Saturday, March 3, 2007

Change - Part 4

This was impossible. What bizarro world had I become trapped in the last year? Drug use and knocking up girls - I was no longer the man I once was.

"How are you pregnant?" I asked.
"What?" she asked back.
"I mean you're on the god damn pill, how are you pregnant?" I demanded.
"I stopped taking the pill around when I moved out." She said.

We got into a huge fight. How could she do this to me? I was too young to have a kid. And with a girl I couldn't even stand? This couldn't be real. She had to have made this up in her insane little membrane. This wasn't the first time a girl had tried to use that line on me, so I left the house without saying a word to pick up not one, but two pregnancy tests. I returned and handed them to her.

"What? You don't believe me?" She asked like she was surprised.
"Just take the god damn test." I growled back.

Plus if she was pregnant. Minus if she wasn't.

She was pregnant.

My head started to spin, and I could barely stand. I sat down on the bed to compose myself. She tried talking to me, but I wouldn't respond. All I could think about was how my life was over, and how I'd end up having to pay child support for the rest of my life and share a child with a girl I could barely stand to look at anymore, let alone be friends with.

I had a conference to attend that weekend, but I cancelled it. I asked her to go visit her sister for a week in Georgia, and that we'd figure things out when she got back. I had to clear my head. She agreed, and off to Georgia she went.

Instead of clearing my head, though, I gambled for five straight days until I had nothing left in my bank account. In fact, I was overdrawn by the time I stopped.

Two days until she came back, and I didn't even have the rent money any more. Way to go, me. But apparently I had at least one more get out of jail free card to cash, as one of my clients accidently paid me two weeks early simply because I had sent the invoice in sooner than I usually did. With rent money in hand again, I was able to focus on what needed to be done here.

I reminded myself that family values were something that was very important to me at one point in my life, and I had promised myself that I'd never have a child without being in a loving marriage. Idealism be damned, we were going to make this work.

Natalie had a different plan.

She returned from Georgia having decided to move in with her sister who was also pregnant.

"I didn't know your sister was pregnant?" I asked oddly.
"Yeah, she's three months along." She told me.
"Three months, as in right around the time you moved here and stopped taking your birth control?" I quizzed her further.
"Yeah," she said.

Interesting little coincidence, don't you think? I definitely thought so.

Anyway, her mind was made up. She wanted nothing to do with my proposed solution, where she'd stay in California and I would pay her rent and put her through school, even if we didn't remain together. This was no longer an option for her. She was going to move to Georgia and play house with her sister.

It took her all of three days to be packed and on a plane to Georgia with all her belongings. She even took my dog.

I couldn't help but laugh at where in life I'd found myself yet again. The real laugh, though, came two days after she'd left when she called me asking for $5,000 to help with her move, because she couldn't cover all of the expenses and the moving company wouldn't release her stuff. I asked her if she was crazy, even though I didn't really need to.

She said if I didn't help her with the move, that it would be a clear sign that I was an unfit father and would never be allowed to see my child again. I told her to shove it.

Always a woman of her word, I've never from her since that day. I moved back in with my parents.

I stayed clean and worked on growing my company, out of site out of mind. Business was doing great, and I was happy again. I was making enough money and putting enough away where I felt comfortable moving out on my own again. It was time.

But in November of 2005, two things happened. One, it was the month she was due to give birth and the one mutual friend we had left told me in confidence she had a son. Two, I was offered a job by one of my clients here in Los Angeles for well over six figures - and I accepted.

As a sidenote - I'm an only child. An only son, for that matter. To make matters worse, I'm the last of my surname in my family. I was born in Lebanon, I'm not sure if I've mentioned before or not (I'm half Greek and half Lebanese) - but I point it out now because the only other men in my family who could carry on the surname had died during the war in Lebanon many years prior. I was alone on this, and now I had a boy out there who could have carried my name and become great.

