Sometimes I get up from the desk, still gripping that square green bottle, diamond pattern of liquid bad ideas, pressed into the ball of my thumb. Stumble to the corner, lean against the case, some small voice inside trying to explain that this is a bad idea but its too late, hands moving of their own accord, fumble in pockets, find the key. open the case, feel all that warmth spilling out carrying the smell of woodsmoke, Attar, Frankincense and we’re halted slightly, rocking their on our heels, the child in front of the refrigerator, the bright light, the forbidden.
This isn’t a good idea, Simon. Why are we doing this?
On Autopilot, now, motions slow and strange like a first kiss, all the tiny myriad voices within are hushed, waiting for the hit; I reach out, grab that little ash-covered orb and squeeze it tightly, feeling all those patterns burning themselves into my hand, feeling it discharge, that spiking, halting pain running up my arm, Instantly, terrifyingly sobering. The hiss of breath through my teeth in harmony with the sizzle of burning skin. I put it back, fingers uncurling stiffly, muscles reluctant to let go even as they burn. Close the door with an elbow, an easy, practiced motion. Turn the key with my knuckles. Careful steps, return to desk. cross hands on chest, rest head on desk top. wracking sobs, clean air, clear memories.
Why? because it reminds us we’re alive.