What Would You Do?

neurosis
What would you do if it were me face down on the sidewalk instead of you?

Ambaum Boulevard and SW 124th Street.

What if I called you on a Saturday afternoon begging for you to come to me.

An intersection, my only offering.

Would you come for me?

If my body couldn’t move because it needed a syringe, would you come?

What would you do if I were writhing in front of my dealer’s house?

Alone. In pain. In tears.

Wanting to die.

You were the only person left in the world I could call.

All other bridges I had burned.

What would you do?

I can tell by your voice you remember the pain.

But where is your compassion?

I know you remember.

The anguish of the mind.

The agony of each bone.

The ache of every muscle.

How did I get here?

How could I let this happen?

Again… and again.

Would you give me 20 bucks and watch me crawl like a beggar through my dealer’s doorway?

Maybe you would show up to scream at me for destroying our lives?

Or would you simply pick up my frail, run-down body out of the street and take me to a hospital?

Perhaps you would call the police?

At least I would have a place to go.

Three hots and a cot.

Or would you let me suffer?

Like I let you suffer.

Covering your ears praying it’s just a nightmare.

Or would you simply stop answering the phone and wait for me to stop breathing?

What would you do?

I called the police that day.

I was too far away to make it to him.

I didn’t want him to die.

He handed me the intersection.

So I turned over his life.

It’s not where he wanted to end up that day.

But he is alive.

What would you do if the father of your chiildren called you from the floor of a sidewalk…

What would you do?

man on sidewalk

A Hundred Little Tragedies

bridge1

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”   – Carl Jung

This is an update on my Ex, D.    Fighting for his life.

Today I became painfully aware that I have not truly grieved the loss of my precious identity and beauty,  things I never knew were inside me to begin with. These being the innocence of my heart, the dignity of my sexuality and the tolerance for my own discomfort.  I have accepted  these losses and hurts, came to grips with them.  But to authentically grieve for myself?  Not yet. I feel I am on the verge of a breakthrough. I often feel that, but then nothing happens.

Right now, I feel the pain and tears well up in the back of my throat.  I am alone, so you would think I could let emotions burst with no inhibitions.  But, I let it out in small spurts like hiccups.  If I submit to my welled up emotions, I may end up in a heap on the floor.

It feels like a simultaneous eruption of little earthquakes in my stomach. From top to bottom, my insides shake.  Moving like a strong building floor violently rolls in an earthquake .  Somehow I must be able to stop it.  I absolutely should not, but I do. I see a single tear drop fall to my shoe through my shaky fingers.  It is unusual for me to get to even this point. It’s a start. It’s progress. Healing, it’s called?  It genuinely feels like like grief.  I am painfully aware of my heart.  I can actually feel the life pumping inside me.  I now know it is receiving life and losing it at the same time.  This is struggle in its purest form.  

I can just visualize the end of my outburst, exhausted and curiously poked at by my kids as they arrive from school.  So I better just keep it together.  For everyone’s sake.

There is an empty space inside of me.  It feels like a hundred little holes that make up a larger one.  Like a paper target at a shooting range, with the face in the middle?  The gaping holes inflicted by blunt force, shredded at the edges from trauma.   My chest actually feels hollow.  My heart hurts.  It needs to give in  to the dam I have been keeping so close to me.   I don’t know where it ends and I begin. Grief is more complex than just processing a loss.  It is not just an emotional reaction, it is physical, cognitive, behavioral and social.  My PTSD has arrested my ability to go through this process.  As badly as I want to, it is paralyzing to allow a thought or a memory run its course through my head and heart.  I guess that’s why it’s called a “process.”

I feel like I am walking in the dark, arms outstretched, searching for a door that needs to be opened, and only I can open it.  I feel terror knowing I have to open it and I have no idea what awaits me on the other side.  If and when that door opens, that’s my new life unveiled.  That is my new self, my authentic self. Someone I have never seen.  It is a being, a state of wholeness I long to discover more than anything, but I am comfortable with what I know.  Isn’t that sad? Change is frightening.  Illumination is blinding.  That’s why addictions and mind sets are so hard to break.

I found out that my Ex-husband, I refer to him as D, relapsed a few weeks ago.  I am surprised, and not surprised at the same time. He has been using drugs his entire adult life.  He has managed to string together some sobriety here and there.  We managed to get married, have 2 children, and live a somewhat normal life for 7 years.  We were married for 10 years.  Do the math… yes, there were relapses during the marriage.  All in the last 3 years.  It was an ugly time. I had to get the kids and myself out before they were removed from our home.  Every day after work walking up the stairs, hoping not to smell crack smoke, became very tiring.  Worrying the money would be gone, the car loaned out to a dealer. I was even sold when there were no inanimate objects left to sell, trade, or pawn.

The last relapse closed the deal for me.  I knew I had to leave.  A fighter rose up inside of me I did not know I possessed.  D picked me up after I worked a long night shift.   I could see in his eyes he was high.  It’s a haunting look I can never forget.  He was strangely quiet. The blue in his eyes covered in an opaque sheet of black.  When we got home, he asked  me to use with him.  I was disgusted. Even as an addict myself, I knew asking the one you’re supposed to love to join you in misery is inexcusable.  That fighter who rose up in me did something it had never done before.  I gathered my things… car keys, money, credit cards, packed a small bag, ran down the stairs and drove away.  I was able to salvage some of what usually would end up in smoke.  Including myself.

I talked to D on Thanksgiving.  He spoke with the kids briefly.  I am always happy when they get a chance to talk.  However, because of the Protection Order, there is little contact.  I decided it was time to say “fuck the protection order.”  His life is in danger.  I usually let them talk and he and I don’t speak. I wanted to hear his voice this time.  I always know when something isn’t right.  He had the chance to leave the state with his parents a few months back, which I believe would have saved his life.  He pleaded to stay here to work and better himself.  He had completed a 9 month inpatient treatment program, lived in a halfway house voluntarily, and accumulated a year clean and sober.  He even got a job. I thought he would stay clean this time.  I hoped.  But after 25 years of the overwhelming temptation and lure of Crack Cocaine, and the trigger of payday cash,  this relapse is a clear picture to me.  By staying here in this city, a using playing ground for him to run wild, he opened his own coffin.

He told me he sold his van. He was living in it. The weather has been extremely cold and I was hoping he had not sold it yet, for I knew he eventually would.  I know his addiction. He walked away from his only source of protection from the elements, leaving all its contents inside.  Everything he owned.  All that remains are the clothes on his back.

He told me he was suicidal.

 I saw a story on the news the other day.  A man had driven his car into a store, loaded his vehicle with items to sell, and was hiding when the police arrived. My heart sank and my mind raced.  I recalled a story D told me of a crime he committed 20 plus years ago…  He drove into the back of a music store in this same area, stole merchandise, and got away before the police arrived.   Up until a few hours ago, I have been checking the jail inmate registry on the hour, every hour.  I sent him a text 2 days ago with no response until a few hours ago.

I have tortured myself with obsessive worry.  Not because I have “those kind of feelings” for him anymore, but because he is the father of my children and someone I have known literally over half my life;  someone I believe to be a good man in the deepest part of his soul.  He was, at one time, a providing husband and loving father.  Some Psychologists would say this is the unhealthy “Caretaker” role emerging from me. But something just feels different this time.  More urgent. More tragic. I don’t want him to die. He has relapsed a few times since our separation.  This is different. We both have an eerie and tragic feeling in our gut… something two people who have been to hell and back, hand in hand, would only know.  In sync.  Too bad when drugs became our god, he no longer held hands with his earthly love, but with a demon…and soon could not decipher the difference.

I know first hand when death seems a sweet relief, the closest angel in your life can beg and plead, but there is a stone wall around your heart.  Hearing no life. Seeing no life. Speaking no life.  Sometimes the will to die overpowers the will to live. The pull is overwhelmingly strong.

