It hits everyone different.  Some hit it once, and are gone before they ever feel it take.  Some are unaffected, others changed forever.  Sometimes it is fire, sometimes ice.  You never know, and that’s one of the draws that pulls you back. 
            He remembered how it hit when he knew it was coming: the fire and focus, the flame in the face and tinge in your limbs, the way his eyes burned with tears as mind envisions all before it went, readying for what would come.  When he could, he paced, and if not, his hands shook fast and legs and feet tapped quick and steady burning out the nerves before it hit full.
            There comes a point in this when everything goes calm.  In a breath, the angst leaves.  The flame in your soul blows dark.  Your light pulls in and heart goes cold.  The nerves are gone.  Your mind is clear.  You are present in form, but your spirit is away.  You are in your body, but you are gone—different—and maybe that is how you need it to be for what comes next.
            He remembered when it took him by surprise, the fast split-panic reacting to a fucked up place.  You don’t freeze, but you don’t race into the trap.  You aren’t dead, and you won’t be: if you play it right.  You didn’t start the ride, and its only just begun.  You fight through the first, and when you feel it turn, so do you.  Sometimes it’s rage, other times a colder, more deliberate, vengeance.  You have the upper hand, and you play it to the max. 
            You set it up, fix it as it is, and you drop your trump card on the table.  It blows the whole fucking game.  You brace and feel it thump when the force strikes through.  It rings your head and knocks your breath and stops your heart, and the world stops then flashes back as the thump and force move past.  Your head swirls in the high and knowing—you’re alive. 
            You celebrate, and when that’s done, there is a quietude where, just before, chaos reigned.  The high is gone, and there is nothing that will bring it back.
            Not every hit is good, and some are Hell, but once it starts, you’re in too deep.  There is no turning back, and live or die, you’re in until it ends.  These ones scare you, and you never want it again, but it isn’t always your choice.  It breaks some, but most find a way.
            Then there is the after.  There comes an emptiness when the high wears off, when you are alone with your soul and thoughts and play it all again.  Sometimes it is years after that this moment shows—when you are gone from that life, the camaraderie and support, and you are left to only yourself, to reconcile in a sober world all you lived when high.
            It is a loneliness you feel even when surrounded.  You try and make sense, and whether you find it or not, it’s the effects you see and feel again.  You live with consequences that will never be reversed.  You wonder if it was right, or if you were lost—not in the world, but in soul and purpose. 
            The emptiness does not come with answers, so you do the next best thing: make peace.
            There comes a day when those it does not claim walk away.  Some live unaffected, and signs never show.  Others are burnt up, never move beyond—and are forever in—the past.  Most are somewhere in between. 
            You learn not to judge because you know your own sins.  You understand others’ addictions for you’ve felt them too.  You know that you are done, and for all the hell it is, if you had the chance for one more time, you don’t know what it is you’d choose.  You thank God it isn’t your choice to make.  You wish it never found its way into the world, and you understand—having tasted—why it is that it will never go away.  There is nothing like the high, and many will die before they ever give it up.
            Its effects are forever in you.  There are days the feels return.  It rises back into the blood, and you feel a part of it again: sometimes the fire, sometimes the ice, the rage, or after-emptiness.  The world falls away, and it is the memory that is real. 
            You feel the flame in your face and the watering eyes, the pulse of fire through your body before heart turns cold and mind goes clear.  Your shooting hand shakes, and you pray to God for something to strike to make the feeling pass, but there is nothing there—only ghosts that are gone. 
            You are angry and empty and want to, but can’t, let go.  People notice and wonder why you are changed, but you don’t waste your words.
            You say it’s nothing because that’s what you told yourself back then, and when it rises back, it’s what you feel again. 
            War is a drug. 


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