After 90 days, a week on the run, and a move across the country my chance at a “normal” life seamed as though it was within my grasp. I was sober and in a new place, nobody knew me or my family, best of all they didn’t know anything about my past. I thought I could escape the labels and the stigmas that had been assigned to me by my home town. It was all good for awhile, almost like a dream really. Moving to Texas introduced me to a life I never dreamed I would have. It was a material life. You know the kind of life that looks perfect from the outside but inside is a nightmare? That was my reality both within my head and within my home. It had been a few years since my mom and I had really had any kind of relationship. If you remember things didn’t exactly end on a good note. At first it didn’t matter but it did eventually take its toll.
I was 16 when I was sent to a group home rehabilitation type place. My mother was convinced I was back on drugs, I wasn’t. We were fighting all the time, and I’m not talking screaming matches. Once I got to come home things were fine for a little while, then the next year rolled around. I had gotten into a little trouble over the summer. Sneaking around once I had a car, smoking cigarettes, normal teenage stuff. School had just started and I was getting into my senior year. For me this was the peak of my happiness. I thought I had everything going for me. I had friends, my own money, a car, dating a football player the whole nine yards. When my parents found out about my boyfriend they flipped. I had kept him a secret because of his skin color and when it came to light, they were not happy. I was banned from my best friend, only allowed to work and school, it was stupid really. My friend had decided she would go talk with my parents and try to smooth things over.
When she showed up at my work crying I knew it hadn’t gone well. My parents had already been at my work searching through my car, they found cigarettes and notes from the boy they forbid me from. They revealed to my friend that their intention was to send me back to the group home. I wasn’t having that. Things moved quickly at this point. I knew I couldn’t go home without being directly transported back to Oak Cliff. I was 17 at the time, Texas has or had laws that stated at 17 years old a juvenile can be charged as an adult there for 17 was kind of that cut off age. I was moving out, more like just never coming home. We had to move fast. My friends parents were out of town for the week so we arranged for me to stay with her boyfriends parents. That’s exactly what happened. I eventually moved in with my friend and finished out the school year feeling as though I had achieved normal.
Sometime in spring the following year I met this guy, Devin. Devin was certainly nothing special to look at. He wasn’t really special in any way. He was a high school drop out, drug addict / dealer living above the garage at his moms house driving his grannies car. Our relationship began as completely platonic. I would hang out with him and get high then take him to parties where I would hook up with other guys. Eventually the relationship evolved to us actually “being together”. My friend and I got into a huge fight over a boy and I ended up moving in with Devin, yes, into the garage.
I remember the day that should have been the first day of my senior year. I made the choice not to go, ever. I was almost 18, I was dropping out to live a life of crime with Devin. Of all moments up to this point, every decision, this was the dumbest. Not surprisingly it wasn’t long before we were kicked out of the garage with no place to go. We ended up moving in with Devin’s sisters fiancé.
Even though I dropped out of high school I still had a drive to do something with my life and with myself. I got a job at an eye care center about 20 minutes away from where we were living. Little did I know that while I worked these two jokers were sitting in the apartment doing meth all day. They were able to hide it for quite some time, but one night it came out. Devin and I were fighting in our upstairs bedroom, God only knows what about when he pulled out his pistol. As much as I tried to maintain some form of innocence I was pretty hard at this point. I charged Devin up and told him if he wanted to shoot me, then do it. He stood there with that gun pointed at me for probably the longest 30 seconds of my life before he lowered the weapon and fired off two rounds, through our air mattress into the floor. Him and Randy took off pretty quickly after that and I went to sleep on the couch.
I was woke up in the middle of the night to loud banging at the door. In a fog I stumbled to the door and opened it. On the other side of that door stood several police officers in tactical gear looking for the tenant of this residence. I began to panic, they were gone. The officers explained that if I didn’t get the tenant here I would be charged. Charged with what? I called Devin and Randy and told them to come back before I went to jail, I had to be to work in the morning. Devin and Randy showed up talked to officers and were gone again. I thought that was so strange considering how adamant they had been with me. Randy and Devin were gone again and I was back to sleep.
