I recognize myself as that sober friend. I drink sparingly. I don’t experiment. I say things like, “Why smoke when I already get high… on life.” I also laugh at my own jokes, but I digress.
I make it a habit to constantly tell my friends to stay careful, so I’ve never done drugs and would totally never do them.
Except, maybe for this one time.
The day started pretty normal, and after an evening class I’d gotten home around 6:00 or 7:00 like always. My roommate had just gone over to a friend’s house while they were out of town to check on their dog. After a while it seemed like a good time to start getting ready for bed, so I took a mild sleeping pill. I’d had some trouble sleeping lately, and they’d done a good job for me in the past.
While rummaging around in the fridge a bit and finding some cookies my roommate must’ve made, she texted me, asking if I wanted to come with her to walk her friend’s dog around the park. I shot back, sure, thinking why not? That sleeping pill helped me more with staying asleep throughout the night, rather than getting me to sleep. What could possibly go wrong? After a few minutes, my roommate called to tell me to come outside, so I went out to meet her and we drove off to the park.
On the way there, I felt so weird. My roommate droned on and on about her day, and I nodded and mhmed in all the right places, but my brain felt full of cotton balls. Before I realized it, we arrived at the park. My roommate got out of the car and got the dog. Then came my turn so, I opened the car door and tried to stand. I say tried because my legs barely cooperated. It felt like some kind of force had suddenly just hit me from out of nowhere, trying to knock me down. And it almost did.
“What was that?” I asked myself quietly. But, in the back of my fuzzy mind, I started having ideas about what had happened—the cookie. Regardless, though, I got it together and walked around to my roommate’s side of the car.
“What was what?” she asked me.
“Huh?” I didn’t even remember saying anything.
“You okay, Bre?” She looked at me a little closer.
“Yeah, of course. Don’t I look okay?” I kind of scoffed at her. She raised an eyebrow but dropped it. Looking back, I know I looked anything but okay, but this roommate and I constantly toed the line between best-of-friends and bitter-disdain with each other even on our best days. We’d gotten into the habit of not questioning each other much.
We started off on our walk, and, looking back, I remember trying ridiculously hard to just walk normally. If she found out, I knew I’d never hear the end of it. I constantly preached to her about the dangers of drugs. And here I stood, barely keeping it together as the air seemed to turn into clear Jell-O.
Don’t look high, don’t look high, don’tlookhigh. Think sober thoughts. What kinds of thoughts seem like sober thoughts? Lol thots… No! Sober thoughts only. Um… Bills? Buying socks?
Somewhere in the middle of my super deep contemplation, I had veered away from my roommate, walking really fast. I also started to walk in a weird zigzag pattern. Where did I think I could go? I stopped to look around and saw her a few yards back, letting the dog do her business. Once she finished up, they headed toward me. While I waited for her to catch up I panicked again.
Oh crap, she knows. I berated myself—of course she knows with you speed-walking like a shooter might get you. Why did I feel like she knew? No reason, just some crazy paranoia I felt. As she got closer I tried to stop looking high. I widened my eyes and tried to make a serious face. But then decided I never look serious and tried to smile. But that felt weird too. Just stop looking high. Don’t look high, don’tlookhigh, don’tlookhigh.
“I’m high,” I blurted out.
“I don’t know, man! I took a sleeping pill and ate a cookie. And, I know it the pill didn’t do it because this never happens…” I babbled on. In the middle of my nonsense, she started to laugh—at first a little chuckle, but then a full-blown, gut-busting burst of laughter. She laughed until I could see tears glinting in the lamplight we stood under. And, in my silly state, I laughed a bit too. But finally, she let up and smiled a smug little smile. I would never hear the end of this.
“My boyfriend came over earlier. Those cookies came from him…” She let that sink in for a moment. Her boyfriend always had weed on him. After a few moments and another giggle at my expense, she linked her arm in mine to guide us back toward the car. “Come on, you idiot. Let’s go home.”
When we got home that night, my roommate still couldn’t stop laughing. And when the next morning came and I woke up late for class, she continued to cackle. I laughed it off too, but really, I’d felt kind of scared for a moment the night before. I’d hated the feeling of not having control of my body. While I found the humor in the situation, it bothered me much more than I had let on.
Since then, I find myself reluctant to even take a mild sleeping aid. Because I know the cookies did it I feel a million times more suspicious of everything I put in my body. I also stopped sharing food with my roommate—everything feels like fun and games until you eat something that could knock out a horse.