“This is a collect call from *** Correctional Facility. Press 0 to accept the charges,” a recorded voice intones in my ear.
I sigh, shift to another foot. I’m not even surprised anymore, not really. I press 0. It’s him, of course.
“Hey babe,” he says, “me and B. got popped out by his house. I’m in here for—“
“You have thirty seconds remaining,” the recorded voice interrupts. I know from experience that your one phone call is only a minute long.
“I love you,” he says in a rush, and I whisper back that I love him too. The call gets cut off.
The next day I read the police report online. Suspended license, drug paraphernalia, cocaine, Xanax and marijuana. The worst part is that he apparently told the police that it was MY car and that the toolbox where the drugs were found was MINE. The car is impounded, and I’m left having to explain to our seven year old why Dad isn’t coming home for a while. This isn’t the first time.
While he is in jail, he sends me a letter.
“….I guess you’ve already guessed it. I’m addicted-to everything and anything I can get my hands on. I don’t know how to stop. I’m so sorry….”
I guess I’ve known for a while, but I didn’t want to admit it. The nodding off, the short temper, the mysterious late night trips to “help a friend with a car” or some other BS excuse. We had lost three places to live from eviction, my son’s possessions carelessly thrown on the curb. He was used to Dad not being around that much, and when he was there he was sleeping or down in the basement. The lies that he told me became too much, too many to count. He lied about money, where he got it and mostly where it went. He stole from me, family members, his own son. I was constantly in fight or flight mode, because I never knew what was going to happen next.
But I didn’t want to give up on him. I knew that he was in there, the man that I married because he had the sweetest heart and kindest soul I ever came across. I told him that I would give him one last chance, though I had given him countless “last chances”. I told myself this was the last one.
He stayed in jail for a while. We talked on the phone, wrote letters. I could hear the drugs leaving his system by his voice; at first he was all stuffed up and grouchy, and it got better as the days went by. He attended drug programs offered by the facility he was in. He made promises and swore this was the last time, he would do better. He wanted to be there for our family.
He came home clean. He looked a thousand times better than he did when he went in; he had gained weight, his skin cleared up and he had a hint of his old smile. At first I couldn’t let my guard down at all. I was just waiting for the signs, promising myself that THIS time I would see it, I would know soon and be able to stop it. I handled all the finances and didn’t let him have access to any of the money. I didn’t trust him to drive my car or to take our son anywhere on his own. I had conditions for him; he had to clear up all his legal issues, had to get and hold a steady job, contribute to the bills, and above all, he HAD to stay clean.
It’s a year later and I’m happy to say that he’s kept every promise. I have my best friend back, my partner in crime. I look back at how I was living and can’t imagine how I ever got through it. But we made it, and I’m so happy that I stuck it out. I can’t wait to grow old with this new, sober husband of mine.
About the author: Devon writes at Little Bits of Pixie Dust.