Wildflowers Three By Jacquelin Winter

It was a standard if not cliché motel bathroom, and Mom had been in there a while. In August of 2001, we’d found ourselves at a Days Inn for the weekend—Mom, my sister, and I—despite her losing custody of us six years prior. We were one hour outside of Pittsburgh, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, though home was even farther, just over five hours east, in South Jersey. 

The Rolling Rock Town Fair was a grungy music festival headlined that year by the Stone Temple Pilots, Live, the Deftones, and Incubus. It was rumored to be a kind of nineties alternative Woodstock and, therefore, a can’t-miss concert for us. Two weeks before, I’d blown out fourteen candles on my birthday cake. Lizzie, thirteen, trailed me by eleven months, but we’d already seen STP from the front row twice, following Mom through steel-gray corridors with high hopes of landing backstage a la Almost Famous

“You gotta follow the dressing room signs,” she’d always say. We were thirteen and fourteen, and she led the way.

Mom was clean, she’d told our grandparents over and over for weeks. She was clean and had every right to take her daughters to a concert for the weekend. Please, she’d said. All three of us said please. The promise of Mom’s well-timed sobriety backdropped by some of our favorite pissed off rock bands was too shiny. 

Mom’s in-laws, the Judge and the Teacher, had long ago plucked Lizzie and me from the trailer park where she lost battles to needles most days. They’d set us up with ballet lessons and J. Crew poplin, instead. On the outside, we were a far cry from our roots. But roots run deep and on that weekend, we were happy in the dirt. 

“I fuckin’ love this song. When he does that thing with his voice it’s insane,” I’d say to Mom, and she’d say back, “Hell yeah, Lovie, that’s my girl!” before going on about how hot Scott Weiland was and how he better bring the megaphone out this time, and maybe he’ll drop trou and wiggle around if we’re lucky.

In the motel bathroom, greenish-gray tiles measuring no more than a square inch lined the walls, and a cheap vinyl curtain hung from the shower rod. Flickering, fluorescent lights buzzed in the backdrop, and there was a vent at the bottom of the oak-wood door. The slatted wood faced the opposite direction I needed it to as I tried looking in. This door was built for privacy, and Mom knew it. 

“What are you doing?” I asked through the door, though I had an idea. She didn’t answer me. She just mumbled something like leavemealo, which was so unlike her inclusive, doting vernacular it sent a spear straight through my center. 

I got on my knees to look up through those vents and through the inch-wide sliver of space, saw her slumped over figure. An hour before, she’d picked up three subs from a nearby sandwich shop on her walk for fresh air. She was always thinking about those things, somehow.  

Lizzie sat on one of the double beds, belly down and phone in hand, where she chattered all doe-eyed to her first-ever boyfriend, who spelled his name “Jimi,” as in Hendrix. Jimi hadn’t grown up in a trailer park but was tough like he had.

I thumbed soggy bread and wet cheese and couldn’t put out of mind Mom’s place in my world—locked behind the bathroom door. I looked through the slats again, and there she was, sitting on the toilet with a needle in her arm. This was the first and only time I’d ever see her do it, a fact that still surprises me because heroin was her lifeblood. 

Mom’s neck weakened under the weight of her faltering head as her eyes rolled skyward—up, up, and away. She was off. A minute passed and her body folded in on itself. The syringe fell to the floor where it seesawed for what felt like hours but was only seconds—back and forth and back and forth again—until it lost its momentum and everything stopped. Her head jerked to attention, like the villain in a horror movie waking up one last time. 

But she is not my villain. 

She inhaled. Her deep breath was the sign of life I needed, because if she was breathing and she was here, I had it all. In the forty-five minutes between suspicion and revelation, I’d torn apart our motel room looking for needles, or bags, or any sign Mom had used the dinner excuse to score, but came up empty-handed. She came out of the bathroom and sat on the edge of the bed, where she nodded in and out of reality, crossing some threshold I couldn’t see. When Mom was high, she was just visiting this earth. Her body was here; I could see it. This was fact. But something inside of her shifted and swirled. With each breath, she was a little farther away. Inhale, go. Exhale, leave. Inhale, stay

“Wake up. What are you doing?” I asked. 

I thought I might scream. I thought I might rage. I thought I might hurl how could yous across the stale, air-conditioned space between us, like one brilliant, show-stopping meltdown might undo her lifetime of addiction. I thought if I could just find the needle, I could show her. Show her that I knew, that there was no lying this time. And I wanted it to hurt.

