The year was 1996. Night was falling now and as usual all of our friends came to visit. It had become a ritual at our house. I cannot sit here and tell you that is wasn’t fun. Sometimes it was the greatest fun to have. We were young, newly married, and the life we chose to live was the wildest. We seemed to have everything then. We had the alcohol, and we had the drugs.
A small apartment on the run down side of town is where we lived. Two stories with two bedrooms, it seemed like the perfect place to start a new life. A perfect place to party our lives away. Which was exactly what we were doing.
Music was playing lowly in the background as my friends chattered amongst themselves. Having insignificant conversations while they took their pills, hits for a bong, and lines of the white magic. That is what we liked to call it. Cocaine was the drug of choice.
It was becoming difficult to make out the faces that surrounded me. All the smoke that consumed that apartment living room hid most. Still we smoked the herb, we swallowed the pills, and we thought these things were going to give us answers to all we didn’t understand.
We had become better poets with the drugs we chose. We had become intellectuals in the fallen world around us. The drugs helped give us answers to things we knew nothing about. They gave us answers to the deepest problems. They helped us plan a better society.
Since those days passed I only look back to see we were a bunch of kids with good intentions, but on a road to hell.
Bent over from the sofa to reach the table that was close by, I take in three lines of the white magic. My nostrils became inflamed. I stood to my feet staggering. I was so unsure of my surroundings. I felt so weightless that I thought I could have floated to the ceiling.
Then suddenly sweat began to surge from my brow, and my heart began to race. The high I always loved had become very frightening.
Pain stretched across my chest and reached both shoulders. I hit my knees gasping for air. A few friends just stood with astonishment, and fear. The others just continued their conversations as if I didn’t even exist in the room. Fear hit me like I never knew before and I was certain that I was having a heart attack!
“Oh my God! I can’t hear anything but a roaring in my ears! What does this mean?” were a few thoughts that filled my head in that moment.
Tears saturated my face. I bent towards the floor embracing my chest with both hands. I did the only thing I thought would save me.
“God, if you can hear me, please, help me. I know I have made some awful decisions in my life. If you help me Lord I will make my wrongs right. I don’t want to die like this! I don’t want to die…” was the plead I made to God.
Commotion was all around me with whom I thought were friends as I fought for strength to bring my face off the floor. The ache coursed through my body as my hearing returned to me slowly. I finally start to see clearly those who surrounded me. I attempted to dry my face from the tears but they continued to stream down from my eyes. I sat there for several minutes not responding to anyone.
“You OK? Bad trip or what?”
“You scared the hell out of some of us, almost thought the party was crashed.”
Some friends I thought to myself as the questions and comments came from the crowd. The anger hit me like lightning from a storm. They weren’t concerned about the fact I was dying. It didn’t matter to them that I was kneeling to the floor in front of them fighting for my life! The only thing that mattered to them was the party continuing. The anger was so powerful it brought me to my feet. I jerked the power cord to the stereo from the outlet and began throwing anything that was within arms reach.
“GET OUT! THE PARTY IS OVER!” echoed throughout the room. I opened the door with such force that it shook the walls. They left the dwelling quickly.
The dwelling was then filled with only the gentle weeps from myself. I stood there looking around at what I thought was once right. Glancing around my eyes landed on my husband at the time. He was sitting on the sofa in a relaxed position.
“What have I done?” I cried so hard that I felt the pounding in my skull and the pain in my heart. I stared at him for what felt like a lifetime. I remember the silence, and the mess that surrounded me even though a party was going on just moments ago in time. He had shown no care, not one ounce of concern. There were no words that fell from his mouth.
I stared through my watery eyes with wonder.
“How could I have been so wrong in picking my life mate?” the thoughts just raced through the silence, “I am such a disappointment to the way my dad raised me! To who I am intended to be! To who I am really am!”
I remember placing my hands on my forehead and letting out a moan that probably echoed through the walls. “You don’t even care that I almost died! You bastard!”
It was then I made the decision that would take over a year to accomplish safely. I had to leave him. I had to leave that life behind me. I made a promise and I had to do whatever it took to follow through on that promise. So I did.
My first step was to leave that apartment, and leave those friends behind. We found a place on the side of town where I grew up. The same neighborhood my childhood memories were made in. The house I found was only one street away from my mothers’ home. I knew with family so close I wouldn’t be so easily tempted to do the drugs I once did. I was finally starting to make the wrongs in my life right again.
