I would take them a few times, feel my emotions and sense of reality fuzz, and look at my mother who had been doped up on them since we moved to Chattanooga. I would see her blank, hazel eyes, and her bright, but empty, smile with chronic, artificial, exaggerated cheer, and become scared. I often wondered if she was buried under layers upon layers of southern sugar. I would make bitchy, inappropriate statements and look for her. I would say something, anything to shake her and look into her eyes for something real. I saw it when she was upset or afraid. I saw it when she’d spot me exiting my bathroom, hair tied back, knowing what I’d done. I saw it when she found out I was raped. I saw it when I told her about the drugs I used. I saw flickers of a real person, but she quickly disappeared within herself once she gathered composure. I decided not to be like her. Even if it meant embracing my demons, I wanted to be real. After a couple doses, I would toss the meds in the garbage.