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Getting high is great. It's almost magical. The first time I got high I remember taking notes of how everything that usually makes my mind race suddenly went silent. This is a great feeling for a high school kid who feels awkward in everyday life and deals with anxiety on occasion.
I was already familiar with weed. With a family like mine, it's hard to imagine that some of them DON'T smoke. I've walked into rooms unannounced and got smacked in the face with a smell that was bad but in a good way, similar to gasoline. I was always rushed quickly out of those rooms after sparking a coughing fit from the person holding what I thought at the time was a special cigarette. I even went as far as to steal puffs of what I later learned were roaches. When I did smoke them, I wouldn't really feel anything, but this only made me more curious. Everyone who I saw who smoked weed was hilarious and just great to be around. I wanted that, but after several attempts that never happened.
This is why cousins are important; I've heard sayings of your cousins being your first real friends. My older cousin was always teaching me things, how to ride a bike with no hands, how to dress cool, and how to not suck so much at basketball, but my favorite lesson was him teaching me how to smoke. He brought his own weed that day, and for the first time I was part of the process; this secret ritual I've seen time and time again, but only by accident. This time it was only him and me, and I knew he wouldn't turn me away. He spoke in hushed tones as he split the blunt, he kept the conversation rolling about how crazy high school can be as he emptied its contents into a neat pile that he discarded. What replaced the blunt's contents was a much greener herb than the tobacco that came out, then came the familiar smell I have always loved. Before I even realized, he was done, and I had watched the whole thing but wasn't able to ask questions as the conversation continued to flow naturally. Turns out, he kept me talking so I wouldn't be able to repeat the process on my own if I was ever given even a fraction of a chance. He knew me well.
Before I knew it, he was inhaling a deep drag off the blunt, savoring the smoke and holding it in. This is what I was doing wrong the whole time; I had no idea I was supposed to hold it in. I never stuck around long enough to see. My face must have given away my interest; he handed it out to me. He did what I believe is the international signal for shut up, then he pointed upwards. Even though I was so amazed at just finally being part of this inner circle of cool, I completely understood what he meant. My mom was still upstairs. If she even thought something was going on, she would know the smell; she was all too familiar with it. But I had come this far, it was too late to turn back. I quickly nodded in agreement and grabbed the blunt. My new favorite cousin spoke in hushed tones again as he increased the TV volume and told me to be easy with it.
I thought I was easy. I was wrong. My excitement got the best of me and the hit was bigger than I thought, and it burned. I let up a little cough and quickly held in the rest after noticing the shock on my cousin's face. We both imagined the worst possible scenario. I held it in, but of course, it still burned. Another short cough came out. I immediately heard my mom's shuffling stop above us, and I knew I had to turn off my cough somehow. He turned up the TV, hushing me still like it would help, but the smoke had to come out. I let out a couple little coughs, thinking they were at least semi-quiet. That's when we heard footsteps heading for the stairs. The jig was up. I quickly let out the rest of my cough. Of course, there was barely any left by this time, but my mom already knew what was up.
She pieced what was going on together in the exact order I thought she would. She could smell the smoke, she could see my cousin, and then she locked eyes with me. I should've turned away, but all my reflexes were shot and I just met her gaze. She only asked two questions, neither of them needed answers. Were we smoking? Yes. Was I high? Of course I was. I couldn't even lie to try to get out of this. I just nodded. She shook her head, not at all the reaction I was expecting. Then she did probably the most unpredictable thing, the one thing I didn't see coming. She laughed and went back upstairs. I sat down on the couch, surprised. Did I win? Soon my mom was downstairs in the kitchen and the whole event slipped my mind. Then I heard my name yelled louder than any other time in my life. "Since you want to smoke, go upstairs and grab the laundry."
As far as punishments went, I knew I was getting off easy. Before she could take it back, I jumped up quickly and ran for the stairs. This is something I had done time and time again. I didn't think about how my mind just felt... different. As I reached the top of the staircase, I hit my foot on it and immediately fell forward. I twisted my body so instead of hitting my face on the wall, my back slammed against it. Hard. I sat there for a minute in the silence of the hallway, thinking what exactly went wrong. That was when everything finally dawned on me: I'm actually high. I started laughing to myself as I pulled myself to my feet.
My mom had to have known something was off. As soon as I dropped off the laundry, she laughed and asked if I was good. The answer was yes, better than I had ever felt before. I was relaxed, finally comfortable in my skin. Not stressing about the important things high schoolers go through, like how you would get your first phone, even though you know you don't have a job to pay for it, and that's exactly where the conversation would go the second you brought it up. I felt the most calm I had felt in my life and I knew what caused it. Weed.
Ever since then I have explored and tried different strains of marijuana, learning their effects and how they can either help me sit and focus or let my creativity fly. But there will never be a time I don't think about how at peace I was with myself, even under the stress of my mom finding out from the first time my cousin got me high.