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*** DO NOT REUSE *** PLEASE CONTACT ANTOINE *** IMAGE DEPARTMENT *** *** DO NOT REUSE *** PLEASE CONTACT ANTOINE *** IMAGE DEPARTMENT *** Love during the time of heroin Sarah and Ramone have been together for five years. They met when both were living in residential buildings of a long-term rehab facility. She learned Spanish for him, he learned English for her. Together they have two children. The second, born a few months ago, was found with drugs beyond methadone in her system, so both children were taken and placed into foster care. That started their most recent decline. Sarah and Ramone, only using dip and dabs before, now have habits that approach roughly ten bag a day each. Kicked out of their methadone program, they lost their apartment, which left them living in the upstairs room of a crack house. Amongst the garbage, the jars filled with urine, the needles and lighters, are children’s clothes and toys saved for more hopeful times. They are always together, only separated when Sarah enters the car of a man willing to pay for sex. Then Ramone sits on the curb waiting for her to return. Others bitch about them behind their back, “They are always fighting. I don’t know why they are together.” Sarah, in the eyes of most everyone, would be better off without Ramone. She earns the money; she ultimately supplies most of the drugs. There are plenty of men offering to be Ramone. Ramone has less of a habit than Sarah. Often she is the first to break. He follows. “They just bringing each other down.” Yesterday they spilled out of the house hurrying to get their morning fix. Sarah was crying, the pain of withdrawal twisting her face. Ramone had a large sore on his neck. An infection gone septic? Sarah smiled briefly, “Oh, that’s a hickey from me. I was all over him last night. We still make each other crazy that way.” PS: I have seen both clean when they had their child. They are happy then. Both are loving, gentle, and generous parents who want wh

© Chris Arnade