I Tried Salvia

I was out of college, unable to find a job, and really confused. I was debating on whether it was a good idea to move into an apartment with some friends in Vermont. One of my Connecticut friends was trying to convince me otherwise. She claimed to have psychic powers, and tried to use her visions to convince me not to do things she didn’t agree with. Some of the times she ended up being right, but my other friends were convinced that she was some sort of svengali trying to control my life. She didn’t want me to move to Vermont, but it was the last straw when she said to me that if I moved to Vermont I would “end up dead in the streets.”

I was irked by her harsh and unnerving comment. I still couldn’t make up my mind about moving. The next day I went to Vermont. During my stay in there, she called my cell phone incessantly. I was pissed. My mind wasn’t clear, and I was fearful about moving because of all the terrible things she’d put in my head. I wasn’t about to let her say anything else bad about my possible decision to move up here. My friends were good people and she was entirely wrong about everything. I didn’t answer the phone. Little did I know that later on she would hold this against me.

After a few nights in Vermont, I was awoken one night, by a tapping on my shoulder. It felt like someone was repeatedly poking me with one finger. I ignored it, and figured it was my friend’s cat. I went back to sleep. The tapping started again. Again I ignored it, chalking it up to the cat, and tried to fall back asleep. The third time this happened, I sat straight up and looked around the room.There was no cat. No one was in the room but me.

I told my friends about it the next day. An elderly couple had died in their home, before they lived there, but they had never seen a ghost or heard of a haunting, and their cat had run away months prior. I didn’t think it was a cat or ghost either and that perhaps my friend was more powerful than I thought. It was clear that she didn’t like being ignored. When I got home from that trip she refused to talk to me for a week, but by then I was on to her.

The next day, one of my friends was going to smoke some salvia. He was still in college, we were all art students of some sort, theater, creative writing, all creative types. He pulled out a glass water bong and a wooden box full of various strengths of the herb. I was completely opposed to smoking it or anything. Except for a minor slip up the year before, I’d managed to smoke pot only a handful of times during my entire college career and was not about to start using anything now.

The peer pressure began. He told me about the herb. It was used by shamans on their journey quests. It was a mild hallucinogen and fairly safe. Depending on the strength a person smoked, the high would only last a minute or two, and it was entirely legal. My other friend chimed in, “Maybe if you smoke it, you’ll be able to make up your mind on moving up here or not.” Sold.

They explained to me that after I smoked it, to just lay down on the couch and it was their job to babysit me and make sure nothing went wrong. Nervously, I took a hit, a very small hit. They debated whether it was enough to do anything. I took another and laid down on the couch.

“Nothing’s happening.” I stated.

“Just wait.” Both my friends leaned over the couch watching me. One rested his head on the arm of the couch while the other kneeled over me. I started to laugh,

“Guys! I’m not dead!” They looked at me odd. “This must be what it feels like to be dead! Like I’m in a casket and your at my wake. I’m not dead guys!” The continued to look down at me, it still felt like they were at my viewing.

“We know Hayley, you’re not dead.” They didn’t find it nearly as amusing as I did. Perhaps they were concerned? I continued to laugh. Within seconds the high wore off. I sat up on the couch, and my final thought while on salvia was a realization that I was letting other people’s voices into my head and that their voices were diluting my own voice to the point where I could no longer hear it. I needed to make my own decisions.

When I got home from Vermont, my friend reamed me a new one for not returning her calls while I was on vacation. I suddenly remembered how big of a hypocrite she was. After getting a new boyfriend, who hated me, she had done the same when I tried to contact her during Christmastime. She didn’t call me back for well over a week. A few days after her outburst, I tried to call her, but she didn’t pick up, so I left her a message inviting her to meet me for coffee at a cafe. After a few days I still hadn’t heard from her, and felt like she was being very controlling and playing power games.

I sent her an email breaking off our friendship for good. Soon she began calling me and emailing me again, leaving pleasant messages that failed to acknowledge the content of my email. I never wrote back to her. I didn’t move to Vermont either. I loved visiting, I loved my friends, but their place was messy and had voles. I assure you that this was entirely my decision. Well, maybe I had a little help from salvia…

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