meet the monster
chaos and noise.
that’s what i hear right now. in my mind, there’s a strange hush. i can’t quite call it silence — there’s a buzz there i can’t quite distinguish. regardless, i know what it’s saying to me.
i just finished reading a book called crank, by ellen hopkins. written in a series of poems in a variety of styles, it’s a novel about
rape regret resentment
and a myriad of other things.
kristina is an a student — friendly, well-adjusted, well-liked, pretty, somewhat shy, somewhat unsure of herself, virginal.
bree is a blaze — brave, strong-willed, stubborn, assertive (sometimes aggressive), flirtatious, carefree, confident….addicted.
they are the same body — though hardly the same person.
kristina finds bree the summer she meets the monster. she’s introduced to it by
her father a golden-eyed boy
the desire to break free
in a span of months, the monster devours her. the monster is meth.
meth (crank, crystal, ice, glass, jib, the monster) is a nervous system stimulant drug. in case you’re wondering what’s in it, it contains alkali metal, ammonia, metallic lithium (from batteries), metallic sodium, and other materials generally considered to be poison.
it induces euphoria, supreme sensory overload, etc.
reading this book was a bit intense. especially because i read the dedication after i read the book. it was dedicated to anyone whose life has been touched by the monster. and i realized something rather profound (at least to me).
that includes me.
most people don’t know that my dad is a meth head. it’s not something i knew for a long time, until he confessed that dealing and possession of methamphetamine were what was behind a lot of the jail time he’s done. there was also the realization that, under ever-so-slightly-different circumstances, i very well could have been kristina/bree. in my podunk montana town, i used alcohol to rebel. you know, get drunk and see how fast you can drive. stuff like that. if i’d visited my dad during that year and a half or so where i really tore loose, who knows what i would have done?
it gave me chills, just how much i related to this girl feeling like she had dual lives. kristina on one end. bree on the other. while i myself can’t dredge up a name from the depths of my being to describe that other part of me, i know she’s there. in the book, bree is the one i admire in a lot of ways. aside from her addiction to drugs, she’s a lot more self-assured, a lot more carpe diem, a lot more immediate than kristina. i think in my life i’ve managed to find a balance between those parts of me. being introduced to hardcore drugs very well could have tipped the scales.
i saw myself in her many times, getting into bad situations that turned worse. while i have not made nearly the number of very bad choices that this young lady did, looking back on my life, i can see just how precariously i perched on the fence at times. oddly, most of the people i know would never see that side of me.
at the end of the day, i wonder who my bree is and just how much of me she makes up. i don’t think it’s a coincidence that the name “bree” shares three letters with “free.” in crank, her freedom is an illusion. she doesn’t see the chains the monster has slung about her, tied her down, stolen from her and left her raw. i’ve managed to find a freedom that is more realistic than that, managed to find an immediacy and a sensuality in my life that is not brought about by chemicals. i think i’ve done a decent job at letting her run. bree is untamed. bree refuses to be tame. in my life, in so many ways, i was shackled for so long. i’m just glad it wasn’t the monster who unsnapped those shackles to replace with his own.
this kristina wasn’t so lucky.