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The Worst Thing That Has Ever Happened To Me

Fair warning - this is a rambling, depressing post. As mentioned a few days ago, SN and I recently visited California and had a great time, with the exception of one horrible, unexpected problem. I wrote the following shortly after it happened and the thought of re-reading it now is making my stomach turn, so hopefully it is fine as it is. It will have to be. There's so much more to this story. I can't talk about it without choking up and ever since it happened, stupid things render me unable to breathe, like seeing an ad in Coastal Living magazine referencing people in our lives who have passed away. Everyone tells me my friend is going to die. She's not just my friend. She is everything to me. I want to write our story so everyone can understand how special she is, but just typing this has me on the verge of a panic attack. I want to write a letter to her but don't know what to say. I want to encourage her and help her, but at the same time, I want to scream at her and tell her how selfish she is. Why is she doing this to everyone who cares about her? All she cares about is herself. She doesn't care about hurting her friends or her family. I love her so much but I hate her right now. Maybe I don't mean as much to her as she does to me.
*****
I have two friends from childhood. We have always called ourselves the three musketeers. One lives in the UK and the other in San Jose, where we grew up. I haven't seen either in nearly 10 years, though we keep in touch online. The friend in the UK is a huge success. She writes and stars in a TV show called Chinese Burn. The other friend lives at home with her parents. She was given every opportunity in life - private schools, world travel on her parents' dime, music lessons, etc. Her dad is a college professor and they moved from Bangladesh when she was young. She is an only child and she resents her parents for it. I have a brother and always wished to be an only child. I love her, but have thought her to be a bit irresponsible, at least as an adult. She doesn't seem willing to be a grown-up. She has been "getting her degree" forever (we're nearly 34) and she still talks about the job she had at a movie theater at age 16 like it was the highlight of her life. I enjoyed my job at Taco Bell when I was 16 too, but I've moved on. You'd think I was describing a chronic underachiever, some high school dropout always on the wrong side of the law. Celine isn't like that at all. In elementary school, she and I were in the GATE program together. We dressed up for performances at the Civic Light Opera and American Musical Theatre, where an usher tried to turn us away for being too young to watch Pippin. (To be fair, the performance did include a graphic gang rape scene, so...) We went horseback riding and made our own strawberry jam and taught our friend how to ride her bike so that the three of us could go on adventures together. We practiced our best Mariah Carey singing and dancing routines every day after school. In 7th grade, we studied Shakespeare and read A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romero and Juliet in our Honor's English class. At my house, she was always polite and well behaved and followed all the rules, even when I didn't. She would voice her concern whenever something I wanted to do might get us in trouble. In 6th grade, when we had the chance to work together on a report (on the rainforest, maybe), she did not choose me as her partner. The report wasn't even graded, but she wanted to do the best job possible. She is kind and funny and thoughtful and smart and beautiful and talented.

We were (still are) obsessed with Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon would never be okay with Celine's current life choices. For the last month, I've been unable to reach her. I check my email constantly, hoping for a reply. Now, I'm back in CA briefly and my husband drove us to her house yesterday morning. I didn't think she would be there. I'd written a note to leave at the front door. I thought maybe she was back in Bangladesh, which has happened in the past. I'm not really sure what the point is of typing all this. I just need to vent. I'm at a crappy Marriott in the middle of nowhere with nothing better to do while my husband is working. I'm angry at my friend and sad for her and for her parents and worry that she isn't going to get better. Here is the message I sent to our mutual friend in the UK:

