Excerpt #7 Dukin’ it out with God

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Nathan had shown a gift for art as soon as he was able to pick up a crayon. Now his drawings reflected the turmoil going on inside him that he could not express in words. Almost everything he drew involved blood, killing, and revenge.
He had terrible nightmares, one in particular, many times, that he found me stabbed to death in a garment bag in his closet. He longed to behave as the “man of the house,” and protect me, but he was just a little boy.
It didn’t help that I was as confused as ever. I tried to take control of the runaway train of emotions and habits formed from ancient injuries still unhealed. But my remedies only plunged my kids and me further into destruction.

As soon as my body was in shape after having Jess, I sought Ramo’s company again. It’s not even like I thought, at this point, that he’d ever fall in love with me and leave his wife. Yeah, I did have that fantasy at one point, along with the fantasy that she was no good for him, that he couldn’t possibly love her, and all the other stupid things the “other woman” thinks. I knew it was a dead end. I just didn’t know where else to go or what to do. I knew I could have my pick, that was evident, but I had such a rigid idea of who would do, that no one did. I compared everyone to Ramo, and they all fell short.

DUH. I just have to give myself a DUH right there. But, well, I guess the me I was then did the best I could. The me I am now knows better, knows I should have trusted God to bring me the right man. Knows I should’ve taken my silly butt back to Him with all my problems and heartaches… but back then, I couldn’t figure out how to be “GOOD” enough to be close to God. Moreover, I wasn’t done having “fun.”

That meant I left Nathan and Natali with a sitter every single weekend and sometimes weeknights in a panic to go out and find Mr. Right. To be honest, I didn’t know how that would work out, since I still couldn’t make my “boyfriend” leave, but I thought maybe I could find someone bold enough to scare him away. Out of the fire, into the frying pan? I dunno. But I regret getting my priorities messed up. I mean, how many chances do you get to raise your kids? But I told myself I could find someone to save us out of the whole mess, and that would benefit the kids as well. Justify, justify, justify…

One day I was riding around in the country with Ramo, when suddenly he asked me, “Does your boyfriend sell coke?” I was taken aback; I thought he knew already. I thought everybody did. I nodded. Ramo went on, “Well, you’d better tell him to watch out, they’ve got his number.”
To this day, I don’t know how he got that information. I only know it was true. I passed it on to Rico. I really didn’t want him to go to prison, but, most of all, I didn’t want the cops to bust in, find something in MY apartment, and take me off to jail. I had been fighting to get away from that life all along.

It was half-past Johnny Carson and I was sitting on my sofa, in a t-shirt and my underwear nibbling on cheese crackers. Suddenly the front door caved in and my apartment became abuzz with a hornets’ nest of vice cops and detectives.
One of them pointed his gun at me and told me not to move. I wasn’t about to, sitting there undressed as I was. All I could think was how lucky I was that Jess had left to go see a movie with Rico, because, if he had been there, the door the cops busted would most likely have hit my little boy. He always sat right there in that space to play. I was thankful he and the other kids (who were staying at my mom’s at the time in Pennsville), weren’t there to see them ransacking my place, tearing into drawers, and plants and furniture. They read my journal, took my personal phone directory apart, and, while the cops did all that damage to my home, the detectives sat comfortably on my other sofa to question me.

One of the detectives, in the course of their interrogation, read part of my journal aloud to me, then asked, “So are you really carrying Ramo’s kid?” I told him it was none of his business. Then they said they had talked to my mom about what was going on there. I felt like someone had slapped me right in the face. All those times I had cried on the phone to her and told her how the cops wouldn’t help me, how trapped I was… I guess she must not have believed that I wasn’t a willing party to what Rico was doing.
“My mom!” I spat, my eyes on fire, “My mom? How could my mom know what’s going on here when she lives over 200 miles away?”
The detective looked embarrassed, but he kept at me, “If your boyfriend comes through that door with anything on him, you’re going up the river.”
By now, I was seething with anger. All those years of frustration exploded from me, “Then don’t let him come in! I’ve been trying to get you cops to help me escape him all this time. I couldn’t even get a restraining order. He has even busted down my door, but no one would do anything. He isn’t even on my lease, and no one will make him leave. If you would have done your jobs, I wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.”
He looked exasperated, but he didn’t answer me. The cops had finished searching and came up with only a foil pipe and some rolling papers. Ramo’s warning had saved us from further danger of being arrested. The detectives left a business card and told me that, if I saw Rico with anything, even pot, I was to call them. Then they left.

The next day the Children’s Services were at my door to follow up the detective’s report that there was a drug dealer living at my apartment, not to mention domestic violence. They issued an emergency no-contact order, finally. Rico moved to his mom’s right away.
Then the landlord came with an eviction notice. Even though there was no proof that anything illegal was going on, the detectives had told them my apartment was a mess. They were talking about the mess the cops had made, mind you, and the damage they had done. I now had 30 days to get out, and no place to go. No family close by, no money, no idea of what to do next.

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