I should have known to expect it, this loneliness. The absolute solitude of the contemporary opium smoker. In fact, I did expect it, but in a remote, detached sense which in no way resembles the actual experience of smoking alone. In general, I tend to underestimate the importance of my own emotions, and the process by which I have begun smoking opium has been no different. When I started writing last year, I was convinced that the biggest hurdle that I would face was the lack of opium itself. Of course, I learned that there is still opium. It is opium, after all, a timeless, ubiquitous drug which has existed since time immemorial. It is everywhere, I just had to learn where to look for it.
I knew the emotional damage that practicing this craft alone would inflict on me, if only in a theoretical sense; yet I also knew I had no choice. I still don’t. For me, the attraction to opium smoking is inevitable, a fact of life just like my skin or hair color. Inveterate smokers of one, two hundred years ago would likely balk at the barbarity of being forced to smoke alone, yet their modern counterpart has no choice. To undertake such an endeavor in a contemporary setting requires a certain insane determination, one that not many people possess. There are very few who share my weakness for the visceral appeal of the opium pipe.
My vice is one meant to be shared, yet it will never be so. There is no one. For me, at least. I’ve only just begun to allow myself to dream, and in fact I must dream in order to write, yet even the air around me is suffused with the impossibility of my own hopes. How, then, do I reconcile myself to the fact that my deepest desire-to share this ritual with someone else-is destined to remain unfulfilled? By what process does a person make peace with the death of her dreams?