The door handle is moving in my hand. I’m trying to open it but each time I wrap my fingers around the cold metal it mutates. The room is swimming and pulsating with the object in my hand. It is a door handle, isn’t it? I let go, take a step back and examine it. I’m fairly certain that the dripping metal falling from it isn’t real. The room isn’t that hot. I reach out again to grab it one more time. I’m too far from the door now, though, I shouldn’t be able to stretch that far but my arm extends until my fingers have grasped the handle again. I pull it down and the door gently swings open, bending slightly as it comes to a rest. This carpet feels great on my bare feet.
Soft music is drifting out of the room that I’m now standing in the doorway of. It swims past my head, drifting along the corridor that I just came from. It looks beautiful, like a river of colour is dancing through the air.
I’m tripping hard now. The acid has completely taken over. My perception of what is real and what is confined to my own head is quickly disappearing, but I don’t care. I’m lost but I’m equally free. I decide that I’ve been standing in the doorway for an eternity already so I sidle into the room around the doorframe.
The room is almost in total darkness. There’s a small lamp on a nightstand in the corner providing the only light, drenching the floor around it and the corner of the bed that’s closest to it. There’s a bed in front of me. The brass knobs at each of its four corners are glowing softly, gently alleviating some of the darkness. It takes me a while to notice but Paul and Molly are sitting on the side of the bed, near the light. Paul is holding something in his hand. Its glowing at one end. Fire. No, not fire, a soft glow. It’s a joint. He raises it to his mouth, pulling, the ember glows more brightly. The entire room is lit for a second.
‘Man, this stuff is good.’ A voice says. My own. I giggle like a child. I had wanted to speak and then I had spoken.
‘Yeah it is. Do you wanna drop now? Are you ready?’ Another voice. Paul’s. I read the words in the air over his head.
What could he be talking about? Does he want to take more? I’m afraid that I might go over the edge if I have another one. But, maybe I’ll be ready by the time the second tab kicks in. How are these guys so calm? Maybe I’m tripping harder than they are.
‘Sure. I guess I could handle another one. How long are my arms?’ I speak again.
Molly laughs. ‘Are you alright? What do you mean another one? How much did you smoke? We haven’t even dropped yet.’
How can that be true? We took the first tabs over an hour ago, in this room. I’m fairly certain that I’ve just returned from the bathroom. I remember staring into the mirror for a while. I shouldn’t freak them out, though.
‘Yes.’ That seems to satisfy them. I sit down on the bed beside Paul. I’m careful not to fall through the mattress.
The joint is in my left hand now. I take a long drag and watch the smoke flow from my mouth in waves and tendrils. The bedside table is shrinking. I can feel myself giggling again.
‘Okay, then. Let’s do this.’ I hear Paul say. I can’t believe how high these guys must be. Maybe a second tab will be too much for them. I can’t tell them that now though.
I scan my eyes over my own hand and Paul and Molly’s. We’re each holding a small square of paper. I try to look at the symbol on each one but when I do the lines rearrange themselves. I blink. Colours are painted across the inside of my eyelids.
‘Happy tripping, guys!’ Molly says. Our hands are raised to our mouths simultaneously. I slip the piece of paper under my tongue and shut my lips. I can feel my tongue growing longer. I don’t want it to fall out of my mouth. I laugh again.
I manage to compose myself. It’s hard to stop myself from fixating on the skirting board. Pieces of dust and fluff are sprouting legs and racing one another along the length of it. The joint is in my hand again. I can’t remember ever not having it but I must have given it away at some point. Paul is blowing smoke rings. I take another drag and watch as another column of smoke flows into the room. It twists around the lamp on the table and vanishes into the darkness.
The music creeps into my ears again. I can feel it as well. I shut my eyes and watch the colours dance. After what could only have been a few seconds Molly’s voice interrupts the sound. The colours explode.
“Yes?” I say.
“You’ve been sitting like that for a while now. I think it’s starting to kick in.”
Paul laughs. I look at him and I can feel my own voice laugh along with him.
“I think you’re right.” I tell her. “Give me a second.” I place my hands on the bed either side of me and lift myself up. I can feel myself rising far more than I intended. I’m lucky we’re indoors. Who knows when I would have stopped otherwise.
I begin walking toward the door to the room. Each time I take a step ripples of light spread out from my feet. I don’t turn to tell them that I’m only going to the bathroom. I hope that they can somehow pick up from my body language that I’m only going to the bathroom. I walk through the open doorway and into the hall. I can see the door to the bathroom at the other side. Its open and the light is on. Its glow is oozing out into the hallway curling against the shadows.