I texted him again today and asked him to please just let me know that he was alive.  Within minutes, he called, from an unknown number, of course… the paranoia kicking in. I told him, “Fuck the protection order, your life is at stake!”  I truly exhaled for the first time in 3 days.   He may be alive, but far from well.  He is barely alive.  He is waiting to die. Those are his words.

His phone had been shut off, which is why he didn’t get my text the other day.  I sent him pictures of the kids.  He chuckled “You ruined my high.”   I said, “Good, that was my intent.”   I knew the responsive laugh was just a cover for shame. He is using drugs because he can’t handle the pain of what he did to us.  All of us.  I told him I understood.  And I do.  I am the only person who understands what he is going through. He told me I am the only person he could talk to.  He is right. The last time we spoke, I told him he could call the crisis line.  But we both know, on the other end of the line,  sits a volunteer who is looking at a script pleading with us that “it’s going to be okay.”  On that same note, he is the only person I know who really understands me in my addiction..  We went through all this together. Too many times.

I have scrolled down my phone contacts… and the green dots next to the names on my laptop, all in search of someone to talk to… I end up not able to see the screen as my eyes fill with tears. I am alone.  Addiction is powerful.  Not many understand its gravity.  I am done praying to God.  I am done with 12 step programs.   Addiction is bigger than that.   It’s a monster bigger than all of its so called “help” combined. It’s a monster that never leaves you. It can be arrested and in remission.  But it waits.  And it pounces when you’re not expecting it. Believe what you want, but this I know.  When I told him to call the crisis line, I could hear the ridiculousness in my voice.  I felt like a hypocrite. I have been in that place.  After the volunteer on the other end disappears, the hope disappears as well.

 So, today, when he said the pictures of the kids ruined his high.  To the “normal” person, that sounds horrible.  But let me translate.  He is so full of guilt and shame, he cannot bear to take another breath without needing to stop the screaming in his head.  The self condemnation that plays on a continual loop what a loser he is and how he fucked up his family.  This may, in fact, be true in some aspects.  But I hurt for him.  My heart breaks for him.  There are a few times I can recall when he sobbed on the floor in front of me after a devastating relapse.  We had lost everything.  Looking back, sometimes I don’t know how we survived.  How did we keep a roof over our heads with two kids?  That’s why I made him leave… with the help of the law.  He is a stubborn one.  Most addicts are, and master manipulators as well. We develop that as a survival technique and to support our habit.  Because at the time, nothing else matters.

He told me on the phone he could not bear the pain of what he had done to me. He was called to protect me. It was his duty as a husband.  Especially after knowing that I was sold for drugs at 16 by the infamous “Chewy” I have written about, and D did the same to me.  He is so ashamed.  Hindsight is always 20/20, and consequently, devastating. There are little words, which explains perfectly why he wants to numb himself.   What he let happen to me is the lowest of betrayals.  I heard the excruciating pain in his voice.  I told him he was forgiven. I do not hold a grudge.  And that is true.  I released him.  I told him I knew who he was when the crack was not in control of him.  That was not his true self.  He said he knew that, but even though it was his physical body, the drugs were inside him, he was my husband and should have never fed me to the lions.  I told him it was okay. In actuality, It is not okay.  But it has to be now.  I can grieve while he fights for his life.  This will not kill me;  but it is killing him.

 D told me he stood on the edge Aurora Bridge last week.  Cars were honking at him.  I know he wants to die. I know him and I believe him.  He is genuinely remorseful about what he let happen to his life and his family. The grief is destroying him. If his heart is beating, he will get high. No prayer or AA meeting can replace the pipe or the needle.  It may suffice for some. But not for all.  He can be mean and cold, but he is more sensitive than any man I have ever known, and this regret is more than he can bear. If he does not take his own life, he will overdose.  He told me he was speed balling (Cocaine and Heroin together intravenously).  He had never used a needle until a year ago.  He said he was close to giving himself a hot shot.  I asked him what that was. He said he would inject himself with air.  I am not sure what is stopping him.  But I hope there is a faint light in him or around him keeping him going.   I don’t want a phone call from a faceless man or woman informing me he is dead.  “Can you come and identify the body?”  How do I tell my kids their father is dead?   Honestly though, I want the police, paramedics, whoever… I want them to contact me, not his family, his blood, who have washed their hands of him.

When he told me when he sold his van, leaving everything he owned inside, I expressed my concern about the frigid weather.  I asked him if he had a coat, gloves, a hat?  He said he had just the clothes on his back and he is on foot or crashing in random people’s places.  His hands are numb by the end of the day. But he’s “runnin’ and gunnin’” as we called it  back in the day.  He’s Clyde now, alone without Bonnie. He sells and smokes all day and night.  Sell, inject, smoke. Repeat.  He always hated Heroin. Addiction is a progressive disease.  And for all of the people who cringe at this, the AMA recognizes addiction as a disease.  It fits the diagnoses of all the others.  It’s progressive and terminal.  Would you reject your child if they had a mental illness, a severe addiction, cancer?  Don’t hate on me.  Look it up. We don’t choose this.

Keep walking, I beg him.  I told him to please stay warm, eat and sleep.  He said he doesn’t get hungry.  Well, I know that.  I remember.  You don’t get hungry or thirsty or tired.  You have to make yourself eat and drink. I can visualize him when I close my eyes.  His face sunken in so his cheekbones are showing. Dark circles under his once bright blue eyes. Neglected facial hair. His face has aged 15 years in the past 5. The wear and tear of crack cocaine, the erosion morphed into deep wrinkles.

What a life, huh?  Get married, have a couple kids (not to mention his two grown children from other women),  fall back into old patterns, get up and fight, fall again, fight again.  Finally, he is on his own, homeless in Seattle.  Giving in to his every whim and need while I try to make sure our kids are fed and clothed.  I feel a little jealous.  That first hit is amazing.  I want to feel that feeling that removes all other feelings.  Comfortably numb….though sadly it’s temporary.  That is why addicts end up in jail or dead.  The chase of the first high is relentless and trumps all… your kids, your spouse, your parents, your belongings, and eventually your soul…. because you have sold it.  Then, like my Ex, you graduate into an empty shell, just a body.  The same body you have lived in you entire life, except it has become unrecognizable.  Your brain does not even know who you are anymore, which is frightening and unbearable, so all there is to do is what you know how to do… get high… it all goes away.

Can you imagine? Our brains and our bodies are woven together to feel and respond to the other.  You become so numb that the two become separated. It is not right.  I have been there.  I have felt this.  Most who read this won’t understand. That is why this desperation to connect with D is imperative.  I am all he has left.  I am his only friend.

Isn’t that all we want in the end?  Nothing else matters.  No material things.  Just a heart that can understand yours, no matter the history, the differences, the pain.  It no longer matters.  Fuck grudges… I will not give up on him, like everyone else.

My determination does not revolve around him being the father of my kids or my ex-husband. It comes from knowing his pain. Knowing that one human being needs another.  He needs me a source a light in his now dark world.  Those people on the street can feed his addiction and immediate needs, but not his spirit and will to live.  I will place myself aside for now to save his life.

D, I can’t rescue you.  You placed yourself in this position.  You have been given many chances. You repeatedly fail with each attempt at a new beginning.  I used to hate you for the wreckage you created, the mess you walked away from and left me to clean.  I don’t hate you anymore.  Maybe I should.  But my sick friend, you are hurting and I understand you.  I am not the one to judge you; there are enough doing that already.  I know you.  I know your heart.  I hear the real you through the wickedness in the back ground.

You are not evil.  You are kind.

Today, you say you are sick.  Dope sick from the black. Every muscle hurts. You must be desperate to get yourself hooked on heroin.  It’s okay.  Just rest. Sleep it off.  The sun will rise tomorrow and you will live another day.  I know you will.  I just know.

I could not move after our phone conversation.  Like I was saying, the grief is trying to claw its way out of me, but it stops when it reaches the apex of my jumbled mind, or heart, I am not sure which. I guess both.

