A blog about whatever randomosity my fevered mind conceives.

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A is for Ass-Crack…

A is for Ass-crack, which is something that I spent FAR too much time staring at today. Shortly after I regaled you fine folks with a song from one of my favourite Canadian artists, the furnace repair type guy showed up to try and figure out why our pilot light keeps spontaneously going out. Now, he wasn’t an obese man – perhaps a few pounds overweight, but not so much – and yet, his ass seemed to be three sizes too big for his pants while his waste appeared to be three sizes too small for his belt.

I can’t really say why my eyes kept drifting to his budging buns, but I’ve noticed in the past that such things are almost impossible to avoid. It’s like driving past a car wreck; you don’t want to look, and yet you can’t seem to help yourself. I’ve noticed this same phenomena at the beach when no one can stop looking at the fat hairy guy’s crotch as his purple helmeted pal fights to escape his too-tight banana hammock, and I’ve noticed it at on nights out at the bar when perfectly young, good looking guys can’t help themselves from staring into the all-too-obvious cottage-cheese cleavage of a terrifying cougar on the prowl. There might not be a logical reason for us to look at such horrible things, and yet we do it anyway.

That’s how it was for me today. My mind kept screaming, “LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY!!!” but my eyeballs refused to listen. As he rambled on in his repair-man talk, I stood behind him pretending to listen while my gaze was trapped in the purgatorial crevice between his ass cheeks. While locked in this stare down a couple of things occurred to me; 1) huh, ass crack starts with A, how ironic since I just started on an alphabet themed thing on my blog, and 2) I wonder if anyone’s ever thought about designing pants just for repairmen, since it seems that regular pants never fit them quite right. One could – quite possibly – become rich beyond their wildest dreams if they could create a pair of pants that actually stayed up on a repairman’s hips. This though made me wish I could sew. Sadly, I can’t.

As I watched him go down my front walk towards his van, I found myself wondering if prominent ass cracks are a requirement when applying for positions specializing in home maintenance. I wondered this – you see – because I can not recall a single repairman ever coming into my home who’s crack I didn’t catch at least a glimpse of. I found this far more amusing than any sane person likely would, and I got a decent chuckle out of it.  

The good news is that butt-crack-Bob (seriously, his name was Bob) changed out some little thingamajig on my furnace and left me with the promise that the problem was now a thing of the past.

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Now I know my ABC’s…

Ugh!!! I need more hours in a day because this 24 hour clock is just ticking away too damn fast for me right now. Because I’ve been writing here for um – wow – almost three months without missing a single day of posting, I am entirely loathe to start missing days now. However, being as that I seem continuously short on time of late, in order to stick with this daily post goal, I feel the need to start cheating a little. Therefore I’m stealing an idea from gypsy116 (Through my eyes: Adventures in Borderline land); the Alphabet Soundtrack Challenge. Sorry, I don’t mean to cheat you fine folks, but trust me when I say that this beats the alternative; if I let myself start missing days it wont be long before I completely disappear, and I really don’t want to do that.

I have SO much that I WANT to write right now, but just no time to get it done. Soon(ish) my schedule should be back to normal(ish), and so I just need something easy right now to keep me in the routine. The Alphabet Soundtrack Challenge seems just about perfect for that. However (like with damn near everything in my life) I’m going to put my own spin on it; I’m going to do alphabet ‘themed’ posts one day at a time, and I have every intention of keeping other posts coming (when I have the time at any rate). If this seems at all strange, just remember this blog’s mission statement: MY OWN PRIVATE UNIVERSE – A blog about whatever randomosity my fevered mind conceives. Okay? Cool! Without further ado…

Abandonment – Bif Naked

(There’s not an official video for this song, but I LOVE the incorporation of one of my favourite video game – of all time – franchises.)

I’m running out of clever things to say about my rambling…

For the most part, having children is AWESOME! There is – however – one small thing about kids that’s somewhat less than desirable; they’re germ mongers. It’s really not so bad when they’re little, but once they hit school age you send them off five days a week to swim in a veritable virus pool of ugly little bacteria with their little germ monger peers. What this means – for your ENTIRE household – is that you will then spend the next baker’s dozen of years cycling through damn near every minor nasty known to man. The worst part? No amount of vitamin C, zinc and/or Echinacea can entirely spare you from these lovely little illnesses; once you have kids, they’re just a part of the natural order of things.

Yep, there’s another cold/flu making its way through the house, and this one’s shaping up to be a real doozy. So far I remain uninfected, but history has already taught me how this works; I should remain healthy up until the girls are both over the worst of their symptoms, and then BAM!!! the bugs will get me! In the meantime, I can look forward to a few nights (like last night) where I barely get to sleep at all because Kara is waking up every hour or so in a fit. The poor little monkey gets pretty cranky when she’s sick, and this time around is no exception.

Ah well, it is what it is.

I meant to come back for a second posting yesterday, but (as per usual lately) I found myself short on time and couldn’t make it. No worries; that intended posting was just a ramble and rambling can be done at anytime… now works too.

