Do you taste what you cook?

My last post described how my dad thought he had solved our financial problems by starting some difficult business out of the basement of our farm.

It wasn’t until later that I would realize that my dad had been cooking drugs, meth in particular.

The man who had come to set up the equipment was his distributor. My dad made the meth in our basement, which worked out because we were so isolated and off the grid that no one would ever suspect it. The man would come once a week to collect all the drugs my dad had prepared and to give him his share of the profits from selling the drugs the week before.

We definitely had more money than ever before. Dad took me to the theater, shopping for clothes at the mall, and out to dinner in the city; all things we could never afford to do before. I had tons of new toys, and since I didn’t know where the money was coming from, I was perfectly happy with dad’s basement business.

But then dad started sampling his wares.

I guess it’s impossible to be around the stuff so much and not wonder what it’s like to try it. Or maybe he was sad, or angry, or lonely, and was self-medicating. Perhaps he used meth to help him stay up late and cook more meth to make more money. I won’t ever get to know his specific reasons for starting to do drugs, because he died before I was ever old enough to think to ask.

Dad became nervous and twitchy. He always thought there was someone at the door. I barely saw him eat and he got really skinny. I noticed because his clothes didn’t fit anymore and his pants were always hanging off him.

Worst of all was the scratching. Daddy would absent-mindedly scratch and scratch and scratch his face until little pieces of skin came off, and he was bleeding. The sores were so ugly and it scared me.

Dad smelled different, too. I didn’t like it. He smelled like the scary man with missing teeth.

He wasn’t sleeping much, either. I know because I would go downstairs in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, and dad would still be awake, cleaning the kitchen or working in the basement or doing whatever else.

I could tell something was different, but as a child obviously, I couldn’t say that these were all signs of meth addiction.