When I got home last night from work, I made myself my favorite cup of tea and plopped down on my favorite spot on the sofa, next to my hubby. I caught the last twenty minutes of Fringe. At about the time the Asian girl started to gasp for air, No-No came trouncing down the stairs.
“Mom,” she said, “Granny B. contacted me on Facebook.” This caught my attention. She’s someone we all kept about hundred arms length away from. “She told me J.’s in the hospital. His lungs are filling up with fluid and being heavily sedated.” Her voice sounded quivery. “He’s going to die. Should I feel bad?” Of course, she should feel bad. I feel bad even though I can’t stand the man. It’s her father.
“Of course you should,” I said.
She cleared her throat and swallowed back her tears before she said, “But he deserves it. He never did anything with his life. He was never there for me or my sisters.” True, he spent his life sucking on a crack pipe and living for Jesus. Her memories of him aren’t happy ones.
“I want to cry, mom.” I wanted to cry, too. A small bolt of guilt ran through me. Maybe if I would’ve stayed his life might have been different.
At eighteen I married the creep. That’s what my mom wanted.Weird, I know. My gut told me to run but I had to make my mom happy. As the saying goes, if Mom’s not happy, no one’s happy. She’s another story.
For nine years, I spent my life running back and forth to him. Was there abuse? Yes. But there were also his drugs and his drug dealings. There were numerous times I paid off dealers at gunpoint, bought stuff back from pawn shops, drove him to detox and rehabs trying to help this man. Can’t tell you how many times he became friends with Jesus.
Did I love him? Not at all. For years, I felt sorry for the idiot. Eventually, I ended up hating his guts. He stole from us, me and his girls. He robbed their bank accounts. Our Christmas monies. Wrote bad checks when he got a hold of the checkbook. He even emptied out our house one day selling everything we owned to pay off a crack dealer. This included the Tupperware my mother loaded us down with, my daughters’ bedroom furniture and TOYS, their clothes, even our wedding album. Yup. I came home to an empty house after work. We’d been cleaned out by my husband and their father. These are our memories.
This man wasted his life. Sometime after our divorce, he remarried two more times and made two more babies. He almost killed the last wife. Not long after, he disappeared. The scoop, he’d taken to the streets. We didn’t hear from him until one day about four years ago.
“I’m clean. I’ve got Jesus,” he said over the phone. “I’m living in the Salvation Army. They’re going to make me a counselor.” Heard that one a thousand times. Once he’d get comfortable with that position, he’d find the crack pipe all over again. “I want to see the girls.” D-Dell was already gone. No-No was seventeen and E-wee fifteen.
He visited his girls. Those few visits severed their ties. Yup. He found crack again.
Right now, I wonder what he might be thinking? Is he sorry? Is he going back in time in his head, thinking about what he could’ve done differently? Wonder if he’ll find Jesus again before he leaves this world? Or, will he find someone to give him a few hits off a crack pipe before he passes?