When I left my mom’s house, I didn’t know where to go.
I stayed with different friends and managed to keep going to school for a while, but none of their parents were really comfortable with taking in another teenager for too long.
I figured I’d have to get a place of my own, and that meant I’d have to work full-time, which meant I’d have to drop out of high school.
So at 16, I dropped out of school, got a full-time job as a sales clerk at a game store (which was awesome), and quickly saved up enough for my own apartment.
Everything was going fine for a while, even though I was sad about my mom and not entirely sure what my future would hold.
One day, a guy came into the store. He was cute, with dark shaggy hair and a cool band tee. When I was checking him out at the counter, he wrote his name and number on the store copy of the receipt. I texted him that night, and we met up for what I thought was going to be a date.
His name was Luke, and he was older than me. He was probably about the same age I am now, although I can’t really remember. Anyway, he was definitely over 21, because that night he took me to a gay bar.
When I realized where we were going, I was scared but curious. I explained that I wasn’t old enough to get in, but Luke just laughed. I saw when we walked through the door and up to the bar without anyone carding us that I had nothing to worry about. Luke said he came here all the time, and that everyone knew him, and they would never bother anyone he came in with. This made me wonder how many guys he brought around, but I dismissed the thought quickly.
That was a night of a lot of firsts.
My first gay bar (my first bar at all). My first kiss with a guy. And my first time trying heroin.
I had been drunk before, so I knew when I was weaving my way to the bathroom, the edges of everything a little blurry, that I was well on my way to a blackout. But I was having fun, and I didn’t want to seem too young, or uncool.
So when I saw Luke in the bathroom, both of us sweaty from the dance floor, nothing seemed more natural than for us to kiss.
Yes, I know. My first authentic kiss in the bathroom of a club. Romantic, right?
Then, Luke pulled something out of his pocket. It was a little pipe with some black sticky stuff in it. He lit it up and took a drag, then passed it to me.
I had smoked pot before with my friends and figured this was the same thing, or something similar. Honestly, I barely thought about it at all, because at that point my head was spinning and I would have done whatever Luke wanted.
I didn’t know until later that the black substance in the pipe was heroin. But by then, it was too late. I was hooked.