. They flooded the room asking me questions. Was I alone? Did anyone else stay there with me? What was my boyfriend’s name? Where was he? I lied badly while they searched the hotel room. When they found him they put him in cuffs and asked more questions. I tried my best to stick with the right lies. I knew he had a warrant. Everything else was a blur.
They told me I could pack one bag and they would let me go. I went to the back room. I don’t know how I got out of there with all the dope, even the extra I had stashed in the curtains. It was probably stuffed up my pussy though. Hours later, I was out in the cold, alone. It was the middle of the night, I had one bag, enough drugs for two people, and no boyfriend again. There had been a guy who offered me a place to stay once. When I had asked him for money at a gas station nearby. He must have shoed me where he lived just in case, because somehow I found his place. I knocked on the door and he let me in.
After he went to sleep, I went into his bathroom and shot up. I did all the drugs, except for a wake up and enough doses to get me through another day of begging. You always make sure you save some for the morning. Otherwise you will wake up feeling like you are going to die, too sick to get any kind of hustle going. Regardless, there was enough there to get me higher than usual and it should have dampened the pain. In Narcotics Anonymous you will hear a lot of recovering addicts share that they quit when the drugs stopped working for them. That night, despite having more than enough drugs to get high and drown the pain, all I felt was lonely. I missed my mom, I missed my family, and I missed my boyfriend. The void had become so big, no amount of drugs could make it go away.
The next morning I got up and went to the bus stop to go to the mall. I didn’t have any more fight left in me. I couldn’t bear the thought of asking for change all day, trying to figure out where to stay that night. I was too sad and lonely to hustle. I called my mom and she sent me bus tickets. I made her promise she wouldn’t put me in treatment. I gave the last of the drugs away to a junkie downtown and told them I was going home to get clean. I kept one little hit, don’t ask me why.
Once I got on the bus, I changed my mind about keeping the last hit. I took it to the bathroom and threw it in the toilet. I had to get rid of it before I got sick. Because once I did it would be too hard not to do it. It floated to the top. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the little piece of heroin wrapped in plastic to flush down the bus toilet. So I left it there. Hours later when the bus pulled in to the Portland, Oregon station. I went back into the bathroom, fished the heroin out of the toilet and took it with me into the station bathroom. The only good needle I had was the type for muscling drugs, so that’s what I did. I cooked it up and I shot it into my muscle. That was the last time I ever did heroin: February 12th, 2004.