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  • Bad Acid Trip

    Jacques sat stirring his coffee, bored and frustrated; wondering why he had agreed to manage his father’s art gallery. Not one person had visited the gallery all week.

    I’m going to stand up to him, he thought, and tell him that I am do not have to jump at every command he gives me. I should be my own man. I shouldn’t have left my last job for this.

    To his relief a tall blond man walked into the gallery. He walked around the room studying the paintings which were mostly his father’s. Jacques willed himself not to jump in and try and try and make him buy one. He didn’t look like he could spend fifty dollars on a painting.

    At last the American approached Jacques at the espresso machine;

    “Hi there, he said, “is this gallery is exclusively for F? Do you accept other artist’s work?”

    Jacques shook the B’s hand. “Hi, so you have some work for display?”

    “Yes and I need to sell some paintings. I’ve got a baby daughter and I desperately need some money.”

    “I can understand that” Jacques said smiling warmly. “I have a little girl. It’s unbelievable how much money we have to spend on her. Well, I will have to speak to F. I could arrange for you to meet him.”

    “That’s great. Say why don’t you come over to my house and view my work. Bring your wife and baby. We’ll make an evening of it.”

    That evening Jacques, me and our baby drove up the mountain to a small village Tepoztlan untouched by 20th century buildings. We pulled up on the cobbled street outside the B’s house.

    B opened the thick wooden door, “Welcome to my home.” We entered a room that caught the last rays of the sun. “This is my wife Emma.” Emma was holding a baby on one broad hip, and looked up with a gentle smile on her face; “Hi, what a cute baby. How old is she.”

    We spent an hour eating the simple meal B had prepared for us. Over coffee he suddenly leaned forward to Jacques and whispered.

    “Do you want to drop some acid?”

    “Yes, why not!” Jacques responded with enthusiasm.

    B and Jacques went and sat on the porch, wondering at the clear mountain air and spectacular view of the valley below, leaving us two mothers to bond.

    Two hours later I was feeling very sleepy.

    “I’m going to tell Jacques we need to go home now. I’m exhausted.”

    “These guys are going to be up all night tripping,” explained Emily, “ I suggest you sleep over.”

    I was too tired to be worried, and settled down on the double bed, the only bed in the house with Emma and the two babies and went to sleep peacefully.

    In the morning I eased myself out of the bed and looked sleepily out of the window. Jacques and B were still sitting on the porch. Laughing and chatting.

    “This is all so wonderful,” Jacques told me as she stepped through the patio doors into the sun. “You’ll have to drop some acid too. It’s amazing.”

    I felt very nervous. I didn’t know anything about the effects of LSD.

    “I can’t. Come on lets go home.”

    Two hours later I finally managed to drag Jacques away from the B and drive home.
    “This is so amazing, Jacques repeated again and again, somehow managing to keep the car on the road and bring us safely home.

    Whilst I settled the baby in her cot and did my chores, Jacques walked round the garden wondering at the beauty of each flower and many blades of grass.

    You have to go to work tomorrow Jacques, come to bed” I pleaded at 12 pm.

    “No this is too wonderful, you go to bed.” He insisted.

    I awoke suddenly. What was that noise? Jacques was not sleeping by my side. I went and checked on the baby. She was still sleeping peacefully, I noticed a light coming from crack in the bathroom door.

    “Jacques, where are you?” I said pushing the door open and gasped.
    Jacques stood looking at himself helplessly in the wall to wall mirror. There was blood on the inside on both is wrists there was blood all over the sink and some was smeared over his forehead.

    He turned to me with a bewildered expression on his face.. “Help me,” he said.

    “What have you done,” I whispered.

    He just stood there gazing at himself in the mirror.

    My heart was pounding with shock. I examined his arms and saw that the cuts were not deep; just surface scratches. We did not own a phone so I rushed for my jacket, ran out into the street and two doors up to my father in laws’ house. I beat on the locked tall metal door set in the high wall around the front garden.

    “Juan, Juan help me!” I yelled.

    It was 3 in the morning. No one stirred.

    I beat the door with her fist. “Help me” I cried “Juan!”
    Finally a sleepy head poked out of the bedroom window.
    “Jacques’s hurt himself. Please help me bandage him.”
    “OK, OK I’m coming,” grumbled Juan. Twenty minutes later he arrived with his first aid kit and went into the bathroom and shut the door.

    I sat hugging myself trying not to panic whilst I heard the muffled sound of Juan gently asking Jacques to let him clean the wounds. What could I do? Should he go to the hospital. It cost so much to be treated here.

