So my college boyfriend. I didn’t love him, but he was fun. (And boy did he loooooove me … he must have, because why else would he get so jealous about me talking to other guys, or having had previous boyfriends, or wanting to spend time with my friends and family instead of him? And why else would he say he would kill himself if I ever left him? You can see where this is going, I’m sure, but I couldn’t.) And boy did he love his mind-altering substances. You name it, he’s smoke/sniff/swallow it. (No injecting up to that point, but that was probably mostly from lack of opportunity.) And whatever the substance du jour, he would do the mostest of anybody. I once counted 36 shots of tequila in one evening.
My college was not a party school. At my school, the girls were anorexic (no, not me!) and the boys were premed, and there was a paucity of peddlers of mind-altering wares. But my boyfriend came from the inner city, and he had connections. He had the connections and the appetite, but not the cash. Hence a brilliant plan to provide a much-needed service to his fellow students was hatched.
It started small—a little vial of white powder brought from home. Sold briskly, with enough left over for some nice parties. Another couple vials. Then another. Pretty soon there were nightly scratchings at the door from desperate souls looking for a little more, a little more, a little more … and yet there was less and less as more and more flew up my boyfriend’s nose. (I was lucky, myself. I found it to be about equivalent to very, very expensive coffee. I’m lacking some receptor, I suppose.) He pretty quickly tapped out his sources from home.
In the meantime, I apparently hadn’t read enough women’s magazines, because I missed the article on 20 Ways to Recognize a Potential Abuser, You Dumbass. I developed a headache that lasted for a solid month, yet somehow failed to connect this to any problems in my personal life. I told you, I’m not smart that way.
The light finally went on for me was the day I unlocked the door and walked in on him and a actual armed, dreadlocked gang member standing in front of an actual balancing scale with actual heaps of white stuff. My boyfriend said something to the effect of my being ok, and I smiled weakly and pretended to fetch something and got the hell out.
Did I do the brave thing? No, I just hightailed it out of there and then dropped out of school for a year (which turned out to be an awesome thing to do, and I had enough AP credits to graduate in three years anyway). My ex did not in fact commit suicide when I left, nor, thank goodness, come after me. He miraculously escaped arrest, but did not escape ten years spent crawling around abandoned houses and, I think someone told me, losing an eye to some “accident.” He called me from a rehab once saying he was supposed to do the step of apologizing to those he’d hurt, but what he said was, “I don’t really remember most of what happened when we were together,” so I didn’t expect that attempt to take. (But from what I’ve gathered, he is now sober, has a job and a daughter and a wife, and things are good.)
- Read that article about 20 Ways to Recognize a Potential Abuser, You Dumbass.
- Don’t rely on me for relationship advice.
- Don’t use your own product.