I patted this body I came from down, less like her daughter and more like some security guard, until my fingers found the sharp, thin outline of a needle in her bra. I pulled it out, wagging it in front of her face like the white flag I’d have killed for her to wave.

“Whatdoyoume she said.

The words fell from her lips like dead leaves falling in slow motion. I reminded Mom that she’d promised and I believed her. I set the needle on the dresser, and my almost-rage deflated me. The sight of her, like this, left my heart a pulsing ten-thousand-pound stone.

In my periphery, Lizzie had hung up the phone and sat on the second double bed, her hands crossed in her lap. She wasn’t mad; she was waiting—for this episode to end, for Mom to sober up. Our days of screaming at her for choosing heroin were not over, because they never began. Though this dirty drug raised us, it hadn’t for one day felt like Mom’s choice. She wanted a way out of her own skin, the way some people just do. She let the false warmth of heroin float her away on a pillow-soft cloud. 

Inhale, go. Exhale, leave.


We sleep and we wake up. It’s the day of the festival, and we’ve put the night behind us as we elbow each other out of the mirror, dragging gooey black wands of mascara over our lashes. 

“You girlies ready to see some rock ’n’ roll?” Mom speaks in exclamation points and always has. It’s one of her best qualities, this ability to get anyone excited about anything. Where music is concerned, there’s no arm twisting. A contagious passion moves through her.

“Hell yeah, Mommy!” We yip back in unison.

Mom looks like Debbie Harry and Courtney Love, and she knows it. She’s spent a lifetime curating her aesthetic to complement those wildflower insides—peroxide-blonde hair, smokey eyes, and cherry-red lips. Mom wears skintight, high-waisted leopard print pants, black tees, and black boots everywhere. She’s the Chelsea girl. Punk rock is not dead. Lizzie and I follow suit in our own ways, mimicking the dark-lined eyes and wild hair. We are wildflowers, three. 

On this morning, we all wear some variation of black. I twist my long, blonde hair into faux dreadlocks, hoping to shed the polished identity my grandparents have bestowed on me and return to who I believe I am at fourteen—twisted and dark, angry maybe, at the world or our circumstance. If my brain follows logic, I know at some point Mom chose drugs. But logic and addiction don’t dance, and her days of choice are long gone. Now, Mom fills her veins for relief, for normalcy. Where family members have cut her off, I bleed instead, for the woman, the human underneath it all. 

We barrel from the door of the motel room and head to the lobby, where masses of fellow concertgoers wait for buses that will ferry us an hour away to the Westmoreland Fairgrounds. The place is buzzing with love for music and strangers, and we feel alive. Our long, skinny bodies hum as we board the bus together, hand in hand like three lunar-loving gypsies. 

We make a pact to not get separated and a plan in case we do. With a crowd totaling well over thirty thousand people, we know anything can happen, but by now all three of us take pride in our live music smarts. Mom brought me to my first Stone Temple Pilots show when I was eleven, maybe twelve. Music is our home.

“When we get there, we’re pickin’ a meeting point, okay, Lovies? First thing we do,” Mom says, bobbing her head back and forth to a beat we can’t hear. On the bus, Mom’s looking straight ahead, but her right hand finds mine, while her left finds Lizzie’s. She is our center, for better or worse. We squeeze her silver skull and snake-ringed fingers tight. 

“Who do you wanna see most?” I ask Lizzie, who’s staring out the window at all the Pennsylvania nothing we pass.

“STP, for sure,” she says back, and it pumps Mom up to know she’s raising her two girls right. 

“That’s my girl! I can’t give you a lot, but I can give you good times and good taste.” Mom’s wrong and she’s right when she says this. I go on to intern in music publicity at EMI, a major record label in Manhattan, and write for 88.9 WERS, a radio station in Boston, where no one but Mom and I know what leaves me in constant search of music. I still play Mom’s Smiths records. Knew and then forgot the words to the Dead Kennedys’ “Mommy’s Little Monster” before ten years old. And I listened—with a deeper understanding than a child should ever have—as Scott Weiland sang about the trenches of heroin abuse: Hey everybody, where did Mary go? / Did you check the bathroom, the bathtub? / She sleeps there sometimes / Water cleanses you know. Connecting with music in this way is a mammoth and double-sided badge of honor. Yet still, I’m so proud.

