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An {E}xperience

By Tiffany Wong

Inside, the Opera House looked basically like a small theatre with no seats. The air was nice and cool inside but that probably wouldn’t last for long! I was disappointed to see that hardly anyone was there and only a handful of people were dancing. Most people opted for the walls and so did Tori and I. Ah well, I thought, the night was still oh so young…

Looking at the empty bar, I saw two Chinese kids leaning against it. I remember thinking they looked totally out of place because they were gazing around the place wide-eyed and were dressed differently. I pointed them out to Tori and she said we probably looked out of place too. True enough, this was only my 2nd rave which by no means makes me an expert!

I confided in Tori that I wanted to drop…er try…E for the first time ever. She said the night wouldn’t suck so much if we could find drugs. At FOTT, we actually found a lot of drugs in a little stuffed animal and an agenda on the ground! Anyway, she said that I should look for some hot guy and asked if he dealed…Being a good-wholesome suburb kid, I was shocked. Tori obviously had way more experience with this kind of stuff than me…

So that’s how things went for a few hours. Tori and I wandered around to the bathroom where she put in her contacts and other kids did drugs or whatever. Then we’d wander out again to sit on a set of steps near the Numb booth. Tori didn’t feel like dancing at all and I was dying to so I VERY self-consciously went to the dance floor. I felt like everyone stopped and went away every time I came by. How lame.

By about 10pm, there were enough people dancing so things didn’t look as bad. The party was getting better as time wore on and eventually, all the tickets were sold out and the place was packed. It was not as squishy as the Big Bop though.

Tori asked some girl if she knew someone who dealt and she lead us to this young guy about our age. I stood back and watched Tori pay the usual $25 for a tiny white pill. The two of us headed to the bathroom and we planned it so that I would take a little less than half since it was my first time. She would stay straight just in case something went wrong. I was pretty nervous at this point because the only drug I had taken to that point was alcohol. I didn’t smoke or anything because I hate putting stuff into my lungs. I remember saying that several times that night.

In the so-called girls bathroom, I went into a stall and Tori held the door since there was no lock. The toilet was already filled with someone else’s clear-yellow pish but it didn’t matter since I wasn’t going to use the toilet anyway. There wasn’t any designated guys or girls washroom but the one we were in was the assumedgirls’ washroom. Guys were there too but not very many. I put the pill into a little clear bag and stepped on it to break it into bits. I showed Tori the white dove that was stamped on it and she said to take the whole half because they were “good” or “strong” or something along those lines. A faint little memory came into my head where I remembered reading about white doves in the book Trainspotting. What a piece of depressing summer reading eh?

I kept fumbling with my bag and my pockets and my wallet/change purse and my water and the crushed pill in that tiny stall. Of course, it was no surprise that I accidentally flipped my fuzzy red wallet into the used toilet. The zipper was open and coins splashed into the toilet; some rolling into the next stall. I was already full of anxiety about the piece of e in my hand so with my free hand I dipped into the toilet to fish out my wallet which had soaked up a substantial amount of urine. A brief thought of AIDS popped into my head. You can’t catch the virus though urine right? Now, I was freaked about more than one thing! Too much in one night, guy. Whining to another raver gurl, I whacked my soggy change purse against the door stall and looked at my electric blue T-shirt which now had bleached light blue spots on it from the splash. Needless to say, my bag was damp too. I can’t even remember when I took that pill but when I did, it tasted sour. Tori wrapped my wallet in one of her T-shirts and I stuffed it into my bag. We went to the upstairs area which was now open and watched people dance below for a while. I noticed the two Chinese kids from the bar. Suddenly, I thought I recognized one of them as Allen, the older brother of one of my childhood friends. But I thought that couldn’t be possible because Allen was into school…A LOT. He even won the “most likely to succeed” and “smartest student” award when he graduated form high school! I eyed the girl he was with and wondered if she was his sister, my former friend, but she wasn’t. Anyway, as we leaned on the rail, I took note of the time. Only 10:30pm. I asked the guy if he was Allen and he said “yeahhhh” as if I was naïve to think otherwise. Just to make sure I asked his last name and if he remembered me and his sister as buddies in grade 5. “Yup.” Shocked again. His friend introduced herself as Sara and we talked a bit. She said that this was her 2nd rave too. Her first was Hullabaloo. Finally, another bookish Chinese raver gurl I could relate to! I confided in her that I was trying e for the first time and she said she’d come to ask me how I felt later.

Tori and I went downstairs and sat on this low platform which was right below the raised part that led to the official bar. That was where we stayed for the rest of our night. For about an hour I kept asking Tori how I should feel and she said “happy and when people touch you, it feels good.” I felt none of that even though it was supposed into kick in after 20 minutes. Tori then dropped the other half using the 3 dollar water I had bought from the bar. It didn’t work for her either so we were ripped off.