I am so close to coming undone.  Another earthquake in my stomach. Only one tear after all those convulsions… so close.

Maybe next time.

 

“Say something,  I’m giving up on you…

I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you…

And I…  will swallow my pride,

You’re the one that I loved,

and I’m saying goodbye….

…Say something.”

never give up

The Man With The Stroller

adictionWhile driving along Pacific Highway today (this stretch of road continually appears as a source of bad memories for me, but a good source of writing ideas)  I saw a man probably in his 40’s pushing a stroller along the sidewalk.  Something immediately struck me as not being right.  Not to assume or jump to any stereotypical conclusions, but this man was clearly unkempt and most likely homeless.  As my car slowly passed him and I was able to take a quick look back, and to my relief, the stroller did not contain a child.  It did, however, clearly contain all of this man’s belongings.

As  I continued on Pacific Highway, each cheap and likely dirty motel,  quick loan pawn shop, and heavily trafficked intersection I passed, only deepened my sadness.  It is beyond a doubt devastating when one loses everything they once possessed.  One doesn’t see this coming.  It’s not like the stop sign approaching meters away which gives you ample warning to slow down and then brake.  It’s more like barreling the intersection without a stop sign only to see a Mac truck passing through giving you no option but to slam on the brakes, close your eyes, scream, and hope for the best.  Whether the reason being a person’s house has foreclosed, they became addicted to drugs, they lost their job and family due to severe mental illness, it is still heartbreaking to see such ruin.  I know upon seeing some individuals, we can’t help but think one deserves it more than another. There are some things we bring upon ourselves and others that coincidentally happen.  I can jump off the nearest cliff and spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, or a tree can fall,  landing on me while I am out for my morning run leaving me in a wheelchair.  Two completely different circumstances.  Same result.

When I saw this man pushing the stroller, not only did I feel sad for him and whatever life’s circumstances brought him to this moment, but at the same time I had a vivid flashback which pained me.  My ex admitted to me years ago, while he was smoking crack cocaine, he took the kids with him on a ‘mission’ to get more dope while I was at work.  Not only was I mortified when he told me this, but seeing this man pushing a stroller drove a chill down my spine and brought a wince to my face.  When I think about it, I vigorously shake my head back and forth like a child who refuses to eat their peas at dinner. I am doing it right now because the thought of this is like noise in my head I can’t bear to hear.  I often place my hands over my ears as if that is going to silence my own thoughts.  I’ll stop with the tics now so I can write.

Years ago when my daughter was about 5 and my son 3, my ex (I call him D for anonymity reasons), during a relapse decided it was necessary to make the long trip down to our credit union.  Under typical circumstances, this is not a long trip.  But these were not typical circumstances.  We had a car, but since D got on the bus for this adventure, our dealer had the car.  D would loan out the car in exchange for dope.  He smoked it so fast, he needed to call the dealer multiple times a day so he could deliver more dope.  This only meant the dealer could keep the car even longer.  We went through 4 or 5  vehicles  in a year that D eventually just handed over to whatever dealer he had at the time.  That’s right, he gave the cars away, car seats and all, for a handful of crack.  He was that desperate.  This being said, I should clarify that when the car became an object to barter with, every other option had been exhausted.  First cash (a payday often triggered a relapse).  An empty space stuck out like a sore thumb where the stereo receiver and DVD player were once stacked.  The camcorder and digital camera were at the pawn shop as well.  My wedding ring and every other piece of jewelry had been sold, sometimes to a pawn shop, but more often to the dealer himself.  Our food stamp card went next.  I hated this because before I could even protest he had made arrangements with the dealer over the phone and had been in my wallet to steal the card.  This meant very little food in the house for an entire month.   It is amazing the meals I could make out of cans in the cupboard I didn’t even know were there.  I would try to get groceries before D got to my card, but I was only so lucky half the time.  He eventually sold me without my knowledge, but I’ll save that for another story.

Although both kids were of walking age, we had one of those cheap strollers which was perfect for our son because he got tired so quickly when walking.  His little legs just couldn’t keep up with the rest of us.  D put him in the stroller, led our daughter out the door and  walked the couple blocks to the bus stop.  D had been high and most likely coming down and stressed from being out of dope.  I am sure the dealer didn’t want to hear his voice again until the next day.  Although I worked just around the corner at the dry cleaners, he didn’t dare come in and ask for money like he normally would because he had the kids.  Often they were at one of our parent’s houses when the using took place. I was working an 8 or 10 hour shift and had no idea he was using with the kids in the house.  He would put them in the bedroom to play, set them up with DVD’s and give them a box of Goldfish.  He wouldn’t use in front of them (I don’t think), just lock himself in the bedroom.  So if the kids were gone, that freed him up to walk around the apartment with his crack pipe.

What normally took 10 minutes by car, I imagine took a few hours round trip by bus to get to the bank.  It pains me to imagine him on the bus with his little girl by his side and his son in the little stroller probably asking where they were going and what the surprise was.  Taking a bus ride wasn’t a typical adventure.  D, I am sure, informed them that they were going on some exciting trip and if they were good and could survive the duration, they would get a sucker at the bank.  The bus ride took only 25 minutes.  After that, however, was a long walk from 1st Avenue to 4th Avenue.  It doesn’t sound like a long walk, but the dusty train tracks made for a bumpy and long walk, especially for a child.  My daughter was probably wondering where the car was (for years after all this she would look out the window and feel scared if the car was gone, it was a sign something was wrong).  So D pushed the kids to the credit union with some idea up his sleeve.  It always amazed me the bullshit he could pull when he wanted to get high.  He could manipulate the smartest people out of anything.  Addicts are good at that.  I don’t know what he did or said this time, but he managed to convinced the bank teller to give him money we didn’t have. He called the dealer from outside the bank.  No more stress. All smiles.  Two kids with suckers, and a dealer on the way.  He got his dope and headed toward home.  More train tracks, another bus ride, a short walk home.  Get the kids settled, and load that pipe.  Just another day for him getting what he wanted.  He stopped at nothing.  He would walk for miles and miles to get dope.  And he has.

When I came home from work that night, I reached the top of the stairs and saw toys scattered all over the living room floor.  I knew he was using.  That was a telltale sign.  The kids were in their room and he was in ours with the door locked.   I learned to hold my breath while walking up the stairs after work.  The unknown that awaited me had become such an anxiety.  It’s amazing how our brains work.  My brain protected me from completely losing my mind due to this stress.  Which is why I can now let it all out.  My brain doesn’t have to protect me from him anymore.  When I envision him taking our kids on a “mission”  as he would call it, my heart hurts.  Yes, I am angry he would involve the kids.  But, it also saddens me that he would need to do such a thing.  Why couldn’t he wait?  Make other arrangements?  Or just stop?  I am not defending him.  But I understand addiction.  So when I saw the man walking with the stroller today, the memory came back as anger and sadness together.   I hope that man is going to be okay.  He was skinny and unhealthy.  Maybe he was on a mission of his own.  It looked like he had been ruined by meth.  I see a lot of that now.

My heart will always hurt for those afflicted by addiction. It’s a lonely place to be. It hurts. Not only the person using, but everyone around them.  And the pain, memories, scars and consequences last forever.

Baggage Claim

handgunSaturday morning, I woke up to the remains of a dreadful dream. It sounds crazy, but I remember feeling relieved that I wasn’t waking up from a using dream, which has been an almost nightly occurrence.  I suppose being relieved that you have been shot by your ex-husband instead of having to fight over who gets the last chunk of crack at the bottom of a ziplock sandwich baggie is a strange solace, but it is what it is.

