Blue Veins

Eric Georgeson

Blue Veins

Light shines through disarrayed splotches of dirt on a fourth floor apartment window. Dust particles float in the air creating intense scattered sunrays cast upon the curves of a woman’s passed out body. The woman, Annie, a nineteen year-old high school drop out, winces with disdain at the light protruding her eyelids, she groans and turns over but can’t seem to escape the light. The last thing she wants to do is get up and face the real world. That same urine odor she smells every morning, that same broken staircase she has to haphazardly make her way down, that same violent street she has to bear every day; no, that’s not a world she wants to go back to. Her dreams are much nicer; before those sun beams infected her eyes, she was long gone to a place that was a far cry from the one she woke up to. Her dream world was warmer, a lot more like the place she had imagined when she first moved in to this rotten hole in the middle of the earth.
In that world, her boyfriend Marcus is there and he is holding her tightly, squeezing her for a moment so hard that she can barely breathe and it feels good, so good she doesn’t want him to stop. They are both staring out the window at a sunlit glaze of orange and red luminescents in the sky. Marcus kisses her on the cheek.
“Your hugs are the best” Annie exclaims while directing her words at the sunset before them.
“I know” Marcus replies. “It’s easy with you. My arms feel like they were made to fit around you.”
Suddenly, there is a knock at the door. Marcus pulls himself away to see who it is but no one is there. He comes back to hold her but another couple of hollow thuds echo the walls of the apartment. Marcus gets up again, but just like the last time, there is no one there. Two more thuds. Annie’s perfect image of her apartment is broken by the real image of scattered stains on the bed sheet in front of her eyes slowly coming into view. Why does the dream have to end? She closes her eyes to reality and goes back to her dream world, but the sequence of hollow thuds that was disturbing her dreams is still present. Finally, she drags herself out of bed, wrapping the Pollack-esque sheets around her naked body and stumbles to the door. Putting her eye up to the peep hole, all she can see is a skin colored patch of flesh.
“Who is it?” asks Annie.
“House keeping,” an overly high pitched voice in a fake Latino accent replies from the other side of the door.
Annie swings the door open and embraces Marcus into her arms, allowing the filthy sheet to fall to the ground.
“I should have known it’d be you” she says, hitting him playfully in the shoulder.
“Nice to see you too,” Marcus gives her a quick kiss on the cheek and pushes his way past her into the apartment.
“Have you seen my bag?” he asks.
“What bag?”
“The one with all my stuff in it.”
Marcus scans the cluttered space of the studio apartment and begins to rummage through everything within its walls. First, he checks underneath the pile of shoes and clothes left on the floor near Annie’s bed but comes up with nothing. He then makes his way over to her blue and tan 50’s floral couch laden with cigarette burns and torn upholstery but once again can’t seem to find it. Finally, a facial expression of momentary clarity crosses his face as he snaps his fingers and heads into the bathroom. Within seconds he has made himself comfortable on the edge of Annie’s sofa and is rifling through his bag. He begins pulling out an assortment of tools.
“Are you really going to do that right here?” asks Annie scowling at him from across the room.
He pretends like he doesn’t hear her. He holds up a lighter which emits an orange glow around his sharp nose and shallow cheek bones. He breathes in sharply through his teeth, closing his eyes then begins to slowly sink back into the couch as the pupils in his dark sunken eyes grow larger. Annie looks at him curiously. She has seen him do it a few times before and he always has that same strange calm yet distant gaze plastered across his face. He looks different from the man she fell in love with. His body is still there and when she calls out his name, he still responds, but it’s like his heart has gone to another place; somewhere far away from her, a place much different from the room they are both sitting in. In that moment, Annie feels alone.
She can remember when Marcus first came into her life and pulled her away from her hellish broken home. He was the only one who was there for her when the rest of her family gave up. Her mother didn’t or more so, couldn’t, recognize her anymore, not with the full spectrum of pills that kept her numb day in and day out. She would just sit in the whicker chair on the screen porch, rocking back and forth all day long listening to her old Bing Crosby records, staring at the empty yard that was being taken over by wheat grass. After her sister Claire died, the warm house of joy she had been nurtured in growing up became nothing more than a hollow set of wooden planks and vinyl siding to trap the silence. It surrounded Annie constantly and nearly drove her over the edge until Marcus grabbed onto her and put her feet back on stable ground. He truly loved her and he showed it in everything he did, from the way he would buy fake roses for her at gas stations to the way he would come by with her favorite chocolate covered strawberries anytime she felt down. He had showed her that there was still something that made getting up in the morning worth it. That no matter how far into the ground her notion of love had been squashed, it was still there to be nourished and heal her wounds.
