La Vie en Vert

 

Every movement of my body felt like I was breaking through plastic wrap. I was surprised when my arm lifted up to grab a fork from the table, and turning my head to the side sent a little jolt of lightning travel down to my toes. There was no more food on my plate, and I couldn't remember having eaten anything. "Oh, God," I muttered, turning back to my friend, who was staring blankly ahead. "I need to go home."

He began to smile, the redness of his eyes was surely a beacon to people around us. And I couldn't imagine mine being any better.

"Go home?"

"Right now," I insisted. "Oh, God. What have I done?"

"You just need to relax. Want to go for a walk?"

Copenhagen was a beautiful city by day. Nyhavn, the typical touristy area that people always post pictures of online, looked like a pastel painting that hadn't yet dried. A lick of lackluster boats lay layzily lengthwise along the landing.

But the other buildings were just as beautiful, ornate, and pristine as you'd expect them to be in a Scandinavian capital. The streets were spotless, and even in the freezing temperatures there were people out for running and bike-riding.

Even next to the water where it was windy and cold, tourists were lined up to take pictures with the Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue). 

 

But by night, I was seeing the city in a completely different... light.

Just an hour or two before, we were exploring the streets and enjoying some beer, jumping onto the boats in the harbor and discussing the backpacker's life. We'd walked through Christiania, a small neighborhood and self-proclaimed sovereign nation within the city of Copenhagen that touted blunts and baked goods for close to 8 USD. I had decided to join in and get a chocolate muffin, because when else was I going to have the chance to have this experience?

A chocolate muffin, branded with the Christianian flag; a red banner with three yellow dots. It took a while to find this because most of the merchants only bother with oils and rolled cigarettes, but I can't smoke.

Now, the sun had set and all the heat had left the world. Kris's voice broke through the plastic wrap again.
"Want to go for a walk?"

"I really need to go home," I repeated.

"Well," he began, slapping his hands on the table and standing up, "would you rather go directly home or take ten minutes to see something beautiful?" I grunted in disapproval, but not so forcefully that he would have understood my intent. By this point, some kind of #YOLO instinct was fully integrated into my personality and was a force to be reckoned with.

Trying to explain what had happened to a friend the next morning, I said, "I thought it would make for a good story."

He responded, "Brandon, "Do it for the Vine" is not a good reason to do something."

Before I knew it, we were outside in the cold again, but I left the restaurant a different person than who I'd been when we went in.

To be completely honest, I do not remember any part of the city I saw after leaving that restaurant. Just when I thought my brain was as high as it was going to get, another glass of hot water would waterfall , I would feel twenty pounds heavier, and the plastic wrap would get thicker. I retreated into the back of my mind and tried to figure out what I could do. So I called my ex.
"Kevinnnnn," I whined.

"You're high, aren't you?" he responded. This was my second time in a foreign, unfamiliar city, and high off my ass from some THC edible, calling Kevin (who was more experienced with this kind of thing) for advice. And he knew me too well.

"Yeahhhhh." My tone was funeral-worthy. "I ate something because I'm stupid and now I can't function. Which is not any different from me normally, but now it's worse." The street we were walking on seemed to stretch on forever, and I was checking constantly to make sure Kris had not bolted away.

"What should I do?"

"Where are you?"

"I'm on my way home." Kris's face was stone(d), and I couldn't tell if he was listening and whether he was leading me to my death. The paranoia was intensifying and I wasn't sure how much longer I'd be able to think rationally, or if I even still was.

"Get somewhere quiet, be alone, put on some music, and just chill. Just focus on getting home," he said. In my imagination he had become a special ops commander.

"I'm so stupid," I repeated. "Thanks for dealing with me."

"It's fine. Just let me know when you get home."

"Alright." Kris was still to my left when I hung up, and we had been walking although I hadn't been aware of it. We made at least three more different detours per Kris's request before finally getting on the train home. An emotional breakdown was bubbling just beneath whatever form my consciousness had taken. A bubble, maybe?

When the train pulled into the station and I ran down the platform after it, the pavement literally began stretching and it felt like I was running miles in the span of seconds. The doors to the train opened just before I reached one and I could have cried from relief. Realizing I'd left Kris behind, I turned around and watched him walking down the platform, smirking, and looked on in horror as he stood just outside the doors until the very moment before they closed. Sitting down next to me and my tortured psyche, he smiled.

"You thought I was going to miss the train," he stated plainly. I closed my eyes, but the world started spinning as if I'd had too much to drink and I opened them again to see the world changing at 10 frames a second. 

"Why?" I asked in Norwegian. As the train began moving, I experienced a fresh new hell. Our car stretched on to infinity and tilted backwards until we were traveling vertically up into space. The woman sitting across from us looked nonchalantly out the window like she wasn't aware we were being catapulted into Mars. The sound of the train on the space tracks was deafening.

"You just have to open your mind. Everyone is too closed, they just don't know it," Kris said. My fear began to turn to incredulity.

This is why I don't hang out with people when they're high, I thought.

Keep your prejudices in check, the other part of my brain shot back. You're sitting here with enough THC in your body to tranquilize everyone in the United States congress.

"Aren't you glad we saw all those places instead of going straight home?" he asked. I had no idea what we'd seen because I had been working out the solution to world hunger in the back of my head. I nodded slowly. The plastic wrap had become a magnetized plastic body cast and I was forcefully stuck to my seat. I wondered whether I was the positive or negative diode. We had somehow missed Mars and were now rocketing toward Jupiter's big red Danish nightmare. He continued, "Do you understand now? How everything's..." his voice was muffled out by the sound of my paranoia and I missed the profound truth he was trying to lay out. 

This is bull, I thought. You're bull. Everything is bull. And I will never get high again.

Next I knew, I was walking into the flat and falling into bed. Music made me sick to my stomach, closing my eyes made the world spin, and laying on my side felt like falling into a pool of tofu. So I remained on my back, watching videos of otters and puppies for several hours. I'd forgotten how to solve world hunger.

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