Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Breaking (Up) Bad 8 - Part 2

This is the second and final part from the chapter How I Got Over Freddy, from my memoir His Dead Wife. Part one here. This is heavily redacted from the actual chapter.


By the time Freddy came home that night, I was hysterical.
"When were you going to tell me you didn't work at your father's chicken plant?"
"My father doesn't have a chicken plant."
"You fucking asshole! So where have you been and what did you do with all the money you took from me?”
“Well I had to eat and keep myself busy for the eight hours I walked around San Francisco every day.”

His tone implied a big "Duh."

"Did you at least call your parole officer?"
"Yeah, yeah, get off my back."

It's said that without denial, the human spirit would perish. That denial allows our brain and our heart a respite before they catch up with reality and are able to deal. Denial was, and would be, my emotional home for many, many years.

I didn't ask Freddy to pay back the money he stole from me and we didn’t discuss him getting another job. He was now home all day, or all night, but never both. He took money out of my wallet when I was in the shower or sleeping. I never asked him what he did with it or where he went when he disappeared. I was safely at home, 1737 Repudiation Road, Denial, California. USA.

One day Glamaruss called and in a moment of guilt, admitted that Freddy had been using again and was seeing another woman. I was furious at Glam for not telling me sooner, but it’s kind of useless being mad at a drag queen. You can tell them you’re angry and they’ll respond with, “Look honey, I’m over 35, HIV positive and the only person who ever loved me was my foster mom who was killed in a drive-by in Inglewood when I was twelve.”

I hung up and lit a cigarette, pacing the nine by twelve foot cell of my studio apartment like a caged cheetah. I had cut back on bennies and downers and replaced them with a new palliative, Marlboro reds in the flip top box. I called my ex-roommate Celeste. She didn’t like Freddy but she was the only person I trusted to tell me the truth.

“I should leave him, right?”
“You went to the prison?”
“I missed him.”
“What did you miss? The hitting or the peeing on you in our bathtub?”
“Oh God, you knew about that?”
“He used to brag about it when you weren’t home. ”
“Okay, can we just stick to the current facts, please?”
“Sure,” she said, “let’s see; he was in prison, you let him come live with you, he stole money out of your wallet, lied about having a job and was cheating on you with the woman he cheated on you with before. Is that current enough for you?”

All right, maybe Celeste wasn’t the only person I trusted to tell me the truth. Maybe I had other friends who would tell me the kind of truth I wanted to hear. But I didn’t and I knew it.

One day I got a call from Henley. He and I had spent hours on Stinson Beach dropping acid and listening to the Rolling Stones. He was rich and didn't have to work for a living and would die of AIDS in the late 1980's.

“Girl, your boy just broke into my apartment and stole my stereo and all my jewelry.” I rushed over to his house and Henley showed me the broken window in the dining room.
“How do you know it was Freddy?”
“I was home when he did it.”
“Well why the fuck didn’t you stop him, or call the cops?”
“Cause he’s a drug addict and I figured if he got it all, then he wouldn’t come back.”

That actually made sense to me. I went home and waited for Freddy. One day, two days. On the third morning he came home. I was chain smoking and drinking Nyquil since it was the only thing in the apartment that had alcohol in it. Unless you counted the almost empty bottle of Jack Daniels I had drained through a straw.

“Seriously, you’ve got to give Henley his shit back.”
“That queer’s rich; fuck him.”
“Freddy, I’m not kidding, he's one of my best friends. You have to give him his stuff back.”
“Fuck you.” And Freddy was out the door.

Then he started stealing from me when I was out. My passport, a 35 millimeter camera, an ivory cigarette holder and the lowest of all, the diamond ring that I had suspected belonged to his mother. And even though he was disappearing more and more, he must have been stalking me to know when I wasn’t home. When I did see him I asked if he was using again and he lied and said he wasn’t. Even though we weren’t having sex I still hadn’t made the leap from No Sex with Me equals Sex with Someone Else. After all, when he stopped hitting me, did I automatically assume he was hitting someone else?

I got fired from Nickel’s because they told me Freddy had broken in and stolen from them. They didn’t need the extra burden of a salesgirl’s ex-con junkie plus their own heroin addiction to interfere with projected retail sales for the fall quarter.

I was sitting alone in my apartment one afternoon with the shades drawn and a cigarette dangling out of the corner of my mouth. Suddenly I heard a horn honk. And continue honking and honking and honking. It was the Handwriting on the Wall Wagon and it was parked in my head.

As if in a trance, I went upstairs to Glamaruss’s. The front door was unlocked and I walked in. It was drag queen early, about 11:00 a.m., and it was quiet.

“Glamaruss?” I tiptoed through the living room, “Glam, are you here?”

I went to her bedroom and slowly pushed open the door. And there they were, Glamaruss and Freddy, spooning, sound asleep. I inched forward to get a better look and a floor board creaked. Glam stretched out an arm. I froze but she saw me. I don’t know which one of us looked more horrified.

The thing that pissed me off the most about the end of me and Freddy was not that he had lied, stolen my money or cheated on me but in the entire three years, he had never once spooned with me. And that? Hurt.

A week later I packed a suitcase and moved to Paris. Maybe they wouldn't have denial there.

And that’s how I got over Freddy.

9 comments:

  1. Holy shit, Susie.

    Holy shit.

    Pearl

    p.s. Well written, by the way, and heart-breaking...

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  2. After I moved to Paris, Freddy and Glam called me there. At my mom's apartment, where I was living!! I have no idea how they got her phone number.

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  3. Wow.

    Worth staying up all night waiting for Part II.

    Much love.

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  4. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Ah, how we can let a man become an idol! (I don't mean in the American-Idol way, I mean in the 'in-place-of God' way.

    I've lived in Denial,NY, NJ and VT. Urban, suburban and rural.

    Same sh*t, different landscape.

    Thanks for sharing your travels,

    God bless you!

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  5. Paris is a mighty fine rehab.

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  6. And after all this great writing and this story, you've only just scratched the surface here, haven't you?

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  7. Slowly but surely, you're filling in the gaps of your life. You've talked about how a relationship to a user preceded your move to Paris, but I never knew all the details. Your life is so fascinating.

    Thank you so much for this story, Parts I & II. I could read your stuff all day, and if you ever do bind everything together into one book-type thing, I'd sure buy one.

    This is so well-told that I'm almost ready to forgive you the 500 character limit you imposed on everyone else. xoxo

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