I was on the phone with the newest boy the other night and we’re swapping stories of our past, slowly mapping out each other’s history. I really love the beginning of a new relationship with someone — maybe it’s because it appeals to the inner egomaniac in me because I’m given an opportunity to talk about myself for long periods of time.
Don’t get me wrong — I love to talk. About anything really, but talking about myself is something I’m pretty damn good at. But it’s not just the talking, I do enjoying the listening part, too.
I think his question was something along the lines of, “So what was it about your exhusband that had to so hooked?”
I remember laughing. Like, “Shit… I don’t know!”
So, I started from the beginning to a give him the chronological order of events.
We’re going to pick up at about half-way for this blog post.
So I’m about four months pregnant. My baby-daddy (I love throwing that term into regular conversation) and I had broken up after we found out about the pregnancy. In truth, we weren’t even really TOGETHER when we conceived. We had a huge fight about a week after I took the pregnancy test and he wrote me a check for $350 with ‘abortion’ on the memo line. I called my parents who rescued me, post haste.
Eventually, he came back around. Showed up at my parents house one night, unexpectedly and in tears. Sat at my feet and begged for another chance. It was late summer and I told him, “You’ve got until Halloween to get your shit together, get a real job, get off drugs and be participating in drug counseling/testing.”
So he did. We bought some of those at-home drug testing kits. He took a job at Garden Ridge working the third shift, stocking shelves. He’d get off work in the early morning hours and come over to my parents house and slink into my bed with me. It was one of the happiest times in my life. In the midst of all the chaos of the previous couple of years, there I was, spooning with my son’s father, his hands on my stomach feeling the boy just flip around in my belly.
So, we did what any knocked up couple does and we planned to get married before my bun was all the way cooked. A sweet little home-wedding right after Christmas. I bought this dress — hilarious, when I look back on it — this itchy black and gold maternity dress with spaghetti straps and a nice form-fitting shape. One of my oldest and most trusted elders from my church-going days was going to come over and marry us in my parent’s living room.
Then my grandfather died. It was quite sudden. He was in a nursing home, had been for several years, slowly deteriorating with Dementia/Alzheimers when he caught some kind of virus and over the course of two days, caught pneumonia and died. A super sad time, as I was very close to this set of grandparents. They had moved down here from North Carolina when I was a sophomore in high school so that we could better help grandma manage papa’s care.
His viewing was on a Friday evening, December 13th of 2002. I’ll never forget that day because, seriously? Friday the thirteenth? We were all gathered at my parents house, ready to caravan over to the funeral home and my exhusband was late. He wasn’t picking up his cell phone.
When I finally got through to him, he said, “You’ve got to help me figure out how to get my car from work.” I was like, “Who the fuck cares about your car?? Why aren’t you HERE?”
Well, turns out, he was being carted off to JAIL.
That’s right kids, I was twenty one years old, seven months pregnant and my baby daddy was about to get in the back of a squad car. Needless to say, it was hard to focus on the service that night.
So, apparently, there were two guys that he worked with at Garden Ridge who were second-offender felons. And apparently, the father of my child had somehow been smoking pot the entire time that he had been doing counseling and drug testing and, also, while he was ON THE JOB. He would later tell me that they would lounge around in the papasan chairs, passing the pipe around just getting blllllllazed.
My ex had gotten word that our old drug dealer was out of town on vacation and so the three of them decided it would be a brilliant plan to go and break into his apartment and see if he left any cash or drugs there. The story goes that when they got there, the door jam had already been busted in and so they just let themselves in and walked out with electronics, DVDs, leather coats, shoes, lamps, bedside tables, whatever they could get their hands on.
I remember he brought me this cute table and lamp and I thought, “Oh! It’s nice to have a boyfriend that works at Garden Ridge and can hook you up with cute furniture!”
Wrong. Picture this: you’re mourning the death of your grandfather and you’ve got to get up, get dressed, and ride with your future-father-in-law down to the county clink to go visit your baby daddy behind double-plated glass. He was wearing a green jumpsuit and boy did he ever look defeated. Serves you right, poser!
I was livid. But I was also feeling sorry for him. It’s crazy how codependency works, right? We were all in court at his arraignment, sitting in disbelief as the judge read through his charges: false statements to the police, breaking and entering, theft by taking, possession. I remember my eyes just glazing over and, without even having to blink, tears just streaming down my pregnancy-puffed cheeks.
He was able to get off without any jailtime because he was a first-offender FELON. I was supposed to be pleased with this but the word FELON just kept zinging through my head. The two guys that he worked with both hit their third strikes with this sentence and are probably still serving time.
It was a mess.
So, flash back to hearing on the phone, “What was is about your exhusband that had you so hooked?” I’m still at a loss for a good answer. My best one: cocaine is a hell of a drug.