In truth, there were many times. Not always in Clapham, but close enough. I don’t regret any of it. I’m also glad I’m not there any more.
– Sister Temperance
“You’ll like Ed. He’s a spliffhead too.”
Kennington on a hot summer’s evening. I am 23, 24. I am going for dinner with my boyfriend and his best friend from university. For some reason, I have decided to not wear a bra.
There is a teenager sitting outside the flat. “Nice tits,” he says.
“Er, thanks,” I reply, already too stoned to tell him he’s a creep. I look at my tits. Why am I not wearing a bra? Because youth. Because spliff.
Inside, boyfriend and Ed are having a drink. Ed’s really boring. I offer to skin up.
After dinner, I pass out in Ed’s bathroom, clinging on to the bath and resting my cheek against the cool porcelain as paranoia engulfs me. Somewhere in the middle of this confusion, I am thinking about how I wish I was wearing a bra. My mother had always said that I should wear decent underwear in case I was involved in an accident. And here I am in a bathroom in Kennington, an accident waiting to happen, wishing I’d listened to my mum.
I go on a protest march. Everyone is very drunk and very stoned. Or perhaps that’s because I’m very drunk and very stoned.
Whoever I am with or what we do this day is of no consequence because I can remember nothing, except that I am having a major whitey in a public toilet and I think I am about to die.
I am going to die in a cubicle. I knew I shouldn’t have mixed hash with Stella.
Pale-faced, I stagger from the cubicle into the light and look for someone to score from.
I forget what the protest was about.
The rave preload: cheeky pill, Blossom Hill.
My friend asks me if I want a dab. I’m like a kid with a bag full of sherbet. Then it’s going up my nose and I can’t stop talking.
We turn up at the party, before the police shut it down. The floors are lined with puddles of piss and I dance through them like I’m at a paddling pool. There are dogs running around, with string for a lead.
Some people are dancing wildly; others are slumped in corners, twitching, in melancholy ketamine nightmares.
“I feel really sorry for the dogs,” says my friend. “Illegal raves aren’t very nice places for dogs.”
I invite him back to my flat. I have no idea why I have done this, but we’re on the bus to mine and it’s too late to change my mind now.
He asks where we could buy a Kit Kat. I ask why and he says he needs foil. So we buy a Kit Kat.
I have never smelled heroin before, and never will again after this day in my life. I eat the chocolate while he lies on the sofa, somewhere else. I wish I could be somewhere else too. I just don’t know where.
It is three in the morning and I am in a cheap hotel off the South Circular, wired on charlie and skunk and too much rum. I look at the man in the bed next to me and feel an intense sadness for myself and how I got to be here in this room.
I need to find a way of getting home so that I can slip into bed with my husband, before he wakes up.
I am on the bathroom floor again, many, many years later. I have been clean from all drugs for some years now. It just happened, almost accidentally. I deleted dealers’ names from my phone, threw the last of the weed into a park bin and that was that.
It is only wine that I drink now.
On the bathroom floor, I cry, I tear my hair, think about harming myself. I can’t account for this sadness, this anger, this overwhelming need to escape myself, obliterate myself.
But it is only wine that I drink now. Only wine.