I couldn’t sleep and was prescribed a painkiller. The next night I fell down the rabbit hole and found–
White powder. And the red queen. Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, I tumbled down into a wonderland where everything took on a blue-gray tinge like a girl’s nude body. Cold and dead.
I ignored the burning sensation stinging the delicate inner chambers of my nostrils, stupidly believing I wasn’t hooked. Everyone else did it. I could stop when I wanted. Until then it solved all my problems.
In the 1920s in Weimar Berlin, pretty girls tempted customers with squares of white paper filled with white powder, veterans sold it on street corners and doctors prescribed it for pain.
I shall not bore you with tawdry stories of my drug use during those Berlin days. We all thought we were invincible, but we weren’t. What is more important to me is the effect my drug use had years later on my marriage to Lord Marlowe.
Though it is against my better judgment, I shall end my writing today with entries from an addicted young wife’s diary so that others may learn from my cautionary tale.
From Cleopatra’s Perfume:
“I hid my secret well, securing my drugs from a trusted member of the local nobility in desperate need of cash. I never partook of the stimulant when his lordship was at home and when he was I acted coy, teasing him like a scamp with my iridescent red lipstick brightening up my chalky face, such coloring being an adverse effect of drug use…”
“…later that evening, I neglected to remove a large platinum brooch set with emerald-cut diamonds from the single shoulder strap on my gown. In my rush to commence the act of pleasure I craved, I pricked my finger and dropped the brooch. It broke open and out spilled white powder all over the plush scarlet carpet covering the shiny parquet. Before I could scoop it up, Lord Marlowe bent down and dabbed white specks on his finger, then tasted it. I swear his eyes bulged out, his face turned red, and he nearly crushed my arm when he grabbed me. I still remember that moment, so clear it is in my mind.
“Cocaine” was all he said.
“So?” I admitted. We were newly married but I still retained a wildness in me he had yet to tame. “I’m not hooked.”
“Aren’t you?” He jerked my head back and pulled on my hair, his searing gaze startling me, glaring at my telltale pallor, but I didn’t flinch. He could see through my artful makeup job. “How long have you been hiding this from me?”
I twisted in his grasp, sneering. “You knew what I was when you married me. A cabaret girl in glossy eye shadow who haunted the nightclubs, smoking, drinking–”
“I forbid you to touch that accursed drug ever again.”
“Forbid me, Lady Eve Marlowe?” I boasted, emphasizing my new title. “I can do as I wish.”
“Not in my domain. I’m your husband and you’ll act in a manner befitting your station.”
Taunting him I said, “I imagine you’re fearful what your vapid friends would say if they found out your wife is both a commoner and an addict.”
“I don’t care what my friends think or say about us.”
Curious, I studied his face, his clear gray eyes revealing a most unusual thing to me. He was telling me the truth. He didn’t care what smart society thought about him or me. I also saw a man filled with confidence, a man willing to take control of any situation, even a wayward young wife on drugs. I realized then my husband was indeed lord of the manor. When he looked at me, I instinctively felt I should run from him, but I didn’t.
I asked, “Then why are you acting like this?”
“Because I love you, Eve Charles.”
Lady Eve Marlowe