A Web Portal For Lesbians Of Color

Poetry & Fiction

Love Is Blind but Now I See
Shameal K. Nelson

I once read somewhere that LGBT people are more likely to use alcohol or illicit drugs than heterosexuals are. Apparently because of our sexual orientation we have more to be depressed about. The Source went on to say that addiction is something that an addict canít do without, something that is holding them captive.  At the time, I thought that statement was such a sad fact.  It never really dawned on me to care.  I thought to myself that I donít use drugs nor would I ever date someone that was crazy enough to use drugs.  I had no idea, that very thought would come back to bite me in the ass.

For over a year my friend Jamila kept trying to hook me up with a woman that she knew through her job.  I was not trying to hear it.  I had previously gotten out of a relationship with a woman who had taken me to hell and back.  Therefore, I had no intention of starting something new with anyone. However, Jamila can be very persuasive.  By persuasive I mean aggravating as hell!  Just to shut her up, I consented to call her friend.

The first time that I spoke with Kenya it was not a love connection.  I felt that she sounded unconcerned and way too aloof for me.  She told me that she had a meeting to attend and would call me later.  In my mind I was thinking ďwhatever!Ē At that point I didnít really care. I had done what I told Jamilia I would do. 

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from Kenya that very night.  We talked for what seemed like hours.  She appeared to be funny, smart, kind, plus she seemed to posses all the other qualities that I looked for in an ideal mate.  At the time I had been away from Atlanta for well over six months and I had no plans to move back.  I didnít want to give up my comfort zone.  But as our friendship grew, I began to contemplate the idea of moving back to Atlanta.  For the next few months, we spent all our spare time on the phone.  We talked so much; in fact I donít know when we had time to sleep.

Around the time that we started to discuss when we would meet, my father called and wanted me to come for a visit.  Because I would have to fly out of the Atlanta airport, I used that as a perfect opportunity to spend some ďin-personĒ time with Kenya.  When we finally stood face to face it felt so right.  The first time that we kissed, I could feel the earth move under my feet.  That small missing piece of the puzzle that I called my life had finally been put into its place.  We spent five wonderful days together.  When the time came for me to leave, I didnít want to go.  As much as I loved spending time with my parents, I wanted to be with Kenya more.  I boarded my plane with a heavy heart.

During my stay in Miami, we talked everyday, all day.  One night we stayed on the phone until well over two in the morning. When we finally did hang up, she called me back right away.  She told me that there was something that she wanted to say to me.  My heart stopped beating because I didnít know what she was going to say.  What she had to say was that she had fallen in love with me and she was afraid that I wouldnít feel the same about her.  I reassure her that I too felt the same.  That night was the first time that she would tell me that she loved me.  I went to sleep that night thinking that my life was finally coming together. 

Little did I know that that perfect fairy tale world that I had moved into was about to make me see and experience things that I never thought possible.

Kenya convinced me to move in with her. I told her that I didnít have a job there but she assured me that everything would work out just fine.  She said that she had a job and could take care of things until I found one.  I agreed.  I know that it seemed as if things were moving way too fast.  They were.  We were in love and we just had to be together. I packed my things, leaving my comfort zone and headed back to Atlanta. Off I went to the land of illusion and love.

I had not been there a whole month before ďTrue ColorsĒ reared its ugly head. I had been waiting on Kenya all day to come home.  She called and told me that she would be working late because a client of hers was in crisis.  Being the good girlfriend that I am, I waited up for her.  She came home after twelve midnight high as a kite.  I was so angry I could have broken her neck.  She was so high that my ranting and raving had no effect on her what so ever.  The next day when she was in her right frame of mind, we had a talk about it.  She assured me that it was not something that happens all of the time.  She also said that she didnít like me being upset with her.  Needless to say, I succumbed to her lies and charm.  We spent the whole day alternating between making love and taking naps.  Later that same night when I woke up, Kenya was gone.  Next to me was a note that simply said, ĒGone out to get more weed. Iíll be back.Ē  Needless to say I was livid to put it mildly.  Of course warning bells were sounding so loudly in my head, I thought I was in the bell tower at Notre Dame.  What was I to do? I wanted to walk away but my heart said no. Being in-love is something else!

After she came down off her high yet again we had another conversation about drug use. Stupid me believed her when she told me that it was not something that she did often.  She did it only when she had a very bad day.  Apparently those days would become quit frequent.  From that day forward, I would live on a bed of eggshells. 