It’s like time has shifted, been altered somehow.  I am out of danger but all the while still living it.  I am still the same girl who was blind sided with a back hand, dropped to the rug, had her face kicked, and left to bleed.   A day I am reminded of daily while brushing my teeth when my bottom lip is stretched across my teeth I see the red bump he left there. It will never go away.  I can feel it whenever I want.  I can feel it now as I bite down on my lower lip.  It feels like there is a little ball the size of a BB trapped under my skin.  It doesn’t hurt.  It’s just there.   All I need to revisit that day is smile big in the mirror, ironically it’s nothing to smile over.

Let me begin by painting you a picture.  As I explained my worsening depression and anxiety to my therapist a couple weeks ago, she told me something I will never forget.  She explained how my brain had protected me for the past 11 years I spent in my old apartment before I moved 6 months ago.  The only home my children have ever known.  The same place all of the drug use and violence occurred which I often write about.  A place filled with ugly memories and tragedies.  Every wall in each room had a spot I had stared at during some violent struggle, whether physical or emotional, a place I fixated on wishing I could escape.  It was finally time to leave. With a series of what some may consider unfortunate events, (becoming unemployed, an altercation with the Landlord)  I was able to pack up and leave that dump behind.   Looking forward to a new start, I began unpacking in our new home.  I felt happy.  But, as the months passed, my mood began to deteriorate.  My anxiety peaked like never before.  I had nightmares.  I had using dreams every single night.  And as I mentioned above, I still am.  I couldn’t figure this out.  I haven’t used in years. Do my meds need adjusting?  I posted a story a couple months ago about fear of running out of my medication, but I found a doctor just in time and that was resolved. I reached out to a therapist to help me sort all this out.  During the 11 years that I lived in that apartment, my brain would not allow me feel certain things.  It was protecting me.  All of the trauma I endured kept me a prisoner not only in my own home, but in my mind as well.  My brain was on constant survival mode.  I couldn’t relax or let my guard down for fear of not knowing what was around the corner.  I was completely unaware this was happening. I knew I lived in fear much of the time, but I had no idea my brain was one step ahead of me, protecting me.  So when I moved.  I felt safe. A huge weight had been lifted and I could breathe again.  No longer was I looking at those walls hoping they would magically swoop me away or make me forget what was happening.  These walls are for pictures and for encasing love.  My brain decided it felt safe here as well.  It started to unpack all the memories and baggage it had been storing for all these years.  And my god there is a lot of it.  I haven’t felt safe since I was a small child.  Well, to be honest, I am not even sure I have ever felt secure.  That’s a lot of suitcases to start throwing on the floor.  It suddenly became clear as my therapist painted this picture for me why I was having nightmares, using dreams, anxiety attacks and constant bad memories when I was supposed to be feeling happy in my new home. My brain was one step ahead of me.  It felt safe and said “Ahhh, this is nice.  No more fear, we’re gonna be okay now, let’s get comfy, shall we?”

The dream occurred Friday night. Feel free to interpret.  I was with people from my last job.  A coworker, the owner, and the general manager.  I had the feeling I no longer worked for them, but was there for a meeting.  We were in a large trailer in my mother’s neighbor’s yard. Myself and the others listened as my coworker told me how much she appreciated me.  It was as if I was present for her review. When we were finished, I looked around a pillar of some sort, and I saw D (as I refer to him in my posts) and my three kids. In reality I only have 2 kids. The third child was a baby, maybe a year old, and in the dream I knew it was mine.  They were sitting in order of age, the baby being first, all sitting on a log that lies across the length of my mother’s house.  They kids were looking at him and he was looking at him.  My heart skipped when I saw this.  He wasn’t supposed to be there.  There is a protection order and only scheduled visits with certain people are allowed.  He is definitely not allowed anywhere near me.  The owner of the company said we should call the police.  I shuttered at that because I didn’t want to make a scene in front of the kids.  I assured her this time I could take care of it myself.  I walked over to the edge of my mother’s house where they were sitting.  I picked up the baby in a protective way as anyone with a baby would.  I told my children to stand up and come with me.  I told D sternly that next time he showed up I would call the police. The kids were transfixed on their dad.  I asked them again to get up, this time more firmly. This did. When I was secure that my kids were safe under my direction, I began to turn away.  Before I could turn, I saw D slowly pull out a gun from behind his back.  This all happened in slow motion.  He purposely missed the baby in my arms and shot me directly on the left side, my heart.  It’s like I saw the bullet curve in the air, or I suddenly and smoothly moved to the side to avoid the bullet like in the movies. Except I was protecting the baby in my arms. He then started shooting all the other adults in his range. The kids were untouched.  That’s when I woke up.

As if having this dream wasn’t disturbing all by itself, I should have seen it as a red flag.  Instead I chalked it up to being one of the suitcases my brain was so graciously dislodging from my brain onto the floor.  I had all day Saturday to think about this.  I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  How can one possibly forget the image of their ex shooting them in front of their children?  But that’s all it was.  A horrible image.  Sunday was fast approaching.  The kids were going to visit their dad.  Knowing full well the details and consequences of the Protection Order we’ve had been in place for at least 2 years, D decides to come along for the ride while dropping the kids off.  Not only was he 2 hours early with no phone call or warning, he was HERE.  In my driveway.  My new safe place.  What the hell is my brain supposed to do with all these suitcases now?  It’s like they are stuck in limbo.  My kids saw that I was pissed and naturally defended him, saying that he was reading directions, that it was dark and there’s no way he could ever find his way back here even if he tried.  I am not going to speak ill of their dad to them.  I don’t believe that is beneficial for anyone.  But I know my ex, and I know he was memorizing that address.  I am not being paranoid.  This is the same man who memorized every detail about me to take out dozens of credit cards in my name without any regard of the consequences, but only so he could get high.  I put absolutely nothing past him and his photographic, yet thoughtless mind.

Not only did he violate our Protection Order by coming near me and my home, he violated my newly regained sense of security by entering a space that belonged to only me and my family.  A space I have worked hard to reclaim.  I am not one to place value in premonitions, mainly because I’ve rarely seen them come to fruition. But also, since my dreams tend to be reminders of the past, not indicators of the future.  That is what makes this so significant and raises the hairs on my neck.  Not 48 hours before I let my children into his care, although supervised care, I had a dream, possibly a premonition revealing his character and therefore his intent.

I believe that the baby in the dream signified my new home.  It is something precious to me in many ways, it is new as a baby is new.  I want to protect it as it protects me. It is my safe place.  D was to never know of my whereabouts.  I hold this privacy and safety close to my heart as it is new and fragile, like a baby.  That bullet purposely missed the baby and went directly to my chest, my heart.  I am confident that D knew exactly what he was doing when he entered my driveway Sunday night.  He could have requested to be dropped off blocks away or at a local business or landmark.  He is not stupid. He knew full well what he was doing when he crossed that invisible line.  He was testing my boundaries.  He wants to see how far he can get, how much he can get away with.  He is a master manipulator after all. Although he is not stupid, he is idiotic enough to think I will let this go.  What he did was careless.  He had a serious lapse in judgement.  This shows me what is more important to him…testing me and my boundaries or being able to see his children whom he claims to love.

So this depression.  This anxiety.  These nightmares.  Because of my insightful therapist, I came to an understanding of why they were happening.  I was relieved to know that I wasn’t innately miserable, just decompressing, purging and adjusting.  I was preparing myself to go through the emotions and feel the effects of the trauma as it came.  Now, everything has changed. And I had no say in it. On this path to healing and learning to accept myself and be built up after years of being torn down, I am at a complete loss.  I now see his face when I glance at a window at night.  I don’t think he will come here.  But maybe that is the battered wife syndrome in me that never expects the worst and ends up on the evening news.

All I know is that I had dream that my ex violated a protection order…he did.  In my dream he shattered my security….he did.

What’s in a dream?

I would like to reclaim my suitcases, whether scattered on the floor or strategically placed on the shelves of my mind.  Because right now I don’t know where they are or what happened to their contents…. But in order to move on, I need to get them back.