We arrive. Thousands of people pour from the mass of sunflower-yellow buses like swarms of brown bees newly set free. We fix our eyes on what looks like a proper meeting point in case we’re separated. It’s a station setup for equipment sitting about a hundred yards from the stage and dead center of the crowd. Perfect.

“I’m going to the front. Come on!” I say, grabbing Mom and Lizzie by the wrists. 

“Aw, hell no, I’m too old for the pit,” Mom says, and I’m surprised. 

“Mom, no way! Let’s go,” Lizzie says but Mom means what she says.

“I gotta sit in the bleachers, man! I need seats just in case. I can’t get stuck in that crowd. A young game!” 

We let her go.

The first few kicks of a drum and a collective roar lets out like a quick-moving cloud unfurling on top of us. I’m standing in thick, cakey mud because it rained the night before, and it takes less than fifteen minutes to get separated from Lizzie. I shimmy my adolescent frame through elbows and sweat-drenched shoulders until I make it to the second row from the stage, where I hang like a forty-pound child on a mechanical bull for the whole of the concert. This is a kind of stubborn-assed miracle, but when Scott Weiland does come out with his megaphone and does close the show by stripping down to nothing but an American flag tied around his waist, I’m thankful for my staying power. He dances and jerks around like a puppet under a marionette’s quick, twitchy spell, and I think, Mom was right

When it’s over, I have to find Mom and Lizzie. I’m still vibrating from the inside out, my young heart and mind totally blown. I really can’t believe what I’ve just stood through, and I’m counting my blessings the way I count quarters and dimes to make change—thumbing one after the other in my palm. 

I find Lizzie in mere minutes, though floods of people swallow us. 

“Lizzie! Holy shit, did you see that?” I shout.

“Yes! With the flag at the end?” Lizzie says, but it’s not really a question so much as a statement. She’s covered in a now drying layer of mud, like I am. It’s in our hair, it’s on our clothes, in our shoes. This is a true nineties Woodstock.

“Yes, dude. Mom was so right,” I say, reality peppering its way into our conversation like a fast-growing fire.

“She said she might need to sit. Check the bleachers?” 


And we do. 

We check the bleachers, where we scan people and wait but don’t find Mom. We head back to our meeting point, twice, and then three times, but still no Mom. We walk to and from merch tables and side vendors until we give up and start asking strangers.

“Have you seen a kind of tall, pretty-for-her-forties woman?” I ask, not yet with any fair concept of age. “She’s blonde, really loud, loves STP . . .” I’m trailing off mid-ask when some guy without a shirt says no, he hasn’t seen her, but do we want to come party. I lie and tell him we’re only sixteen. Some part of me knows a thirteen- and fourteen-year-old shouldn’t be here. Sixteen feels old enough to be here but isn’t legal for him, so he moves on like I need him to. 

By now, the buses waiting to take concertgoers back to the mall parking lot near the motel have started their engines.

“We gotta find her, dude,” Lizzie says, deadpan with the setting sun. And we do, but we can’t. There are a set amount of buses before they’re all gone and we’re left stranded in an empty mud pit five hours from our grandparents—Mom’s in-laws—who we’d all three promised that Mom would stay clean. Please, we’d said.

We get on the last bus after maybe two hours, figuring Mom beat us back somehow. But back in the mall parking lot, there is still no sign of her. It’s around nine at night, and Lizzie and I sit on a curb under a circle of dim yellow cast from a nearby streetlamp. We perk up like a couple of puppies in a shelter window at the few rogue cars passing through. Maybe this one will be Mom. But none are, and hours pass. 

2 a.m., officially. I know this because some guy pulls up, and from his white utility van he shouts, “What are you girls doing out here? It’s 2 a.m.” 

A very good question, I think to myself, but to him I say, “We can’t find our Mom. We were at that festival today and we just . . .” 

“You just what?” He sounds annoyed, like he doesn’t understand.

“I guess we just lost her somehow,” I say in defeat, understanding his not understanding. 

“Well here,” he says. “Let me see . . .” 

He’s figuring out how to help, I’m praying, when he puts the van in park and opens the back, sliding door. He hands us a half-eaten bag of pretzels without leaving the driver seat, stretching his arm and arching his back like he knows he can’t be found anywhere near us when the police, who he’s calling, arrive. 

This man whose name I never get, and whose face I never see, is some kind of shadowy earth angel. He exists in my memory of that night as a sort of phantom human who saves us, arriving first in the archetypal serial killer van I think for a second will be the last thing we see. It’s this man who changes the course of the night. Maybe he changes the course of our lives. 

