Martina and Randall got in his car and he could tell that she was nervous. “Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked.
“I am…I think,” she said. “I feel like I deserted her somehow. Does that make any sense?” Randall looked over at her and said, “no. From what you have told me, she encouraged you to break free and explore the kind of life she has, and you readily embraced the idea. She didn’t force you into her world, did she? Why do you feel like you deserted her? Did she demand that your full attention be focused on her alone? Or did she just make you want to, as I said, taste another side of life?”
Martina said, “I wonder if I was a good enough friend. After she introduced me to things I had never seen or experienced or done, I just sort of went my way and left her behind. But if it hadn’t been for her, I would have never been able to break free of my parents, and go to college, and good heavens…join the drama club.”
Randall quickly said, “and if it hadn’t been for her, you would have never become an addict.”
Martina bit her lower lip. She wasn’t yet ready to concede that she had a problem, although, even as they were driving to Callie’s dorm, she was shaking and felt like she needed some help.
It was the same scenario as before. She knocked on Callie’s door, and there was no answer. She knocked on the RA’s door, and there was no answer. Looking up and down the hallway, she asked Randall if he thought he could shoulder the door down, “like they do in the movies.”
With very little effort, the door yielded and they walked in. The quietness was deafening, and the stillness was eerily disconcerting. They called to Callie, but there was no answer. Walking around her neatly kept apartment, nothing seemed out of place.
Martina slowly walked toward her bedroom. The door was closed but not locked. A wave of dread came over her, and she called for Randall. He moved her aside and said, “let me go in.”
Martina closed her eyes and held her breath as she said a silent prayer.
Randall went in and found Callie on the floor, leaning against the bed, facing the window. One look, and he knew she was dead. Her right hand was holding the needle that was still embedded in her arm, and her left hand was clutching a piece of paper.
Before Randall could stop her, Martina came into the room. “Don’t look,” he said. “You don’t want to see her this way, and she wouldn’t want you to see her this way.”
Martina could hardly control herself. She was hysterical and pleading with Randall to do CPR. “It’s too late,” he said. “She’s been gone for a few days. We need to call 911. Tell them to send the police, but tell them that we don’t need an ambulance.”
While trying to console a frantic Martina, and without her seeing, Randall took the note from Callie’s hand and put it in his pocket.
Martina started running around like a caged animal, pulling up sofa cushions, looking in cabinet drawers, and even taking off the top to the toilet tank. “What are you looking for?” he asked. She said, “I’m trying to find her help. I don’t want anyone thinking that she had it.”
Randall scolded her loudly and said, “Martina! She has a needle sticking out of her arm. Her arms are full of tracks. I’m sure people know she was a drug addict, and I think it’s time you stopped referring to it as help. It’s not help. Call it what it what it is. It’s Cocaine. She was a cocaine addict. YOU’RE a cocaine addict.”
Randall, thinking quickly on his feet, said, “we need to get out of here, unless you are prepared to start answering a lot of uncomfortable questions.”
They managed to slip out a side door before the police arrived. Martina covered her ears as the wail of sirens got louder, and she was literally starting to fall apart emotionally. She begged Randall to take her home. He knew why.
“I’m not taking you home,” he said. “I know you think you need a fix. Stay with me for a while and let it pass. Just take some deep breaths.”
After threatening to get out and walk, Martina finally calmed down and they just sat in his car, watching the flickering blue strobe-lights.
“I’m so desperately sad,” she said. “I just don’t understand.”
Randall said, “I understand, and so do you, if you would open your eyes. She was an addict. Addicts always think they have control over their animal. They think that animal is their friend, their release, their escape, their salvation. But it’s really a stalker. A soul destroyer. An anarchist. A depleter. And then, one day, it becomes a killer. Not always, but more often than you know.”
Randall looked at Martina with imploring eyes and said, “we need to talk about getting you into recovery.”
“I don’t want to talk about that right now…please. I just…I just…” She turned, looked at him and, in a brusque way asked, “how do you know so much about this anyway? What makes you such an expert?”
Randall held out his arm and showed her the now healed and almost invisible track marks, cleverly hidden by a dragonfly tattoo.
To be continued_____________