Author: Tim Goldstone
I first met you at that stage where I couldn’t sleep because I needed to stretch and stretch and stretch but it’s never ever enough all night long, every night, and I know the only certain way to achieve relief is to stretch so far so violently that my bones burst out of the ends of each and every one of my fingers and toes and only then the calm I yearn for will come and at last I will be able to sleep, in peace, in bliss, a lovely little temporary death and when I come out of it I won’t ever need anything so desperately again. But it doesn’t come. It never comes.
You were wearing perfume someone had hastily sprayed on you to hide the smell of the bile you’d retched up until there was nothing left inside you.
The town’s allocated rehab center was a room in a hostel, one room: standard construction, peeling walls, a flickering strip light, a crackling radio, a shorting kettle.
We would learn later why after each meeting every one of us felt so drained. Back then though, we could see just you – the solitary female, just under five feet tall, discarded, dumped there by court order, final chance, losing weight as we watched, on your hard seat, your head falling in gulps towards the dark green lino. The state you were in made us all feel better about ourselves.
All of us in that semi-circle noticed only your classic addict’s thinness, none of us suspecting the energy humming deep within you – that you’d soldered together from the few functioning pieces you still had left, draining power from the room to aid your own recovery.
And on the day you finally strode out, heroically leaving the rest of us behind, the weary well-meaning volunteer tried desperately to explain to our demoralized group, the ferocious force behind your tiny home-made waste-dump dynamo. And he told us how he wished from the depths of his human heart that the addiction chip had never been invented. We knew humans ridiculously attributed emotions to their blood-pump. But we knew also that it was too late – that their obsessive ambition to give us human characteristics had gone too far. Much too far.