It has been almost four years but it still calls to me. Not everyday or every week, but it still calls. It may be less frequent but still as intense as it was the day I stopped. It comes without warning, always in the morning. An itch, a horrible itch…one that feels so good to scratch but hurts afterwards. It leaves you raw and it doesn’t satisfy, it just makes you want to scratch more.
I’m convinced the itch will never go away.
I woke up and rolled off the couch, my dreams had turned into nightmares. I pulled on a pair of jeans and made my way to the stoop for a cigarette, the cool air bit my shirtless torso. The déjà vu hit me.
The late fall air was cool, it gave me goose bumps. Jake was lying down in the grass, eyes closed, chest rising and falling ever so slowly. My eyes were watering for I could not blink. My breath showed white in the air. A small drop of blood between my toes gave me away. I lit a cigarette. I was high. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back against railing. I was high.
It only took a second to remember exactly how it felt. Then came the itch. I sat down and put my head in my hands, wishing this was not happening. It was too late. I went back inside and ran the shower cold, forcing myself in and losing my breath to the frigid water. I turned it off and stood there, air flooding my lungs, staring down at my naked figure, the blue green veins contrasting against my pale skin. Memories flooded my eyesight and the hunger grew near, I felt it creeping up my spine.
I sat and stared through the television contemplating drinking it out of my system, but its time for work. I can’t get it out of my mind; I can remember the ritual so well.
The bite of the belt on my arm.
The stick of the needle.
The blood mixing in the syringe.
The slow drain into the vein.
The warm rush.
Eyes roll back.
The orgasm begins.
The feeling is never completely out of memory, it is always present. I can push it away but it will always crawl back and whispers to me. My hands shake as I fumble my lighter. Smoke billows out the window and sweat beads on my forehead. The music is loud but I can still hear my heart pounding, it calls to me the way it used to.
The haunting memories flow out of my subconscious and become my conscious awareness, they are so vivid. I remember smell as well as sound. I remember touch as well as taste and the feeling of it moving across my skin. The flashback lasts and lasts…the times you hate it always seem to last. It torments you on every level; every piece of your body calls out for it. They must be one. The liquid in the vein.
Times like these I don’t want to fight, sweet surrender seems so easy. It lulls you to sleep in its warmth and security, it feels so right. It convinces you to stay, caresses your face and whispers sweet lullabies in your ear. You are in heaven and you never want to leave.
But then its times like these that I regain the urgency to fight. When you are away from it, it will become your worst enemy. It will drive you to panic and to scream. You will pull at your hair and sweat through your sheets. You will curse your friends and claw at your skin. You will shit your pants, you won’t sleep, you won’t eat and you’ll throw up in your bed. The shaking and rocking in your chair will not subside until it has left you. The unfortunate catch is that it will never truly leave you.
There will always be that itch.
The itch that whispers.
The itch that moans.
The itch that cries.
The itch that screams.
The itch that you want so badly to satisfy.
The itch that haunts your dreams.
The itch that your body begs you to attend to.
The itch that you need to scratch.
The itch that you cannot scratch.
The itch that you must not scratch.
This itch is one that I will never be rid of. It is going to be a part of my life until my corpse is decaying in the ground. I am never able to let down my guard and I am never able to give in. I must be vigilant and determined. If I relax I will be subdued and the itch will have been scratched…
…and there is no such thing as, “just one scratch.”