194 • pearls around the neck
All the flowers
Would have very
Extra special powers
They would sit
And talk to me for hours
When I’m lonely
In a world of my own
I could listen to a babbling brook
And hear a song that I could understand
I keep wishing it could be that way
Because my world would be a wonderland
I breathe in and then out. I perform the ritual I know far too well. I open my mouth and gulp down
the colorful solidified delirium, which reminds me of the Flintstones Vitamins I faithfully took every day as
a child. This is my round-trip ticket from the grey, melancholy environment that I find myself trapped in.
The only world I enjoy exploring is the one I have created through synthetic endorphins. I don’t want to
wait until the E takes full effect, so I impulsively decide to treat myself to a quadruple dose of extra-strength
Tylenol. After a stage of calm anticipation, my brain gradually makes a messy haze of my fading vision and
mind as I slip farther and farther into disorientation and euphoria.
My name is Ali and I am 15 years old. My primary choice of drug is ecstasy, but I also enjoy the
occasional mushroom trip. The psychedelic effects take me to mesmerizing places I never knew existed.
However, this enchanting journey is only temporary. I am ashamed to admit that when I am sober, I feel as
if I am sitting in a waiting room, letting time pass by until I am able to escape to my personal utopia.
I think something is wrong with me. My brain is throbbing…some water should soothe the
pounding pain in my head. When I sit up in my bed, I get a massive head rush, which is pretty unusual for
me. My legs, limp and jelly like, dangle off the side of the mattress. Below my involuntary beaming smile, I
am petrified to death. I try to think of a logical reason for why I’m acting so strange. My first steps are like a
newborn foal’s: shaky and uneasy. I pace back and forth, letting the carpet lick at my toes. I’m so distracted
that I almost don’t notice the talking elephant at my feet. He tells me to listen, as he is running out of time
to guide me through the troubles that lie ahead. His swaying dance and charming whispers send me into
complete hypnosis. His piercing amber eyes seem to peer into my soul, picking at my brain and perusing me
with extreme ease. His sweet seductive voice is above anything achievable by human beings. It’s pure, as if
gifted from the gods themselves.
He draws me tauntingly down to my knees and I stoop so low my cheek brushes against the stained
shag carpet, which I only now notice feels like the feathery wisps of a lion’s mane. Although I lay there in
literal silence, I can almost hear my pounding heart: comforting, calming, tranquil. I suddenly snap back
into reality and remember the elephant, which has now vanished. I search in panic for the omniscient beast,
as I’m afraid he is the only one who can explain my current state of being.
My childhood was pretty standard. I did my homework most days, listened attentively in classes, asked
the occasional question or two, but surprisingly still managed to achieve fairly high marks throughout