The next day when I got home from work the environment had changed. I guess they were no longer worried about hiding their activities when I walked through the door to see a huge 5′ x 4′ mirror covered in cocaine. I lost it at first. It had been several years since I had even seen any kind of upper. I would like to say that I stormed out knowing I could get myself together and change this course I had set myself on, but I didn’t. It didn’t take much convincing before I decided I wasn’t going to be the only one adulting if they were going to have all the fun. Lord why did I do that?
We had been up all night when there was a knock at the door. It was the apartment manager with an eviction notice. We were being kicked out for suspicious activity. We found that odd since the manager herself was a frequent purchaser of Randy’s. So as it turned out this whole complex was set up for “sting operation”. Every out side corner apartment had a DEA agent occupying it and they had been watching us for awhile. They knew all about the drug activity behind those walls. The final straw had been the bullet. When shot fired those rounds they went straight down through the 2nd story floor, made a 90 degree turn though the connecting living room wall and went through the headboard of the person sleeping in the next apartment. I’m unsure why nobody went to jail over all of that.
After the eviction we continued to use, continued in criminal activity, continued to spiral down. I lost my job, and however jack up it all was, my home. For the first time since all this started I began to question rather I was doing the right thing. Was this what I wanted? Was this all there was? I eventually left Devin. Bought my own vehicle and burned out. I didn’t have anywhere to go, wasn’t stable enough to get a place of my own so I stayed with friends. Couch to couch I surfed until finally landing somewhere a little more permanent.
That summer is almost a complete blur. I had fallen into the rave scene at this point. I was doing 2, 3 sometimes 4 or 5 hits of ecstasy a night. Spending all kinds of time in the strip clubs and other shady places with lots of shady people. One night I was at a house party and I’m not sure if I took to much and was over dosing or if I had got a hot hit, something laced with something you do not expect. Devin called me that night, someone he knew was at the party and had called him and told him I was really messed up. I can remember laying on the couch unable to move, barely able to talk, but assuring Devin I was fine and not to worry about me, he was just jealous. Luckily he didn’t listen to me. He came, through me over his shoulder and carried me out. If he hadn’t God only knows what would’ve happened to me that night.
I needed a place to stay. I was tired of having to rely on everyone around me. I had gotten a small settlement from the wreck I was in when I was a kid. I had enough to pay a 6 month lease in full, and I did. I got a couch, love seat, rug and mattress. My first apartment all my own. Already paid for so nobody could kick me out or take it away. I felt like a real grown up. My neighbors were super nice and friendly. One of them was even my age! Once I got set up I kicked Devin to the curb. I didn’t need him anymore I was back to doing my own thing. I had gotten close with the neighbor girl. We were hanging out all the time. I needed a new dealer in the city I was in and she provided that so it was cool. We began to party together every night. I would throw parties at my apartment, full of people I didn’t know, then I would just leave and go get drugs sit in my bathroom and do them. Maybe I just wanted the noise, or to feel not so alone.
As drug addicts usually do, my partying progressed right back into meth. All the crack dens I had frequented before, my place was now the crack den. We would stay up for days, I’m talking 3, 4 days at a time. Take some downers, sleep for 2 days then we were right back at it. Numbing ourselves at all cost, feeling nothing yet thinking everything. Talking in circles for hours about the lives we wished we had. If only we had been given another hand in life, maybe we wouldn’t be here in this place doing this. But, we weren’t. We accepted this was our lot in life, addiction. As long as we had the drugs, it wasn’t bad, but if we didn’t… I couldn’t begin to count the money I spent on feeding my tribes addiction. Why did I foot the bill? Nobody wants to get high alone, and I had the money so why not?
February 2008, I remember like it was yesterday. It began like any other day, but today light was coming through the curtains. 5 of us sitting in a circle in the living room passing the glass pipe from one person to the next. I had this moment of observation. You know one of those moments when people say, “I came to myself”. I was watching my friends as they got high eyes wide, licking their lips. Staring at the person with the pipe eagerly waiting for it to get around to you, the scene disgusted me. I thought, “this is my life. This is really what I have become.” The pipe got around to me, and as I began to melt down my life source, this overwhelming feeling washed over me. “I do not want this.” I looked at that pipe, passed it to the next person, stood up and said, “Y’all go ahead, but I’m done with this.” I truly was done and have never used again.
