It was one of those days. Marked by a set of events which happened so fast I ended up in a place I never thought I would be in. It all started with dope-sickness (a state heroin users experience after they run out of stuff). I was out of cash and out of options for the day’s fix.
When a dope fiend runs out of stuff and cash, he always creates a prospect for scoring. Ask any addict out there, they’ll definitely tell you there is always a way. I was getting agitated with every passing minute. Damn! I should have kept some from the previous night. Who am I kidding? That rarely happens. Keeping stuff stashed is a skill I never really mastered, I always ended up using all the stuff I scored.
I couldn’t bear staying home, so I literally ran downstairs, out into the streets of Male’. The streets of Male’ was quite safe during those days; I never really experienced any violence during those times; probably, because I was not into the whole gang thing. Anyway, I walked past the stack of corner shops, coffee houses and concrete houses stacked together. Male’ is quite a concrete jungle. A huge contrast to the other islands in the Maldives – it boasts the highest number of people living per square feet the world over. It is said that if everyone comes out of their houses in Male’ at any one time, there will be no space on the roads to move around. This may be true as I can comfortably walk from one end of Male’ to the other within 15 minutes.
I walked through the heavy traffic buzz oblivious of the pedestrians who walked past me. There was only one fight raging in my mind: scoring! I had to find away. With every passing minute the withdrawals was kicking in with a vengeance. I was already yawning and getting chills running down my spine (early withdrawal symptoms of heroin, it varies for different users). Suddenly, I noticed something in my pocket. I felt the bump and I realized it was my savior for the day: my cell phone. I thought I had sold it the other day, and soon I realized I only exchanged the earlier one for a cheaper cell and some extra cash. So, a cheap cell phone and withdrawals is never a good combination.
Within minutes I located a potential sidekick on the road – some random addict who was not a real acquaintance. We managed to sell the phone for around five hundred bucks (the exchange rate back then was 1 USD = 12.75 Maldivian currency). Anyway, getting a place to smoke up was a task in itself in Male’ if you are not home. I had some friend’s places where I smoked, but I didn’t want to go there. I didn’t feel like sharing, I already had a sidekick who is getting a cut too. I gave him around three hundred bucks, he scored and came back with the stuff. (To be continued…)