At a certain point, I was meeting strangers, going with them to buy coke, snorting it up. I met this one guy, a jeans designer, at a friend’s loft party in Brooklyn—we chat, smoke cigarettes on the roof all night, and toward the end of the evening when the party is clearing out, he turns to my roommate and me and says, “Does anyone want to go get some coke?”
She wisely declines and heads home. And, like an idiot, a few minutes later I find myself standing on a street corner right across from my ex-boyfriend’s apartment in front of a bar at 2 a.m. while Jeans Designer goes inside to buy from “this DJ guy I know.”
I think that I cannot get any more pathetic than this.
After what seems like forever, he finally emerges with the coke. We walk to his place, a one-bedroom in an ugly, concrete, multi-story building that used to be part of the projects. His place is filthy—clothes are scattered everywhere, and the bathroom and kitchen haven’t been cleaned in ages. He proceeds to cut lines, and we tear through that bag of coke and a case of Tecate, and the night fades into 3, 4, 5 a.m. Line after line, he starts blathering about designing jeans for a big-name rap mogul, how impossible it is to fulfill a celebrity’s every wish and the demands of working with denim as a fabric.
As he’s talking, he brings out dozens of jeans, explaining washes, cuts and pocket designs. I nod along, pretending to care, realizing about the time the sun is coming up that I’ve spent the previous two hours talking about denim when I couldn’t give a shit less about how jeans are made.
Then it comes down to what it always comes down to—are we going to mess around?
He starts rubbing my feet. “I shouldn’t tell you this, but I feel like I can,” he says. “There’s this charge kind of pending against me right now…Um, I don’t know how to say this without it sounding really bad.”
“Ah, go ahead,” I say, exhausted, wanting him to leave me alone. I am not attracted to him at all, but for some reason I cannot tell people to stop touching me when I am on coke. “It can’t be that bad.”
“Uh, I got thrown into jail in April,” he says. “My friend had this girlfriend, and they were fighting, right? So I run into her at a party, and she’s all flirting with me, and I always thought she was hot. So we end up having sex, she tells me after that she did it to piss him off. Then she goes to him and tells him that I raped her…I mean, I know that sounds bad, but it was totally consensual. She asked to come home with me. And now?” OK, Jeans Designer is almost crying. “My friend came over and beat the shit out of me and called the cops. I got thrown in jail for a couple days before I could get out. And now, I’ve got to show up at this court date.”
Hours and hours after burning through a shit-ton of coke and a case of beer—I think, if he was going to try something wouldn’t he have tried it by now? But still? Rape? I sit there, frozen to the couch, not saying anything—I can’t decide if I buy his story or not. But I also don’t want to seem freaked out and piss him off in case he is dangerous.
“See?” he says. “I didn’t want to tell you because I knew that this would happen. I knew you would go cold.”
“No, it’s not…well, you seem to be telling the truth,” I say.
“So, do you want to come to my room?”
“Um, I don’t think so,” I say. “I’m just gonna crash here for a couple hours.”
The sun spreads light into the apartment. I look around—a case of empty cans spread over the coffee table and two very depressed people sitting there trying to figure out if having sex could make them feel better.
Finally, he leaves me alone, and I go to sleep on the couch, admittedly a dumb move in hindsight, but when a person is coming down and tired, one does not make smart decisions. I wake up a few hours later, buried in a pile of jeans and decide to make a run for it. I grab my socks, boots and try to find a pen and paper to leave him a note. I stand there for a bit, hovering over the kitchen table, thinking of what to write. “Seriously, you want this guy calling you?” I say to myself. “What are you going to do together? Go to museums?” I put down the pen.
I grab my purse and shift through it—I always, always leave an emergency $20 for a cab. There is no money in my bag. I frantically start looking all over for it—the table, the floor, the couch, the bathroom—but it’s nowhere to be found.
I go out the door and am immediately in pain. There is a mean 11 a.m. sun beating down on my throbbing, dehydrated head. And I am completely at a loss as to where I am. Bushwick? Bed-Stuy? I finally find some guys and ask them where the G train is.
And I chuck that $20 up as a small price to pay for the stupidity of doing drugs all night with a complete stranger—and to be grateful that I didn’t lose much more.