At Saint Francis Hospital, Eunice wandered in and out of sedative induced sleep. Fuzzy drive-in movie images passed before her eyes, every time she woke up. The hospital bed with its protective guardrails, should have been cause for alarm but the Ativan protected her from anxiety. She was grateful for soft cotton linens and the cool room temperature, easing illicit toxins from her body.
Drugs are like making a deal with the devil!
She didn’t remember how she got there. Disturbing thoughts kept flashing in front of her, each a horrifying snapshot of her bad behavior. She pushed the thoughts out.
She had no memory of what substances she might have ingested, over the past 24 hours. Just snippets of memory, followed by hot and cold sweats. The sweats were the worst part of detoxing.
Eunice had been star struck in the ladies room, when one of Prince’s ex-girlfriends came out of a stall and over to the vanity sink next to her. She began fixing her hair then pulled out a tiny make-up case from a cue card sized purple purse.
“Hey honey, you want some?” she said, in a sultry whisper. She proceeded to snort powder from a beautiful antique mortar and spoon set.
“Sure. Thank you Uh, Denise…” she said. Eunice couldn’t remember what had happened next.
“You sweet thing, you know my name. Only angels call me Denise these days. It’s rare indeed,” she said.
The DJ played Let’s Go Crazy outside.
Stop it Nina, I’ll go insane!
She took a sip of water from the bedside table and noticed a Uncle Dougie’s business card, indicating he’d been there.
Another memory capsule was of the doctor speaking to her, “Ms. Wayman initial tests have found alcohol, secobarbital and cocaine in your system. You will make a full recovery but consider yourself very lucky. These combinations can be deadly. Ms. Wayman you are young so I’m referring you to a twelve step program. We can have someone take you to a meeting. Also, the nurse tells me you weren’t covered under any health insurance policy in our system. It’s a good thing your uncle paid your invoice in full,” the doctor said.
The memory of the doctor’s message, spooked her enough to stay awake. She sat up in bed. Out the window she could see the stars in the sky.
She sensed something just outside the curtain, which wrapped around two sides of her bed, then heard a light cough sound. The stainless steel rings squeaked open.
A woman stood before her, with short bobbed black hair and dark eyes wearing a colorful teal garment. She was about thirty and had similar skin coloring to Eunice, except maybe Mexican by the look of her thick straight hair.
“Hallo Nina, how are you feeling?” she said. She had a soft motherly voice and her tone implied, Eunice should recognize her. Eunice scanned her memory for other fragments.
She had memories of Purple Haze. Her pulling a wig off a girl’s head and throwing it on the dance floor. She remembered beautiful Denise in washroom and that was about it. She had a feeling she wouldn’t be welcomed back to Purple Haze anytime soon. Fuck em. Those elitist Hollywood types weren’t her scene anyway.
“Hello, do I know you? My memory is a bit foggy at the moment,” she said.
“My name is Arpita, we met last night,” she said, coming closer to the bed. “We need to get you out of here. This sandalwood will ease you out of your sedation,” Arpita gently pat two fingers of ointment under her nose. It was like Vicks vapor rub except had an aroma that conjured up white tailed deer and apple blossoms.
“Are you my angel Arpeeeeta?” Eunice asked.
“Well I just might be,” she said.
Eunice accepted the voice of her angel unconditionally following her instruction, “Yes. Okay Arpita. We can go,” she said.
“Let me tidy you up,” Arpita said, gently taking a warm washcloth to Eunice’s face and fluffing up her matted hair. “You’ve been through a lot. Nina, it’s urgent we make haste and leave here immediately,” Arpita said.
She helped Eunice out of bed and into the waiting wheelchair. Arpita threw a colorful pink pashmina, over her lap, “Now take a deep breathe Nina. I’ll have you here, as soon as you know it,” she held a postcard with the words Krishna Ashram, across the top and a scene of a rocky waterfall, with sunlight sparkling off the water. “I have a car and driver waiting for us out front,” she said.
Eunice admired Arpita’s serenity, regardless of finding it strange the woman was here to escort her to the recommended rehab.
As she took in the scent of sandalwood, Eunice got a feeling her past was about to catch up to her.
Hospital observers might have thought the image of Arpita, pushing a patient to the awaiting Town Car, was a brochure for the hospital’s exceptional out patient program. True, if it were not four in the morning.