Conversations Kill

cheap motelNorthbound

Mile Marker 149

Dreadful Anticipation

Flashbacks From The Year 2000

The Conversations Start in My Head

Conversations Kill, You Know

The Bakery Outlet on my right reminds me of when D and I were parked outside the old Thriftway in West Seattle. Were we waiting for someone?  I was starving. Hadn’t eaten in days.  A bread truck parked with the side doors wide open stocked with bread and rolls, the driver no where in sight.  I wanted to get out of the car and grab a loaf of bread.  Just one.  Harmless.  Who would have noticed? But I didn’t.  I mentioned it to D hoping he would do it, come to my rescue..  He didn’t care that I was hungry because he wasn’t.  He never was.  His hunger and intentions were only for more crack.  This saddened me and I resented him.  I wanted to get out of the car and never return to him, but where would I go?  I couldn’t hide out in Thriftway, live there, like the girl who lived in Walmart and had her baby there.  Too cold.  I couldn’t find sleeping bags in Thriftway.  Too bad we weren’t in a Walmart parking lot.  My life would have turned out so different.

Blue Rectangular Sign

Lodging Next Right

Super 8

Days Inn

Double Tree

Motel 6

King’s Arms

The Motel 6 on my right just off Military Road is what gets me the most.  When I see it, I feel like I have been punched in the stomach.  I was arrested there.  I took my first ride to jail from that motel.  The heat had been on us for a while, but I didn’t know it.  D was so paranoid.  I just scoffed. He had a ‘gut feeling’ we should leave our apartment and go hide out in a motel.  Fine. Whatever.  Our neighbor had in fact informed us that some detectives were snooping around asking for us and knocking on our door.  So I agreed.  We had lost our car, the first of many. Not lost as in ‘Oh where did it go?’ But lost as in a drug dealer ended up with it and we owed him so we couldn’t get it back.   I walked up the hill from Fauntleroy Way and Raymond Street to 35th Avenue and Morgan Street, and walked into Budget Rentals to get us a car.  I was nervous, but pretty good at the game by now.  D wouldn’t do anything. Too paranoid.  His credit was more fucked than mine anyway.  I pulled a maxed out and possibly cancelled credit card from my wallet, one of many, accompanied with a smile and a bullshit story about why I needed to rent a car.  It wasn’t their business anyway, but the more I talked, the better chance I had at success.  I was a pretty distraction.  For some reason the computer system didn’t ‘like’ my card, the associate told me. “Hmm, how could that be?  I just used it yesterday.”  I said with a puzzled look.  He believed me. “Must be some computer glitch.  It happens sometimes first thing in the morning.” he said.  I watched as he forced my card through with the push of one button. I smiled inside.  Not a ‘Oh those are lovely flowers’ smile, but a ‘you are a sucker and I am a genius’ kind of smile. I quickly thought of my dad and thanked him for the raw talent and amazing genetics.  The associate I had captivated with my deer-in-headlights charm informed me all they had available immediately was a Red 2000 Dodge Ram. Like I was going to be picky. I stepped up into my shiny new red truck and drove away.  I figured this called for a celebration, however that magic I had just worked gave me an instant high.  The same high I experienced from the sound of the cash register accepting my check or the ATM spitting 20’s at me. So I made a few stops.  Picked up some food and Febreeze. Got cash back from the checks.  Went to a pay phone to call a dealer. Met for the exchange along with compliments on my new ride. I Headed home.   D was sleeping.  Must be nice to rest while I did all the dirty work, I thought.  I went inside.  Tossed the hard earned sack on the dresser and told D to look out the window.  He saw the truck.  He was impressed I had pulled it off, as he should have been.

I took a box of checks with me not knowing how long we would be gone.  We left the place a mess.  We were in a hurry as the paranoia grew.  Plates with crack residue filled the sink.  We packed the necessities…and were gone.  We headed South.  Always in search for the perfect yet affordable motel, we found one.  I loved it.  We were on the back side of the King’s Arms Motel.  The side that faces the freeway.  We had stayed in our share of nasty places and this one was a step up to say the least.  I set our stuff down and looked around. It was spacious and clean.  It even had a refrigerator.  I took off to get some food.  The usual. When the high wore off and we got some sleep, we actually got hungry.  I went kitty corner across International Boulevard and ordered from Pizza Hut.  Then went into the nearest 7-11 and loaded up on quarts of chocolate milk, pint bottles of Dr. Pepper, as many pepperoni sticks as I could fit in a little bag from the counter with those nasty tongs, and a big box of Hostess jelly filled powdered doughnuts.  And of course, Newports, lighters and scratch tickets.

I was so comfortable here, I actually slept.  We had so much dope, I smoked until I couldn’t get any higher, then took a nap.   Some motels were such dives right on International Blvd with the door facing the busy street.  D would get so paranoid, he couldn’t flick the lighter without thinking that someone could see through the old, dilapidated curtains.  He spent hours peering through the peep hole, which unnerved me and ruined my high. Telling him to relax was useless.  So we would have to leave. That’s how we found the good motels.  We even got to where we could request certain rooms.  After a couple days at the King’s Arms, I didn’t want to leave, but D’s ‘gut feeling’ worsened.  We headed to Motel 6 on Military Road.

We had been to other Motel 6’s, but not this one.  We had never hopped around so much in this short of a period.  After the usual hassle at the front desk, (it was becoming more difficult to come up with money for rooms, they wanted to hold credit cards while I wanted to pay cash or write a check,) we headed toward West Seattle.  I was down to my last check.  I knew a box must have come in the mail during the last couple days because I had just opened up a new account.  I would write as many checks as I could before they caught on to my game and closed the account. Oh, the things I did for drugs.

We used the remaining checks to stock up on some cash.  Met up with a few dealers so we could be set up for the night. We didn’t make it to the apartment until around 3 am, possibly later.  I was driving the big red truck.  I loved driving that beautiful machine.  I felt powerful and untouchable being high up off the ground.  I was thankful we were unrecognizable in that truck as we approached our apartment.  Blue and red lights spinning like ice-skaters at the end of their routine, bouncing off every building, house and car in the vicinity. There were approximately 10 police cars all together.  A mix of Seattle Police and King County Sheriff.  Our place was surrounded, front, side and back.  As we slowly drove by in shock, an officer looked directly at the truck, standing in the street as if waiting for one of us specifically.  D dropped down in his seat practically onto the floor.  I kept driving.  If I would have been driving the Blue Honda Accord registered to me, they most likely would have flagged us down or followed us.  I kept going straight for the West Seattle Bridge. Holy Shit, my heart was pounding. D had crawled into the back of the truck (it had a backseat) convinced those cops were there for him, that the detectives who had been lurking were looking for him. His ‘gut feeling’ proved right.  With one exception.