When the police arrive, he’s off—to fighting crime or saving abandoned children elsewhere, I have to guess. He’s gone and the police are here asking us what happened.

“Our Mom, she was with us. We went to that festival not too far away. But now we can’t find her,” I explain, straight-faced and fact-of-the-matter. 

“Do you think that she’s hurt?” Another great question. I didn’t think she was anymore hurt than she’d been her whole life. I thought the music and the scene got the best of her and she found herself once again needing to score. I know how this blinds Mom. Heroin blinds her to us, to love, to living. With invisible hands, it covers her eyes and wraps her in a plush bath towel. It carries her away, a dreamy vapor.  

The cops give us a ride to the police station, where they call Grams and Pop before adding a few bowls of scrambled eggs and hash browns to their breakfast order. Lizzie and I push our food around, taking small bites. We try to look grateful but not ravenous, which we are. It’s been a day since we’ve eaten, a fact lost on no one, and an air of apology or pity hangs in the station around us. Grams and Pop are on their way in an instant, but are leaving from Vineland, New Jersey, where we live in their not-riddled-with-heroin home, almost six hours away.

“Do you think they’re gonna be pissed at us?” Lizzie asks, and I’m not sure, though I lean toward no. 

“I don’t think so. I mean, we didn’t know Mom would pull this,” I say.

“She did say she was clean,” Lizzie adds. 

We treated this claim like fact every time, and there were so many times. Once, when we still lived with Mom, we sat under a tall oak tree and waited hours for her to unlock the front door. And there were all those times she fell asleep. Later in life, I’d learn the term “nodding off,” but in those years, she was just resting, dreaming from our couch. I curled Lizzie’s hair for school pictures, used a step stool to scramble eggs for breakfast. By eight years old, all my mothering rivaled most mothers’, and did I feel betrayed? Was there any time for that?

When they arrive, Grams is sobbing hot tears. She pulls us into her chest like a bird into outstretched, downy wings, and Pop stands sturdy as ever when he says, “It’s time to go home.” They must’ve filed a missing person’s report, or maybe Mom hadn’t been gone long enough for that. I don’t remember. What I remember is the long ride home in the back of Pop’s truck. 

The truck bed’s cap closes it off from the world, and Lizzie and I lie belly up on a pile of warm, freshly laundered comforters, with toolboxes and small workbenches lining the sides.  Pop has set us up with pillows and all manner of soft blankets on which he thinks we will rest. We mostly do as the best-worst weekend of our lives grows smaller from the back window, the hope of seeing Mom again shrinking with it.

“What do you think?” Lizzie asks. Her hands are clasped on her stomach. 

“About what?” I say.

“About everything. When do you think we’ll see Mom again?”

“I don’t know. I mean, I know she’ll come back. She always does. This was just . . .” 

“Yeah,” she says.

“Yeah,” I say. 

We lie on our backs looking up, like two friends on a camping trip, but the stars we stare up at are tiny rust spots that speckle Pop’s getaway vehicle. He and Grams are saving us—again—from the chaos Mom’s addiction has peppered all our lives with. We talk about how much we love her anyway. We talk about the concert. We talk about the long-haired, shady boys we have crushes on. We decide for the umpteenth time as her daughters that we will be okay—all three of us. We will survive and she will come back. This is how simple our young math is.

We do survive, though, and Mom does, too. It takes her three weeks, but she comes back. She rings the doorbell to her in-laws’ house to explain her position, and Lizzie and I eavesdrop from the den, where we peek our heads out every so often to see if it is working. 

We want it to work, Mom’s plea. 

It works less on Pop and more on Grams, which is all that matters since she’s the woman who calls the shots around here. The soft spot Grams holds for Mom is deep as some boundless, black galaxy, and I get it. I watch forgiveness in real time, and redemption becomes the stake tethering my two feet to the ground.


Twenty years have passed, and I watch my daughter while she sleeps next to me. She is four, going on five, and has her father’s lips—heart-shaped and small. She nestles her head under my armpit, in her nook, and her long, skinny legs weave in and out of my own like we are the pieces to each other’s puzzles. I know that there are daughters without mothers and that these days will end, so I let her. 