Two completely different emotions overwhelmed me at once. And as we all know, I could handle major life swings with ease.

I met a group from MySpace and we went out drinking together. It was my first time out since Natalie had left. We had a wonderful time, drinking and talking smack. I felt in old form again.

As the night was winding down, one of the girls in the group suggested we get some coke and get ourselves a hotel room. Another girl in the group overheard and said she and her boyfriend would love to join us. So off we went, to some shady little motel off Sunset Blvd with a couple 8 balls in hand.

It didn't take long for the night to heat up, and before my girl and I had even gotten a chance to start making out, the other two were naked and going at it like a couple of rabbits on the bed next to ours. This was my cue that I was getting rusty and had been slacking. I kicked things into overdrive and not long after my date and I were going at it as well.

After the first round the guy looked over at me and said, "Wanna swap?" Did I want to swap? Hell yes I wanted to swap, his girl was hot! But my date put the kibosh down on that idea and whispered in my ear that she wasn't interested in him. Like a boy on Christmas morning who woke up to no bike under the tree, I had to tell him no.

So as we're taking a break and doing a few more lines before we continue, this guys phone rings. It's his wife.

You heard me right. His wife.

"He has a wife?" I ask the girl after he'd put on his pants to take the call outside.
"Yeah," she giggled like it was no big deal.

We weren't even done laughing at how awkward this just was when he walked in and said, and I quote, "My wife is being a cunt. I need to go home." We laughed even harder, this time before he left the room. Thankfully he laughed along with us instead of getting offended. "I know, I know" he said as he put on his jacket and kissed the his date goodbye.

Now it's just the three of us doing copious amounts of coke and talking when the other girl, still sitting across from us on the other bed asks, "Can I join you guys over there?" There is a God, oh yes there is. We both said yes and she hopped on over. The rest of the night was absolutely fabulous, and I don't think I need to go into too many details. The three of us had a marvelous time.

Until I got my first nose bleed.

The other girl had left in the morning to go get some sleep before work, and it was just my date and I again doing lines and having a good time when all of a sudden my nose started to bleed. I was embarrassed to say the least, this had never happened before. She looked a bit turned off. I tried to make light of the situation.

"I know guys usually say this about erections, but I swear it's the first time it's happened to me." I spit out like a true champion, holding a bloody wad of tissues to my nose.

She gave me a pity laugh. The evening was clearly over now.

I walked her to her car, but instead of checking out and getting into mine, I decided I wasn't quite done celebrating over my job offer and mourning over my newborn son. Two weeks. Two weeks I spent locked up in that hotel room, with a box of new syringes to keep me company. That and my dealer who would come by every couple days to bring me a new supply. Until he couldn't be found, that is. I had to find a new contact, and quick. I had an 8 ball of my regular stuff left, but that wouldn't last me but another day or so.

I called around and found a new hookup. A girl I had met came over and introduced me to her dealer, a nice enough guy who was a lot cheaper than my old dealer. She stayed for a day and we got high together, but she quickly got on my nerves and I asked her to leave. I kept the contact, though.

It didn't take me long to realize that the bitch did speed, and not coke. And only used me so I'd pay for some without telling me. At first I didn't notice the difference because I mixed his in with my original supply, until mine ran out and I was just down to his.

If you don't know the difference between coke and speed - the highs are not just very different, but they need to be taken in different doses. I didn't know I was doing speed, so I did it like I would do my coke.

Four hours later, and I snap out of my tweak to realize I've been poking at my grossly bruised forearm that entire time looking for a new vein.

That wasn't enough to stop me, though - as I finally found a new vein and went ahead with it.

"That was one too many," a voice said to me.

I knew he was probably right. I had been locked away in that hotel room for two weeks, staving off the pain. A blood-stained bedsheet was my only companion. My arms were bruised beyond recognition - at least they matched my pride now. Not to be overly dramatic, but time, I thought, was no longer a luxury I had.

