Story 20

Tanya (Wilderness, South Africa) It was the last weekend in my apartment, and a long time since my last trip. So I invited three special people around on the Saturday night. Unfortunately, they all work in the entertainment industry, so we were planning to start at about midnight. Lo and behold, if I don't go and develop my first cold in ages, nasty chest, headache, runny eyes and all. That just couldn't be.... No problem, I thought, popping a couple of flu tablets into my mouth and downing some cough mixture. Sadly, I didn't think of checking the ingredients. I had just primed my system with codeine, to which I am hypersensitive. But it helped. By the time they all arrived, I felt much better, and was looking forward to the trip so much, I could taste it. (And who doesn't taste it, when you just think about it? The trip starts way before you drop.) We dropped at about midnight, just as planned. We knew it was good when the weedle only lasted twenty minutes or so (weedle: the time between ingesting and going up). It was a lovely weedle, too, everyone in such a good mood of happy anticipation. I was settled in on the floor, everything to hand, blankets and pillows, outdoors on the other side of the door, music stacked up, all my precise requirements (which are SO important), ready to go. And go I did. Half an hour in, and I lost all consciousness of this dimension. I was floating in space (but not our space), the place between the dimensions. Below me, stretching to infinity, was a spiral of what looked like slides of the scene in my lounge. Each one was slightly different. I knew that they were alternative realities, slightly removed from my own, most likely in time. And so many of them. In total panic, I realised that I must find precisely the right one, or never be able to go home. I would never see my kids again, I'd be out of place forever. In the meantime, we later realised, my temperature had peaked at over 40 degrees centigrade, very high indeed. The codeine was trying to render me unconsious (its usual effect on me) and the acid wouldn't let me go. Occasionally,. I would dive into one of the worlds, and surface in my lounge. I would ask my freaked-out friends, "Am I back? Is this real? Oh no! I'm going back, this isn't it! I have to find it!" and more of the like. As they were tripping off their faces themselves, it was all rather traumatic. I was burning up, in pain all over, thinking I was going to die, and knowing no-one would dare take me to hospital. (It turned out to be Sydney 'flu, also known as death flu, which killed a lot of people here last year. I was sick for another week). At one stage, one of my friends thought it would help if they gave me a mission, and sent me to the kitchen to get water. As I stood at the sink, I knew that they had sent me here to kill myself, took out my carving knife, and was about to cut my arm when I remembered that I was tripping. Bad trip hardly begins to describe it. Five and a half hours later, I surfaced enough to be able to ask what the time was, a question I then repeated every 30seconds or so, for the next half an hour. I was actually hoping to find the reality from six hours ago, dive into it, and arrive before I took the acid, thus erasing the trip from existence. I really thought I could do it, too. But time marched on in its usual fashion, and I started coming out of it slightly, six hours in. Of course, I was actually delirious from the fever, knocked out by the codeine, and tripping hectically, all at once. It took a full day for me stop seeing things. Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru visited me in my bedroom... nice chat we had, too. All of us have never been so happy to come down in our lives. And yet, and yet.... the places that I went to inside, the things I saw about myself, and the longings I'd hidden from myself. I was stripped to the bare bones, by fear and isolation. I think the trip saved my marriage, showing me as it did that I could not live without my husband and my children. (It was my greatest fear - permanent separation from them.) Quite something to come out of a trip. And cheaper than therapy. I waited a long time before the next one, though.