Mom lost custody of us in 1995, long before the Sacklers made OxyContin a buzzword for some and its abuse a way of life for many. We were seven- and eight-years-old when Mom was finally and officially deemed unfit for Motherhood—a win, most would say, for us girls. Like so many others struggling with drug abuse in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Mom had discovered OxyContin, which quasi kept her off street drugs until it didn’t. Even in relative sobriety, with weekly trips to the methadone clinic, it continued to dictate her every move. We moved in with Grams and Pop, Dad’s parents.

Grams is protective over her daughter-in-law despite the sitcom trope that tells us she shouldn’t be. 

“Absent the drugs, I’d choose your mother over all my daughters-in-law,” Grams tells me when she reflects on our family. “I’d choose your mother for a parent over all of them,” she reiterates, “absent the drugs.”

Absent the drugs, Mom left a six-inch by six-inch corner of her bathroom unpainted for three months. I was raised just five minutes down the road from her, and I visited often after we were separated. One weekend, when I was sixteen, I asked, “What’s with the white corner in your new yellow bathroom, Ma?” 

And Mom said, “My spider lives there! I’m waiting for him to move, but the little fucker got comfortable.” Mom shook her head and hand at me, and the look on her face suggested I was the crazy one for asking. This bare corner was his home. I should have known.

Absent the drugs, Mom taught me how to finger paint over a brand new, white, wall-to-wall carpet that Dad had just installed. She said it was fine as long as we laid down newspaper. I was five years old and Dad didn’t agree when he came home from work that night. But I’d learned to paint outside the lines while we danced on a sunny afternoon to a David Bowie record.

Absent the drugs and after my daughter was born, Mom called every few days to remind me to cut the tags from her tiny, flowered onesies. She didn’t want them scratching my newborn’s baby skin—a small, delicate detail everyone else had overlooked.


I am thirty-three years old and I find myself back home once, maybe twice a year. My grandparents’ house, our family’s North Star, still sits on Summit Street. “It is the highest point in all of Vineland,” Grams says. Mom lives in a trailer, like she always has, with too many animals, like she always has, but now she is missing a leg and most of her teeth. Years of opioid addiction and the near-death experiences that go with it have plucked her every petal—my wildflower. 

Mom’s hair is purple, sometimes pink, and she reminds me often she’s got at least fifteen pounds to lose. During the holidays, I grapple with whether or not my daughter should know Mom. It’s not the hair, or the weight only she sees as problematic. She’s my mother, I tell myself like I always have, giving her both grace and redemption, like I always have. 

I decide with my husband in 2018 that yes, we will see Mom on Christmas. He says he’ll be beside me, so what could go wrong? He has no experience with mothers on drugs, and a part of me adores this. A larger part of me can’t stand the innocence his thinking requires. I lean toward the loving side of myself—obstructed now with decades of broken promises and dirty needles—and decide for better or worse, Mom’s place is where I want to spend Christmas.

“Alright,” I say. “We’ll go.”

I take a deep breath and we walk through the door. Mom’s quick in her wheelchair. She’s wearing baggy thrift store jeans tied in a knot where the rest of her leg should continue on but doesn’t. 

“Merry Christmas, lovies!” Her voice is loud and scratchy and full of so much love. She croons over my daughter whom she’s now meeting for just the second time. My husband stands at attention in his best plaid shirt. He is handsome and smiling and doing his best not to judge as Mom corrals us six feet away in the living room, where presents wait. 

I wonder how she has extra money for presents. 

“Mom, you shouldn’t have.”

She shushes me, swatting her hand in the air as if at some fly.

“What the hell’s the point of Christmas without presents?” she asks, and she means it.

“Ma, there is plenty more to Christmas. I know you know that.” I roll my eyes.

“Oh bullshit. Don’t give me all that la-de-da nonsense,” she says, laughing and seeing straight through my righteousness. “Kids want presents, Jackie!” And she’s right. She wants to see her granddaughter smile, and I won’t take that from her.

Mom’s roommate runs down the hall, apologizing for interrupting Christmas, but so-and-so is on his way, and if she can’t find his pills, he’ll be pissed. 

“He’ll be here in twenty minutes!” she shouts. 

“Who’s he?” I ask. “What pills?” 

My husband turns to me for some kind of answer. I roll my eyes, suggesting a smug I told you so and grab our daughter off the rust-orange carpet, swinging her onto my right hip where she coos and smiles.

“Well, help her find them!” I say, gesturing in circles. The three of them get to work—my mother, my husband, the roommate—in search of so-and-so’s pill bottle with only twenty minutes on a clock that is now counting down. Mom’s trailer is small and this Christmas, I’m thankful for its humble size.

