Faithful Readers – I was awake most of last night thinking about the past and about the task of putting it in words. This morning my stomach hurts and I feel queasy. This is incredibly hard to do. This blog is just a small peek into the maelstrom that was my life back then and I can’t imagine how I’m going to feel when I get to that chapter in The Wailings. I have pushed myself away from my desk – come back – raked my hands through my hair – picked at my skin. If I appear to be struggling – I am. I try to block these memories most of the time because they are so hideous, and it is stressful and embarrassing knowing that I allowed this to happen. I will attempt to explain why I did as I go along.
Again – this is my small inadequate attempt at reaching out to others who have been, or are going through this. I do not have the words to describe how scared I am that he will find out. I know exactly what he would do.
I am still afraid of his anger.
I was 27 years old and I had never touched illegal drugs in my entire life. My ex had succumbed to the pleasures of many and had paid with the price of a fried brain. The bartender was 10 years older than me, and loved his ‘medicinal herbs’. He grew and smoked marijuana regularly. He also liked his hashish oil and LSD on occasion. I couldn’t see the attraction and was afraid of addiction. The bar where we worked was one of the hubs for dealing drugs. You could get anything you wanted in there, or you could ask me for a drink. Not only did the local Mafia run drugs but also the biker gangs that controlled the strippers.
I once wiped off a table of what I thought was spilled salt arranged in lovely little straight lines. The customers had wandered for a brief moment, and I came along (that good cleaning ethic instilled in me by my mother) and wiped down the whole table. What a hullabaloo that followed! Another time I inadvertently blew the cover of an undercover cop. I felt so bad – he had obviously been working on the drug bust for a long time.
One night I filled in for a sick bartender. We had a strict rule that ‘colors’ could not be worn inside the bar. That meant the biker gangs could not show attire that spelled out their names…like ‘The Coffin Wheelers’ etc. That night a biker gang had come in and taken over an entire section. The leader was huge, with massive arms, red hair covered with a bandanna, chains, hoops – the whole look wrapped up in one. I sent the trembling waitress over to inform them that they had to remove their colors or we couldn’t serve them – house rules. He sent back word that I could go f**k myself. I sent back word that they would have to leave if they weren’t going to take off their colors. He came up to the bar and started to harass me. I tried to remain calm and pressed myself up against the bar to hold myself up as my trembling legs were about to give me away. I again told him I wouldn’t serve them with their colors on. It was simple. He called me several unpleasant names and I began my reach across the bar for the telephone to call the police. He grabbed my wrist (I can still feel it-like iron) and looked me in the eyes. I looked back into something I didn’t want to see – and gave him my undivided attention. He told me that if I touched that phone it would be the last time I touched anything. I took a deep breath and told him I was just doing my job. The stare-down was intense. Surprisingly they left after throwing only a few chairs around. I went and stood in the walk-in cooler for a bit until my legs came back to life – all 110 lbs. of me.
I was defiant and tough on the outside, but inside I was a mess. At this point the divorce proceedings had not even started and my husband was in a psychiatric hospital and was so drugged he couldn’t speak. I visited once in a while out of sheer guilt. He knew I was moving on with someone else and I knew that my actions were part of the reason he was in there. So far the bartender was restricting his abuse to the bedroom and to words. My doctor sent me to a psychologist to try to help with the bleeding ulcers and the stress. I was trying to hold my life together, pay my mortgage and deal with two (sick) men in my life. My family lived on the other side of Canada and I was alone.
When I first went to the psychologist I was delighted that I had been sent to a woman. I thought that she would be able to understand what I was going through. I painted the bartender as a good man who was so loving and caring and generous. Granted he had gone through two wives, was on the alcohol wagon and did drugs to compensate – and oh yes – he had hit me a time or two. But I loved him. I couldn’t get enough of him. He was so wonderful. On the other hand I was incredibly stressed and suicidal. We had broken up and got back together every other day since the beach episode. The psychologist was taking a dislike to him and so I was taking a dislike to her. Here’s a little excerpt from my journal – “Today I thought about killing myself. But I didn’t. Just in case we get back together again.”
I was such a mess. The husband got out of the psychiatric hospital after a year and came into the bar to see me. I could barely look at him but the bartender wanted me to be friendly towards him as he was dealing drugs to make a living and the bartender needed a supplier. Or a dealer. So I tried, but the emotions it took in dealing with both of them almost drained me. I was a puppet, and the bartender jerked my strings with glee. One night during another sexual encounter, he stopped and lit a joint and held it to my lips and told me to inhale. I tried not to but he held my head with his arm around my neck and told me to inhale. So I did. He covered my nose and my lips so I couldn’t exhale until I thought I would burst, and then he let me go. He repeated that procedure until the joint was gone. I don’t recall what he did to me after that. What I do recall were the hallucinations I experienced for over 24 hours. I was terrified! He laughed at my helplessness and left me to fend for myself. He didn’t believe that marijuana would make anyone hallucinate, but that was the affect it had on me. He did that a second time and the results were the same and he didn’t make me do it after that.
One Saturday evening the bartender arrived at my house and was the epitome of love. He held me in his arms and caressed my hair. He kissed me with those long emotional kisses that make you melt. He told me he loved me and couldn’t live without me. I thought ‘At last! He finally loves me – he truly does.” When he took the little silver foil packet out of his pocket I didn’t understand what it was. He kept petting me, cooing, telling me how wonderful I was, how much he loved me. This was so different from the usual words of how much he hated me, how I instigated his anger, how ugly I was, how I didn’t treat him like a human being – that I would have done anything for him right then and there.
When he took out a little mirror and a razor blade I began to tremble, but he stroked my hair and kissed me and told me to trust him. He rolled up a $20.00 bill and snorted up a white line and then handed me the money. I played with the money until he took me by the hair and held me over the cocaine. I snorted. He did another line and gave me back the money and I did another. Again he took me by the hair, but this time he unzipped his pants and I pleasured him. Three lines each remained. We did another and headed for the bedroom. We just lay there – he was satisfied already – and we finished off those little white lines. I floated up around the ceiling somewhere and babbled away. The cocaine made him kind and loving, and was an incredible stimulant. He was suddenly the man I had wanted him to be for so long. I was hooked.