I had dropped of high school that year, 1996. Once we moved close to my family I enrolled myself back into school so that I could graduate. I found a part time job at a department store and worked nights at a pizza parlor. My husband at the time shown no effort in helping me out and I refused to allow his father to bail us out when rent was due. We eventually lost that house and was forced to move. I had decided that it was best to move into my mom’s home with her approval. That is what we did. It was there where I found the courage to tell the dead beat to get out of my life.
It was the sixth month living at my mom’s house. I could no longer pretend to love this man that I so badly chose to be my life mate. I couldn’t keep pretending we were a couple just making it through rough times. It was time to let the truth be known to my family. I had to explain the misery I lived through and the monster this guy really was. The truth had to be set free.
I had just finished cleaning my mom’s house. I had my favorite songs playing while I sat with my legs crossed in the middle of the living room floor. The man I was leaving entered the room. I was singing to myself and searching for the words to say. A song came on about a woman who needed more than the life she had. I was a woman who needed more and wanted more in life.
For as long as I can remember I always wanted college and a career. I always knew I wanted to be more than just a wife. I wanted a man who appreciated me. I hated being a wife that did it all herself. I hated being me! That song brought the words out of me.
“I don’t want this anymore! I deserve more. I am worth more than your verbal abuse. I am worth more than the life of drugs you want to live. It is over and I don’t love you anymore! I am not sure if I ever loved you at all…”
He tried to beg me. He tried convincing me that I felt that way because we didn’t have our own place. He was so very wrong though. I knew all this when we were on our own. I just wasn’t safe enough to take the step to tell him. I didn’t have the courage until that promise came along I had made and we moved into my mom’s house.
“I am burnt out on putting all of my effort into something that doesn’t exist. I have known that I haven’t loved you for a while now. I knew before we moved here with mom.”
I released a sigh and continued, “When you try fulfill everyone’s expectations including your own, you tend to get lost in the lies you tell. The lies telling everyone that you are happy and safe. The lies to make everyone blind to the life that we have really lived, and I’m tired.”
I wiped the tears that fell from my eyes. The tears were not from telling him finally it was over. The tears came for more than one reason. I was finally free from the burden of him. I cried in mourning over those years I had wasted in my life. The tears fell because I had been a coward for so long it was overwhelming to finally possess courage I had been missing.
“Just go!” I shouted as I pointed towards the door.
Again, he tried to talk me out of the decision I had made. He thought I would believe in his smooth talking once more. All that done was anger me. I knew it was all bullshit! I knew he was just a waste of my time! I felt so bitter hearig him try to change my mind. He made attempts to make me feel guilty like he had done a thousand times before. This time it didn’t work.
He finally left without taking any of his belongings. I guess he thought if he left them I would later change my mind. It was over and his things couldn’t stay there. I packed up all his things and placed them out onto the front porch.
“You have twenty minutes to come get your shit or I will set it on fire!”
“You wouldn’t do that, you better not do that!”
“Ten minutes now! You either come get your shit or take the chance on what I’ll really do! Up to you!”
I slammed the phone down. Only time would tell what his decision was going to be. He called back once begging my younger brother to talk sense into me, and that didn’t work either. When my brother started to talk as he held the phone out I shouted, “Eight minutes now! I guess he better speed to get here in time!”
It felt so good to finally stand on my own two feet. It felt so damn good to finally stand up to him and not cower! I was moving forward with that promise I made and that felt good too. I was relieved that shortly I would be rid of that bastard for the rest of my life!
Most of my family didn’t understand the sudden stand I took. Some didn’t know anything about the life I had lived with him. They didn’t know that if I had stayed I would have started back at where I made that promise. I was determined not to return there ever again.
I was surprised he actually showed up to get his belongings. Finally I had power over him! He tried to convince my mom and my older cousin that I wasn’t in my right mind. I couldn’t help the smile that came across my face as I watched him take his shit to his car.
After all this time he finally had a day where he had to pick up the pieces that surrounded him! I found pleasure in listening to him talk like a fool. He actually thought my family was going to change my mind. It gave me such joy to finally see his world falling apart and not mine for once! This was the first true smile that crossed my face since I had been with him.
Tears even fall now as I think back to that time. They fall for pain I’ve survived, from the truth I finally released, and for the fact I have such a loving God that has helped me along the way.
I recieved a phone call that would take me out of my hometown shortly after I kicked that man out of my life. I was given a choice with that phone call. It was a choice that would forever change my life for the better. That phone call was an older brother and he offered for me to come stay with him and his family. I made the choice to go stay with him and his family for a year. In that year I found myself again. I returned to a dream I held since I was a child. I returned to writing.