I had to get those checks.  It was our only way to stay high.  We had nothing else to live for anymore.  We were officially on the run.  D was too paranoid to make the drive with me.  I headed back to our apartment in the morning.  The cops like to sneak up to your door when think they’ll catch you at home.  Startle you from a sleep.  That’s why they were banging our door down at 4 am.  My heart pounded and my hands were sweating so badly I could barely feel the steering wheel.  I was so scared I couldn’t feel anything except panic and dread.  Like I was about to walk into a den full of starving lions.  I had no idea what to expect.  I can’t believe he made me do this by myself.  I was doing everything else by myself at this point so Mr. Paranoid could stay in the hotel rooms.  What’s one more thing? I had grown quite the pair of balls having never been in trouble with the law.  I felt invincible.  When I arrived in West Seattle, I made it a point to come in from the opposite direction as usual.  Not from the bridge, but from the South.  I parked on the sidewalk on Fauntleroy facing North so I could make a beeline for the bridge if necessary.  I never parked on the street.  This felt so out of place, like people were watching me.   More specifically, like cops were watching me. Even if they were, I was sure they hadn’t tracked the Dodge Ram yet because it was in my name.  Just like the motel rooms and the checks.  And they were after D. He was the one with the criminal record.  I walked up the front stairs, a very long set of front stairs which only seemed longer now.  I stayed alert and walked along the side of the old run down 4 plex and turned the corner to the front of our unit. Afraid cops would be there waiting, like they went to the local bakery, came back and made themselves at home on my couch waiting for our return. My eyes met what would have been our door.  But it was gone. It had been ripped right off the hinges, rather nicely though.  Not like your average battle ram where the police just tear through and apart everything in their path.  It was as if they had removed the door and just set it down. Except I couldn’t find the door.  I didn’t want to waste too much time looking for a door.  My only mission was to find more checks.  I slowly walked inside noticing a piece of paper placed strategically on the coffee table.  It jumped out at me, I knew it wasn’t there before.  I remembered the place of everything during our frantic departure, but this paper stuck out like Rudolph’s glowing red nose. As I picked it up, I saw my name.  My mouth dropped open and my heart just about closed.  My face felt like it was on fire.  It was an arrest warrant.  FOR ME. It wasn’t a search warrant or a battle ram, which explained why nothing had been displaced.  The police had took the door down, come in, looked for me, and left the paper.  In shock, I walked over to the sink and saw the plates with the residue of cooked cocaine.  “They saw all of this.” I thought.  “What the hell do they want ME for?”  I found the checks.  I managed to place the box in my bag despite my vigorous shaking, and made my way back down to the truck.

My mind raced the entire drive back to the motel 6.  D’s demeanor changed when I told him the police were at our apartment not for him, but in search of me.  His name was nowhere on that paper.  Just mine.  I was officially a bad girl. Important.  I had earned it.  And I was petrified.  We decided to stay one more night and leave upon check out in the morning.  We had to keep moving.  We had just left the last motel and hadn’t been here too long.  They didn’t look alarmed when they watched me drive by in the red truck.  How smart could they be?  How fast could they be moving in on us?  I wasn’t THAT important.  They had far worse people to arrest. Our time was short.  We needed a good high.  With no sleep, I set out to make it a good day with my brand new box of checks.  I felt like I had won the jackpot.  The smell of the box when you peel the plastic wrap off. The feel of the untouched checks when you flip your thumb through the perfectly bound stack.  It’s like Christmas.  D was still too paranoid to come with me.  I asked him to go do some ‘work’ today. You know, contribute a little?  After all, I hadn’t slept or eaten in days.  And the cops were after me.  But all that remained was me and my checkbook.  I was the only reason we were getting high.  At this point, it didn’t matter how tired I was or how much I objected, he made me go.

Pissed off, I screeched away in my shiny red truck.  I had a lot of stores to hit.  A lot of purchases and a lot of ‘cash back’ transactions to collect what we needed. Not to mention a lot of charming to do. Unlike many drug addicts, I still maintained that look of innocence.  I wasn’t hardened by the street and could pretty much talk my way into or out of anything. The beauty of persuasion.   I owned stock in it.  I left the Fred Meyer in Burien, my strategic last stop, because one of our dealers lived just across 1st Avenue.  I had only been to her house a few times.  Usually she came to us. During the day, her daughter was in preschool, making it okay to drop by.  Otherwise she was out driving and meeting people, or as we called it, ‘rolling’ or ‘out and about.’   I parked the truck and took my money inside.  She asked how I was doing when we sat at her round kitchen table.  Her place was normal looking.  Lived in.  A home.  It didn’t look like the kind of place you buy crack.  She didn’t smoke it which weighs heavily upon all that. She was nice to me.  I didn’t have to worry about the female dealers propositioning me for sex. I always called the girls first.  There were only 2 though. Her and one other.  I told her what had happened the other night.  The arrest warrant.  She told me to be careful.  I am sure she was thinking, ‘Don’t be bringing that kind of heat around my house.’  She knew I had never been in trouble.  I had driven her around a few times because her license had expired and she couldn’t afford being pulled over with a bra holding an ounce on each side.  I headed back to the motel with a couple hundred dollars worth of rock in a baggie.  I always took a couple out for myself and put them in my cigarette pack for later, some D didn’t know about and couldn’t take from me when he ran out.  I made my way through International Blvd and onto Military Road.  I usually followed Intl. Blvd. the whole way but midday was nearing an end and traffic was at a stop. Needless to say, I was exhausted and just wanted to get back to the motel.

Being that I was sleep deprived and my head was buzzing with the sounds of cash registers, I wasn’t as alert as usual.  I should have been pondering how I was now a wanted woman, but I don’t even think I was worried about cops at the moment.  It slipped my mind.  The forefront anyway.  I drove, smoked my Newports and sipped on Dr. Pepper.  D was probably wondering what the hell took me ALL day. I noticed a car following me a little close.  Then I realized it had been behind me a while.  I didn’t think too much of it until I passed an off ramp from I-5 and a police car pulled out from a cleared patch on the side of the road. He pulled out with force and intention.  I knew instantly the car behind me was an unmarked police car that was communicating with the squad car which had just pulled out between my truck and the unmarked.  The unmarked car slowed down and allowed just the right amount of space for the cop to wedge itself between us after I passed him. Fuck. I fidgeted around knowing I needed to put this baggie of dope somewhere.  Raquel warned me as I left her house to shove it up my crotch, especially after I told her about the arrest warrant.  Why hadn’t I listened? I shoved the bag of rocks down my pants.  That’s it.  I was driving and not about to do a full on up inside shove.  So there the rocks were.  Inside my panties.  I knew if I were arrested, that was a lot of dope to be busted with. I couldn’t throw it out the window like they do on the TV show ‘Cops.’  They would see me do it and find it anyway. The cops paced me.  We were getting close to the motel when the sirens came on.  I didn’t stop.  I wouldn’t pull over.  I wanted to wait until we got the motel so I could pull up in front of our room.  I wanted D to know what was happening.  This went on for a few minutes.  Pure panic.  My mind must have raced across the country and back in these life altering minutes.  As I drove with the lights and sirens behind me, passersby and oncoming cars looking at me like some kind of monster, I considered not stopping at all.  I could speed up and crash into the side of the hill, or drive over the bank and roll the truck onto I-5. Death would be an easy out I thought.

The motel approached, and for a split second I considered driving past the entrance, but my body wouldn’t let me. I drove all the way around the motel parking lot.  It’s a huge lot, circling the entire motel. I pulled into a spot in front of our room, but across the lot facing the other direction, with the back of the truck toward the room.  In not even a full second, the truck door opened and I was staring at the tip of a gun and deafened by a man yelling at me.  There were no longer two cars, but three, surrounding my truck. One clueless Tukwila police officer (because that’s whose jurisdiction I was in, he was required to be there) One Snohomish County squad car (I’ll explain later,) and one unmarked VICE car. The VICE guy had the gun on me.  It was apparent he was in charge of all this.  I reached for the keys to shut off the engine, and he shouted at me “Leave them alone, hands up, out of the truck!”  I followed every command.  I had never had a gun pointed at me before.  I stepped out.  He put his gun away and hand cuffed me.  The other officers saw that he had me contained and withdrew their weapons as well.  Once I was cuffed, which is extremely uncomfortable, just like on TV when the suspects are complaining and begging for the cuffs to be loosened ( I was one of them, whining about the cuffs hurting), he reached in the truck and took the keys out.  With one hand gripped tight to my arm, he spoke with declaration into his radio with the other, ” I have the suspect is in custody.”  It didn’t sound real.  Suspect?  Is that me?  A VICE unit?  3 police cars?  A detective?  A gun in my face?  What in the world did I do?  Or what on International Blvd did I do?  It sounded so legit. Like I was a real criminal.

