Alexis woke up to the scent of sausage cooking on the stove. Her mother was in the kitchen, humming along to the instrumental Celtic music coming from the speakers on the counter, while she prepared a hearty breakfast for the two of them. It was snowing and blowing like crazy outside, but school still hadn’t been called off.
The music her mother was listening to disturbed Alexis. It made her feel like she was yearning for something she knew she needed, but was just beyond her grasp. As Alexis tried to shake off the feeling, she reached for the green backpack on the floor beside her bed. From the small, zipped compartment in the front, Alex took out the make-up bag that held her rig – all the tools she needed to begin her day – along with the magical rock Harley had given her last night after cheer practice. She reluctantly peeled back the cocoon of blankets she’d slept under, padded into the bathroom and locked the door.
After relieving herself and brushing her hair and her teeth, Alexis put the seat down on the toilet, tied off her arm and prepared for what had become her sacred morning ritual. Just as she injected the heroin into the vein of her left hand, her mother tapped on the bathroom door and announced, “Breakfast is ready!”
“Be right there, Mom” Alexis softly responded, as the rush of chemical tranquility enveloped her.