For those of you who read ‘Treat of the Week’, I really wanted to point out a few (in my mind) interesting things about it. And what you ask, is that? Oh, I’m so glad you inquired! Though the story is fictional, there are some truths scattered throughout. Let’s start with the main concept of the story; the man who – completely out of the blue – comes home from work one Friday night to poison his family with milkshakes. This may or may not be a true story.

When I was a little kid, I overheard my uncle talking about just such an event – apparently perpetrated by some man he knew – and the story stuck with me. The reason I say that this ‘may or may not’ be a true story is that the uncle who told it is the same man who once told me that he accidentally ran over the Easter Bunny, and that we’d be having rabbit stew for Easter dinner in lieu of turkey. His credibility was instantly – and permanently – damaged in my mind when the Easter Bunny did in fact drop by that year with goodies. When I got older, I always meant to go down to the library to dig through the archives and find out if the story was true, but I just never got around to it. I don’t remember much of what he said about the tale back then – it was a long time ago – but I remember being a little suspicious of milkshakes for awhile.      

The other thing about this story that you might find interesting to know is that we once lived three doors down from a man who – after discovering his wife’s infidelity – blew his brains out in the cab of his truck. The truck was parked out front of their house and a gaggle of junior high kids discovered the hideous mess on the way to the bus stop that morning.

I remember being incredibly pissed at the guy for being such a thoughtless twonk. Don’t you dare judge me for my lack of sympathy in the matter, I felt plenty bad for him as far as the disloyalty went; the entire neighbourhood knew about his wife’s indiscretions (she wasn’t exactly discrete about her affairs, and one of her paramours was a work buddy of her husband’s that would show up in a (marked) work truck five minutes after her husband left nearly every morning). I was also quite sad that he would be so broken by the discovery that he felt the only way out was suicide. He lost my sympathy when he opted to take his life out in the open where his body was almost guaranteed to be discovered by school kids. Hell, the moron had his own kids that could have just as likely discovered the grizzly scene. In pain or no, I found his way of dealing with the situation to be completely irresponsible.

The quote at the end was something I read in the newspaper once. It was stated by some guy that was on trial for killing his own family and I’m not entirely sure if I got either the quote or the man’s name exactly right. That too was a long time ago and I’m afraid my memory sucks at times. I’m not even sure how that quote worked its way into the last line; it certainly wasn’t where I was intending to wind up.

Now, I’m not overly fond of this story (but when am I, right?), but I do like the bones beneath it. It’s yet another tale that I might have to return to at some point to rewrite properly, but with this whole ‘flash fiction’ experimentation sort of thing, I’m limiting my time for both writing and editing the pieces. Besides – as this whole blog experience is teaching me – I know NOTHING about my own writing. I never really know what will or will not go over well, and I’ve been doing a reasonably good job (for me) of sharing whether I like the piece or not.

Moving on…

This is just a completely random fact to see who’s actually paying attention: I HATE ladybugs. Everyone I know seems to like these disgusting little creatures, but not I! They are just over glorified beetles, and beetles are one step away from being cockroaches; cockroaches are the most disgusting creatures (in my opinion) on this planet. As if that’s not a reason enough to hate them, they piss on you; double gross. My skin crawls just thinking about those ugly little bastards. The worst thing about not being a fan of ladybugs around here is that every spring/summer our yard (and sometimes even house) gets overrun with the damn things. It’s quite creepy.

Hmm, I’ve got about fifteen minutes left to myself before my sister and her kids get here, so I best try wrapping this up.

I have been desperately trying to catch up (and stay caught up) on at least my favourite blogs for the last week and a half or so, but I am definitely struggling with this. Please do not take my absence as abandonment! I will have some time later this afternoon (between unwanted company, tending to a sick toddler, cleaning the garage and sorting computer files – still working on getting everything in order on that note, and I’ve STILL not had much time to get my new computer set up to my liking) but I’ve already dedicated most of that time to one of my favourite blogs that I’m like a thousand posts behind on. Just know that I’m working on it!

My (hockey) team has been knocked out of the playoffs (SAD SAD FACE!!!) so at least my evenings (in theory) should start to open up a little more as April morphs into May. Though I’m not overly fond of spending a lot of time at my comp in the evenings, at least I’ll have more time to write.

Oh, last thing before I go… I just wanted to (officially) welcome back my beloved Gabriela Vargas!! Oh how I’ve missed you… can’t wait to read all about what you’ve been up to all month!

Okay, that’s it. This is me running away….

Treat of the Week

It was nearly six on a Friday evening when Joe found himself inside the Shell station paying for a tank of overpriced gas and wishing he was already home, stretched out on the couch, playing his favourite video game and putting another week of too-hard labour – for too little pay – behind him. The teller behind the counter flashed him a distracted smile as he came into line behind an elderly woman with a mitt full of lottery tickets. With a quiet sigh and a slight twinge of irritation, Joe forced himself to smile back at the pimply faced cashier.