That was two years ago. Now she’s staring at her boyfriend who is looking blankly at the molting wall paper in front of him and seems as if he couldn’t be more content. She misses the time when just being with her was better than any drug he could ever encounter. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it was that he became so distant, but all Annie knew was that she wanted him to see her with the eyes he used to look at her with. Maybe she should have realized that things were different the first time they made love in complete silence, or maybe after he left for two days with no explanation, but she always assumed the best. Now, there was no escaping the truth. Annie couldn’t stand seeing him slip away; more so, she couldn’t stand seeing herself slip away.
“Move over”, Annie pushes Marcus over with her broad hips as she settles in-between him and the armrest on the dilapidated couch. She begins to gather the tools on the table, mimicking the procedures she’s seen him do every other time.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he asks, taking his attention off the wall.
“I want to join you. I don’t like being apart from you all the time.”
“What do you mean? I see you every day.”
“Not like that, I mean I want to be on the same level, in the same mind set as you. I want to enjoy this with you and go where you go all the time.”
“No, I don’t think so Annie. I don’t want you doing this. This here is no joke. You can’t just mess around with it like it’s nothing.”
“Well either you do it with me here and now or I’ll just get some of my own and do it by myself. I’m not going to let you have all the fun.”
With that, Marcus lets out a long drawn out sigh.
“Alright, it’s your funeral.”
A minute later, Annie can feel it coming over her body like a million tiny pins pricking her all at the same time. They start in her chest and then like ripples in a glass of water they push themselves outward down her arms to the edge of her finger tips and back again. The pricks start to tingle a bit more as they roll themselves over her legs down to her toes. She has never felt anything like this before. Every shape and color in the room seems as if it’s blending together to create a warm kind of fuzzed perception of the room. She can feel her entire body getting warmer, almost like someone is covering her with a blanket as she begins to drift off. She closes her eyes and can hear the familiar sound of waves crashing on a beach. Seagulls are calling over head and there is a distinct smell of distilled salt in the air. Her skin feels like there is a million U.V. rays soaked into it, warming it. In the back of her mind, someone is calling her name.
“Annie! Over here! Look what I found!” Her sister Claire is calling her over by the jetty. Claire’s stout little body, clad in a one piece pink bathing suit is jumping up and down ecstatically. Annie is sitting in front of her parents in a waist deep trench in the sand she has carved out for herself. The damp sand in between her toes and fingers is cool in contrast to the hot sun. She turns to her mother who is sitting under the large yellow sun umbrella next to her. Her mom looks down at her from behind her pink cat eye shaped sunglasses and gives her an approving nod to go off and play. Her dad is passed out on the other side with his giant hairy belly facing up towards the sun. She gets up, dusts off the sand from her butt and legs and starts running over to Claire. Grinning from ear to ear, she is laughing the whole way over to her, but Claire keeps getting farther and farther away. She is wading in the ocean almost up to her chest now and panic sets in for Annie. She’s running as fast as she can but it seems like every step only takes her another step away from Claire. Claire is up to her chin now and is screaming Annie’s name for help. She tries to run faster but is still not going anywhere.
Suddenly, Annie snaps her head up and looks around. She’s back in her apartment and it is freezing cold. It is completely dark outside and there is not a sound in the room. Her heart is beating out of her chest. She starts feeling around to find the closest thing she can to warm herself up, but there is nothing. She pulls her arms into her shirt and starts rubbing her hands against her body as if she were trying to start a fire. Her eyes begin pulsing around the room attempting to put a hold on what’s going on. Marcus is passed out on her bed and the clock says two thirty. She must have been checked out all day. How did the time slip away so quick?
She closes her eyes and attempts to go back to sleep but is far too restless and uncomfortable to get back to sleep. She gets up and goes over to wake Marcus up.
“Marcus, Hey! Marcus! Wake up!”
There is no response from Marcus.
“Get up you lazy fool! Get up!” Marcus groans and shoos her with his hand as he turns over onto his stomach.
“Uhh, you’re useless” Annie goes back over to the couch and sits down. The left half of the room is lit at a diagonal from the light coming in off the street. It illuminates the tools left lying out on the table. Annie’s arm feels sore. She pulls her knees up to her chest and hugs them. It feels good to hold something close to her, even if her knees can’t hold her back. It’s been a while since anything has held her back. Her dad used to hold her the best. He’d pick her up in the air and swing her around, then bring her back into his massive chest and squeeze his love into her. Marcus once knew how to squeeze the love into her the way her dad would. For a while at least, until his mistress took over. Until he began to enjoy the intercourse he had with his needle more than he enjoyed making love to Annie.
Annie’s thoughts begin to overwhelm her. All she can think of is how it seems as though any time she’s ever had anything in her life to love, it always rips itself away. Her mind begins to boil as she sees every failed kinship her heart has ever attained flashing through her mind. She can feel every dream she’s lost, every comfort she’s missed, every passionate kiss she hasn’t tasted all grabbing her and shaking her body at the same time. AAAHH!!! Why did it have to end up this way? Why did the drugs have to take Marcus over? Why did Claire have to die? Why her? Why can’t she just be happy and normal like everyone else? Annie pulls her knees in closer to her chest and starts sobbing hysterically. She pushes each heave of her chest out harder and harder hoping that maybe the next push will give her some kind of relief, but it never comes. She grabs the edge of the table and uses all the tension her tears wouldn’t release to heave the entire table at the wall as hard as she can, hoping that maybe it’ll break through.
