There was always relief when he got the money, when he got the drugs, when he used. But it wasn’t just relief for him.
It was relief for me.
The frenetic pace of manipulation put me into a mix-master, swirling and churning, blending me into someone I didn’t even know.
At the end, I hardly had time to breathe, much less work, take care of my other kids, myself. There were only hours between each call. The promise of relief was not lasting.
I wonder if it is like that for everyone. I’m sure that for some, the hundreds and hundreds of dollars each day may be easier to come by. Maybe for those celebrities who seem to, one after another, fall victim to the tentacles of this drug, the money part is secondary.
To me, it became primary. It was the thing that worried me, tortured me – still does. Not having the money when I understood his desperation made me desperate. And when I found it, gave it, I could relax. Of course, each time was the promise of the end. This is the last time. Tomorrow I am going to get a bed. Tomorrow I will begin to get better. Tomorrow and tomorrow.
Tomorrows turned into this afternoon and this evening. They didn’t even wait for the dawning of the new day.
There was no time to really think about what the money was for. I know that seems insane, but it is true. The final step seemed inconsequential. There was so much struggle before the end. Finding , getting, delivering the money led to finding, getting, delivering the drugs.
I was witness to all except the end.
Sitting in my car by the railroad tracks, I wait for the next train to come. I hope the sound of the huge monster rattling along the tracks will drown out the thoughts, quell the anxiety, give me an answer. But there is no answer. I must call my darling girl, from whom I have stolen so much, and ask again to borrow money for him.
Each time he has needed, she has helped. Sometimes she has helped him directly, responded to his calls and his promises. More often she has helped, given her hard-earned money that she needs to live, in order to ease my burden.
And now I sit here again knowing that I have to call her to beg for more.
I would rather let that train flatten the life out of me than have to make this call. But I know if I am gone that will hurt her even more than what I am about to do.
Over and over, I look at my phone, begin to press the buttons. Again and again, the wrenching of my stomach pushes croaking protesting sobs from my frame. I cannot ask her again. I wonder if she despises my calls as much as I despise his.
I press the button.
Her sweet hello shreds me. I try to talk about something else.
I pause. I ask.
I weep as she selflessly agrees. I am no better than he; I am desperate. A starving homeless mutt scavenging the streets for a morsel, drooling and growling even as I beg. And yet she speaks to me as though I am worthy of what I ask. As if I deserve her kindness once again. There is not an ounce of judgment or hesitation. She does it for me.
Ahhhh…I have taught her well.
I sob as I thank her. Cry with the relief I feel, knowing that I will get through another day. That he will have what he needs without committing some unimaginable crime against someone other than the ones he loves.
I notice the change in myself. The juxtaposition of emotions. The extremes felt within a moment.
It must be what he feels. I have seen it. From physically sick to gigglingly happy.
The intensity of the desperation and need make the relief so much sweeter.
Even though the relief means that he will be using.
Using will kill him.
Short-term relief, long-term, lifelong sorrow.