At the local bar I linger, I sit and wait in silence, listening intently to the Spanish spoken around me, trying to decipher the odd word here and there. It is so difficult, when your knowledge of a language is sufficient to understand a great deal, yet lacks the speed to keep up. Especially combined with being high and as loaded, as I was feeling right now.
Normally, I was a very talkative person, but tonight I was frustrated, it was proving impossible to utter a word. My brain was numb, stoned, by the time I could translate, I had forgotten the subject we were talking about. My thoughts were in English rather than Spanish, I still always translated first.
I hated these evenings, but if I didn’t accompany him, I would be waiting for him alone for hours or worse, he did not come home at all.
Plus, I needed to score, not just some blow either, of that we had plenty, it was the good stuff we required, the white stuff, we wanted some coca.
The venue was Marbella, the year 1984 and this was how it was, you worked long hours, and earned great money, so you felt entitled to party too. Even at the tender age of 22, I couldn’t keep those hours without help, I needed to stay focused at work. My lover had introduced me to Cocaine, and I still remember the first time like it was yesterday…..
There was a bar, just at the entrance to Marbella itself, inside one of the old white Andalusian houses, which sat amongst the narrow, rambling streets. Sadly it was probably bulldozed down years ago, along with most of the character of the old town. From the outside it looked like a an ordinary house, but inside, it was a magical meeting place. You had to be one of the chosen few, to know about it, you needed to have an invitation from Javier himself. The regulars were a varied bunch, fascinating, mostly Spanish, from different walks of life, originating from various parts of Spain. There were Lawyers from Madrid, sharing a drink with the local pimp, who would be taking a break from constantly scouting for a fresh face.
Javier’s place was a large room, painted white, the floors were all wooden, a bar ran the length of this room and the lighting was ultraviolet, the rest of the place, a warren of rooms dark and shadowy, glowing with candlelight.
Javier reached into his pocket, he pulled out a thin sharp knife, with it a small paper envelope, ever so carefully he opened it, the contents were precious. He was gentle and dexterous, considering the size of his enormous hands,I got the impression it was something he was accustomed to handling. He scooped out a small pile of white powder. Fascinated as I hadn’t a clue what it was, I remember thinking, it looked like lumpy Andrews liver salts. He proceeded to chop at it, on a small marble slab, working on it until it was a fine powder, he looked up and caught my eye, he grinned at me, his eyes and teeth glowed under the lighting. Dividing it into six long lines, with a slick flick of the wrist. Then handing my boy a rolled up 5000 Peseta note, he invited him to try it, an invitation that was accepted eagerly. Bending forward he put a finger over one nostril, and then using the other hand, he placed the note at the base of the powder, with a loud sniffing noise he “hoovered” up a line, he then repeated the process using the other nostril. Javier then passed the note to me, watching for my reaction with an inquisitive look, I looked at my lover, I studied him, apart from a twinkle in the eye, he looked no different, not stoned, nor wasted, just normal.
So nervously I took the note and mimicked what I had witnessed, it was so easy, slightly tingly, but not unpleasant nor uncomfortable, so I snorted the second line, I looked up, they were all smiling at me…
I felt nothing, was this a trick, a joke?
Were they laughing at me, had I been duped?
Up until this evening my only experience of drugs had been hash, a little grass and of course alcohol, all of which made me feel woozy. This was different, it made me feel clear and happy, I smiled back,feeling amazing. I began chatting, to them in Spanish and may I add, with gusto. Gone was the shy and often silent foreign girl, the real me at last was free. I felt the same as when speaking my native tongue, witty, confident. It was electric, and I loved it, never had I felt so alive, with such an abundance of energy. I felt no need for sleep or sustenance. I became aware of the music playing, began watching the barman move and serve in time to the rhythm.
Suddenly, an introduction to a song began to play, a wonderful sound of bass guitar playing something so different, a song that I hadn’t heard before, then as the song began to explode, the whole bar seemed to feel it at once, they began in unison moving their heads to the music. The waiter now dancing, people started singing, everyone was at one with the music, a collective of people, almost a tribal, all living in that moment, loving a song that was so great, so … now. It is a memory so vivid, I will never forget.
I don’t think I slept that night, I know we continued the ritual several times, the more I had, the more I wanted. I became slightly shaky, but didn’t care, I didn’t want this to end, I loved the way it made me feel, I loved the way my Spanish lover, who normally played his cards so close to his chest, became so open. He started telling me things, I had been longing to hear. His history, how it had been growing up under a dictator, his father was a General under Franco, in contrast his mother was the daughter of a socialist sculptor, a “red” and was good friends with Reina Sophia. He had experiences that I could only ever imagine. Then the most intoxicating thing, just how he felt about me. It was so addictive not only the drug we had taken, but listening to him, opening up, telling me all his secrets.
It wasn’t until the next day, when I had come down …
Crashed being a better description. I felt dreadful, my whole body ached, almost like I had the flu. My nose was totally blocked, I was breathing through my mouth, my head was banging and my heart was racing. I was just totally exhausted, weak from lack of sleep, no food and too much amphetamine, even worse, we had spent every peseta.
That was the first time I used Cocaine, but it certainly wasn’t the last, it was what I needed right now, to take me back to the place and the person I had been that night.
That is why, we were sat in this bar….
Waiting to score…..
Marbella 1984… trying cocaine