It Could Have Been Worse

I stood on the roof looking out towards the shimmering skyline. I can’t believe I live here. The crisp December air encased me and carried the faint smell of fresh rain. My bare legs, unprotected from the cold except for the thin layer of black mesh that covered them. Surrounded by tall concrete buildings, I could see the water through a small opening in front of me. I noticed the beautiful, traditional, red sail boats that often occupy the harbour, especially on nights like these. I held a glass of champagne in my shivering hands, the condensation on it thick from the humidity that laid heavily on the city. I looked down at my red dress, the intricate lace clinging to my arms and hips that slowly released into a short skirt that barely reached the middle of my thighs. I felt a drop of rain on my cheek. I don’t want to go back inside. It is so peaceful out here. All alone. I took one last glance at the skyline of my city, turned around and walked to the door leading to the party downstairs.

It’s a busy crowd, full of people I don’t know and will probably never see again. I had been invited to this party with two of my other friends. We were sophomores and had just finished our mid-year exams and decided we should go. I mean it was a senior’s Christmas party at a real club. It was originally suppose to be on the rooftop but, because of the weather, we had to move down to the bar that held, not only the invited guests, but the rest of the general population. As I slid back into the frenzy of gesturing acquaintances and heavy drinking, I was encompassed by a blur of red and white individuals moving swiftly through the group. I looked around for my two friends, both of them were deep in conversation with other people at the party. I probably shouldn’t disturb them. I stood by the bar leaning my tired body against the cool wood.

“Samantha?!” I turned my head towards the sound of the booming voice shouting my name. I was suddenly being held tightly, my arms forced down by my side. I could smell his strong cologne, and his thick gelled hair tickled my chin. Do I know you? He pulled his body away from mine. Jeff.

“It is so wonderful to see you! Let’s get a drink!” I did know him, I had met him last year at another party hosted by the same senior. He was a wonderful guy, and was the first openly gay person I had met under the age of 16.

He thrusted a shot into my hand. Down it went. Suddenly, I was being bombarded by drinks. Then, someone I had never seen before and didn’t get a good look at, handed me a drink and, like all the others, I threw my head back and swallowed it in seconds. When I returned my gaze to the man who had just bought me a cocktail, he was gone. Odd.

Jeff put my arm between his and walked me over to a table with a few stools. We sat and caught up, discussing what we had both been up to for the past year. Why do I see two of you? I could feel my body cave in on itself, and I felt like I had forgotten how to sit in a chair. The world began to revolve around me and I slowly slid to the floor. Jeff stood shocked and pulled me off the ground. My brain was beating in my skull and I could feel the blood under my skin pump around my body. I let go of Jeff’s arm and began to migrate over to the bathroom. Every step I took felt like an impossible mission that would never be completed. I clung to every surface I could find, pulling my body closer and closer to the door that led to the bathroom. Safety.

I suddenly felt someone grab my arm and pull my body weight onto theirs. Relief. I looked over briefly at the person holding me and didn’t recognise them. I could only see their profile, but they looked remarkably familiar. He got me a drink earlier. I was too weak to feel. To think. My friends saw me and ran over, I was suddenly unsupported. The person who had been my wall released me and I fell to the floor. Arms enveloped me and struggled to move my limp body to the nearby bathroom.

From that moment on, my consciousness faded in and out. My chest burned. The vital organs and blood in my body began to boil and recoil inside of me. Fatigue. Black out. Awareness. I ripped my dress off and embraced the cool touch of the tile floor that held me. Then darkness. I opened my eyes to see my two friends crying. Don’t be scared. I felt my body being lifted, I was ripped out of my haze and forced into reality. I was in someone’s arms. I didn’t know who’s. I didn’t care. I could see my friends faces. Shocked. Uncertain. Horrified.

I was in the hospital now. I had just thrown up all over myself. The smell was pungent and stuck to the inside of my nose. The nurses tugged at my dress and threaded my arms into a paper gown. I could now see my parents hugging the side of my bed as the doctors and nurses held my useless body. Darkness.

A sting of pain drove up my arm. I tried to open my eyes and I was surrounded by the lifeless hospital room. Sudden and erratic noises erupted from the machines on the perimeter of my bed. My body ached. I peered to my right and saw different instruments towering over me, holding a variety of transparent bags of liquids. Continuing to look around the room I could see my mother sleeping. I could feel her fear even as she lay unconscious. Unmoving. What happened to me?

I was drugged, and it could have been worse.

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