It’s not surprising that once the steady supply of drugs ended so did my relationship with Devin and most of the other people who had been living in my house. While I was no longer using meth I was by no means sober or living an upstanding life. I needed to make some money so I did what I knew to do, sold drugs. You meet all kinds of people when you sell drugs. Non-users imagine that only lowlifes and thugs do drugs, your assumptions would be wrong. I eventually met a guy that told me he could help me make a lot of money dealing in cocaine. I was not opposed to the idea, I knew the money would be great. The number one rule in drug dealing is, “don’t get high on your own supply”. I hadn’t learned that yet. Put a huge bag of cocaine in front of an addict and tell them not to do any. Yeah right. So that went as you would expect. I was totally strung out on cocaine and the dude who presented himself as a business man was really a lowlife bum. He was taking all my money and drugs and I got tired of it but I was to scared to do anything about it. So I called the police. “9-1-1 whats your emergency?” “It’s my boyfriend. I want him to leave but I’m scared of him. He has massive amounts of cocaine on him as well as a gun.” I pleaded. “Ma’am what would you like us to do about it.” the dispatch responded. Shocked I replied, “nothing I guess.” and hung up.
I woke up my new boyfriend and told him Devin had called and said he was on his way and if he was here when Devin got here he might kill him. The man got up, took all my cocaine and my cell phone and left. When Devin arrived and found out all the cocaine had been taken, he left too. I’ll admit I was glad to be free of them both. I knew now that I was going to have to make a major change if I was to change the trajectory of my life. e Devin and I decided we should get married. We could get a tax credit of $1000 if we were married and we could start a new life. It’s okay, take a moment to laugh. Spare time wasn’t good for me so I also started looking for a job. I was surprised that so many jobs required drug test to work there. I wasn’t going to be able to get the caliber of job I thought I should have. It’s okay, laugh again. So I got a job in a retail store that sold clothing for strippers. Perfect! Things were working out, getting better it seamed. Devin and I set the date for April 20th of that year. There was no lavish plans, I wasn’t a blushing bride, there was never even a ring. The weekend before our approaching date of union I found out Devin had been sleeping with one of my co-workers. At the time I was devastated, but I now know I dodged a major bullet on that one.
The heartache quickly led back to the harder stuff. I had trained myself to numb out the pain that plagued my heart and soul. I refused to think about the things that cut me so deep. I wasn’t willing to face them, accept them, or grow from them. I had already dealt with so much pain, and I was tired. I’d make it through the day, then retreat to a state of ecstasy at night. It was starting to a toll, the lack of sleep, lack of nutrition, overflow of toxic chemicals to the brain. I had went to work as nothing more than a warm body that day. My boss knew it so she just put me on the floor to straighten the racks and ask the rhetorical question, “can I help you with anything”? It was midway through my shift when this guy came in. I noticed him immediately when he walked through the door. His appearance caught my eye. He was a tall, built Puerto Rican man with fake finger nails, longish hair, manicured eyebrows very feminine in his appearance. We had lots of men who came in and tried on women’s shoes and sometimes even clothes but this guy didn’t fit the profile.
He was almost bouncy in his step. When he spoke his voice was higher pitched than I expected. At that moment I had stereo typed him, “oh, he’s gay.” I thought to myself as I went on about my work. I noticed him looking through the clothes racks, knowing we didn’t carry anything that would fit this man I asked him if he needed help, rhetorically. He said, “Yeah! I’m looking for two fresh outfits for my friends, can you help me?” I chuckled and told the man, “sorry, I really wont be any help. I’ve been up rolling all night and my brain is fried.” He asked if I could “hook him up” with something for the night. I told him for sure and we exchanged numbers. A few days later we linked up again, setting the sails of my life on a new path towards the unknown.