Walk Down Misery Street

“But you still snort coke. And drink vodka,” I said, fighting to move my eyes from the bulging bosom under her t-shirt. “Think how this may affect your son.”

“I won’t lie, amigo. I do blow occasionally,” she admitted. “Sometimes I just want coke so badly, so badly . . . you know what I mean. You also used to get high, right?”

“Yes, a while ago,” I answered with a thoughtful air, secretly glad that she considered me “one of them.” I had learned that I could pretend to be someone who used to get high. I am one of you! Don’t be ashamed. You can be open and honest with me!

“Don’t bullshit me, amigo! I’m sure you don’t even know what a bag of coke looks like! How can you teach me anything? You never used, and on top of it, you’re lying!”

When they say that the tips of one’s ears burn from shame, it’s true. Of all the known expressions of shame, the most painful are those burning ears tips. To know if someone is feeling ashamed, look at their ears, not their eyes!

Having made me feel ashamed, Cynthia again started “dancing” in the chair.

“Fine. If you want the paper for the court, then give me now your urine for toxicology,” I said firmly.

She looked at me somewhat tensely.

“I can’t. You know, I have . . . my period. When I have my period, I have a lot of pain right here below my tummy, and I get very nervous and cranky. Forgive me, Pete, if I offended you in some way. Help me. Write a good letter for me.”

(The female patients often turn to this trick of saying they allegedly have their period to avoid a toxicology test.)

I finally gave up and wrote her a letter for the court. Everything I wrote was a lie. Cynthia was already unhappy and thought herself useless and worthless. If they took away her maternal rights, what would she have left? That was my reasoning.

Cynthia was too carefree. And she saw her progressing drug addiction as another type of harmless entertainment.