It's a strange beast, shock. Like a patient mugger hovering over your shoulder, it has an evil habit of striking you over the head and spearing you right through the fucking heart, just when you feel serene and easy.
It's the horrible rush of blood to the head and the sensation of feeling your own pulse racing though your veins for what feels like the first time in your life, that drags you back blindly into reality.
The only other time you got that feeling were when you get involved in a fight or had a near-miss on a busy road...that awful dry feeling in your mouth and a shudder down your spine.
I used to believe nothing could faze me anymore, I felt steeled to anything, and after a lifetime of watching television and films, felt there was nothing visually I couldn't handle.
That all changed with a screeching change of gears when I stepped back into my living room, bottle of red wine and four glasses on a slippy, ready-to-tip-at-any-moment tray.
In a triangle sat Linda, Ste and Hayley, the couple from hell perched on the edge of the couch, Linda virtually on her knees in front of them. I recognised the small rectangular mirror from the bathroom teetering precariously on the knees of Ste, as Linda leaned forward and took a line of powder through a rolled up £20 note with ferocious appetite. She leaned her head back, squinting, throwing her hair away from her face, savoring the hit for a second. I saw that the mascara around her eyes was smudged as she laughed out loud to herself and rubbed her right hand roughly against the bottom of her nose, her eyes still shut.
Ste looked up and offered the mirror towards me shakily.
"'Y' 'avin some?"
"Nah.....I'm...not into it.." I responded, my voice sounding far away and distorted, and disturbingly not just through the alcohol. It was like I was not really standing there, as if I was looking upon myself from the top corner of the room.
Lisa rubbed her eyes and nose and smiled deviously at me.
"Sit down...here, by me.." She said as she shifted across the floor to the other side of the room, and sat with her back pressed to the side of the armchair.
I was compelled by an unknown force, a hidden hand pushing me towards her.
It was with a mixture of silent shame, drunken exasperation and overriding lust that I sat next to her as she scanned me up and down, a glint of mischief in her piercing gaze...