…As Long As You Both Shall Live

Bruce Dickinson is the lead singer for Iron Maiden and has also done a number of solo albums.  On one of his later albums, The Chemical Wedding, the title track, Chemical Wedding, has always had a particular interest to me.  On occasion, I am able to “visualize” a song, which is pretty much like viewing a music video in my head.  If I had cinematic talent, equipment, locations, and personnel, I think I would be able to make a compelling music video for this song.  Alas, I have none of those things.  I considered maybe writing a screenplay for my video, but concluded that wouldn’t really be an interesting read.  So I decided I would try and turn the video plotline into a short story, which might result in having the song appear to be influenced by the story, even though it happened the other way around.

The car pulled away and left me alone in the beach parking lot.  I stayed put and watched the car turn onto the roadway and drive away.  The transaction went smoother than I expected.  In my hand was a small bag and within that bag, a small vial of Demerol.  It’s something I’d been reading up on and from the sound of it, Demerol was going to be much more effective than the Oxy I’d been taking.

I have to admit, the only positive thing to come out of my parents’ move to this crappy harbor town is how easy it is to get high.  With as many people that come to vacation here, the dealers are plentiful and easy-going.  Back where we used to live, pot was pretty much the best we had access to, but this place is like rich-ville.  They have everything and people are able to pay for it.  My dad changed jobs and all of a sudden, we’re like, upper-middle-class or something, complete with beachfront house and disposable income for me.

My friends were bummed I had to move away, especially since we were just getting into senior year, where school is a blow-off and we’d be partying like, every night.  I would invite them out here and we could really get lit, but damn, it’s like nine hours each way.  You couldn’t even really manage that in a weekend.

I never really made any friends here, although I did make some solid connections with some dope suppliers.  So, having so much free time alone by myself allowed me to do some experimentation.  I found out I didn’t really like uppers and speed; I preferred to chill out and relax.  So after working my way through pot, I eventually ended up loving Oxycodone and Codeine.  But then I learned about Demerol.  It was supposedly like heroin, but was medically kosher.  That’s perfect, because the one thing I’m not is a junkie.

I walked out of the parking lot down to the beach.  A half moon shone through the fog, which illuminated everything in a sort of off-white glow.  A little spooky, but actually the perfect atmosphere for chilling out.  The large rocks at the shoreline are a perfect place to sit and take in the sights and sounds of nature and since it’s late at night, no one would be bothering me.

As I carefully climb over the mound of boulders to find a nice sitting place that’s not within sight from the parking lot or houses, I glance back to my parents’ house.  I don’t want to be too far or too close.  I’ll make my way back once the high settles in and can sleep it off in bed.  This spot here looks almost perfect.  It’s almost like a throne and it has a nice flat ledge to hold my supplies.

I settle down in the chair-like cluster of rocks and open my latest purchase.  Inside the bag is a small glass vial, just like you see at the doctor’s offices, and two small syringes.  That was nice of him, to give me a spare.  The glass vial has a label with Demerol printed in a simple, light green, sans-serif font.  A lot of other small type was on the bottle as well.  It looked so professional.  I felt like a professional.

Considering it was the first time I had ever considered using a drug with a syringe, I was surprised how calmly I was handling all of this.  It just seemed to be natural and normal.  Pills suddenly seemed so pedestrian.  Anyone could toss a pill in their mouth and swallow it.  This was serious business and required skill and knowledge.  You could kill yourself by injecting air into yourself, so you need to be good.

And I was good.  I took the time to prep everything well.  I had brought a tissue to cover the injection site and stop any minor bleeding.  I made sure I had a nice clean draw, and I held the syringe up to the moonlight.  The liquid was clear and pure, just like water – no bubbles at all.  The waves were crashing all around me.  And in that moment, as I stared at the fluid and listened to the hissing of the sea foam in the rocks around me, I almost felt like I didn’t need this.  It was like the anger of the waves was trying to tell me to stop.  But that’s just silly.  Being around the ocean was great when I was high, but I wasn’t high yet.

I settled back into the stone throne and stretched out my left arm.  I pumped my hand a few times to get my veins up and even in the mild moonlight, I could see the shadows on my forearm – my targets.  I chose one of the smaller veins, since I had no idea what would happen when I poked one.  Keeping my eye on the vein, I lowered the syringe to my forearm.  My right hand was steady and I carefully angled the needle in line with the target.  I had a brief moment of doubt where I thought maybe I should have someone else do my first injection, but I shook it off and pushed the needle into the skin.

There was a small pinch and I assumed I was in.  I slowly started pushing the plunger and immediately there was a wash of fatigue all through my body.  Everything wanted to relax instantly.  That sensation spooked me and I got worried about two things.  One is that I wouldn’t get the full dose, so I pushed the plunger harder.  This caused a slight burning in my arm and increased my second fear – that I would pass out with the needle still in my arm.  I’m no junkie.  That’s not going to happen.