After what seemed to be an eternity, the grey haired hag finally finished checking her tickets, brushed past Joe with an air of irritation – as though it’d been him holding her up with some senseless endeavour – and waddled out of the store.

Joe sighed again and stepped up to the till. Just as the teller was fetching him a pack of smokes from behind the counter, another man stepped into line behind him and Joe was immediately struck by the oddest sensation he’d ever experienced. It wasn’t quite fear or disgust or worry, but more so a combination of these things mixed with a strange coldness that seemed to seep right down to his marrow and take hold, causing a shiver to run up his spine despite the overactive heater in the place. He fumbled to take his change back from the pimply faced cashier and rushed out of the store without more than a quick glimpse at the other man’s face.

A moment later, Joe was scrambling into his minivan covered in a frosting of goosebumps and shivering just a little as he tried to make sense of the strange feelings that had come over him inside the store.

“You ok?” His wife asked from the passenger seat, raising one eyebrow at him at him in her typical, quizzical way.

Joe shook his head, nodded, then shook his head again. “That was the weirdest damn thing I ever felt,” he told her. He reached out ant twisted the heater knob to its highest setting.

She watched him curiously, but didn’t prod as she waited for him to tell the tale.

Joe grinned sheepishly. “I don’t know what happened in there,” he admitted. With a flick of his hand he motioned towards the window and the small silver sports care beyond.

A good looking guy – thirty-something’ish by the looks of it, well dressed with dirty blonde hair – was just climbing into the vehicle. “That guy… him… right there!” Joe explained in a rush. “As soon as he came in the store I got the strangest damn feeling I ever had. I can’t really explain it, but whatever it was, it felt wrong.” He felt another shiver pass through his body.

She asked him to elaborate.

“I dunno… as soon as he came close I felt… dirty? No, not really that. Nervous maybe? Ah damn it, I can’t explain it Tammy. It was just weird. Really weird.”

The two of them watched the man drive off in silence. Joe put the minivan in motion and a moment or two later they were pulling out onto the highway a few cars behind the sports car.

Joe’s eyes never left the back of the car the entire time it remained in sight. There was a brief moment when it seemed the car might collide with a Mac truck, but then the driver safely manoeuvred the vehicle away from tragedy, took a sudden right and was gone from sight just seconds later.

At the near collision Joe had felt certain that he’d sensed something about to happen to the man, and as the car turned off the highway without incident he found himself somewhat confused. He was left with that gnawing realization that something odd had just transpired, and the nagging reality that he’d never have any idea what the oddness might have actually been about.

 

On the drive into work on Monday morning, Joe listened to the news on the radio. An accident was blocking up the bridge traffic again – thankfully he’d managed to avoid that, or he’d have been late for work again – another armed robbery at the ATM on the west side of town – that was becoming a bit of an issue lately – gas prices were going up again – surprise, surprise – and some freak had murdered his entire family with poison – Joe didn’t catch the location, but these sort of tales always seemed to be coming from the states, or at least the bigger cities, so he didn’t think to pay it much mind.

The radio went on to report some various other tidbits, and then the droning voice of the newscaster was replaced by Jagger’s exuberant insistence that he was – in fact – “pleased to meet you”, and the invitation to guess his name. Joe was happily singing along as he pulled into the parking lot beside the big steel shop.

It was a bit of a shock to learn that the ‘freak’ who’d poisoned his family over the weekend had been local, but not terribly so. There were always sickos out there and it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened close to home. It seemed to be the main topic of interest around the shop that day however, and justifiably so. In an ordinary world full of ordinary people running about doing ordinary tasks, something like this happening so close to home was big news. It was human nature to pick items like this apart.

“Two little kids,” one of the burly welders grunted. “Close to my grandkids’ ages. Sick fucker.”

“Maybe his wife was cheating on him?” Joe heard another welder suggest.

Joe thought that seemed as likely an explanation as anything. Last spring there’d been a man a few doors down from Joe’s that had blown his own brains out in his truck after finding out his wife was cheating on him. The man’s suffering had been understandable, but the brilliance of doing it out front of the house – where school kids passing by on their way to the morning bus had plain view of the carnage – was not.

“Ya, sure,” scoffed the first welder. “Kill himself over that kind thing… fine. Hell, I’d be more apt to kill the bitch… but the kids? What kinda sick fucker does something like that to his kids?”

Joe had to shrug; he didn’t know.

Another day came to an end and Joe found himself at home, relaxing on the couch beside his wife and daughter. He was about to put in his favourite game and drift away from reality for awhile, when a final click of the remote brought him to the evening news. From the top right corner of the screen, a familiar face stared back at Joe.

With a sudden – and all too familiar – chill washing over him, Joe fingered the volume up a couple of notches, and motioned his wife and daughter to hush. As Joe stared at the TV in disbelief, Tammy and Alexia stared at him in a similar manner.

His mind went back – momentarily – to Friday evening in the convenience store when the ordinary man standing in line behind him with a carton of milk and two Mars bars had instigated something close to panic within him. Another chill rushed through Joe’s body.

