He hadn’t always been like this. I remember a point when he used to lovingly threaten anyone who ever upset me. He was Happy go lucky. Charismatic. Passionate.
Always best friends, we would go on hikes with each other. As we climbed for hours, attempting to reach the highest point of the mountain and finally catch a glimpse of the view, I had believed that I finally understood the definition of closeness to another human.
Just the morning of the incident, we had been comparing lists of our favorite people. “I guess I could fit you in at number 17,” I teased.
“That’s it, you’re off my list,” he joked back.
But he had been taking pills for a while. I should not say “pills.” He had been taking amphetamine for a while now. Amphetamine is a study drug, the drug that multiple Stern girls admitted to using in a recent Observer article about Adderall, the drug I had been offered before my last organic chemistry test, the drug that I almost took while studying for my last organic chemistry test.
I think he took too many. When looking at the side effects of overdose after the incident, the list I found wrote “anxiousness and anger, illusions” among a number of other things.
I promise that the morning of the incident, he seemed fine. Happy-go-lucky. Charismatic. Passionate. I know his family well—his mother cooks breakfast for him every morning, his father is the example of a modern angel, his brother has the most caring heart I have ever seen, and I could go on lauding his family as I would have lauded him just a few hours ago, before the incident.
But he took too many. It was out of his control. The amphetamine kicked in with the depression until he lost sense of reality. We were just having a nice meal together, in a relatively public place, when he picked a fight with me.
Flash forward an hour later and I was dodging the eggs thrown at my head, dodging the vase thrown at my head, yelling obscenities back at him for every “bitch” and “slut’ he called me.
After threatening me several times, he wrapped his fingers around my throat. Mr. Happy-go-lucky. Mr. Charismatic. Mr. Passionate. He was always the best friend.
If the door had not cut his hand, I do not know what would have happened. I do not want to.
He had begun taking the amphetamine for the same reason that Stern girls and YC guys take it now–wanting the edge. He had not believed that his pill taking would follow him past his school days. It was just study drug, after all, and a commonly used drug at that.
But he has been out of school for years now, and he still takes the pill. Perhaps he took more than one; I can accept that. I cannot accept anyone telling me it was anything other than the pill. I have known him too well for too long. I cannot accept anyone telling me that it is a relatively harmless pill; maybe for now, but what about tomorrow?
I cannot accept these students who take it for their grades. Are grades more important than your life? What about the life of your best friend? Are they worth wrapping your fingers around her neck and squeezing until she fears for the lack of a tomorrow?
I cannot accept that students at Stern take non-prescribed Adderall, the common name for amphetamine, for something as transient as a grade. Look at the bruises around my neck next time you worry about that grade, and consider that there might be more important matters to worry about.