I swiftly pulled the empty syringe from my forearm and struggled to get the tissue onto the injection site.  Everything was fading out.  The yellow-white glow of the moon took on a bluish tone.  It’s like when you see those color temperature comparisons with light bulbs.  The world went from warm white to cool white.  I felt like I was sinking into the rocks, sliding between them like melted wax, like my body was becoming a liquid.  Maybe I would just become part of the ocean.  But I wasn’t afraid, this was something I wanted.

I don’t know how much time passed there at the shoreline, but I do remember the zombie time.  In a trance, I gathered up all my stuff:  the vial, the syringes, the bloody tissue paper.  I had it all in the bag and began my walk back to the house.  The house wasn’t far, and the trip was absolutely heavenly.  I came down from the rocks as if I knew exactly where every stone was.  I didn’t slip once.  It felt like I was walking on air the whole way home.  I didn’t feel a single thing, like I weighed nothing and my feet weren’t even supporting any weight at all.

My parents were already asleep when I got in.  I floated to my room and sat down on the bed.  In a daze, I emptied the bag onto my nightstand and stared at it all with curiosity.  I just used that, I thought to myself, and I smiled.  It was a great success.  I was a professional.  I could be a doctor.  Maybe I should top myself off and get a great sleep.  I wonder how the sinking feeling would feel in bed instead of hard rocks.  It should be amazing.

Like everything I did in the zombie state, I prepped a new shot with incredible smoothness.  My motions were so fluid, it was like I wasn’t even in control, like something else was managing my movements.  The needle went in with no pain whatsoever and the push was steady.  It felt like a giant foam mattress was pushing itself against me, pushing me down into the bed.  Every inch of my body felt a wonderful calming pressure, like I was sinking into Jell-O.

Then, everything became light.  The pressure and weight pulled away and I felt like I was weightless, floating, but still lying on the bed.  I sat up and turned to my bedroom window.  There was a light outside, like the moon had gone from half-full to full.  I stood up and went to the window.  The fog had disappeared and the sky was completely clear.  A single light shown in the sky, shining directly on me.  The light split into three, then seven, then a dozen.  The light kept splitting over and over.  Every beam was focused on me and even as the number of lights grew by the hundreds, they all remained within my vision.

Then, the lights made a small pulse and rapidly started combining again, collapsing in to the center light and as they did so, the beam got larger and stronger.  The focused beam became more white and more pure as each outer light combined with it.  The light began pulling me.  With the weightlessness I had, it was impossible to resist the traction of the light.  The lights were converging together and the pull continued to grow.  The beam was captivating and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  I thought I would be blinded from the brilliance, but it was only pure white, not anything artificial or generated.  At first, I was afraid at being pulled away, but that fear faded as the beam grew larger and larger.  The strength of the light was comforting.  As I felt the pull lift my feet from the ground, I took a look back into my bedroom.  My body was still lying on the bed.  And with that image fresh in my mind, the light quickly pulled me away.

The next morning, from where I was, I saw my mom discover my body lying in bed, with a syringe hanging out of my arm and the bottle of Demerol on the nightstand.  911 was frantically called and the paramedics arrived only to say there was absolutely nothing that could be done.  There was a lot of hysteria and my dad tried to comfort my mom as best he could while the medical examiner came and collected my body.  Then the white light surrounded me again and that’s all I could see.

When the light faded, like coming out of a fog, I was looking down at a casket at a graveyard – apparently my interment. There was a surprising number of mourners present.  Obviously my parents were there, but my grandparents and aunts and uncles, and also many people from my old school.  They all travelled the nine hours to be here for me.  Some people from my new school were there as well.  I never even really considered any of them friends, and here they were.  I was able to see each and every person clearly.  I could see their grief and sorrow in excruciating detail.

Where I’m at, I feel.  The pain of everyone at my funeral is felt by me.  At one point during the ceremony, a funny memory of me was brought up and I could feel the sensation of laughter shoot through me, and then just as quickly, the sadness was back.  I had no way of telling them I was ok now.  I couldn’t will them to move on without me.

The ceremony ended and the despair grew in a crescendo, overwhelming my spirit.  The white light returned and I was left alone with my feelings, which weren’t my feelings anymore.  The only feelings I had were the ones others held for me.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCtD6-57IEk] Chemical Wedding
Bruce Dickenson

How happy is the human soul
Not enslaved by dull control
Left to dream and roam and play
Shed the guilt of former days

Walking on the foggy shore
Watch the waves come roaring home
Through the veil of pale moonlight
My shadow stretches out its hand

And so we lay, we lay in the same grave
Our chemical wedding day

Floating in the endless blue
My seed of doubt I leave to you
Let it wither on the ground
Treat it like a plague you found

All my dreams that were outside
In living colour, now alive
And all the lighthouses
Their beams converge to guide me home

And so we lay, we lay in the same grave
Our chemical wedding day

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