So our next goal was to find another dealer and this time I had to pay. I felt bad for getting ripped off since the stupid thing cost so damn much! I went out to the dance floor by myself for a bit while Tori bummed around. It was so hot and sweaty out there I had to go back for a drink where I saw Tori talking to this tall raver guy with glasses and a yellow T-shirt. He introduced himself as J.P. and we gave each other a friendly hug. I put on this glow-stick bracelet leftover from FOTT and danced on the platform instead because it was cooler being high up…in the literal sense that is!

When I was gone, Tori continued asking people about dealers. This gurl grabbed this other girl walking by and we talked to her about our fake white doves. Obviously, it would have been too hard to find the guy who sold it to us. The girl was really nice and seemed genuinely concerned about it. She had white doves with her too but she asked her dealer and he said they were speckled doves. We felt we could trust her so we bought one. I paid this time and the gurl said to come back to her if we didn’t get high. Tori said she felt better buying from a girl, so did I. Before that, this go-looking guy with black spiky hair offered to sell me Supermans but I said I wanted pink butterflies (Sara said they were good even though she didn’t do drugs). He said he’d keep an eye out but when I went back to him later, him and this girl were pressuring me into buying them so I left.

I broke the speckled dove in half. It was surprisingly soft. I downed it with some water. It took only 15 quick minutes for it to kick it. I wasn’t nervous this time. I knew right away when it started working because my arms all of a sudden felt like they were gone! It was the strangest most beautiful feeling! Every time I moved them, it felt like they were made of pure air. They felt so light! I told Tori how wonderful it was and she was like “just wait, that’s just the beginning.” I can’t quite remember what happened next but my arms were just fascinating me! I kept moving them around and feeling the air rush by. I started dancing on the platform and felt my head take off. I thought I would have visual hallucinations but I didn’t. That was OK. At least I could still think straight and logically. Tori told me to sit down and relax so I leaned back on our bags and looked around. I think this was where I started to get really communicative. I couldn’t stop commenting on my arms! It was so demented. It’s like the e went straight to them. Long and thin, they seemed to float when I moved them. I pulled my pants up to my knees to cool down and this girl next to me who was totally mashed ran her fingers lightly on my shins. It was like she was touching a new shimmery skin on top of my own. It tickled. Tori then demonstrated the “good-feeling-when-people-touch-you” thing by giving me a back massage. This time, I could feel my back being pushed and moulded like a pile of wet sand. I just felt like flying. Allen had come by to check on us before I dropped the speckled dove. He said that he was getting Sara home at 3am and he could give us a ride too. Perfect! Now we didn’t have to pay for the expensive and risky taxi home. Plus, our wallets were getting thin. I told him to take care of us and threatened that I knew his parents! He threatened that he knew mine too! I was really lucky to meet someone I knew and trusted. Allen was a really good sport about the drugs and stuff even though he didn’t approve of it. I assured him that it was just a one-time teenaged experiment for me. He didn’t believe me. Anyway, I gave Tori a back massage too but I wasn’t very good at it.

The best thing about raves is that everyone tries to help each other have a good trip. As we sat there this guy came by with a ski mask and two glow-sticks. He stopped in front of us, pulled down his mask and mesmerised our eyes as he fluttered the sticks around our faces like a light show. The e seemed to make me sink into my body so when the glow-sticks were waved next to my head they seemed come to me from far away. A feeling hard to describe…

After a bit more dancing I said I had to go to the washroom. Tori offered to come with me but I didn’t want to lose our spot. I wasn’t in any shape to go down a long flight of stairs to the bathroom so Tori asked this girl to escort me. A girl with blonde hair took me by the hand and led me all the way to the same place where I had dropped my wallet in the toilet. I remember looking in the mirror and seeing that I looked fairly sober. I thought my eyes would be glassy like most peoples’ but they just looked a bit glossy instead. Next, we went up the stairs and near the front door where it was nice and cool. I wanted to stay for a while. The girl said her name was Marie and she was from Etobicoke. I told her it was my first time on e and she said she was on “purple-something.” She offered me a cigarette and I told her that I don’t like to put stuff in my lungs even though I had taken a quick puff of Tori’s without inhaling. When we got back, Tori asked why we took so long. I also remember Maria telling us were we “so nice.”

My inhibitions were gone by now. Anything I wanted to do I did it without regret. I wove my way through the crowd hoping to find Allen and Sara to dance with. The acts mostly played happy hard-core and some jungle so I wanted to dance a lot. Somehow, I walked straight into this older guy’s arms. He had a name tag that read Daryl. This was the part of the night where my mind was a little foggy. I’m not an affectionate person especially in public so it was odd that we hugged each other for so long. His head leaned heavily on mine and he swayed a little. I said I felt like I was falling but he didn’t answer. For some reason I ran my hands across his back as we swayed in embrace. I felt lost in my head, like swimming in the dark. It was unnerving so I made a conscious effort not to drift off. His hands started to move upward but my mind was still there (thank goodness) and I let go and continued through the crowd like before. However, I felt guilty after that. After all, me being so open with strangers is definitely out of character. I didn’t feel quite so friendly anymore when this short Asian guy started talking to me. I asked him if he was on anything and he said yes but I didn’t believe him. He acted too normal. I walked away and started dancing again. The Asian guy was back but I think I unintentionally ignored him. He said “you need a lot dancing space don’t you?” I didn’t answer and gave him a pat on the shoulder and wove quickly away from him. I passed by Daryl again and almost made eye contact. The sick feeling from that encounter made me go straight back to the safety of the platform. Tori and this older guy who looked wasted were leaning on each other’s shoulders – practically sleeping. I didn’t like the look of this.