 I cup my right hand around my daughter’s head. She is warm and happy on my hip, and we bounce up and down next to the half-opened pile of gifts on the floor. I hum Christmas melodies and press my own head flush against hers when the roommate emerges successfully with an orange pill bottle. We clap and shout. Hooray. Eight minutes later, so-and-so knocks on the door and takes his pills. We’re safe again.

Phew,” Mom exhales, wiping the sweat from her forehead and apologizing for the confusion as if she’d misplaced an old sweater. She swears it was only methadone, trivial in the hillbilly heroin hierarchy.

We finish unwrapping presents before I cut our Christmas short. Less than two hours have passed, but I know this is risky business. In another trailer, in another lifetime, men with names like “Juni, short for “Junior,” and “Suicide Rob,” short for nothing but the ominous flash-forward it became, sat around our coffee table full of powders and needles and green glass-bottled Heineken. And somehow, none of this fazed me. But I no longer have just myself to preserve. The stakes are so much higher. My daughter sleeps on my right hip and another generation sits smack in the line of fire.

Mom’s cats purr and dance through our legs as we make our way out her front door. It’s cold and I wonder how anyone—Mom, the cats, the roommate—can live like this. She sits in her wheelchair, smiling and blowing kisses. I look over my shoulder to blow a cartoon kiss I swear I almost see. It winds through the air and she catches it, smiling. Mom smiles all the time. 

“I love you, lovies!” she shouts, waving and frantic as always. And I know she does.

We make it back to Summit Street where the house is big and warm and a candle lights each window. Grams pours us a round of decaf coffee and Pop asks how our visit went.

“It was good,” I say. “Mom is Mom.” 

I leave out the details and tell them Mom looks good, “I’m glad we went.” They nod and say they are, too. It’s quiet and peaceful. When I lay my daughter down to sleep that night, I consider what happens to love when it belongs to an addict, when a nineties music video becomes a family’s reality. 


I am thirty-four years old and I call Camden Treatment Associates of New Jersey. I ask that they stop dolling out Mom’s methadone each morning. I say there is no more reason to. The kind woman says Mom’s caseworker will update her file. She is the second kind woman I speak with this morning. I call the post office to stop the mail and that stranger is kind, too. People are on this occasion. 

Lizzie helps with everything. She thinks to call the methadone clinic. I figure these things just stop, and for many patients, I’m sure they do. Patients of methadone clinics don’t often have daughters like Lizzie and me calling to update files. Patients of methadone clinics don’t often have family who’ve agreed, however silently, to make sure the right next steps are taken in the event the patient’s file must be updated to say “Deceased.” Or “Overdosed.” Or “Dead.” Whatever they write. What do they write?

I pray to God. 

I ask Him to keep Mom safe and send her back. The second part of this inner dialogue is involuntary. My mind soars and sifts through decades of material, drifting to an undergrad class I thought I’d breezed right through: “On Death and Dying.” I resurrect the textbooks to see if I’ve missed anything, my Hail Mary. I’ve missed everything.

I talk to Scott Weiland. David Bowie. I daydream they’re dancing with Mom. 

Five days after the coroner’s call, I measure three and three-quarter cups water, one half cup olive oil, and six eggs, because life moves on. I add this to two boxes of store-bought cake mix to make forty-eight cupcakes for my daughter’s school Valentine’s Day party, which I almost forget about. I’m busy keeping track of what happens under my ribs as the woman whose DNA swirls and spins through mine evaporates. Mom visits me now as tiny flashes of bright light in my peripheral, like red-breasted robins. 

Robin is her name, and she is not my villain. Once, we danced on a sunny afternoon to a David Bowie soundtrack. We trampled the black-and-white newspaper underneath our bare feet. The sun broke through the curtains that morning, and we were happy.






Jacquelin Winter is a music-obsessed writer living on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She holds her Master of Arts in Creative Nonfiction and attended Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Before moving to a sleepy sandbar, Jacquelin traveled the world as a signed model turned freelance music journalist and writing student, covering such notable acts as The Cranberries, Sonic Youth, Norah Jones, and Ray LaMontagne. Jacquelin is currently working on her debut memoir. She writes to humanize those caught in the sticky web of addiction, to find beauty in truth—however scarred or fractured—and champions the people on the edge of the night. Find Jacquelin on instagram @jacquelinwinter, twitter @jacqwinterwrite, and on facebook.