Despite that most of my friends had told me not to do it, not to start, not to get involved, not to waste my life and risk craving more, I, that sunny morning, ended up taking a suspicious-looking plastic baggy, that was given to me by an even more suspicious-looking man, with me on the train to the long-awaited, idiotically overpriced festival at the dockyards in Amsterdam. That same baggy, which was strategically hidden in my bra, contained a tiny red triangle-shaped sweet pressed with a clean cut Superman logo. It was a sweet I had only ever seen in the news. Or in films. Or it had been spoken about a couple of times by most of the rock stars I applauded. Pumping that same little something into my body, that same little something that was said to be so stupidly dangerous and potentially mortal but could give me an unexplainable, ecstatic experience at the same time, intrigued me.
It was a risk I was willing to take. To say I was not nervous would be a lie. In fact, I had been researching everything I needed to know 24/7 for about sixteen days before I finally gathered the courage to take it. I had not been able to sleep because of the horror published on the Internet on websites such as Jellinek, Trimbo and DrugsInfo. I read the facts. I knew the danger. I would get dehydrated. My brain would swell up if I drank too much water. The chances of getting hyperthermia were quite high too. Just like the possibility of damaging my kidney, liver, heart and brain all at once. Oh, and, the most notorious warning known by all: addiction. According to the Internet there was no way around it. I would become a junkie. I would drop out of university, elope with a drug dealer and live at the central station in Berlin begging for heroin together with Christiane F. within a few weeks. The exact reason why all these reasons were not enough to scare me off I do not know. It must have been a combination of recklessness; wanting to experiment; the fact that ecstasy was taboo; that MDMA was illegal, and therefore ten times more interesting; that my closest friends had not done it. Pure curiosity. All that and a great deal of healthy stupidity.
Arriving at the concrete festival grounds, I admired the brick walls of the old fabric at the NDSM-wharf covered in graffiti in all sorts of reds, greens, yellows and blues. I pushed forward my legs, which felt like lead. The nerves started to kick in with the thought of smuggling. Giving no hint of faltering or drawing back, I strutted towards the security check. There was a big queue of people having to empty their bags filled with lollipops, bottle caps, Vicks, sunglasses, Dextro, glow sticks and a lot more accessories belonging to the standard raver attire. My turn. The guard looked at me, smiled, asked me if I had anything with me, to which I said ‘no,’ and let me through without checking anything. Not my bag, not my pockets. Nothing. Dumbfounded I happily skipped on to join the rest of the group as we walked towards the thumping stages, our bodies racing full of energy and anticipation.
We stood in the middle in front of the stage, bopping our heads and moving our feet slowly to the repetitive brain-soothing tracks mixed by Joop Junior that were full of stabs, wobbles, leads, pad synths, tremolos.
“Shall we pop yet? It’s kind of boring without and we only have like nine hours left before the festival ends.”
“Yeah, let’s do it. Would you like to half-half?”
Nervously I watched my friends take out their sweets from their tight boxers, bite them and wash them down like it was nothing. They grinned at each other, gave me a glance of encouragement and faced the stage again. I clumsily fiddled around a little in my bra before I finally found the lost candy. With my head held down and, simultaneously, suspiciously watching out for security guards, I managed to open the plastic drug baggy with trembling fingers. I took out the pill, looked at it, hesitated and proceeded in biting off half as I was carefully instructed. Swallowing the tiny piece seemed to be an impossible task. The taste of it was definitely not in harmony with the way it looked either. As it crumbled on my tongue, it left an indescribable, nasty taste. A taste comparable to bitter chemicals mixed with salt. A taste that was bound to linger in my mouth for another hour. With a face of pure disgust I turned to my friend who immediately gave me some water. I gladly accepted.
Not even half an hour later my limbs started tingling. As if they were asleep. But nice. I could not stop smiling for some reason. It was hard as my jaw was tightening and my teeth had started to clench. I held a plastic bottle of water tight in my hand and squished it as hard as I could. Doing that released something inside of me. My body started to experience the biggest energy rush I had ever had. No alcohol, coffee, red bull or sugar overdose could parallel that specific feeling of euphoria. Worries faded away. The urge to dance had never been greater and when I moved my arms and legs it felt like they were not even there any longer. I could not feel the usual muscle pain when dancing. It felt more like flying. The music started to sound better. I started to experience it. I locked eyes with my friends as they smiled and welcomed me to the party. We hugged each other tight whilst pulling each other’s hair for several minutes. The extreme tingling body high lead to positivity flowing through my body. I wanted to talk to everyone. I wanted to tell them how beautiful they were. How much I loved them. Oh god, the lights. The flashing lights. Lights that would forever mesmerize me. Lasers struck my face, sending shivers all over my body as I drowned in the blissful feeling of ecstasy.