The robot-like newscaster explained – without the decency of emotion – that the man in the picture – Paul Rolands – had returned home from a typical day at the office the previous Friday to be greeted by his loving wife and two young daughters. He quickly set himself to the chore of preparing them giant Mars-bar-flavoured milkshakes as a special treat. They’d snuggled up together on the couch to watch the latest instalment of their favourite TV show as they sipped the delicious shakes, and that’s exactly how the police detectives found them early Sunday afternoon.

The detectives claimed that the poison was quick acting, and that all had died peacefully – never aware of the plot against their lives – just enjoying a quiet, eventless evening at home.

All that stood as an explanation to the tragedy was a simple note posted on the fridge with two, bright-yellow, happy-faced magnets that read: I will not suffer the ones I love, to live in a world without compassion. ~ David Wittenburg ~

Reflections – A Novella – Part 8

A continuation…

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

(Part 4)

(Part 5)

(Part 6)

(Part 7)

______________________________________

I’d hid amongst the filth and waste, scratching at my skin, clawing at my hair, and clutching at my belly. I wept for all the things I’d become and all the things that I would never be.

I thought about how much I hated Dean; about how I never wanted to see him again.

I missed Dean.

I loved him and I ached to feel his arms around me.

I’d had a run in the night before with a hooker; the same outlandishly tall blonde that had slapped me just moments earlier; and she’d thrown a bottle at my head, though I couldn’t quite remember why.

I watched the stranger in the mirror as she reached up with one hand to touch the tender spot behind her ear.

I felt the raised ridge of the gummy, barely-clotted gash with my own fingers.

Yes, I knew that wasted creature in the mirror.

I knew how she’d become the scrawny shell of her former self.

I knew each of those scars, and I remembered how they came to be. I knew each bruise and scrape, and I knew those empty eyes.

I had spent the day trying to understand my enemy and now, there I was face to face with her.

The music swelled as two older women came into the bathroom.

I leaned forward and splashed more icy water in my face. I pulled paper towels from the nearby dispenser and blotted my skin dry.

I looked back into my reflection, forcing myself to meet my own gaze; it was not easy.

I watched as both of my hands went to flutter at my belly.

I had no way of knowing if my baby had survived my last beating, but somehow I felt that he was okay.

I told myself that it was not too late.

I left the room before the women emerged from their stalls, heading back out into that ridiculous, throbbing light. I had gone into the Red Eye with a purpose, and now that purpose had been renewed and redoubled.

I found Mort at a table with two other men. They were laughing and talking as they tossed back their drinks. He turned and smiled at me as I approached.

“Can I talk to you Mort? Please?”

After so much time living in that hell; in that valley of lost souls; Mort had been one of the very few to show me true kindness. No one really knew his story, or why he spent so much time around the hopeless when he himself wasn’t a drug addict. Some people called him Jesus behind his back; some mockingly called him Mother Teresa. It seemed he was always there to lend a hand to any sad sap that asked for it.

He did not disappoint me then. I could tell he was hesitant to cross Dean, but his genuine concern for me outweighed his sense of street loyalty to a man he could just barely stand. He proffered up his keys and told me I could stay with him for as long as I needed.

“Just till tomorrow, Mort.” I assured him. “I have a few things to deal with, and then I have a life I need to get back to.”

It was, without a doubt, the strangest day of my life. I had lost myself, and then found myself only to discover that something very important was missing; a future. I had lost all hope; even the hope of hope; and then, as if touched by some tiny miracle, I was able to rediscover it.

The madness of that one day; that tiny cluster of hours; had shown me a stark reality that I had been too long blind to.

I saw myself through a stranger’s eyes, and it was through that vision I was finally able to see the real me again.

The night I’d met Dean and begun my decent into hell, my baby sister had been a gawky eleven-year-old kid. I’d prepared myself for seeing that same little kid getting off the bus that afternoon, but I was shocked speechless when instead I saw myself; a much younger, prettier and far more innocent version of myself; pull to the curb in a little, lime green V.W. Bug.

She started to get out and I rushed from the shadows to greet her. “Can we please go for a drive instead?” I asked.

I could see the pity and concern in her eyes when she looked at me, despite her attempts to hide it with a smile. She nodded and got back behind the wheel. I scrambled into the passenger seat as fast as I could, immediately engaging the lock behind me.

I kept expecting an attack from Dean. Or worse… a plea, an apology… another storm of empty promises. I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to walk away from that.

He never appeared, but it wasn’t until we were blocks away that my heart stopped thudding painfully in my chest and I was finally able to relax a little.

We parked in a slot just inside of Stanley Park, facing the ocean.

For awhile we just sat there in awkward silence, but then the floodgates broke and I told Katie everything. It came out in a rush; even things I’d never had courage to admit to myself bubbled out of me.

I knew I shouldn’t be laying so much burden on her, but it felt right to let it all go.

I don’t know how long we sat there crying and holding each other; both of us mourning the life that should have been but never was. It could have been only moments or it could have been hours. Finally I pulled away from her and looked her in the eyes.

