This is an unedited excerpt from memoir 2 I am working on, (a follow up of memoir 1, “The Taste of Cigarettes,” which will be published on Vine Leaves Press on May 22, 2018). This excerpt shows a sad sad moment of me calling my fifteen year old daughter from jail to say sorry for being arrested, because of another overdose.
I woke to a bright light mounted on a white ceiling and it buzzed almost soundlessly and stung my eyes. I was handcuffed to the silver railing of a hospital gurney. I started to scream and cry for my oldest daughter, Mayzee. At first nobody came. Nobody at all. No mom. No dad. No kids. No family member whatsoever. No friends. No ex-lovers. Not even Mister Grim and it made me cry even harder. I waited for Mister Grim’s levitation, a punishment from the silk of his or her black jurist’s robe—a silent monster every Junky falls in love with at some point—but only a strange woman’s faded facade hovered above me at the last second and waited for me to fall back asleep. And that is what I did, almost immediately then fell into a lonely, disconsolate slumber.
And all night long I woke up and each time I was in a different place with a different person who stood guard: the devoted sentry for the Junky they found turning blue in the driver’s seat of his girlfriend’s Honda Accord.
Then, in one of my awakenings I begged the female deputy for my phone call.
“Who do you need to call in your condition,” she had asked me.
I told her I needed to call my daughter.
“Your daughter?” she said with a ugly smirk.
“Yes my fifteen year old daughter.”
She cuffed my hands through the little window of the door and opened my cell then led me to the window where they allow prisoners to use the phone. I stood and waited for the phone when someone woke me out of my Nod—HEY!!—and handed me the phone and a calling card.
“No nodding or the call is over,” she said earnestly.
The answering machine came on. I didn’t leave a message and tried again. This time she answered.
“Mayz, h-hi, hon’y’s dad,” I slurred.
“Dad where are you?”
I started to cry. I couldn’t help it. I almost hung up but remembered I was in jail.
“Hon’y, I’m-so shory, I’m’n jail baby,” I cried some more.
There was a short silence as I waited for her response and she tried to decode my jumbled and mumbled speech and when she did she was her usual empathetic self.
“It’s okay dad,” she said with, still, a forlorn tone. “Are you okay? Can we bring you anything?”
“Oh, hon’y no but…but’hanks…I lov’you’m so shorry bab…baby.”
“I love you too dad.”
“Tell…m’other bab’I lov’her too…pleas’weety’m so’shorry.”
“I will dad. I know you are.”
The deputy cut in: “That’s enough phone hang it up!!” she said. “And there’s no way that’s your 15 year old daughter either,” she added under her breath.
I said goodbye through my sobs and told her a few more times I loved her, then, soaked in guilt, tears, the worst shame a father could ever endure, I handed the deputy the phone and slid down the wall on my back until I hit the cold cold floor and for the next few minutes I sat sad and quiet with my chin on my chest before two male deputies came and picked me off the floor then guided me back to my personal cell in the Costa Mesa City Jail.
These are the kinds of super raw pieces I have to share so I never forget what heroin really did to mine and my families, especially my kid’s, lives. Today, Mayzee and my other daughter’s relationship as well, are stronger than ever. They stuck by me through it all, understood I was sick, and without my two daughters (and God) I would never have been able to get off Junk. They give me so much purpose it’s ridiculous.
If you got this far, thank you so much for taking time to read this. I really appreciate and hope you got something from it.