Jenna focused on her gaunt face in the mirror. She was so focused that she wasn’t aware of the grime stained walls. It didn’t matter. She didn’t come in here because it was clean, she came to get away from Tom. One last time before she changed her life for good, she had the perfect plan.
Going to the nearest stall, she sat on the rank toilet. She bit her cheek as she pushed the needle in. She always bit her cheek when she was nervous or excited, and shooting up for the first time in three weeks she felt both. As soon as she depressed the plunger her jaw slackened and she felt the warmth rush through her veins. God it felt good. She didn’t realize how much she missed her only friend.
If Tom knew she was shooting up, he would abandon her. Even though he had been clean for eight months, she thought he was being hypocritical. If it wasn’t for him, she would never have gotten into smack. But, thinking about that would ruin her high.
Tom had quit once he learned she was pregnant. He locked himself into their room and didn’t come out for a week. Jenna heard him crying, puking and screaming. It was hard for her to listen to, and that made her want to shoot-up even more. At first, she had made it two days without her fix, but as time went on, she couldn’t fight the cravings and caved to them.
Her legs went limp as the heroin coursed through her veins. She struggled to keep her eyes open. Her tongue licking the cut on her cheek; she thought: I can taste the blood.
She must have bitten her cheek harder than she thought. With her left hand she scratched under her knee, it felt so good. Scratching always felt good when she was high.
Tom had been pushing for her to quit, but rehab didn’t do anything, and support groups were a joke. Nothing could fill that void quite like smack, and she didn’t need anything else. Sure, she loved her family, but she could live without them. Her love for them didn’t cause her to be sick if she didn’t see them, she could function without them.
She realized how bad it was when she gave birth. Their baby, Jill, was premature, born into addiction and Hepatitis. Tom had fought to keep custody of her, but CPS wouldn’t allow it. If it wasn’t for his mother adopting her, Jill would have been out of their lives forever.
For just a moment she stopped scratching to remove the rubber tube from her arm. She reached for the needle, but heard someone come in. Slowly, Jenna closed the door to the stall and nodded off, her head pinning the door shut.
She woke and removed the needle, only to have the door swing open. It was Tom. He had followed her to this rundown gas station.
Maybe if she was sober she would have felt bad. Maybe she would have been nervous, or sad that she was caught. But everything felt so good, so Jenna only looked up at her man.
“I can taste the blood,” she said, with a weak grin.
“What did you do?” Tom yelled, his voice trembling.
He ran her in the cramped stall and struggled with the bundle that was in her lap. Tears streamed down his face as he repeatedly moved his ear from Jill’s face to her chest. Jenna had forgotten she took her daughter. The entire plan was to take her daughter back so they could be the family Tom wanted so badly. She would get clean and Tom would love her again. But that was ruined now, she must have smothered her when she nodded off. Tom ran from the bathroom, cradling his dead daughter, his sobs echoing off the tile walls.
Jenna tried to get up, but nodded off once more.