Bad news. Celine has become a junkie. Heroin, I think. She's shacked up with another junkie named Shawn at her parents' house. He came out to our car when we parked along the street, not quite in front of the house. Why was he looking out the window and why did he come out? I wonder if he had a drug deal going and thought that's who we were. He looked scary and I couldn't believe it when Derek rolled down the window to ask if he knew Celine. Shawn explained he was greasy because he'd just been frying a bunch of bacon. How are Celine's parents okay with cooking bacon in their house? They used to make Celine fast if she accidentally ate pork. When I went inside, there was no sign of any bacon and, several times, Celine offered me the same slice of bread from a bowl that she said was no good because it had been sitting out a few days. Celine and Shawn sleep on a mattress on the living room floor. She has ruined her teeth and she weighs nothing. She looks like that actress who played Laurie on That 70s Show who died of an overdose. Her mind is all over the place and she blurts out weird things. She has lost her filter. There were tire marks on the front lawn. She has gathered everything from inside the house and piled it up to burn "because it's all contaminated" (with what, she wouldn't say) and she is probably going to burn her house down or asphyxiate everyone. The ash from the fireplace was overflowing all over the floor. Her dad was still in bed and her mom was still in her robe. I think they've given up. I hope her parents aren't on drugs too. Her mom wrote "Do Not Knock" on Celine's bedroom door in Sharpie. When we arrived, Celine was smoking a cigar. It was 10 am. Shawn said they get up really early. She was also walking around with a big knife, which Shawn took away. After that, she kept looking for her knife. The kitchen was disgusting. Celine said Shawn is teaching her how to boil water and that she'd wanted to make pancakes so she ran some cereal through the blender but it didn't work. Supposedly her cat is still alive, though she seemed surprised when I asked about it, as if she'd forgotten about the existence of the cat, and set off looking for it. Her mom looked too. I never saw a cat. Celine's mom said we should go do something together when I come back through town in a few days and Celine said Shawn would drive us somewhere in his Jeep. Yeah right. It's scary to think that either of them might be driving. When I left, Celine picked up a screen door from her pile of junk and threw it onto the lawn. She kept saying I should have told her I was coming and I kept telling her I've sent millions of emails and left messages on her machine. She said the machine doesn't work, but there were several calls while I was there and messages left. She and her mom never seemed to even realize the phone was ringing. Celine said her phone was taken away so she's had no contact with the outside world. Her mom said her computer broke and is currently being repaired, which sounded like a lie. I pointed out that there were little oranges in the backyard, which had fallen all over the ground from a neighbor's tree, and Celine seemed bewildered, like she'd never looked into her yard before. It felt like I was in a scene from Breaking Bad. I'm not sure I'm going to go back and I'm not sure Celine will remember I was there. I think she is trying to get clean and simultaneously trying not to admit to being on anything, though it is obvious. The real Celine is still there somewhere. She kept searching for presents to give me. I turned down lots of shirts, granola bars, and a pillow, which was offered so I would be comfortable riding in the car. It was nice of her. I took a prepackaged pickle, of all things, because it seemed like she would be hurt if I didn't. When we left, I had to take off my jacket and stick it in the trunk because it reeked of smoke. It still smells. She was impressed with our car, though I kept reminding her it was just a rental. And she asked a few times if you and I still talk. Didn't the 3 of us just email back and forth a few months ago? Of course we still talk. Why is she throwing her life away? She had every advantage. So many people in CA embrace the lifestyle, eating right and enjoying the outdoors. Why can't she be like that? The bay area is all engineers and scientists and dorky nice guys. Why can't she meet one of them instead of hanging out with loser after loser?

I want to fix her. Is that realistic? Can I fix her? There are drug rehab places here that look really nice. Would she just meet more junkies there though? I want that stupid Shawn fellow to go the heck away. Why don't her parents sell their house and move somewhere else and give Celine a fresh start? San Jose is obviously not working out for any of them. Their house could easily sell for almost a million dollars right now, just like other houses with the same floorplan down the street. They should sell before Celine burns the place down.

I want to shake her and scream at her and yell WHY THE F*** ARE YOU DOING THIS??
*****
I've changed my friend's name in this post. In her current state, I can't imagine she would care one way or the other, but her parents might appreciate some anonymity. Supposedly they read my blog. I don't know if they will read this. I'm worried they will and I'll make everyone angry. As an update, I think I wrote that her parents might also be on drugs (not proofreading because it's too upsetting), but I no longer think that. I feel bad for her parents. She is so mean to both of them, especially her mom, who is really nice. She says her goal is to waste all of their money. She also told me she has a toothache but is concerned it will cost too much to fix. Well, Celine, you know who can help you with that? Your parents. Assuming they don't go bankrupt caring for you in the meantime.

Another update: Straight from her own mouth, she is on crack. She seems to think this is funny. I don't think she has any intention of quitting. She is also an alcoholic. She also shoplifts. She has also been banned from the mall, the drive-in movie theater, the grocery store, and anywhere else she might like to go. She also cannot seem to keep a job for more than a week or hold a conversation for more than half a minute.

I need to write Celine a letter but don't know what to say. She'll probably just burn it in her crazy fire. Did I mention the sun was shining and it was unusually warm while I was there? (How warm? I wore shorts and a tank top in San Francisco in February and was too hot.) Celine had no idea about the weather. She was surprised to hear it. One of the items in her "To Burn" pile was an Amerisleep pillow I'd sent her as a gift years ago. She'd told me she loved it and that it was the most comfortable pillow she has ever had. So why is she burning it? I also sent her a Christmas present and have no idea what she did with it. Her mom told me she always wished Celine would get married one day and have a house. I wished that too. I accept that path is not for everyone and that it is not for Celine. That doesn't mean you have to throw your life away. While SN and I were in California, there were so many amazing places we visited and things we saw and foods we ate and things we did. There's so much enjoyment to get out of life and Celine is so fortunate to live right in the heart of the action. She has friends who love her so much even though she has turned her back on them, sharing their concerns and making plans for how to help her from two different continents. I've spent hours requesting that brochures for different drug addiction treatment centers be sent to her house. I think she will just burn them, but I'm hoping one might catch her eye. Maybe one of the inpatient centers that offers horse therapy. There's a spa-like treatment center in Hawaii that I wouldn't mind attending myself. I joked with SN that it looked so nice, maybe I should get hooked on drugs so that I can go too. He scolded me, even though he was 99.99% certain I was kidding. He couldn't risk that 0.01%. Celine doesn't understand why I am so against Shawn. He is okay with her using drugs, complicit and agreeable with her destroying her health, mind, life. I hate him for this. I will never forgive him. I'm not sure I can forgive her.

Here in Albuquerque, I saw an advertisement on the back of a bus the other day. It said, "Becoming addicted is not a choice. Getting help is." I will try to remember this.

I don't think I've done a good job with this blog post. I'm a guarded person and I have trouble sharing my feelings, online or off. What I'm trying to say is that I'm devastated.

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