“Katie,” I told her. “I need help. More than that though… I want help. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live like this… it’s not even really life.” My hands fluttered back to my stomach. I looked down, thoughtful and committed. “I can’t do this to him.”

Katie insisted I go home with her, that we sit together with our parents and talk.

I was hesitant. They didn’t want me there and with good reason.

“But Laney,” Katie said softly. “This changes everything.”

I don’t know when my baby sister went and got so grownup; I wasn’t there to see it; but somehow, during those years I had spent in a drug induced haze, our roles had become reversed. I was no longer fit guide her, but I was desperately in need of her guidance. Her wisdom had become absolute.

Going home was hard, but I had known worse, and I would come to know even tougher times still.

The detox was brutal, and made only harsher by my refusal to use methadone to cut back the cravings, but I didn’t want to waste my time covering up one addiction with another.

There were days in the midst of it that I thought I was going to die and other days that I actually prayed for death.

Somehow, I endured.

My family’s distrust was glaringly obvious; especially after I left the clinic and went back to stay with them. At my mother’s urging, dad had put locks on the medicine and liquor cabinets, and it seemed everything of even minor value disappeared for awhile.

But I endured.

In the days that followed my return home, Dean showed up frequently. He would come begging my parents time after time, for one last chance to see me.

Some days he was utterly remorseful; pleading, crying, and swearing that he would make the needed changes. Other days though, he was so full of the venom and rage that had for years been stealing control of what might have once been a good man.

On at least two occasions the police had to physically remove him.

When he came, I stayed in my room. I didn’t trust myself to face him. I didn’t trust my resolve to turn him away.

Amazingly, I endured.

Eventually I even stopped watching down from the window.

One evening, a little more than a month from my due date, I sat down with my parents and Katie and explained how I no longer felt completely safe there, nor did I quite feel like I belonged. I told them that if I was really going to make this work, I had to cut out my own little piece of life.

With their help, I moved to Victoria two weeks later.

My son, Jeffery Dean; named both for his grandfather, and for the father he himself would never know; turned three last week.

He was born, thankfully; despite the physical and chemical abuse inflicted on my body during the early days of his existence; entirely healthy.

He’s beautiful.

One day I’ll sit him down and tell him everything without reserve, but for now, I just want to encourage his mind, and protect his innocence.

My mom and dad come to see us as often as they can. Our relationship is still somewhat strained, and I know it will likely never again be what it was before, but it does seem to get better all the time.

They’ve been far more supportive than I had any right to expect.

Katie moved to the island last year so that she could be closer to us. She’s currently attending classes at UVic, and shares an off campus apartment with her boyfriend.

I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. She is my best friend and my most trusted confidant.

I got news last winter that Dean was dead; the drugs had won, and he’d overdosed. No one seemed certain whether it was an accident or his last defiant act of will, but I heard they found him drowned in his own vomit in that little apartment above Hastings Street.

I cried for days.

I really had loved him, and I’m pretty sure he’d loved me too, at least in the beginning.

I know it would be impossible for most people to understand, but when I heard he was gone I cried because I realized, despite everything, I still loved him then. I still love him even now.

Mostly though, I think they were tears of relief.

I continue to keep in touch with Mort Hagen. I always think of him and smile… my own knight in shining armour; my guardian angel. It’s amazing how even the thinnest shards of light in an otherwise black world, can cultivate hope amongst even the most hopeless, and lead the lost in out of the dark.

Mort was my shard of light, just when I needed it most.

His was the one act of kindness that proves optimism never dies.

The cravings are still with me and my NA sponsor, Chuck; fifteen years clean himself; tells me they will never entirely disappear. Sometimes it’s a little tough to manage, but I don’t think I want them to go away. They serve as a badge of honour and a souvenir of everything that I have overcome. They serve as a constant reminder of everything I never want to be again.

Motivated by Chuck’s constant urging, I went back to school just after J.D. was born.

I work with street kids now, doing what little I can do to make their world seem a little broader and their choices a little brighter. Every day of my life I intentionally immerse myself in the world that nearly killed me in the hopes of making a difference.

I don’t know if I do.

I hope I do.

I have so much to atone for.

I can smile now, because I am no longer the walking punch line.

I am, however, a joke on the statistics.

I did not come from a broken home or abuse.

I was not born into a world of drugs or poverty.

I was born blessed, and when I fell from grace it wasn’t a gradual decline that left a trail that someone might follow; I just leapt. I spread out my arms and plunged into the great chaos without a moment’s hesitation.

I spent nearly six years of my life snorting, smoking and injecting everything I could get my hands on. I hit rock bottom and was too high to even feel the impact.

Statistics show that 93% of methamphetamine addicts that go through traditional rehab eventually go back to using.

As one final joke on the statistics, I am over three years clean without a single relapse, or even so much as a near fall.

I have every intention of keeping it that way.

I am of the other 7%.

I will always have my scars –both physical and emotional– to tether me to my past, but I can I look into my own reflection now without turning away in shame.

