• Linda Nygard

Hidden Gem

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

She took the one inch piece of foil and folded it around the little white pills like a package. They were small and round, with a “plus” emblem etched into the tops. Cross-Tops. Speed. Beans. Amphetamine. The 70s brought diet pills to this 13-year-old she-child.

She loved the feeling that she got when she ingested the tablets. Often times she would slip a pill into her coat pocket so that she had access to one while in English class. Reaching down she would feel the smooth outer ridge. When the teacher turned her back to the classroom to write on the chalkboard, she-child would pop one into her mouth and swallow the pill dry.

Wanting to see if she could get away with taking drugs in the classroom, she dared herself to do this. She felt light headed while her ears buzzed. Always at the edge of passing out.

Soon her mind raced. Magical words and places coursed through her head. Poetry of unrequited love was written feverishly, so that the lines would not be lost to the unknown. She knew not where the stanzas came from, only that she must translate and dictate them on to paper.

She felt whole and calm, despite the fact that it was speed that coursed through her veins. All was right in her world, so she popped another, and another. The magic elixir. The answer to her dreams. Relief from a mundane yet dramatic life.

Buying one hundred pills at a time gave her a sense of security, as if she had an unending supply. She was never without.

After school she would go into her bedroom and lock the door against her little sister.

Pulling open the bottom dresser drawer she moved the assortment of old socks and sweaters revealing her hiding place. She reached into the far back corner and pulled out a small plastic opaque box. Within it was a small wad of wrinkled foil. Carefully she unwrapped the outer silver layer to see 50 little white pills. She counted out 26 for herself and 24 to sell. Four for a dollar was the going rate. It was a good price for a high. The occasional pang of guilt would fill her as she stacked up four, then wrapped them tight for the next sale. She knew how cheap they were to buy in bulk, and the resulting pill profit. All at the expense of her friends and acquaintances. The one remorse she had was that she was keeping her friends high, and in return, they kept her speeding along.

There was a pounding at her door. “You have to cook dinner” her sister yelled. “Wait a minute” she screamed back. The last thing she wanted to do was look at food. Her stomach was empty, she felt no hunger, and she liked it that way. Even the thought of food was nauseating and the prospect of mixing raw beef into meatloaf made her wretch.

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