Girl From Sao Paulo

"you are crossing the tropic of capricorn".

15 August 2011

brian, jimmi, janis, jim and amy

The first time he tried haxixe, he was a teenager. The drug gave him a feeling of calm, a smooth and easy sensation, a soft floating pleasure as if he had been sitting on a cloud. Lying on the sandy beach, he felt the tingling in his chest, a gentle tremor, the sounds were muffled, the images slowed down, and in his skin he felt a halo like warmth that resembled a light fever.
When he awoke the next morning, he remembered all he had to face that day, the mid term exams at school, his mother at the hospital, his father in transit, the entire family that was about to arrive, and how many times he would have to re-tell the story of how he found his mother barely alive. And he kept thinking of the sensation he had the day before, when he tried haxixe.
He went back for more.
His sister was strict, a straight arrow. She could never know. But his secret was safe amongst his friends, and now the days were easier to get by. He retold the mother’s story many times, painlessly, helped her recover, sat beside her on the couch holding her tight as they watched National Geographic dpcumentaries.
His mother was happy, she was smiling again.
Time went by, the mother survived, the sister went away to college. He decided to give himself a break, help his mother get along and do small jobs here and there to make money. He would decide later what to do with his life.
One day his haxixe friend went awol, and he had to find a new source. When he did, the dealer told him he was out of haxixe, there this other drug that was much better, but only for the strong of heart. If he could manage to recall the very first sensation he got from haxixe but multiply it one million times he would only come near imagining the feeling this new drug gave.
It wasn’t very expensive.
It was called heroín.
He agreed.
Less than 6 years later he had an overdose. At the hospital they told his mother about the drugs.
The strict sister showed up and tried to convince everbody that he was sick, that he needed treatment. But he wasn’t. He used drugs when he wanted. That was not a sickness. He knew a lot of people that used drugs only when they wanted.
Two years later he went back to the hospital this time for pneumonia. And this time he was told by the doctors that unless he stopped drugs altogether, his life was at risk.

Affraid of losing his life he decided to stop. His mother hired a nurse and they detoxed him at home. He was clean one week. Then went back to the dealer. Then he stole. And he felt bad and cried. He stopped again. And he went back. And he stole again, and lied again, and vanished again, and returned again. And again.
The strict sister offered him an escape, in a faraway place, on condition he clean up and he accepted. He travelled 11 hours by plane, and once there was taken to a recovery clinic. He got treatment, got better, and was happy his health was excelent in spite of it all. He met new people, made new friends, learned a new profession and lived a normal life drug free. But no matter how he much he tried, he couldn’t replace the longing for that magical fantastic drug. No amount of swimming, running, kissing, eating or drinking, watching the stars or listening to the birds. After feeling the effects of that drug, nothing would ever come close, and he couldn’t get that thought out of his head. He obsessed day and night. And he felt the deepest resentement. He resented his life, his sister for being so straight, his father for leaving him as a child, his mother for needing him so much, and the drug for being so expensive.
He struggled a while.
But his mother needed him. And he missed her.
So he went back for his mother. And for heroin.
He would go to his dealer one last time. His friend was happy to see him, gave him the smuck at no cost. He left in such a state of frenzied excitment that he had to find an alleyway to smoke. Just one last time, and then he would stop for good.
He nearly died from euphoria. What would he have to do to use this drug without dying, without having people on his back?
His mother begged him to stop. His strict sister came up with a lot of rules, he could count on her if he were clean, but otherwise he was not to call her. He walked away from his sister. He left his mother who wasted away the days in tears begging him to stop. He ran to the arms of his beloved heroin.

The continued use of heroin destroyed his life, and at the age of 35 he died alone at the hospital.
From the day he tried haxixe to the day he died 20 years went by.

This is a true story.
I am the strict sister.

I don’t think Amy Winehouse died because she was 27 years old, or because she was a musical genius, or because her life was so unberable that she had to use drugs to help her endure it. The gossip news midia that ran stories and pictures of her debaucheries isn’t to blame for anything but the predatory materials it chooses to publish. Her father and mother couldn’t rescue her. And I am sure she wanted to live. But I bet she wanted what my brother and all the drug addicts everywhere wanted - to find a way to stay alive and to continue using the drug.
But that’s not possible.
No one can save someone that doesn’t want to be saved. Amy’s parents couldn’t do it, and neither could my family.
Drugs suck. They grab you and make you so dependent that even the threat of death will not be sufficient enough a reason to make you stop. And the mere memory of it will make you feel like your life is not complete.
Still I bet that at this very moment, even with Amy’s death fresh in everyone’s memory, young people everywhere are trying new drugs believing they will be able to stop whenever they fell like.
And this is because human beings look at tragedy and belive it will never happen to them.
And “strict” sisters and brothers everywhere, will never try drugs because in spite fo the curiosity and peer pressure, they are humbled by the fear.
Depending on your tribe and peers, it is very hard to refuse and people get pressured. To my brother, I was always the nerdy and scarred sister that spent way too much time evaluating everything.

But if I could give one piece of advice it would be - “don’t even try it”. I can’t imagine how it would be to live MY life not able to have something I really loved, like ice cream or coffee. So it’s better to not even try.

Amy and my brother experienced sensations I never will even imagine.
They lived the life they wanted to live, had the courage to make the choices they wanted, and paid for it with their lives.

It is sad to not have them here. So cheers to their memory.


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