I know what I was, but I also know who I am now, and though they’re two sides to the same coin, these are infinitely different beings.

I am healthy once again; mentally, emotionally and physically.

My life belongs to me now, and nothing could ever make me relinquish the reigns again.

______________________________________

The End  

Here I go again…

What a long week! I’ve accomplished a lot – though I’m not yet finished all that I set out to do – and I’m quite pleased with the organizational bliss of this house, even if it is only temporary. Sadly though, I really miss you guys and I feel a little disconnected from you fine folks, so I figured it was time to touch base as it were. The best way of doing that (in my mind) is to ramble on about my week. Sound good? Too bad (tee hee) here I go again…

This week I discovered that Kara (my youngest) is not a fan of either classic rock or country music. I’ve just been letting the BIG music list play all week and when I do that you get a little (a lot) of everything. I already knew that she preferred dance/pop, but I had no idea how little she liked the other stuff. Every time a song comes on that she doesn’t like – and apparently there’s quite a few – she covers her ears and says, “Noise! I no lika it!” and repeats this over and over until I switch the song.

Like my oldest, she’s been exposed to all kinds of music since day one, but unlike my oldest, this one seems a little more resistant to diversity. How do you explain to a not-quite-two year old that there is more to music than Lady-freakin-Gaga and Bruno-bloody-Mars?

Musical diversity was never an issue with  my oldest; that kid’s musical knowledge would blow you away; so I find it a little surprising (and super intriguing) that Kara seems to have come from the factory with certain pre-set preferences. Oh well, she’s going to have to adapt; I adamantly refuse to spend the rest of my days listening to nothing but the likes of Nicki Minaj!

I haven’t had much time to sit down with my new computer and get it all set up to my liking, though I have had enough time to figure out that windows 7 is very different from vista – which is mostly great – and that I have a lot of figuring-out to do before I’m completely comfortable with my new machine.

I spent a few minutes the other day trying to get all of the computers in this house on a network, but because of the different operating systems, this was not as easy as it should have been. I’ll have to work that out sometime next week.

I have my oldest computer – the one destined for the computer graveyard – set up on the desk beside this one. One of these days (as soon as I find the time) I have to go through its guts and make sure I’ve removed everything of import. I don’t think there’s much left on there, but I need to be certain. Once I get that done, I’ll strip the old girl for parts and get rid of the carcass. It’s actually just a little sad, this one’s been with me since just after I left my hometown six years ago… we have a lot of history between us.

Throughout this switch-over of machines and the cleaning out of drawers/cupboards/closets, I have come to the realization that we’re living a rather disgusting existence of excess. I have enough toys around here to open my own Toys R Us, an army of barely-to-never used kitchen appliances, and more doodads and thingamabobs than the four of us could find use in two lifetimes. Part of the problem (most of the problem) is that I’m a deal whore; if the sale is good enough, I have to take advantage of it. I haven’t even gotten to the top floor of this house yet (my girls’ rooms) and yet I’ve already dug out six MP3 Players – three of them still in their original packaging – (and that’s not even including my Achos Media Player that I just ‘had’ to have, but that’s been sitting in a desk cupboard since a week after I got it) two  portable DVD players that we bought last year (also in their original packaging) ‘just because they were a great deal’, three of those cute little digital keychain picture frames (I only remember where one of them came from) and Yevon-only-knows how many other gadgets that are of little to no use around here. Today’s smart phones render most of these thingamajigs useless; I have a 32 gig SD card in my Blackberry to take care of my portable music and picture needs and our last two vehicles have had built in DVD players. Also, portable gaming systems; my oldest daughter’s Nintendo DS and PSP; seem pretty useless around these parts since I don’t even remember the last time I seen her playing with either. She’s either playing games on her laptop or PS3 – yes, she has her own PS3, further proving my point about our disgusting excess – and she’s got at least five DS games that haven’t even been opened.

We had a family discussion about this ‘stuff’ the other day and we’ve come to the agreement that some of it will go to the transition house up the way, and then we’ll have a garage sale this spring to unload the rest. The proceeds will then be split between the girls’ savings accounts, and in the future I shall try to avoid pointless purchases – no matter how great the deal.

Let’s see, what else?

The weather has been fantastic! I have extremely high hopes about the winter being truly over now, and I’m looking so forward to our first bonfire out back. I freakin LOVE BBQ season and can’t wait to have all of our friends over for a night of good food and bad liquor, hehe.  

I have barely written a word all week. I’ve been putting in long hours around the house and by the time I call it quits for the day, I’ve been exhausted. I hope you guys have been enjoying ‘Reflections’, though (once again) I find myself hating it. I’ve gone back and forth on that piece since it’s conception… and like nearly all of my writing, once I release it into the world, I’m filled with insecurities about it. An interesting side note; Reflections was the first large piece I ever wrote in first person. Another interesting side note; there are two other parts to the story (started but never finished) written from Dean and Mort’s perspectives. One day I might actually sit down and finish them… who knows?

I’ll post the final piece of that story later today (as long as I don’t forget again) and then tomorrow – hopefully – I’ll find the time to work on something new.

