Lost and Found

May 17, 2013 at 10:55 am (On the road again..., Sweet sticky things)

tulip“Nothing greys the hair quicker than compassion.” –Dr T, to me via text message.

The problem with free and easy relationships is they rarely stay that way. What starts as casual ends up serious. It turns from “That was fun, want to get something to eat?” to “Where the fuck you been?”

Rain and I aren’t quite that possessive, but when one of us goes off the radar for a few days, the other notices. Level of worry?

It depends upon the situation…

While I don’t hide the fact, I try not to belabor the point: Rain has opiate addiction issues. In all, it’s easier than living with an alcoholic, at least for me. (I don’t have the temptation to shoot up, and don’t freak out if I run out of pills.) There are a lot of similarities between the addictions to opiates and alcohol; particularly the comedown and withdrawal. Having gone through it with alcohol enough times, I have compassion for my girl when she’s not feeling right.

Alas, there’s only so much I can do. My budget is stretched thin, and I can’t kick her a few bucks here and there like I have been. Things will switch back around. The family is getting its paychecks right again, and the onus for housing won’t all be on me.

But that doesn’t help Rain. Not right here, right now.

So what can I do? Nothing. I hope, as she disappears into the night to “do what she has to do” that she comes home safe. She’s smart and way more streetwise than me, so I continue to have faith.

Yet I worry…

I’ve seen the despair and panic after she lost a dose of heroin one night. (Those pants will forever be remembered as the ones with the holy back pocket. The pocket she used, of course.) She retraced every step until she found it, half a block from where she scored. It’s a good thing it was a rainy night; only other junkies would know what it was, laying right there on the sidewalk at 10 PM. Listening to her cry, wailing “WHAT AM I GONNA DO…?” I began to hate strongly the substance that makes my baby feel better, yet makes her hurt so much.

When she stopped by work last Wednesday to say hi and give me a kiss, she set a bunch of quarters on the counter. I began turning them into dollar bills. “Wait. I’m trying to get quarters together. I left my phone in a guy’s car last night.”


My look must have said it all.

“I got a ride from a guy that works at the cafe. Probably sounds bad, me losing my phone in the back seat of a guy’s car after midnight, huh?”

Again, my look must have said it all. I kept quiet though, not really jealous. If she were up to something, I’d never know about it.

“So, I guess I will wait for you to call or text me, then.”

“It may be a few days. I’ll have to wait until I see him at the cafe. I’ll be around.”

And then she wasn’t.

My weekend is now Monday/Tuesday. I wasn’t too worried about Rain. I figured she was either out chasing the dragon, or, worst case scenario, curled up sweating, shaking and pooping herself at another compassionate junkie’s place. They have a strong inner support system, those Portland junkies. A lot of people I’ve had problems with at the store have given me a pass, simply because I’m with Rain. In turn, those awful people everyone complains about have some remarkably redeemable qualities.

I cruised the usual spots. I was kinda concerned; Clean & Safe mentioned someone jumping from subsidized housing. It was a visitor, at a place Rain has been staying when the shelter isn’t an option. I know Rain is a fighter who cherishes life more than anything; I refused to believe it could be her. It didn’t stop me from asking around.

I walked past the usual haunts, mirrored sunglasses scanning the faces. Rain, who is a stunningly beautiful woman, can take a ballcap and a hoodie and turn into Scatman Crothers in about ten seconds. She doesn’t dress up when she’s in survivor mode. Not much anyway.

I passed the spots, making sure her friends saw me looking. I’m well enough known that no one approached me for sales. “I can just look at ’em and know.” Rain says of other addicts. I don’t have that look.

During my final loop of Old Town, I had a brainstorm and stopped by the homeless cafe where she volunteers. The lady at the counter recognized me. “Hi, I’m looking for Rain. Have you seen her in the last few days?”

She smiled, then frowned. “Yes, I know her very well. We aren’t allowed to give out information about our volunteers, but we have a message board where you could leave her a note?” I got an okay vibe; if Rain had been the jumper it would have shown in her face.

I looked at the message board, and then for a piece of paper. I saw an empty pack of Camels on the sidewalk. I tore it in half and folded it over. I wrote Rain’s name in big letters. Inside I wrote, “Innie, Outie misses you. <3" I tacked it to the board near the corresponding last-name letter, and left. She can't say I didn't try.

An hour later, my phone rang. It was not a number I knew. "Hello?"

"Hey babe, got your note. I was out looking for you! Went to all three stores, had to call your sister to get your number because my phone is gone, you know…"

I was riding the bus toward home, so I kept conversation close to the vest. She'd been staying at the shelter, sick because she had no money. But she was feeling better, and would come see me at work. My worries subsided, I could go back to ignoring her for another week.

But of course, I won't.

Swearingen poseSo, when 10:30 rolled around the other night, as I stood in front of the Nightclub Store striking the Swearingen pose, I saw a familiar walk. As my gaze rose from her hips to her eyes, I knew who it was. I grinned ear-to-ear, and so did Rain.

An old girlfriend once told me she liked showing up unannounced, because the look of happiness on my face when I saw her was better than any compliment I could come up with. (And I'm a wordy motherfucker.) I must have given Rain one of those looks, because she began puddling up.

"Hold me, fucker." She latched onto me and wouldn't let go until a lady walked up and coughed, trying to get us to move so she could get into the store. "Stop making me cry," Rain said. She kissed me, not a Hollywood kiss that doesn't smear the lipstick, this was a full-on right-on-the-lips smacker. "I love you, Outie. I gotta get back inside, I just had to come see you for a minute." She dabbed at tears as she scurried back to the shelter. I kinda hoped she didn't make it. I got a nice single bed that could handle some overcrowding.

Every time I think I've had all I can stand and can't stand no more, she will walk up, rip my heart out of my chest, take a bite out of it like an apple, and stick it back in. And no matter how much irritation, fighting or miscommunications we encounter, I take one look at her beautiful smile and lose all my backbone.

Love hurts, but sometimes it’s a good hurt…

1 Comment

  1. Jeff said,

    “C” Please e-mail me as I changed computer’s and lost your address.
    I have something to share with you.

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