It occurred to me on my birthday.
One of those 20 something birthdays that are now a big old blur to me. I would not be seeing him. It took most of the day to figure it out, but I did.
We’d had a really incredible month before, and the christening of the new apartment well it went much better than I could ever have hoped. The two of us were in a very good place…or so I’d thought.
I looked up at the calendar, and realized….how long had it been since?
That birthday it hit me, this was over. This was beginning. I didn’t have a real clue why, and who, and what I just knew that I was in pain, more pain that the human condition should ever have to bear.
I called Pat and had her put me in touch with a person, who knew a person, and soon I had everything that I was going to need.
I sat on the chaise, rolled the joint, and thought to myself, what happened?
Then after the joint I poured a very tall glass of Jose Cuervo and asked my self what happened?
I rolled another joint, and popped some Tylenol 3, washed it down with more Cuervo, and found that I could no longer ask myself what happened. I’d found the ticket.
After I was pretty useless, but I knew that I figured out how to not ask myself the questions that were crippling me.
When I wanted to pick up the telephone and call…I took a drink instead. I packed my weed in my purse with my wallet and had a change of clothes in the office suite. When the long days of looking out the window of 30th St had me looking for the green station wagon for too long (as if I could actually spot it considering it was the most popular car on the street), I lit up. When the 2 bedroom apartment seemed too empty and the cat was too needy I lit up.
It got to the point where the weed was no longer enough, so I looked for something else to dull the senses. I found it.
If you are looking for something to make you feel good, you should do things that make you feel good. Exercise is a good thing, it is healthy for the body and released endorphins. Sex also releases endorphins. Considering I am typing this while weighing over 200 pounds…take a guess which one I picked?
If a woman wants to have sex it is not a difficult thing to do. She need only walk out her front door. There is a man out there who is willing to slip her some dick. I didn’t have to walk out my front door, I had the same tool at my fingertips that had led me to him. What I never figured was that while I was looking for the replacement, that I would run across him again.
I am unsure why it never occurred to me, but then again, I was spending 20 hours a day under the influence of something or another.
The booze and weed killed the pain the best, but the coke is what kept me employed. I rarely slept, and it was the coke that kept me alive and alert and awake.
I was a good addict too! The concept that I was high all of the time back then is lost on those who will read these pages now. I drove the car straight, and my hair was always combed and I even showed up for work most days. I negotiated, and I organized, and I did it all with tequila in my pocket, weed in the sun visor of the company car, and a little brown vial tucked into my bra.
My eyes were never red, and my clothes never reeked, and I still walked around the office smarter than 90% of those in the building. I functioned very well, denying my brain the ability to function the fact that he was gone.
I spent a lot of nights at Scooter’s and just as many nights finding some unsuspecting man (or woman) to take home and make me feel whole again.
I’d stopped talking to my mother. I didn’t want to deal with what was our relationship at that time. I even closed myself off to some of my closest friends.
There are a few who will read this that realize there was a time back then that I kind of fell off the face of the earth for about 6 months back then. No one saw me out, no one got a phone call I just kind of disappeared.
I was off the grid, or at least their grid.
It was a very tough time for me, because not only was I dealing with the fact that he was gone, I was realizing that there was no ‘career’ for me @ 30th St. I was understanding that I was not as awesome as I thought I was now that there was no case to handle, no opportunity for me to excel. I was beginning to realize that my limited education was going to keep me from making a lateral move to a different organization, and that the organization I was at didn’t have a need for me it was just something to say thank you for handing me the keys to the kingdom. I needed more of all of my cures, more booze, more drugs, to get me through the day, because I was still asking myself why, and at some point along there, I realized well gee fuck….I am pregnant.
The possibility of it being his was so slim it wasn’t worth a trip to Maury, but the possibility was still there, yet I was unable to stop self medicating. The eventual miscarriage made it worse.
At that time, I thought this would be the last piece of connection that I had with him, and the death of my daughter took that away. It got really ugly then.
I thought that a harder drug would help, but my brain also understood that a harder drug would make how I’d been functioning impossible to maintain. Maintenance was very important to me.
The thing about habits, they can be expensive. Cocaine, weed and alcohol cost money, and at the levels I was ingesting they cost lots of money. Money became an issue, so I did something that I didn’t think I would.
I got a roommate. Tori was a lover, Tori had situations, I had a 2nd bedroom, problem solved! Or not.
Having a roommate that paid the bills would have worked, Tori didn’t really. Having a roommate also meant that my little habits had to become even more closeted. Peep the move…my new roommate? Allergic to marijuana. Yes my new housemate was allergic to my painkiller of choice.
I drifted along back then, indulging in my habits at the office, or in the car, or during a solo walk along Kelly Drive remembering the walks I had with him. I came home to Tori….looking the same but dying more a little inside.
I was dating – if that is what you want to call it – Mario then. I was slowing down on my whoring, I was understanding that it didn’t help. I thought a different relationship would help, instead of random sex acts with the random public. In an effort to prove my theory one night I booked a night at the Summit. Yes only I could spend a whole night at a 4 hour hotel.
My final count that night was 8, and that was because quite a few flaked out on me. It should have been much higher. By the end of that night, at the conclusion of my 8 I’d met Tony, but I was also in tears. It didn’t make me feel less empty, it didn’t make me feel more loved, it didn’t reduce my crave for his touch. I wanted him more than I had months prior, and the idea that he was not coming back sent me into the darkest of spirals.
