I arrived in this place with a plan. The idea was that I would get The Lady settled and go directly to Cali. Do not stay. Do not collect any dollars. The Lady and I had struck a deal, I'd come assist and she'd help with the flight to Cali. I anticipated staying a week at the most. The three weeks I'd spent helping her pack had already been a far cry from the four day limit I'd set long ago. The Lady and I had not spent this much time together since I'd left home at nineteen.
When people would ask why I never went home I would simply say, "I have my reasons". If I'm being honest, there was only one, addiction. I come from a long line of addicts. My father battled a crack addiction prior to his murder. My brother followed his lead and The Lady favored pills. My father's murder created a deep chasm. We kept throwing things into the pit, hoping that it would close. The family fabric had come apart at the seams.
The Lady decided on a disappearing act. She would fall asleep in plates of ice cream and pasta. She'd burn cigarette holes in all her sheets. I spent most evenings at attention. I slept in her bed and would watch her like a guard dog, waiting for any sign of fire or overdose. She spent most evenings slurring and telling me how ungrateful I was. My roots were rotting and I was wilting slowly. This would be the death of me. I ran fast and hard and I though I never looked back I remained salty.
I went on to pursue a degree in abuse and neglect. I attached myself to narcissists and angry birds. I fell in love with flesh wounds. Trauma was my addiction and need my drug of choice. As luck would have it, my sex and my skin afforded me an unlimited supply. I was high on hurt and I couldn't remember what carefree felt like. This would be the death of me. In an effort to save myself, I put the trauma pipe down. I hung up my mammie titties and let go of the things and the people who enabled me. I started to meditate and in that stillness I found myself blocked. There were doors and crawl spaces that wouldn't budge.
When I was a kid, I always felt it was my duty to protect the feelings of those around me. I never wanted anyone I loved to experience my deep loneliness. I never wanted them to feel as disregarded as I did. I wanted better for them. As such, I started hiding in plain sight. I hid behind smiles and I ducked behind grades. In fact, I got so adept at hiding that for a while I lost myself. Anger was unbecoming and my opinion held no weight, so, I locked my dissatisfaction away like a treasure. I lived my life through movies and books so I recognized the rescue mission, but I was a damsel with no knight.
Yesterday I woke up on alert. I knew we were out of trees and The Lady finds very little sober joy. When I opened the curtains and made a silly joke she didn't give the usual smile. She was sullen and removed. She was a teenager without a phone. I decided to take her out. She'd never been to a 3D film so we saw Avengers: Infinity War. When I asked her what she thought she said "Waste of fucking time. We need new writers. I liked the 3D though."
When we got home she unleashed an unholy bitchfit. Even the air seemed to set her off.
The Tramp: Why don't you have a drink?
The Lady: We don't have any limes.
The Tramp: We have lemon.
The Lady: I don't want that and I'm gonna get a mixer because I don't like to have to ask to have a drink and I like to drink the way I like to drink and I'm not like you.
I know that it's only a matter of time before she's offended by my face or my socks or my breathing. I change quickly and head to the gym. I need space and stillness and endorphins. I come back sweaty and happy. I smile at her and compliment the delicious dinner she's made. The Lady is drunk and pouting. She's making calls, trying to find someone who has trees. It's after 10pm.
I was posting to Medium when she tossed the keys at me and told me I was driving. "You're not doing anything anyway. Whatever it is ain't important." I remind her that I'm a writer and for me writing is important. I remind her that I'm sweaty and smelly. I remind her that I have a meeting first thing in the morning. She rolls her eyes, tells me I'm boring and grabs her keys but insists that I come with her. I huff and puff and follow her to the car. I know I should drive but I'm angry so I decide to let her drive and kill us and teach her a lesson.
We arrive safely and The Lady knocks timidly on the door. We are invited in and trees and liquor flow freely. The Lady is a pig in shit and I'm a funky sweat sock with quips. Two hours later, I drive home.
The Lady: That was fun. That's the kind of fun I like.
The Tramp: No shit.
The Lady has asked me to give her a year. To stay in this place and help her get established. She needs me. I close my eyes and I find myself getting high off my old supply. I step into her need and I begin to sink. Her anger adorns me like an heirloom. This will be the death of me. I prepare to run but I don't have another lap in me. I lay on the asphalt and await my rescue. In my stillness, I realize I am both the damsel and the knight. I meet her anger and I unleash my own. I lay out all the old patterns and I scratch out my name. The crawl spaces start to crack and the doors creak open. I hatch a plan.
I will take them one at a time and I will arm myself with patience and compassion. When I am on the precipice of regression and fear begins to rise and bubble like bile, I will take a deep breath, square my shoulders and say "Waste of fuckin time. We need new writers."