On the other side of the room, Marcus starts to show some signs of life. He lifts himself up with one arm, twisting his torso around to look at Annie, completely bewildered.
“What’s going on, Annie? What are you doing?”
Staring into Marcus’s decrepit face with his sunken cheeks and hallow eyes, Annie realizes that she isn’t looking at the face of a man she loves anymore. The man she loved had been buried in a clear hallow casket dug under the depths of Marcus’s skin. She looks down and feels her own arm. Inside the freshly blood red mark she left only hour before, Annie can see herself with the same sunken cheeks and hallow eyes that have transformed Marcus. She looks up to Marcus one last time, searching his eyes for any hint of the love they used to share, for any semblance of compassion, but his eyes are empty. Behind those glossy blood shot eyes, the only thing she can see is a void, the absence of a beautiful man. Her eyes well up as she slowly parts her lips.
“…good bye Marcus.”
And with that Annie turns to the door and begins to make her way past the urine stench of the corridor, down the broken staircase and onto the violent street, never once looking back.
It’s funny the way one small decision can change the way you make another small decision until a few decisions later you’ve ended up on a completely different path than where you started. Annie couldn’t remember where she started anymore. She knew that wherever it was, it wasn’t supposed to end here. Actually, when she thinks about it, that’s all she can remember, where it ended. Seemed as if ever since her sister died, that’s all her life was, a series of endings. First the laughter ended, then the conversation ended, then everything that made her house a home ended. She got away, moved out with Marcus with bigger hopes of a new place for a new life, but sure enough that ended too.
Now here she was, alone again, sitting on the edge of a cracked sidewalk on the side of a filthy street. She began thinking of her sister and how she missed her. She thought of the old Marcus, the one that still lived in her memories smiling wide and holding her close and how she missed him. She thought of her mom and her dad and of the warm times they had shared in the past and how she missed them. She tried to remember the last time she had talked to them. It could have been the night before she left but she couldn’t be sure. Memory is a tricky thing, a lot of times you only remember things the way you want to remember them rather than how they actually occurred. It had been a lot easier over the last couple years for Annie to remember her parents as the distant, emotionally vacant souls that she left, but right now that memory didn’t seem to fit. The fact was, they were her parents and she loved them. More importantly, they loved her, and they had never done anything to deliberately drive her away. For the first time in two years, Annie’s memory became flooded with images of her and her father snuggled up in the living room watching TV, followed by visions of her mom looking back at her while pushing a shopping kart as the two of them picked out the ingredients for her father’s birthday dinner. It was all so warm and beautiful. She missed seeing her mother’s face every day and she missed the sound of her father’s voice.
There wasn’t much more for Annie to think about. She picked herself up off the concrete slab beneath her and walked over to the payphone on the corner. She picked up the receiver. The dial tone made her nervous, but as her fingers began to instinctually make their way from one number to the next she could feel the familiarity of home coming back to her. She started to remember the times when she would call her mom from soccer practice to come pick her up. It felt nice, it felt comfortable. Suddenly, her fingers ran out of numbers and the silence in the earpiece of the phone was replaced by the buzzing sound of the phone ringing in her house back home. The anxiety was starting to work its way back over Annie’s body until it was cut short by the soothingly soft, nurturing voice of a woman coming from the receiver.
“Hello?” The voice reverberated straight to Annie’s heart, clenching it for a second so hard that she couldn’t speak.
“Helloo?” This time the voice was a bit sharper, sounding as if it were getting a bit irritated.
Annie breathed in heavily and finally spoke into the mouthpiece.
“Mom?”
“Annie…Annie, is that you?”
“Yea mom, it’s me.” Annie laughed as her face started to fill with tears at the sound of her mother’s voice.
“Annie, O my god. Are you alright? We’ve been so worried. We had no idea what happened to you.” Annie’s mother’s voice began to shake feverishly with emotion at the sound of Annie’s lost voice coming back to her.
“Hey mom….”
“Yes, what is it Annie?” Her mom responded anxiously. She held the phone close to her ear in anticipation of what Annie would say next. The pause felt like years.

“Can I come home…?”

Annie could hear her mother crying uncontrollably from the other side of the wire. Annie’s eyes were swollen red as the tears streaked down her cheeks. The two of them said nothing for a brief moment as Annie’s mother tried her best to get a hold of her emotions and regain her composure long enough to utter a few words.

“…Of course you can honey. Of course you can…”

Blue Veins

Trojnowski

Fort Collins, United States

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

Is it cheating if your affair is with drugs?

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