I remember thinking, “My God! How long have I been here?!”
…But no one could have answered me, even if I had mustered the strength and courage to ask the question aloud (without mumbling and jabbering like some kind of drunken Aborigine), because no one would have known. In fact, they probably would not have been able to even read the clock by that time (if there had been a clock to read). Then again, maybe they would have; maybe it hadn’t been long enough for them to get lost; maybe they still had a grip on reality; I surely didn’t. I was seated cross-legged on my friend’s couch, but I didn’t know how I’d gotten there, or what had happened to my shoes for that matter; had I taken them off? Perhaps my shoes had gotten angry with me and left of their own accord. For a moment, that thought had made me laugh, and then it almost seemed to be a perfectly reasonable explanation. Again the question of how much time had passed came to me. How long had I been there? It seemed like an eternity since those wicked drops had fallen on my tongue, and yet a wholly different feeling of the same intensity told me that it had not been very long at all; a few minutes maybe, but it had to have been longer than that; the credits were rolling.
“Is the movie really over?” I thought, and then, “what movie? Did we watch a movie? Has the TV been on this whole time? Did someone change the channel? Is it really on?”
Then suddenly, it all made sense. We had not watched a movie, the TV was on the whole time, but we were in the other room listening to music and playing cards. I went into the kitchen and looked at the clock; it was 11 pm. “Forty-five minutes,” I thought, “it’s gonna be a long night.” I went into the bathroom, urinated, blew my nose, and began washing my hands. This took longer than normal, both because my hands seemed to be exceptionally dirty, for no good reason at all, and because I found the sensation of lathering them to be unusually pleasing. As i was drying my hands I accidentally caught sight of myself in the mirror; I looked like Hell.
I was as white as a cartoon ghost except for the deep blues that encompassed my eyes, which had themselves, become almost completely black from the dilatation of my pupils; not to mention, that I probably could’ve fit an elephant into the bags that swelled beneath the darkened windows to my soul. “Why do you do this to yourself?” I asked my reflection (half-expecting an answer). I’m not sure if I actually asked the question aloud, but it seemed to echo none the less, and I felt a sharp pain in my chest. I don’t know if it was physical or purely emotional, but a tear escaped my eye and I was immediately bombarded by a thousand equally painful questions. Before I could come up with any answers however, I blinked twice quickly, and suddenly the unknown location of my cigarettes seemed more important. So I left the bathroom in a scramble and began my search.
After walking in and out of every room two or three times, I slumped down on the couch in disappointment. My gaze drifted across the room and eventually settled once more on the television screen. A movie was playing now. It was either Pink Floyd’s, “The Wall,” or “Breakfast at Tiffany’s;” I couldn’t tell. I decided to stare instead at the Dali poster on the wall above the TV which, at the time, seemed both more interesting, and easier to follow. What I think was a few minutes later, I was startled when a friend of mine sat down next to me on the couch. “Can I bum a smoke?” he asked. I reached into my pocket and withdrew my pack of cigarettes. They had been there all along, but I no longer had the presence of mind to be pleased by my success, or ashamed of my stupidity. I opened the pack, and drew out two cigarettes. I handed one to my friend and lit the other for myself. As I raised my legs, to once again sit cross-legged, I was reminded of my earlier dilemma.
“Did you take my shoes?” I asked him.
“No!” he replied, with an amused snort, “they’re by the door, where YOU left them.”
“Oh,” I said without embarrassment, “I could see that.”
Now contented, I took a deep drag from my cigarette and began watching what was in fact, “The Wall,” on television. My experience in the bathroom was long forgotten. I no longer knew how bad I looked. Nor did I question my self-propelled abuse. I just sat grinning, and watching the television screen slowly melt onto the floor.
…and that’s the worst part about LSD, it comes in waves; peaks and valleys, as they say.