Time didn’t slow down. Her life didn’t flash before her eyes, she didn’t stare thoughtfully, no visions of tar-coated lungs entered her head.
She just took it.
The first time was a mess up. She only inhaled into her mouth, nothing reaching her lungs. It was weak, thin; like inhaling sunshine-flavored incense. Well, that stuff actually made her choke. It was probably the musty-ness of it, and how the smoke seemed like ribbons of water rather than dusty air.
She gave it back.
As she thought about it later, she was surprised her dad’s face didn’t pop into her head. Of all people, he would be the one to convince her that it was wrong, it was all wrong. Just look how her brother turned out. Crashing a car (or so she thought, she’d been lied to before), serving time, parole, being kicked out of his own house, rehab, then rehab again. All because he smoked and drank and was generally a bad kid. Or maybe it wasn’t his fault, maybe it was just everything else like how his dad left early on, and how his friends were bad influences and showed him how to snort his medication. He could probably blame the booze he drank that night too, the spike in the punch. It wasn’t me, it was the bottle.
She asked for another hit.
Of course, she wasn’t that suave. It was more like holding out her hand and asking, ‘can I try again?’ Street-smarts had mostly by-passed her, being brought up the way she was. It was a quiet suburbia; but not like what she lived in now. Come to think of it, it was probably where she lived now that made it even more enticing. To try something other than making fun of the ugly kids and the girls who rode horses every Wednesday. There just wasn’t anything to do.
She breathed in.
This time it hit her lungs, soft and smoothly. She imagined it curling into the butterfly-wing organs, then breathed it out through her nose and mouth. Her brain fell over, feeling like it had stood up too quickly, but her vision wasn’t blurry so she didn’t worry. It sort of reminded her of the time they stole balloons from a woman with a prosthetic arm and sucked the helium in until she finally got that eye-rolling feeling. Her mouth tasted like black coffee.
“I’m so proud of you!”