I had started to systematically sell or get rid of every major and minor collection from my childhood weeks after my best friend and roommate, Sidney, decided to take the long walk towards his own mortality. The little money I did make from framed animation cells, baseball cards and comic books was then spent on an overabundance of available drugs, which I would either consume or sell depending on my mood. This one-dimensional routine had then quickly taken its toll on my already lowered educational standards as I reluctantly checked my mid-term grades on the second to last day of spring break, only to soon discover that I was failing with the consistency of a disillusioned freshman alcoholically pledging service to the Greeks.
However, such clear and present concerns hadn't registered with my other expected fears, as I drove around my hometown, stoned and still unsure what Melanie meant when she said we were kind of done with each other. I suppose she still needed me around for the impending summer of boredom and to fill some kind of viable space next to her at graduation parties; my heart still thumping back and forth on most nights when she bothered to call and the two of us ended up within the same ten-mile radius.
I was moderately impatient that afternoon as I headed up the dirt path on the hill, about a half mile away from Edison High School, my Alma mater. My car was parked reliably in the first available spot on the street that bordered the drug-free-zone signs. The abandoned Protestant church had caught fire in 1984, all paths leading to the remaining four walls and steeple, now naturally grown over. Every bottomed-out youth of Brier, Connecticut knew about it sanctity and therefore only took the hike when necessary evils trumped their own fears of specters and spirits. Sander had beaten me there, having most likely walked straight over after school. We had a predominately business relationship; him being Sidney's brother Ethan's on-again off-again best friend. They both had girlfriends at that point, who surprisingly enough were also best friends, but still didn't change the circumstance too much. Sander Rowe needed pot and I needed money for my next paper-thin purchase of paraphernalia. It was just that plain and simple.
We understood each other, and had, on occasion, been social, when on the same psychedelics, but all of these encounters still didn't change the fact that certain exchanges in secluded locations were meant to be brief; both parties abiding by the same codes of contraband etiquette.
"How long have you been here?" I asked first, focusing on the charred and dirt-covered stained-glass windows.
"Not too long. Megan was supposed to come with me, but like all good girlfriends, she bailed."
"But I'm sure she'll still get high with you, right?" I joked.
"It's just the way it is. Women are fickle angels."
"So true." I nodded, grabbing the bag out of my pocket and re-examining its contents one last time, before tossing it to Sander. "That good for you?"
"Yeah, this works." He replied, pleased as he checked the bag's quality and consistency, pulling out his wallet. "You're gone again tomorrow, right?"
"Uh huh... Back to the bullshit I'm afraid."
"So is there anything to really look forward to after this gets old?"
I took a moment to think about such a question, before the soft interruption of my cellphone vibrating against my knee made me reconsider all previous assumptions. I thought I was in a bad reception area. I knew who it was, my delayed response directly influenced by Melanie's anxious tones in my pocket.
"It depends on what kind of mood they're all in." I finally said, before answering over the static and leading the next retreat back towards the modern pull of my remaining hours as a free agent.