I’d figured out how I could end my pain for good, I had to stop living. I wasn’t thinking suicide, as I’d had in the past, but my behavior said otherwise.
I knew that I was trying to die when I woke up at the corner of 28th & Ridge Ave. To this day, I have no idea why I was there. I have no idea how I got there. I have no I idea why I was in my pink bathing suit, it was not summer. I have no idea how long I’d been sleep, with the car running at the intersection. I only know that it was a short enough time that I didn’t get car jacked, or woke up to a police officer tapping at my window.
I still didn’t stop. I tried, for two whole days. The images of my time with him flooded my head, and made it impossible for me to breathe. My aching heart was too big for my chest and the only relief was found when I went back to my medication.
One night in the apartment alone, and I don’t really know why I was alone I just was, I put a tape in the VCR and sat on the couch with all my little helpers. It was late maybe 4ish in the morning, and I hadn’t been to sleep really for a few days. It was a weekday because I had to go to work, and I looked at my lines on the table and hoped that they would get me through until I could meet up with my connection.
The tape played, I drank I did a line, the tape played. The Bangles played in the apartment and in a fog I looked up, and Less Than Zero was on the television. Because it was one of my favorite movies I was happy it would keep my attention until I had to get in the shower and pretend for the masses. I watched. I did a line. I watched, I did a line. By the time Julian was being pulled off his trick, I finally saw myself.
By the time Clay & Blair realized that Julian was dead my last line was up my nose, and I thought back to that visit to Ridge Ave.
I got up and walked into the bathroom looked in the mirror and I saw Julian, but he looked just like me.
I thought back to sitting in the Century, not knowing how I got there, and realized that one day someone would look over at me and I would be expired too. I didn’t exactly want to live, but I didn’t want to die yet either.
I never did meet up with my connection that day, or any other day. And the pipe that I’d gotten, the one that I was going to use to smoke my cocaine never got used. I tossed it in the dumpster on my way to the office that day.
I still drank, to take the edge of my cravings for the coke, but I haven’t used since then. I still smoked a few times when things got really ugly – and they did oh yes they did – but I have never had cocaine since. I was still damaged, and still haunted, but I’d found a new challenge – elections were coming up, and I was considering tossing my hat in the ring. I’d gotten a taste for it helping Pat and I wanted more.
I still spent my time with Mario, and he still was not even close to compensating for him, but I was slowly rebuilding.
I would have to rebuild faster. Like a broken typewriter…I missed a period.
I was pregnant again.
This time I didn’t have to wonder…I knew who the father was….another trip to Maury avoided. Mario’s reaction? For a man who’d said not even a month before I gave him the news, that he could see himself spending his life with me and us being a family and having children, he didn’t take the news all that well.
Guess he’d changed his mind. I had too, Mario now annoyed the shit out of me. It wasn’t until I went to the gyn though that I made a decision. How far along am I? 4-6 weeks was the response. I knew.
How long had I been clean? 4-6 weeks.
I may not have polluted this child inside of me. It was very close, VERY CLOSE, but I didn’t think that I’d been using, this child could be healthy, this child could have the chance that I never gave to my daughter.
Did I want a child? Not especially…I wanted to live. This child in my uterus was that chance. If I could stay clean while pregnant I could stay clean forever if that was my choice. I could do something different.
As the pregnancy moved along, I had hard days and nights. It was not an easy pregnancy. I was sick all of the time. But every day that I could get out of bed was a victory and it was one more day away from that darkness that had over taken me when he left.
That pain never subsided, but focusing on the baby inside of me made it manageable. I talked to her (I thought I would have a girl) every day. I made plans for us. I ran through some tough decisions, I reconnected with my mother. I was also still detoxing. Detox lasts a lot longer than it does on television.
As my baby bump grew as my baby moved inside of me I still longed for him, and I still cried for him, but I needed to give the baby a chance more than I needed to mourn his loss.
I had a plan of action then, that didn’t come to fruition, but it got me through the worst pregnancy known to man, and 4 weeks early at 7lbs 14oz Clyde arrived.
I had him via c-section and there were lots of complications, I was not awake when he was delivered. I woke to the recovery room and to silence and I was more afraid than I ever had been in my life before. There was no sound of a crying baby. I was positive that I’d failed. That everything I’d put myself through for those months of gestation were in vain. He was just in the nursery though….after all it was 2 hours later.
When I first saw him through the window of the nursery, I knew that there was finally someone in my life more important that HIM.
I thought as I waited for them to bring out the nursery and to me what the fuck was I going to do now?
I went through all of this hell, and this man was still on my heart, soul, and mind. God had given me a boy, what the fuck was god thinking?
I’d fallen for someone and he was ripped from me before I was ready. It had almost killed me, or rather I had almost killed myself because I’d stopped living for me and had been living for him, or at the least the concept of him.
They brought my son to me and put him in my arms and I knew. I held him and I knew that I had to live for someone else from that moment on.
I knew then what to name this child. It would be a tribute to what I’d lived through. It would be a reminder of the fact I had survived. It would be a reminder of love and I could always say that name as I’d imagined I would, every day for the rest of my life.
I have two birthdays. The day I was born, and the day that I was reborn, the day my son was born.
Less than Zero was the wake up call…but the birth of the boy was what put it into action.
Those are the two reasons why I am able to sit here and type this now.