The withdrawal symptoms were there for everyone to see. The shivering of her hands. The twitching of her eye. The subtle shoulder jerk that occurred every few seconds. The trembling other people in the subway train desperately tried not to notice but to be frank, it was hard to look away.
Keisha had gone cold turkey not by choice but by chance. She had stepped onto the almost empty carriage and taken a seat next to a pumped-up black guy. It didn’t take him long to start hitting on her. From everything the guy did and said an inconvenient truth transpired: she was an easy target. She pleaded with him to stop hitting on her. But he didn’t stop. He went on for several more minutes until he saw she couldn’t take it anymore and got off the carriage.
On any other day Keisha would now be taking her drug of choice. The one she had needed to survive for the past 20 years. This time she didn’t take it. She couldn’t take. Not anymore. She just stood up and walked to the end of the train, where she sat down on the floor, her back resting against the cold metal, as gasping commuters noticed her struggle but walked past her in a big curve.
The cold turkey didn’t last as long as she’d thought. Soon the withdrawal symptoms ended. They would not return. Keisha’s bruised and battered body, bleeding internally, kicked the habit. No more oxygen. A permanent farewell to the drug called life.
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