Making my way along, I reach out and run the tips of the fingers of my right hand along the wall. The hall is rotating. I decide to crawl. I’ll have better chances when I’m upside down if I’m on all fours. The bathroom light is bright. I wave some of it away with my arms and step into the room, locking the door behind me. It occurs to me that this may not be a great idea. I am very aware that I am locked in the midst of an intense trip. The second tab is definitely starting to work. In front of me I see the sink and just above that, the mirror. The mirror. Should I look at myself? What if I see something unsettling? I keep my eyes focused just below it and reach out for the hot tap. As my hand nears it, it twists and moves out of my way.
“God damn that tap is fast.” I hear myself saying. I stare at it intently. It’s moving slightly. Waiting for me to reach out again. I take my time. No point in rushing things. Maybe it’s like a T-Rex or something. It might not notice if I move slowly enough. I inch my hand closer. It doesn’t seem to notice.
I turn my wrist at an angle that seems to defy at least one law of nature and water begins to flow from the tap. I untwist my arm and gently touch the stream with my finger tips. The water is still cold and as it flows around my fingers I notice that the fluid seems almost gooey. It begins to heat up. I splash some around my face. It feels fantastic.
I watch the water partly fill the sink. There’s a small whirlpool at the bottom as the water is continuously draining through the plughole. As I’m watching it, a light begins to glow beneath the hole. Its beautiful and strangely hypnotic.
“Acid.” I say aloud, giggling at the absurdity of the words. “I am ready to look into my soul.”
Raising my head slowly, I scan my eyes upward across the mirror. My torso is in view. My clothes look vibrant and organic. Like a symbiotic entity, giving me warmth and comfort in exchange for sustenance. I raise my head further and my neck comes into view. As I continue scanning I realise that my neck seems to be stretching an unreasonably great distance. Like some serpent in human clothes.
I close my eyes for a second and shake my head. The light coming through my eyelids shifts spastically. I reopen my eyes and gaze into… Myself. I’m staring back at me from the mirror. Calm. Warm. Inviting. I stare into my own eyes, moving my face closer to the mirror. The glass separating myself from my reflection fades away and we simultaneously raise our hands and press our palms together. Still staring, unblinking, unflinching. Eyes like the deepest oceans, swimming with memory. A small white dog. A man and woman smiling down at me. An empty path on the side of a mountain. Its dark. No one around. The eyes become duller. The ocean of blue surrounding the pupil twists and sharpens. The pace of my heart is quickening. I feel it thunder in my chest. These eyes are frightening. They are not mine. I look away.
“How long have I been here?” I ask this aloud, half expecting an answer. Silence except for the music flowing from the room down the hall. I think I’ll go back there. I don’t want to be alone with the mirror for much longer.
Leaving the bathroom is easy. After an initial small battle with the handle on the door, it swings open. I giggle to myself again. I’d like to smoke more. I follow the river of music. At the end of the corridor I stop in front of the door and clench my toes together. This feeling is familiar. I move my gaze to the door handle. I know this. This door handle. It will not be easy. I extend my hand, it’s shaking, and stretch my fingers outwards. The handle starts to shrink. I lunge for it, grabbing it just in time and close my eyes as I hold it. I breathe deeply, preparing myself, and open the door. A wall of music passes over me as if it had been building up and flooding the room. It’s okay. The hard part is over. I clench my toes together again, the carpet is warm and comforting beneath the soles of my feet.
My eyelids peel back, revealing the dark room beyond the doorway. It is exactly how I left it. I can see the light coming from the bedside table and as I move inside, Paul and Molly are still sitting on the bed. Smoke wafting around them, feeling out the room. I smile and sit down beside them.
“Here you go, dude.” Paul says, passing the joint. I take it. I’m grateful. Something to take the edge off. I inhale. It tastes natural and good. I exhale.
“This is exactly what I need.” I say. Molly smiles at me.
‘Yeah it is! So, do you wanna drop now? We’re ready and waiting!’ Paul says. He smiles as I feel my heart stop inside my chest. I can see into the depths of his eyes and I know he’s not joking. I tell myself that this will end soon. The acid will stop. It is all in my head. And yet I’m unsure. I can feel the mirror beckoning.
Gavin (Originally written in 2012)