Allen then came and said we had to go. I tried to convince them to stay just a little longer but they said they couldn’t. We said good-bye to Maria and I got her e-mail address.

Outside, the night air was refreshing. My arms were still like feathers and my voice sounded like I had inhaled helium. I was ultra talkative now because I was around people I was comfortable with. I couldn’t stop babbling even though I seemed to be speaking really slowly, slurring my words a bit. Sara took a picture of Tori and I. And I yelled “you’ve gotta give us a copy!”

I actually wanted to see what I looked like high…

In the car, Tori and I were in the back seat and Sara and Allen in the front. I was unbelievably hyper. I couldn’t help it. Extroverted like mad, I was curious about Sara because we seemed to have so much in common. I bombarded her with too many questions and she patiently answered them even though I was bordering on pushiness. Turned out that Sara goes to Erindale and is one grade higher than me. Her parents sounded just as liberal as mine which is a rare thing with immigrant Asian families. She gave Tori a lucky star bracelet which I wanted too but she only had one. She even sells them at Numb! I called her the “ambitious raver” a dozen times. She offered us water, food, happy-face yo-yos and I asked her to take my pic. I asked for everyone’s e-mail in the car. I don’t know why I was so big on that.

We dropped Sara home at exactly 3am but I didn’t want to go home yet. I had until 4am remember?! There was no way I would be allowed to do that again so I had to milk it for all it was worth! I was coming down now. I thought it was supposed to be pleasant but the high was just flickering. I had lockjaw and pulled out a pacifier. I would be crazy talkative one second and then I’d become serious the next. I was glad that I was able to control myself for the most part.

Allen drove us to a Tim Horton’s and bought Tori and I some drinks. I had a peach drink. I was afraid of getting dehydrated because my mouth was parched. The lockjaw wouldn’t go away either. Anyway, we decided to go to a park so we drove to the one near Michelangelo’s. We sat on the swings and I commented on the bright stars. I’m always looking at the stars…yes, even without chemicals. Tori was getting annoyed at me now because she wanted to go to my house and sleep. Allen pointed out a cluster of stars I’d never seen those before so I thought that was nice.

We still had some time. Allen drove us to our school and then back to my house. I’m glad my Mom wasn’t waiting outside with her hands on her hips. That has happened a number of times and it’s not a good feeling driving up to a face of parental concern. We said good-bye and Tori and I quietly slipped into the house. Phew! No one was up! I was feeling very groggy and stupid by now. I couldn’t believe that I actually tried e because I’m pretty much straight-edge. But my philosophy is that you can’t condemn something if you haven’t tried it.

I could still hear the T.V. on, so I thought I’d tell Dad we were home. Turned out it was my sister sleeping on the couch. I didn’t want her to know where I had been or what I had been doing because I didn’t want her to copy me. Plus, my parents might start allowing her to stay out this late. My sister tends to automatically get the same privileges as me even though I’m the only one fighting for them.

Tori and I decided to sleep in the guest room since there was a make-shift double bed. As we brushed our teeth I noticed how ghostly pale I was and how dilated my pupils were. Probably from lack of sleep in combination with unknown chemicals. My body felt tired even though my mind was still swishing around. My brain felt numb and I was afraid of the permanent damage that I had done to my nervous system. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. I still feel a bit of regret at how much of my intelligence been thrown away for a good time. I couldn’t even sleep for the rest of the night. I kept getting up to go to the bathroom because all I could imagine was my brain retaining water and swelling. When I did sleep, I distortedly dreamt about more drugs. I promised myself for sure, that this was definitely not going to become a habit.

Three days later I still have faint lockjaw. I clench my teeth without even realising it and I discover from time to time that my jaw hurts! My face still looks the same. All that sweating made my skin glow. But the worst consequence is the feeling of dullness and fogginess. My mind feels as if it’s slowed down a million paces and I don’t feel as if I’m all there… I hope that this is only temporary. I even lose my balance when I close my eyes. It’s odd how well I sleep at night too because the darkness just envelopes me like never before. I worry that these side-effects will affect my performance at school. It would be a shame if my short term memory suffered just because I felt the need to try e. At my soccer game yesterday, I still played perfectly fine but more importantly, I had a conversation with some people on my bench about e. It’s true, you do feel stupider afterwards.

Looking on the Internet, I read as much as I can about e. I don’t even know if the pill we got even had MDMA. I really want to know what else was in it…

Jook Sing Mui

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