Okay folks, the coffee’s run out and now it’s time for me to get back to my regularly scheduled day. Have a FANTASTIC weekend!

Reflections – A Novella – Part 7

A continuation…

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

(Part 4)

(Part 5)

(Part 6)

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In the beginning I tried to keep in touch with my friends and family. I’d call my parents once a week or so to let them know that I was okay. My mother would cry and beg me to come home. My father would give me words of wisdom and beseech me to question my choices. He would tell me that it was not too late to fix things and that I would always have a home.

It was the same with Claire and Amanda; they both tried to be supportive, but they were of the same mind as my parents. They were all convinced that Dean was the devil come to lead me straight into hell.

Over time I began to resent their judgments. They didn’t know him like I did. They didn’t even really know me.

Soon Dean grew to dislike their influence over me and the mental state these calls would leave me in, and so the calls grew more and more infrequent. In time, they all but stopped.

The drug use got heavier, and at some point became more necessity then recreation. I didn’t even notice.

One night, Dean came home with a swollen lip and bloody knuckles. He was in a frenzy; completely out of control as he smashed around the apartment looking for something that he would not explain. “Pack up your shit,” he ordered me. “Everything. We’re moving.”

I didn’t question him; I rarely did. I did a couple of bumps and did as I was told.

We stayed in a hotel on Granville for a few days, and then we moved into the tiny apartment on Hastings. It was a far step down from the old apartment, but I didn’t question it. I didn’t really care. His decision to move us into the worst part of the city barely even phased me.

He explained that we’d been doing too much of the dope; having too much fun; and he owed some money to a few people. The move, he told me, put us closer to people he could count on to have his back. Besides, the rent was a lot cheaper and potential business a lot better.

That’s all I needed to hear.

It wasn’t long after that that I was awoken one night – after finally sleeping off a particularly heavy binge –  to find a strange man hovering over me. He was pinning my arms to the bed, leering down at me, licking his lips.

In a panic I started screaming Dean’s name.

The stranger put his hands on my throat, squeezing just tight enough to slow my breath and still my screams.

Gasping, my voice hardly loud enough to even be considered a whisper, I alternated between calling out for Dean and begging the man to let me go.

He smiled down at me. “He’s not coming to save you princess. Consider this your chance to save him.”

I tried to fight, but he overpowered me. He tightened his hold on my throat, he forced my legs apart and he raped me, right there in my own bed.

When it was over he left without a word.

I curled up in a ball and cried and cried and cried.

When Dean finally came back I started to tell him what had happened, but looking into his eyes, a terrible realization hit me like a hammer; he already knew.

He was so apologetic – his eyes misty with unshed tears – as he explained that the stranger had been one of the men he’d owed money to and now; thanks to me; the debt was clear.

For the first time since we’d been together, I couldn’t even bear to look at him. The anger bubbled up inside me tearing away all of the pain and humiliation. Like an animal, I threw myself at Dean, scratching and clawing and shrieking accusations in his face. I wanted to scratch out his eyes so I didn’t have to read the guilt written in them.

That was the first time he ever struck me, and later I would somehow convince myself that I deserved it.

It was a closed knuckle punch that sent me stumbling backwards. I tripped over the foot of the bed and went over, headlong into one of the dressers. Gore ran down my face from a gash at my hairline. It ran into my eyes, momentarily blinding me. I’d bitten my lip and I could taste the blood; salty and metallic; in my mouth. It sickened me, nearly made me vomit.

I didn’t try to get up; shock had yet to turn to fear. I just lay there awhile, staring at him, stunned.

The anger left his eyes and his expression softened. He came to me, lifted me up, cradling me in his arms like a small child. I didn’t struggle; all the fight had gone out of me. He laid me on the bed and sat beside me. He kissed the corners of my mouth, my cheeks, my jaw.

The sadness scrawled on his face broke my heart. It made me feel responsible for what had just occurred.

It made me forget.

I’d know Dean to do it himself from time to time, but that night I let him inject the meth into my arm for the first time.

I felt the bite of the needle and then I felt the venom work itself through my veins. After that I drifted in a sea of blurring thoughts for hours untold. It took the pain away and gave me peace in exchange.

Like so many other things between us, the injections soon became regular habit.

It happened again, and then again; in exchange for money owed, Dean offered up something that was never his to give. The men always came when I was in the midst of sleeping off a binge. Maybe Dean planned it that way. Maybe, in some warped way, he saw that as a tiny act of mercy.

When it was over, Dean would come back to me and we would fight. Inevitably he’d hit me, call me names; whore seemed to be his favourite; and then, once the fight went out of me, he would soften. Sweet words would drip from his tongue.

It would never happen again, Dean would promise.

He loved me more then life, he’d insist.

And then he’d feed me the poison I’d come to so badly crave; the magic elixir that took away all of the pain and doubt and fear. And once more, I would forget.

