The months that followed after leaving The Ex were full of pain and loss. Part of me still entertained the thought that maybe one day we could be together again - without the gear.
Gradually, in the reflections of my wired eyes I saw Michael grow pensive about my recovery - I was still coming home with pin-prick pupils. Every morning I would wake to dopesick but it never got tired - only I did. I would try and begin my new life with this man who promised to take me far away from the drugs and the pain - all I had to do was surrender my old life and leave Justin behind forever. Justin would call the home phone endless and I would crouch in the darkness as I heard him scream and moan that he was dying that the withdrawal were too much. He begged and he cried until his throat stripped from the pain could barely muster my name. Yet he called it endlessly and I would place down the receiver gently, his muted panic ended in a final refusual.
But I was no better. I was just living a lie.
Every morning I would play the homecoming queen for my straight boyfriend, suppressing him with blowjobs and sweet nothings even though inside I wanted to slit my arms open with a pen and fill them with powder. I couldn't tell Michael that Heroin was more important to me than him but I never failed to make him feel it. I started to live a treacherous double life.
I had Justin wait outside the unit until Michael left for work and then I would steal downstairs and have him shoot me up in the herb garden. Justin looked terrible and I knew better to ask him why - it was obvious that he was homeless and me knowing about this would still not change my mind to leave the horror behind me. Then, we would clamber aboard the bus and head back down to Miami, the seedy side to town. Michael never ventured down to the underbelly, so I was safe to continue working as a prostitute and I would continue to look after Justin as best as I could. I would hitchhike home and prepare dinner for Michael's arrival in the evening and then do my best to pretend that everything was dandy and that I was cleaning up my act. I kept my phone switched off during the night and delighted in this man's attention.
I let him be tough with me as I had bad habits from living life on the streets. He taught me a lot of things about cooking and cleaning that I had no idea about. Michael had spent time serving with the Navy so he took to the authoritarian role with a certain relish - I knew deep down that I could never love him though. He was in love with what he thought I should be.. Not with who I was and always will be. Perhaps cruelly, I stayed with him and tolerated the constant put-downs and emotional abuse as though I knew I deserved to be treated like a piece of rubbish. Inside though, I thought of it as boot camp - I knew my worth but I also knew that if you have poor hygiene and no life skills, you're not doing yourself any favors.
It comes down to the fact that I realized that living like a loose cannon wasn't working. I need discipline and I figured that I could seek that in someone else. Justin had let me do whatever I wanted , we could con ourselves into trouble or out of it , in five seconds flat. Michael, not so easy. However, as any Junkie will tell you - we soon find a way.
My way was traveling to the edge of town and living out an entire life with separate friends and residences - it seemed outrageous to many (not to mention expensive) that I could sustain two separate identities. Sometimes I would have close calls - I would forget to switch off my mobile phone or one of his work friends would spy me hustling my wares down the highway. Most of the time I tried to work inside the motel but when it got quiet and my body was aching for another taste, I would soon find myself out there, vying for my special place that people knew where I stood and what I was standing there for. Sadly, this was my corner of the world and I sold myself out to it...Every single day for seven months whilst I dated Michael.
I started to get sloppy about the details and slowly Michael started to cotton on that I was still looking pretty stoned and after some phonecalls he knew I wasn't spending the day at home.
He broke down in tears when he discovered empty condom wrappers left inside my bag and found the dreaded sharpz kit that I had dared to bring into his house. Michael screamed at me that I was only making him treat me as a joke. His trust was completely shattered that I would ever stop hooking (which was another addiction entirely) and it drove him crazy that my prostitute business was something he couldn't control. I broke my word every single time.
So he started to put me down and making me stupid and worthless. I suppose he was as desperate as me to gain some control as we hurtled off into that crazy place - where you just don't know if you can keep going on loving this person as life was surely made this hard.
But guess what ? Yes it was. Regardless, he made it quite clear that he could never love me until I was a "real person". " This meant drug-free and working an office job and wearing pretty dresses and keeping my legs firmly crossed.
A real person doesn't fuck guys for money and shoot up Heroin for breakfast he once said. I silently fumed as inside I knew I was much more substance than he could ever be. Often times I would tell him so and it would end in a fiery fight of wills. I wasn't ever going to buy the whole "Look how far I have got you and now you owe me all the thanks" routine. I knew exactly what needed to be done to get clean and I suppose in a way I used him to get me there.
Maybe if he was nicer I would've stayed with him.. maybe he was just a stepping stone.
He's finally ok with it now... he's found a nice Japanese girl and she does everything he wants and always remembers to pull the shower curtain across and indulges all his OCD tendancies that I openly ridiculed. One day I will tell you about what Michael's doing.. he has a special spot in my life but I don't think I ever loved the man. Doesn't mean that we don't admire them.
It infuriated Michael that not only that could I manage to be totally magnificent but he could also see past the pain and denial and love the girl that lied so much to him. I tried to stop for him, but we all know that never works. I would just get angry that he didn't understand. Quitting heroin wasn't as easy as just don't it - just say no. I don't think he ever got that but I'm glad that he never had to. Attempting to quit Heroin took all of my understanding of myself and turned itself on its head. I thought I only lied to everyone else, but I was wrong. Eventually I would stagger home stoned to the gills, bumping down the hallway..Reeking of rot and stale cigarette smoke and sex from people...That I did not know their nam
Fresh from the shower steam, I would slink into bed and wish that tomorrow would be different and maybe tomorrow I could stay in bed and ponder what lay ahead.
As the bedside clock ticked over midnight, I cuddle in close to Michael. I feel him instinctively tighten then relax as I break his heart one more time and he relents to our misshapen love.
As I feel his naked innocent curl into my tender belly, I am comforted by my own smugness that maybe I can really have it all. As much as I want him to love me - he just can't right now until I stop using and stop abusing. He looks like a tired angel in his sleep and I whisper to the God's as my witness.. "I love you" and I close my eyes and try to sleep.
I don't know how much longer the dragon will stay sleeping as that night we are both wide awake..
Alone and tortured by our own magnificent truths.
To be continued