    Juan took Jacques up to their father’s house. I followed when the baby has woken up and I had fed her “Where’s Jacques,” I asked.

    “Come in. Don’t talk on the street.”

    I sat on the porch with my baby on my lap feeling very anxious.
    “Don’t just sit their sniffling. Here take a duster and do some housework. It’s always good to keep busy when you are worried,” I was told. I just looked at her blankly.

    I explained that Jacques had taken an acid the day before and had a bad trip.

    “Just give him some time and he’ll come to his senses in a couple of days,” I pleaded.

    That afternoon Jacques’s father arranged to take him to a psychiatric hospital in Mexico City.
    I was left behind caring for the baby.

    I was told later that day that Jacques had been taken in as a long term patient. The hospital was two hours’ drive away.

    Would I ever see Jacques again? We were both only 22 years old.

    When Jacques had been in the hospital for a week I took the coach up to the Mexico City with my baby on my hip. I caught a taxi to the hospital and tried not to throw up whilst the taxi weaved in and out of the five lanes on the main city roads, that belched smoke, dust and clamouring noises.

    Feeling very nervous I walked into the room set aside for people visiting the patients.
    I looked up full of hope as Jacques walked in through the door. To my dismay he had a blank expression his usually animated face.

    “I think you might as well go back to England,” he told me.

    That really hurt but I told myself that it was the residue of the LSD and the medication he was taking that had changed his feelings towards me. I asked to see the doctor.

    “Let’s take a walk round the garden suggested Dr Guzman.

    He told me that as a result of taking LSD vital nerve connections in Jacques’s brain had been affected.

    “Too many of Jacques’s brain cells have been destroyed. His present condition will never change.”

    I listened politely but was not convinced. I had to believe he was wrong. I had read in Time Magazine that medical science was only just scratching the surface of how the brain worked.
    After three more visits I had to face the fact that the bank balance was diminishing and I had no other source of income. I had to go home to England to make some money.

    When I discussed my situation my father in law he said gravely.
    “I am sorry I never got to get to pay much attention to my granddaughter Melanie, now I suppose I will never see her again. I keep on repeating to my friends, why has this happened to me?”

    I returned to England, found a baby sitter and started working as a secretary in a Travel Agency.

    Two months later Jacques phoned me.

    “What’s happening? Where are you Jacques?”

    “I’m out of hospital and I’m staying with Uncle Bertrand in Paris.” He paused,
    I’m going to do something crazy”

    I heard a click and heard the dull tone of an empty line. What is he doing to me, I thought as tears poured down my face.
    Trembling I phoned Jacques’s Uncle in Paris.

    “I just had a strange phone call from Jacques. He says he ‘going to do something crazy.”

    “I’ll go and have a look in his bedroom” Bertrand told me.

    One minute later he came back to the phone
    .
    “He isn’t here. He’s left a note saying I’m on a train going to the ferry. If you hear from him call me and I will do the same for you. Good luck.”

    “Thank you Bertrand.”

    At six in the morning the phone rang again. This is Customs at Dover. I have a man here who says he is your husband Jacques. Do you want me to allow him into the country?” My pulse rate went up. What a strange situation, I thought. I had the power to decide whether he could be accepted into England or not.

    Silence.

    “Yes,” I said “He is my husband and he has a home here.”

    Life is grey without Jacques I thought.

    I made myself a cup of tea bracing myself to tell my parents that Jacques was coming to stay with us. Things had to change

    During the next three hours my parents decided to go out to give them time on their own. I took the baby to the child minders and raced back to wait for him.

    There was a knock on the door. I opened it to reveal Jacques clutching a bunch of daffodils. He looked so different. He had let his hair grow long and he had a full beard. We gave each other an awkward hug and I led him into the sitting room and we looked at each other shyly.

    “It’s been a long four months without you.”
    Jacques whispered in her ear.
    “You are my wife still?”
    “Of course I am.”
    “They tried to keep us apart.”
    “Yes I know that.”
    “We can start afresh.”
    “Yes of course. I only feel alive when you’re with me.”
    “I kept on thinking of you and talking about you and missing you. Jacques took a certificate out of his suitcase.
    “Um read this.”
    “It’s in French. Translate it for me.”
    It said that Jacques had no psychosis and had been treated for anxiety.
    Tears welled up in my eyes.
    “Not many people have proof that they are sane,” I joked. “I knew it was just a bad acid trip. I kept the faith that you would be ok. Get me out of here,” I whispered.

    “I’ll find a job here too,” Jacques whispered hugging me.

    We looked for a place to rent whilst looking for a permanent home.
    ……To be continued
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