I decided to make one phone call before I left myself to the hands of fate. I rang my parents. Much to my relief, the answering machine came on. I tried to be concise.

"Hi Mom and Dad, I guess you aren't there," I said. "I just wanted to say I love you both."

Before I could hang up, there was a click on the line. It was my mother, in tears.

"Where are you? Are you okay?" she asked.
"I'm fine. I just wanted to say I love you," I said, trying to get off the phone as quickly as possible.
"We haven't heard from you in over a week," she pleaded.
"I'm fine. I'll see you soon, I promise. But I can't talk now, I need to go." I added.

She began to cry as my father picked up the other line.

"Why are you doing this?" he asked, pained.
"Everything's fine. I need to go, but I'll see you soon. I just wanted to say I love you," I said in closing, as I hung up the phone.

I didn't want to leave them like that, but it was getting difficult to speak. I looked around my stale hotel room off Sunset and Vine, everything was blurry and dark now. I could make out shapes, but nothing more. Light was my enemy. I wobbily stood up, barely able to maintain my balance, and shut off all sources of light in the room before crawling back into my casket.

"So this is where it's all going to end," I thought to myself.

My attention drew to a small streak of sunlight that found its way through a crack in the curtains. Laying on my back, almost paralyzed, I looked up to confront this intruder. As I grabbed focus on this seemingly benign ray of sunshine, it began to zig and zag painfully, like a lightning bolt streaking across the ceiling of my tomb. I thought if I shut my eyes it would stop.

It didn't.

As my eyelids met, the lower half of my body shook for a second. Not to be outdone by its neighbor, my upper body too began to shake.

I took a deep breath. It seemed to subside.

I warily opened my eyes and stared straight ahead. What I remember to have been a mirror on the wall directly in front of me, was now a fog hovering over my body. I could make out the shape of a man, sitting within the fog, looking in my direction.

"God?" I hoped. There was no answer.

"Didn't think so," I would have said, if irony was a sentiment I was still capable of. Instead, my legs shook again for a few seconds, followed by what I imagined was my final gasp for breath. My heartbeat rose dramatically, I could almost feel it trying to puncture through my chest. I put my hand over my heart, it was hot. So very hot. I could feel my body shutting down.

I started to cry.

"This is not how it's supposed to end," I managed to say aloud.

My watchful friend said nothing, continuing to stare at me.

"SAY SOMETHING!" I shouted, as my chest fluttered in pain. I grabbed a fistful of my bloody pillow as painful streaks of lightning began to dance in front of me again. I'd never felt my heart beat so fast, it was on overdrive. Molten lava where my chest used to be. I could barely breath. I looked to the man still seated in the fog for comfort, for assurance. He didn't speak.

"There's so much I haven't said yet," I pleaded. "So much I haven't accomplished. Where have you been? Why won't you speak? I'm alone, I'm afraid. Why won't you help? I'm so sorry..."

This impotent archon just sat there, doing nothing as buckets of tears escaped down my cheeks.

The room would grow dark occasionally, and more blurry. But he stayed the same.
My immobile deity.
My mute savior.
My incapable hero.

"Just give me a chance to make things right," I cried out in pain, still faithful. The world went black.

That lonely Thursday morning, I died.

I awoke Saturday, face down in a puddle shame. I stood up to make sure it was real. I could barely walk. I hadn't eaten in almost a week at this point. Suffering from severe malnutrition, I smiled in relief as I walked to the bathroom and flushed away the remnants of my destructor.

As I left my sarcophagus that day, I looked at my reflection in the mirror where the fog had hovered. A final, lone tear made its way down my face.

"Thank you," I said unnecessarily, as I shut the door behind me.

Good riddance old friend, I will miss you never again.

I went back home, and my parents once again took me in. The job offer was no longer on the table, as they hadn't been able to get in touch with me for two weeks straight.

I had lost everything.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Damn dude, that was epic. Glad you made it out alive.