One morning I woke up alone in our apartment. It seemed I looked into my own reflection for the first time in ages and I loathed the creature I saw staring back at me. I smashed every mirror in the place, gouging bloody strips of flesh from my hands as I carried out my tantrum.

I filled a garbage bag with my things and left.

My father came for me. Obviously horrified by my condition, he was nonetheless elated to squire me home. Up until that point, my parents had known nothing about the drugs. They’d had no idea how far I’d fallen. But I was their daughter and they loved me. They saw that I was in trouble and they adapted as quickly as they could.

I started detoxing the next day. By the third day I’d become so violent they’d had no choice but to lock me in my room. I remember a barrage of faces hovering over me in those days; some I knew, some I didn’t, one I’m pretty certain was a doctor.

I don’t know how long that torment went on. At times it felt like months –at others it felt like years– but eventually my misery did subside. The screaming pain was replaced by a depression so dark and deep I thought I would never climb up out of that pit.

No one would really talk to me; not as though they were talking to a person. They spoke to me as one speaks to a child, or sooths a wounded animal. They watched my every movement.

I was wracked with guilt and torn by shame. I knew that I had bought their mistrust with my actions.

In the beginning it seemed like I was sleeping nearly all of the time. When I wasn’t asleep, I was crying and wishing that death would find me. Slowly though – with the loving support of my family – the drugs started to relinquish their hold on me. Soon I was eating on a semi-regular basis. I actually began to believe that things could get better.

And then Dean showed up.

My mother attempted to chase him away, brandishing a broomstick and threatening to call the police. I watched the scene unfold from my bedroom window. He glimpsed me there from the street and turned his tear stained face up at me. There was so much pain in his eyes that it weakened my resolve more then I would have ever imagined possible.

God, how I loved that man. He was the only one that had ever truly understood me; the only one who could see right to my core, and who stood by me no matter what.

Or so I told myself at the time.

I went back to him within a day, stealing everything of value I could carry when I went. In time I would do this to my parents twice more. The fourth time they would offer to pay for detox, but I was no longer welcomed in their home.

Soon I just stopped calling.

The days blurred together just as time had begun blurring from the first moment that I’d met Dean. The drugs were never ending. It took more and more to achieve anything close to the past euphoria; sometimes mixing near lethal amounts of chemical together just to reach that desired high.

There were other men. There were more beatings at Dean’s hand. There were more weak apologies and of course there were always more drugs.

Somewhere along the line my life had become a joke and I was willingly playing to the punch line.

~

The harsh florescent lights hummed and flickered.

I reached out and touched my reflection.

I’d met Dean on June third –two months after my seventeenth birthday. It was September now, and I was twenty-three.

Six days ago I learned that I was pregnant; I was going to have Dean’s child. In an instant, everything changed. I spent the following two days begging Dean, desperately trying to convince him it was time to give up the drugs. It was time to clean up our lives and get away from here. We could start over.

I didn’t tell him about the baby… I wasn’t ready for that. More so, I didn’t feel like he was ready.

At first he humoured me, but I realized soon enough that he wasn’t even making an attempt to cut back on the dope. Instead he just kept pressuring me to do more. It was so hard, but other then smoking a joint to take the edge off, I didn’t touch anything in those two days. Finally he grew annoyed and his annoyance turned to anger. He got paranoid and accused me of sleeping around. The beating he laid on me that night was the worst yet. When he came to me later with his apologies, I looked him coldly in the eyes and told him I was done. I was leaving. When he came to me with the syringe; promising things would be better –he would be better– vowing he would change, and that he’d make me happy again; I knocked it from his hand.

He beat me again, and this time it was somehow even worse then before. I did my best to shield my stomach, letting most of the blows fall on my head and arms and torso instead. And then, as I lay there on the floor afterwards slipping in and out of consciousness, I felt him press the poison into my arm.

I don’t know how long I lay there drifting in that strange sea. I didn’t know what time or even what day it was. At some point I heard the apartment door slam shut and knew that Dean was gone.

I was half out of my head and more terrified than I’d ever been before in my whole life. Every inch of me hurt, ached, throbbed… but I knew I had to move. My mind was set. My life was no longer mine alone and I knew I couldn’t bring another being into that self-created hell.

Somehow I managed to get to my feet. Barefoot and barely dressed, I climbed down the fire escape for fear of running into Dean in the hall.

I scooted through alleys, clinging to the darkness in part to avoid Dean and in part because I was just that messed up. I was trying to make my way to the mission up the street… it was the only conceivable refuge I could fathom. It was closed of course, being after midnight; closed and locked up tight.

It’s the most sensible things in the world that often elude the junkie’s mind.

I nearly called my parents then but the guilt and shame was far too great. I had burned that bridge to ash a long time ago.

I had nowhere to go.

I was still so high.

I walked the streets, just biding time.

I stuck to the shadows as much as I could.

I tried to think but couldn’t focus.

The sickness kicked in not long after, and my body and mind went to war with one another. I knew that if I went back to the apartment I could get another hit; just a little one, just enough to take the edge off…

… I knew that if I went back I might never be able to leave again.

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To be continued…

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