All the commotion got D’s attention.  I saw him peering out the window.  One of the officers went up to the door.  It was at this moment I realized that he was inside that room with all the paraphernalia.  Simultaneously, I was relieved that I had left the motel room that morning smart enough not to bring any of it with me as I often did.  It’s dangerous to drive with your fixings if by chance you get pulled over. It had happened to me many times.  I had glass pipes, bags of dope, and rubber hoses under my lap while sweet talking a cop, excuses flowing with ease, the reasons I had just pulled out of a known dope house (hot house.). “Officer, I had no idea they were selling drugs in that house.  I was just visiting my friend, she’s sick. Do I look like I smoke crack to you?”  He would run my license in his system. Squeaky clean.  Off I drove.  With a smile.  That ‘you are a sucker and I am a genius’ smile.  I knew when I saw D look outside and saw me handcuffed and surrounded by cops, that he had stashed everything.  He opened the door and talked the local Tukwila officer.  He let him in the room as I am sure the cop was ordered to look around.  He didn’t see anything, so he had to leave him alone. D was asking questions about what happened, what the charges were… He was also trying to get my attention, mouthing the words ‘in the truck?’  ‘is it with you?’ He meant the dope, but I couldn’t read his lips and had no idea what he was referring to, especially with a detective drilling me.  D wanted that dope.  He wanted to get high.  Fuck, so did I. Maybe I should have taken the pipe with me so I could have taken one good last hit before getting arrested.  When you drive and smoke, that’s where the rubber hose comes in handy.  I would lick the edge of the pipe so the hose could slide on, slip the hose up my shirt so that it came out the top of my shirt and into my mouth.  Load the pipe and light it way down in your lap so no one could detect the illumination of the lighter. The hit comes through the hose and into your mouth.  I lit a cigarette and exhaled 2 kinds of smoke simultaneously out the window. An amazing feeling.

The VICE detective was not nice to me in the slightest way.  He rummaged through the truck insisting everything in it was stolen merchandise.  I insisted everything had been purchased.  With what?  My checks. They were bad checks, but they were mine.   Fuck.  The rocks in the Newport pack.  I forgot about those until he pulled the pack out of the truck, shaking it like a package of tic-tacs.  “What do we have here?” He condescended. All I said and continued to say resounded something like “I don’t know,” or “it’s not mine.”  That’s all he could get out of me.  I may have been sleep deprived and scared, but I wasn’t stupid enough to give him any satisfaction or information.  Especially since he was acting like he just arrested the most valuable and dangerous drug dealer in the state.  He pulled out one of those drug tests.  He dropped the rocks in the liquid, it turned immediately blue. Positive for cocaine.  So I was really going to jail.   I was still unclear as to what I did.  He pulled out a driver’s license.  It contained my name and a picture of a girl they presumed to be me.  I took one look at it and knew it wasn’t me.  Someone had found one of my old I.D.’s and tampered with it.  In fact, I knew just who it was.  One of our so called friends we let hang out in our apartment was a paper expert.  That was her special talent when it came to getting high.  We had left her there alone a few times.  She went through my old files, gathered information and an old I.D. She made a new one.  She withdrew money at a bank in Lynnwood, which explained the cop from Snohomish County, and proceeded to take the cops on a high speed chase down I-5 at speeds reaching over 100 mph.  She was driving a Black Lexus.  I had never been in a black Lexus.  The officer said my finger prints were all over the car. This is how I knew he was lying to get me to confess to something I didn’t do.  This is how I knew that scandalous bitch went through my stuff.  But it was too late, the detective found drugs in the car, and apparently all this stolen merchandise which he would later learn wasn’t stolen.  He said he had been following me for days.  I retraced all of my steps and imagined him following me in that nice, black, unmarked car. I got a cold chill down my spine.  Suddenly I remembered I had a big bag of crack in my panties as he put me in the back of the police car.

Handcuffed, I wondered how I was going to get rid if this.  I pictured sliding my arms down under my legs, around my feet, up to my waist, and then pushing the baggie all the way up so they wouldn’t see it, even if I had to strip, bend over and cough.  I couldn’t do it.  He kept one eye on me in the rear view mirror.  What I really wanted was to hold on to this dope until my release so I could get high again. This stress was unimaginable.   I argued with the detective in the car.  I told him he had nothing on me.  I said I never touched the inside or the outside of a Lexus.  I pompously informed him I had attained a Criminal Justice degree and all he did to become a cop was graduate high school.  I was just as brilliant as a smart ass as a I was a charmer.  I couldn’t charm my way out of this one.  My inner bitch had been released.

Travelling Northbound I-5, the King County Jail to my left, I asked why we weren’t taking the James Street Exit?  He said “We’re not going there, we’re headed to Lynnwood”  I felt like he had just hit me with his stun gun.  It had never dawned on me that I would go to any other jail.  I had never seen the outside of another jail growing up in Seattle,  and since I didn’t commit the crime I was being accused of, Snohomish County just didn’t register in my head.  I had never even been to Lynnwood.   We arrived at the Lynnwood City Jail.  A tiny little building where they hold and process people before taking them to the real jail.  He escorted me inside.  Before we entered, he instructed me to read a sign on the big metal door. It instructed those who entered to behave in a respectful manner, etc… The one warning that caught my eye read “Introducing Contraband.”  The detective even asked me before we entered the facility if I had anything on me that I don’t want to be charged with.  If I told him about it now, I could throw it away and he would disregard it.  With a sick sense of hope that I could still survive this mess and come out with my sack of rocks, I said “No, I don’t have any contraband,” as I could feel the plastic against my skin in my underwear.

Once inside, the officer handcuffed me to a bench.  They actually have a row of benches with metal loops sticking up to handcuff people. Wow.  I was relieved that King County Jail wasn’t my destination because I probably knew some inmates there.  That would’ve been far too uncomfortable.  They ask if you need to be separated for any reason because you think someone might harm you.  I would have said “Yes” for sure.  Who knows what crazy bitches were in there. Probably Christine!  Remember that post?  “This is Red, Nigga.”  I actually did see her in jail.  Snohomish County.  Just not this trip.

After sitting there a while chained to a bench, I finally heard someone say it was time to put me in a cell.  They needed a female guard to search me.  Shit.  This was it.  I knew it was over.  Me keeping $200 worth of dope for myself.  I motioned for the detective to come over to me.  He sat down next to me.  I confessed that I had a sack of crack in my underwear.  I knew it would fall out as soon as I took them off.  He thanked me for being honest and said that this would help my case, that I came forward with the information.  The female officer came in, escorted me into a small, cold, concrete cell, and began the search.  She had me open my mouth and slid her latex glove in between my gums and cheek all around my mouth.  Next, she had me take all my clothes off one garment at a time.  It was summer so there wasn’t much to disrobe.  I told her where the dope was. I slid my underwear down and the baggie fell to the floor. As did my only chance of forgetting this moment. Oh, how I wanted to forget this was happening. I wasn’t even in jail for the right reason. Once I was naked, she instructed me to turn around, bend over, spread my cheeks and cough.  I thought only men had to do that.  At the doctor’s office.  I followed orders and she left me a matching dark blue pants and top.  She closed the door. I sat down on the metal shelf they called a bunk.  It was cold.  I was cold.  I shivered.  The detective came in. He threatened that I was in serious trouble being held on 4 felonies. I told him with a tremble in my voice to look at those surveillance videos at the bank, to compare my finger prints they just took with those they found in the Lexus.  What kind of guilty person would say this?  I begged him.  “Look at those tapes.  Look at them really close and you’ll see that it’s not me.  That is NOT me in that picture.” Expressionless, he walked out, enclosing me in the cold, metal cell.

Sometime in the middle of the night, a guard came in and woke me up.  He shackled my hands and my feet together.  Then led me to the transport van and said we were headed to the Snohomish County Jail.  Finally.  Myself and another inmate were scheduled to go .  The back of the van was a big metal cage with a metal partition down the middle consisting of small holes just big enough for fingers.  Me on one side, the other inmate on the other.  Again, something you see on TV, 4 point shackles on a murder suspect, a van transporting convicts. The little holes.  I couldn’t even stretch my legs out.  It was so cramped.  I could see the outline of my fellow inmate through the holes. He could see me.  I know we could have talked if we wanted, but it was 4 in the morning.  We were tired and disorientated and scared.  All I could think about was that I had shackles on my feet and my hands which were connected at the waist.  If that weren’t enough, I was shackled to the van itself.  They better fucking figure this shit out!

