afternoon, I'd just laid down on the couch with my book, but my eyes were heavy, a nap was waiting.
Because so many times on the days when he calls four or five times with nothing much to say, I rush him off impatiently, and because this time he was upbeat and chatty for a change, I stayed on the line and let him talk.
I listened, eyes closed. He talked. I umm hmmed.
"Emotions," he said. "What are they, really? I mean are they related to nerves? Or brain chemistry?"
I opened my eyes. The roses I got for Valentine's Day were beginning to wilt.
Emotions. Me, the one in the family who is all for feeling them, expressing them, discussing them. What were they, really?
"Brain chemistry, mostly, I think-- the rush of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine . . . all that. Why?"
"Well, I was thinking, " he said hesitantly, "and I know you don't like the topic-- drugs and all, Percocets-- but I was thinking. Percocet takes away physical pain. It blocks pain from being transferred along the nerves."
"Well, it takes away emotional pain, too. So, I was wondering if feeling emotion had something to do with the nerves."
I was sleepy, but I know we talked more about Percocet pain relief. About emotions. I remember he said he sometimes felt a lot of emotional pain. I asked why. He couldn't say. He assured me he hardly ever took Percocet. Just occasionally, once in a while, not often, he said. Well, that's good, I said, eyes closed again.
"You know, how a good mood feels? I wish good emotions could last as long as the bad ones do. It seems like the bad feelings make more of an impression. I wish the good ones would last as long. You know?"
"I do," I said.
"Well, thanks for talking," he said abruptly, his way of ending a phone conversation.
I fell asleep. It wasn't until more than 24 hours later that it occurred to me. Jesse had probably been talking to me from a Percocet high.
“The worst drugs are as bad as anybody's told you. It's just a dumb trip, which I can't condemn people if they get into it, because one gets into it for one's own personal, social, emotional reasons. It's something to be avoided if one can help it.”~John Lennon