K-Hole at Columbia

by

02/17/2002

111th St. and Amsterdam Ave, ny, Ny 10025

Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

My girlfriend, Amanda, and me, and her friend Heather were at Nacho Mama’s, drinking. It had just gotten cold. My friend Sal came in. He had been drinking, too. Heather brought up liquor, how old it had become, how tired she was of it, and asked him if he had any drugs. He said he had some K up in his room. He didn’t care for the K, he said. He just didn’t like the way it made him feel. It was ours, he said. We could have it.

He was heading down to Canon’s on 108th street so he gave me his key and I went across the street to his frat-house and up the five flights of stairs. At each landing stood a big barrel of garbage. I unlocked his door. I looked around at Sal’s pictures on the walls (Sal at the prom, Sal’s brother, Sal sitting in a car) and thought about them in a drunken way. Then I searched through his top desk drawer and found it. I found some paper and a highliter and wrote Sal a note explaining how the money he owed me from that gambling debt was now repaid.

We left Nacho’s and headed to another bar, 1020, on 110th street and Amsterdam. We cut across 111th street. The patrons tend to be abusive of substances at the 1020, and there is no lock on the men’s room door as a result. I said I wanted to do some and we huddled into the bathroom, rolled up a dollar, and put it in the bag. No sense of proportion in this method, you get as much as you can suck out. Amanda went first. Then Heather, then I. Heather hadn’t gotten any. She wanted to hit the other nostril, so she hit the other nostril. Then, just to be fair, I hit the other nostril. I wiped my nose and sealed the baggy and put it in my pocket. We continued on toward Amsterdam.

I hadn’t done K in a long time. I remembered my experiences with K as having been fun, though they weren’t really memories, just distant good vibes I sort of remembered. We all were having the drips. There was a little excitement as we walked, waiting for something to happen. It came in plateaus. Every fifteen or thirty seconds you found yourself further in than you were before, and you hadn’t realized anything had changed, but it had, and as this occured to you, you found yourself further in again. We stopped walking so darn quickly. I was a little scared because it was hitting me hard, but it seemed to be hitting Heather and Amanda hard too, and that seemed to make it okay. We were walking on toward Amsterdam on the south side of the street. We stopped walking in such a darn straight line.

We decided to rest on the last doorstep on the south side of 111th. Amanda sat on the low concrete wall of the stoop. She had her hands on her knees, her head down, concentrating on breathing. I sat down on the stoop. The building had warm yellow lights over its entrance. I put my head in my hands. I felt fucked.

I sat like that for a while. But I really wanted something to drink. The drips were bothering me. Let’s make it to the bar, I said. I stood up, staggered over to the curb and leaned against a parked Buick, staggered back to Amanda and Heather, tried to talk her. She didn’t say anything to me. I sat back down. Then I lay down. The stoop was warm. Heather went off somewhere. I was warm on the stoop. I thought about Amanda. I wasn’t exactly clear on what we had to do with each other. One moment she seemed very important, and I was quite worried about her and all that. Then she seemed insignificant: some appendage to the universe of me. She had some kind of title in my life but I couldn’t think what it was. There was a tree on the corner with fine small leaves that were still green in the autumn. I lay on the stoop and the leaves were a canopy above me. They were lit up by the streetlamp. The leaves were moving, creating series of patterns. The patterns buttressed each other into leaf cinema. The stone beneath me felt warm and soft and I curled up into a ball.

It wasn’t a stoop to me. It was just a place, some type of a place that was mine. I closed my eyes. That wasn’t good, so I opened them again. Heather appeared. She had gone to 1020 to get a cup of water. We all had some of the water. I asked Heather what we should do. Heather said we should get a taxi. Heather put one hand under Amanda’s armpit and I put one hand under her other armpit, and we began to walk. But I was leaning on Amanda as much as she was leaning on me, and she fell, hitting her head. There was a sound that made you grimace when her head hit the sidewalk. We got her back to her feet and, I holding onto Amanda and she holding on to me, we staggered together toward the avenue. We were both doubled over for balance. Heather had got a taxi. Amanda slid in and I pushed her feet out of the way and slid in after her. Heather closed the door behind us. I didn’t know what her story was. She was fine. I told the driver 116th street and Riverside. I do not know why I told him this. The address I wanted was 116th street between Broadway and Riverside. Maybe that seemed too difficult to explain. He stopped where I had told him to, on the corner, and I gave him ten dollars and got out of the taxi. Thanks, New York, for all the scaffolding. I hung on for dear life. The taxi driver got out. He was from the sub-continent. He asked me if we were drunk and I told him we were. He helped Amanda out of the car. He looked quite concerned for us, for her especially, as she wasn’t as talkative as I.

At the intersection of 116th street and Riverside, the corner is rounded and slopes uphill. It was very difficult to negotiate. The world would move to the left, to the left, in my vision. I was convinced this would be a permanent condition. But there was the scaffolding to hold on to, the blessed scaffolding. We walked uphill, supporting each other, walking with our hands as much as our feet. We pulled each other by the clothes, guiding each other, clinging to each other like orangutans. Then the scaffolding came to an end. It was steep uphill the rest of the way. It was twenty yards or so, an endless twenty yards. We were in a stupor. We went for it. We made it about 19 yards before we collapsed on the street. Amanda and I rested our heads on the pavement, eyes gazing up to the stars. There was a relief in our failure, mainly because we didn’t have to try to walk anymore. Our limbs were entagled. There was no going on.

I lifted my head. One of the University security guards was walking over. This was going to be unfortunate. Four girls were entering the building, looking at us, and I called out to them: Please, will you help us? These strangers found virtuous pity in their hearts. They came over and picked us both up. They propped us up so we could walk. We told them where we were going and they took us past the security desk and up to Amanda’s suite. One of them aided me in my quest to puke into the bathroom sink. I succeeded, and was then led back to Amanda’s room. The other three girls were there. Amanda was splayed on the bed, passed out, vomit all over the floor. I lay down next to her and the girls turned out the lights.

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