The smell of Newport cigarettes makes my nose tingle while the taste of scotch
makes my stomach turn. The discussion of drugs makes me wonder where my sister is. I believe in addiction.
I’ve been raised to not interrupt my dad when he screams obscenities at my crying mother; not because he could justified reasons or because he was right. It was because I knew at the end of the day when my father was drained from working for others, he’d sit an enjoy a scotch, or five. Working daily means stress is daily which means the handle will be gone in three days. The stress caused by my father’s laboring, rough hands causes
the alcoholic drinks to be poured and the back side of his hand to shut up realities people would try to put upon him. I tried not to question him verbally, only with my eyes. I always knew that if I looked at him with gentle eyes that distinctively came from his side of the family the only thing he could do back is look. I look at Ana with those eyes too, at least I use to.
My sister Ana can captivate a room full of people with her charismatic ways and
same gentle eyes. Being a mother of two beautiful boys would be enough for anyone to love their life. Not her. The addiction to syringes and the taste of chemicals dripping into the back of her throat is the kryptonite of this heroine. The last time I saw her was when I went to visit her, alone, at a rehabilitation center she was ordered to go to by the courts. We sat across from each other and our identical gentle eyes met. “They told me to be honest” she says with her jaundice discolored lips from contracting Hepatitis. “Mom told me you were afraid to walk home alone at night. Carol, if I ever wanted to kill you, I would have done it.” My gentle eyes blinked, slowly, and realized that this is not my sister. Her gentle eyes meant nothing to me as I looked at her for the last time. She left the facility days after my visit and my family and i have not heard from her since.
I know that I’m different, I’ve felt it since I was young. Some people might say my family is dysfunctional, but I tend to disagree. I believe in addiction and being born with it. My parents found a love for drinking while my sister found a love in drugs. I believe my addiction is far more than the materialistic substances my relatives have found. I’m addicted to the sound of a thumping bass at shows, and the sound my tape makes when I rewind it to see what I’ve caught on film. I’m addicted to the feeling of breezes and the smell of pavement when it rains on a hot day. I’m addicted to seeing through a lens and just watching people live. I’m addicted to listening. I’m addicted to breathing in salty air. By default the footsteps my family has left me to follow are only to an oblivion. I’m addicted to looking up while I make my own footsteps and following the sun with my gentle eyes.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.