After 72 hours of nervous anticipation, I finally heard my charges.  I was being held on 4 felonies.  A big deal for a first time offender.  “Felony Eluding” among them.  I would never lead the police on a high speed chase; I’d pull over and cry. I’m not that bad ass.  Also, among them, “Introducing Contraband,” the charge the detective said I would be free of if I came clean about the drugs stashed in my panties, which I did.  Asshole.  In the end, after only serving 11 days, I was released with only the possession charge.  That detective had been working hard to keep me in jail, and the truth prevailed.  The possession charge as a result of the drugs I brought in, meaning he actually did drop the Introducing Contraband charge. All I could think was “If only I would have shoved that dope up there farther, I would be completely clean and free.”:  The mind of an addict.   The places my brain takes me.  The hallways and closets I talk myself into and can’t find my way out.

Conversations Kill

*Post Script*

Remember this happened in 2000, before marriage, before kids.  The times I write about with D involving the Domestic Violence and my heavy resistance to using drugs are from 2007-2009.

I was going to keep writing about this drive.  In fact there is a lot more to come about my feelings heading Northbound.  More conversations.  I just had to expand and explain the arrest at the Motel 6.  I had never talkedblack n white guitar through it before.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

memory

I find it nearly impossible to live in my own head for too long.  If I am not actively doing something, reading, looking at my phone or the computer, my brain races. I drown in memories, and cannot escape the pictures in my head.  I cannot lie in bed too long in the morning for fear of my own thoughts.  If I am not tired enough when I go to bed, I cannot lie there because my thinking overcomes and defeats me.  I try to block the images, but to no avail.

During the last couple days, I began reading a book I read years ago.  “What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day,” by Pearl Cleage.  Great book.  I often reread books I once enjoyed because it ignites my writing.  The book describes a woman who, in finding out she is HIV positive, returns to the small town she grew up to find a run-down mess of a neighborhood.  Houses filled with young men and women and their crack addicted, screaming babies.   The oddly sweet, peppermint smell of crack she described brought back vivid memories for me. Euphoric recall us addicts say.  Waking up to realize I had my 2nd consecutive night of using dreams, I knew I needed to re-shelf that book.  I also woke up last night after having night mares separate from the using dreams.  They felt so real when I was disrupted by them, but I can no longer remember their contents.  My tossing and turning woke up my girlfriend;  she had to escort me to the bathroom.  I was too afflicted to walk across the hall alone.

Nor can I get the images from Breaking Bad out of my head.  I only made it through the 2nd episode of season two and I am not sure I can continue.  The scenes where Jesse is smoking meth haunt me.  I can see it and feel it as though it is real.  The powder, the pipes, the inhaling and exhaling of white smoke.  I remember how paranoid he was peering out that deceitful window.  I have been in that place of darkness and I hate thinking about it.  I wish I could erase the images from my tarnished head.   They will never leave.  I know this because I have withstood traumatic experiences since I was a teenager.  “Just give it time,” people say.  When I believed in the power of prayer a long time ago, I used to pray for the images to abandon me.  Others would pray over me, lay hands on me, commanding the flashbacks to leave, that Satan himself pull his talons out of me. Is that like “praying the gay away?”  Is that like Michele Bachmann saying natural disasters are God’s way of getting the attention of sinners such as myself?  Maybe she and her cuckoo companions should pray harder the next time a tsunami nears.

When I sat down to write this, I had no idea I would take this direction.  But while I am on the subject, let me elaborate on my seeming resentment of the so-called power of prayer.  I went to church for seven years with my ex before the massive and unforgettable relapse of 2007.   You know how they say ‘you pick up where you left off’ when you abuse drugs or alcohol?  That cannot be more true.   The intention was to get high and stop before the end of the 3 day weekend.  Memorial Day weekend.  It stretched into an ongoing nightmare that continued 4 years. With each short stint of sobriety he managed to piece together, the church replaced the crack pipe.  He exchanged one addiction for the other.  He continues to go from one extreme to the next even as I write this.  He is currently addicted to Jesus.  I am strangely happy about that.  Whatever it takes to keep him clean.   Myself, however, after years of trying to comply to that lifestyle, grew tired of giving myself to hope and ending up in a place of hopelessness.

Once, during a law enforced attempt to stay clean, he had an appointment downtown to meet with his probation officer. I was working at the dry cleaners, where I spent most of my time to compensate for his unemployed idleness and depression.  Beyond the point of anxious, why not pray?  It can’t hurt.  I had a gut feeling he would take a detour.  Stumbling into the Central or International Districts of Seattle never ended well for him.  Meanwhile, at work, I hadn’t seen a customer in hours.  I was alone and worried.  I began to pray out loud, as fierce and desperate as I could.  I gave it all I had.  I pleaded with God to please keep him on the right path.  A few hours later, he called from home.  He informed me that everything had gone well and as planned.  I really believed God heard my cries.  Unlike the other times when I cried out to him while I was being raped in my own bedroom by this same man, struggling and begging him to get off of me.  I swore he was the devil.  When he was high, and especially coming down from a high, he may as well have been Satan himself.  He looked evil. He terrorized me. I know there were demons in that room.  I felt them.   So when he called that day after his appointment, I felt relieved.  Finally, everything was going to be better.

He showed up at 7:00 PM, closing time at the Dry Cleaners.  His pupils were huge black saucers, covering every piece of Sinatra blue that I knew.  He lied to me.  Usually, I could hear the drugs in his voice immediately.  I missed it by letting my guard down.  By believing God had come through.  Shocked, disappointed and scared of how the night would unfold, I refused to give him the money he came to ask for.  He wasn’t out of money.   He just wanted to taunt me.  He actually thought I would be excited to come home and use with him.  How fucking delusional can one become?  The last place I wanted to be was up in that hell hole of an apartment watching porn and smoking crack.  But I didn’t have anywhere else to go.  Defeated and hopeless, I went with him.  I wanted to run and flag down a car. I wanted desperately for that last customer to see the look in my eye, to see the cry for help in my face as my husband stood there waiting for me. Why couldn’t I say something?  Why didn’t I?  I guess I needed to maintain my invisible cloak of dignity.  This cycle had become the collapse of our families.  It became absolutely necessary to hide this torment we were living. It was that or raw fear that he had implanted in me years ago.

My life is better now.  I no longer live in fear.  The memories, however, are worsening.  I believe this is a result of my writing.  If that is the case, then I will write until I die.  I need to purge all of this, so I can be free.  Praying obviously isn’t going to have any effect, so I’ll share my journey with the world in hopes that someone who needs to hear it does.  Some would say this is God’s will.  That he allowed me to endure hell on earth.  He doesn’t give you what you can’t handle, right?  Fine.  Call it what you will.  After being so tremendously disappointed by a God (Abba father) who is supposed to protect you from harm, I just can’t believe anymore.   He is supposed to be my father?  After my real father left when I was barely a year old?  After my husband, the man next in line to protect me, sold me, beat me, and almost killed me?  I will never put my life in the hands of another “Father” again.  My christian friends can and will pray for me all they like.  That’s their choice.  Just as choosing not to pray is mine.

I know the scars will get better, though they may never go away.  I am thankful now for my afflictions.  They made me stronger.  I am thankful for those close to me who support me and love me regardless of how wrecked I feel, or am, not sure which.  I do not doubt that I will have more nightmares and more using dreams.  But I feel confident that I will be okay, because I sleep next to someone who makes me feel safe and walks me to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I knowbad memoriesnightmare as I process and transfer these pictures into words, they are not written in vain.  And I thank you for that.