This is why the kick reminds us that we are alive:
Malibu. I can feel my bones and muscles inside me, breaking, stretching. My skin is hot and bumpy, my hair hurts where it is attached to my scalp. There is a growing fire in my chest and I feel like it’s burning me from the inside out.
My brain is hyper-alert, receptors suddenly stripped, shallow reserves of dopamine depleted by the last orgasm. My body seizes and jerks.
The pain was visceral and fulfilling, terrifying. Pain seems like such an inadequate word.
But I knew I was alive. The kick was in every cell, violent, and I felt it.
It was December and freezing and we would huddle on the balcony smoking and trying to feel better. We could hear the ocean at night. I was always trying to smell it. I didn’t sleep for a long time and I couldn’t stay still. So I watched vh1 all night on the flat screen TV and tried to read a Kurt Cobain biography and tossed and jerked and froze and ached in that luxury room: high thread count sheets, plush carpeting, walk-in closet, ocean view. I remember the curtains were dark blue and very heavy. I took a bath when I could, because hot water was the only thing that could make my body stay still. I could rest there, and would fall asleep until I slipped too low and water in my nose woke me up. Then add some more hot water and try it again. It was the only sleep I got those nights. As soon as I got out of the water it was horrible again.
It felt lonely. Once I went upstairs and lay on the white couch next to the night RA while he watched a martial arts movie and dozed. “Have you ever kicked heroin?” I asked. “No,” he said, “but I’ve been with someone who has.” Later I found out it was his girlfriend, a dope addict who had relapsed once since they had been together. I was jealous of that girl and later tried to find out all about her. Someone told me that she was an artist, really cool, had a kind of seventies style, “like Charlies Angels.”