At first I thought he was alive.
His swollen, bloodshot eyes looked sad.
The photograph was taken at a strange angle, looking up toward the nose, so that a line of white powder could be seen plastered to the inside of his nostril. The point of the picture was to show all us students that the man had died while snorting cocaine, but the only thing I could think was, “I don’t understand this.”
Cocaine causes hypertension, lethal cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, seizures, renal failure. One picture our professor showed us was of a brain covered in thick, partly gelatinous blood. Normally the brain is clean and grayish-white post-mortem, but this person had died of massive intra-cranial bleeding caused by a cocaine-induced spike in blood pressure that ripped through one of his arteries.
The lecture was about chemical injury to the human body, but the fact that a chemical had damaged this man’s body seemed so far from the root of the problem as to be almost comical.
The world is broken.
Things are not right here, and this is not where we’re meant to be.