Picture this. Thursday night around 6 pm and you are at the supermarket picking up a few odds and ends. From across the way you hear someone call your name. You turn and look for a familiar face. You kind of know the voice however when you look for a face to match you can’t find one. Then, with a puzzled look a man approaches you in a somewhat disheveled state. You don’t recognise him yet his smile leads you to think he may have confused you with the wrong person? But how could he since he called my name?
Hand outstretched, he greets me and begins to ask how I have been. “It’s been a long time David” he pronounces. “Yes, yes it has” I confirm. We begin to talk and shortly therafter it dawns on me just who I am speaking with. This tired and worn out looking chap I am conversing with turns out to be a good friend from many moons ago. The last time we spoke would have been some six years or ago. A long time ago in any respects.
When we last spent time together my friend was healthy looking and full of enthusiasm. He was working in a good job and always ate well. Tonight, the man I see before me is one who has spent far too much time consuming ellicit substances. His face has aged a good ten to fifteen years since we last spoke. His eyes appear wired, his nose requiring constant sniffs and his hair, tucked in behind a flat cap is wired and grey. This weary looking old friend looks closer to 60 than he does 40.
It’s truly sad to see him in this state.
My friend explains his downfall from the past 18 months to me. He lost his job, lost the flat he was renting, lost most of his valuables and is on the dole in a week to week struggle just to survive. I ask him where he is living these days and his response confirms why he has ventutred to this side of town just to do some grocery shopping.
“I’m just waiting to meet my dealer for a bag of fifty” he reliably informs me. Ahh, now I see. All this way to secure a bag of smoke. By now I notice the track marks on his arms. Seems he has grown a liking for substances a little hard than pot.
By now I feel uncomfortable. Despite wanting to offer help to this lost soul I know deep down he will only be able to get help when he wants it himself. For now his path of self destruction will continue.
Something that does strike me is that the fire for music still burns in his belly. He updates me with all the new bands he is discovering. Old habbits die hard. For a moment I see my old friend come back to life. Then his phone rings. His eyes light up and with a few words exchanged the call ends. It’s his dealer. He has to go now and pick up his bag of smoke. I feel sad as he bids farewell, excited by his little stash that he shall shortly be smoking up.
We’ve swapped numbers and maybe there will be a chance for me to help him down the line. For now though he is in his own bubble of substance abuse and it is there he shall stay.
So what’s the end result? Drugs? Just not worth it in the long haul.