Kenya even came home one night deciding she wanted to have the apartment all to her self. I packed up a few things and went to spend the night with Jamila and her partner ZoŽ. I was a wreck.  I could do nothing but cry.  They didnít try to pressure me or aggravate me.  They let me have my cry. Of course I knew that Jamila was pissed off but she said nothing. I also knew that once I became coherent, she would have plenty to say.  From the beginning Jamila said I should cut my losses and get the hell out right away.  To walk away while the relationship was still fairly new and not much was vested into it.  But something was vested in it.  My heart.  I loved Kenya from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.  I prayed and asked God to please heal her.  To deliver her from this awful addiction.  I now realize that God did hear my prayers but God also helps those who help themselves.  In the beginning Kenya did not want to help herself.  She enjoyed getting high. 

 In the beginning, it was a few dollars here and there but soon it grew to be much more.  A few dollars turned into half her check. Then nothing was getting paid.  At that point, I still did not have a job.  I was using the money that my parents were sending, with that we were able to eat at least.  Things started going on a downward spiral.  Her car broke down.  That was our only means of transportation.  Of course she didnít have the money to get it fixed because it had long been smoked up.  I pawned my computer to take care of that problem.  Then the lights got cut off.  Then the cable got cut off.  Then the gas got cut off.  Then her car got repossessed. Then we received an eviction notice, which gave us thirty days to vacate our apartment. All the while Iím screaming in my head, WHO IN THE HELL LEFT THE GATE OPEN?!Ē I sat down and drew up a budget.

She cried and cried all the while clinging to me for dear life begging me not to leave her because she needed me.  Because of course she didnít know what she would do without me.  I fell for that pack of lies hook line and sinker.  I stayed. Yes I fixed everything.  I borrowed money from my friends and my parents.  Stupid me handed her five hundred dollars.  Yes thatís right. Five hundred American dollars.  How was I supposed to know not to hand a drug addict five hundred dollars in cash?  She told me she was going to take care of everything.  I sat up all night waiting up for her.  When she finally did return she had smoked up three hundred dollars of the money.  How in the world do you smoke up three hundred dollars in one night? She spent the next three days high as a kite.

That was just a sample of things to come.  Each time I thought that things could only get better; they seemed to only get worse. I cried so much back then that I shouldnít have any tears left. After that first three-day binge, I took the first plane smokiní back to my parents.  I spent a miserable three weeks down in Miami.  Each phone call I received from Kenya became worse and worse.  Her resentment for me grew to bursting.  She was resentful because I was in the safe confines of my parentís home and she was living in hell.  She couldnít seem to realize that it was her fault that we were in the predicament that we were in.  She couldnít/wouldnít accept responsibility for her actions that led us to the place that we were at. She cried and cried, vowing that she was cleaning up her act. If only I would come home things were going to get better. She would do right by me. Of course I hopped on the next plane smokiní out of Miami to come back to another pile of crap.  When I walked out of the airport I could tell that she had been getting high the entire time that I was away. But let her tell it, she had been clean the whole time.

We had an all night session of talking and make up sex.  Of course there I was yet again situated on my throne in fairytale land preparing to rein over my kingdom.  The very next day, ďPotHeadĒ reared its ugly head yet again. I thought to myself, what is going on here? Iíve only been back one day and sheís smoking already. Thoughts began to creep in my head that maybe itís my fault that she does what she does. I tried to figure out ways to fix things. Nothing I did could fix anything.  We werenít in this new place a good month before things started poppin off.

Kenya had me right where she wanted me to be. In her control.  She controlled me through guilt. I was so far down in a ditch of guilty bullshit that no amount of maneuvering could pull me out.  She had my mind so twisted that I thought if I left something awful would happen. I couldnít have that on my heart. I had to stay and make sure things were taken care of.

I now realize that thatís what addicts do. They feed on a personís weakness and control them through guilt. I was so jacked up in the head that there were times that I couldnít even leave the house. I stayed in my for pajamas days at a time. My anxiety was at an all time high. I had to take two anxiety pills at once just for me to be able to function.  I emerged myself in books just to keep my mind going.  I read whole novels in one day.  When I could leave the house I would wander downtown in a fog. During one of Kenyaís binges, I planned my death. I figured if I went ahead and slit my wrist I would be dead before she came out of her stupor. Then I would be in peace.  I put the knife to my wrist getting ready to slice into my flesh but once again, God stepped in and intervened. The phone rang and I involuntarily answered.  It was my friend Tara. She said that something just made her call me.  She felt that I needed her. I did need her. A few days later, I told Kenya what I had planned to do. She couldnít do anything but hold me and cry. She stayed home from work for the first time not because she was high but because she wanted to make sure I was ok.

Donít get me wrong.  My relationship with Kenya was not all bad.  We did have some great times. We had tons of funny, wonderful, loving, sexy, sensual, memorable moments.  They were just too far and few in between.  If it werenít for her encouraged meant, I would not have gotten up the courage to get my poetry and short stories published.  I would still be writing my stories and poetry, too scared to let the world read what I have written.

Everyone could see that Kenyaís drug use was out of control but her. She thought that she was doing a pretty damn good job of hiding it.  Each time I tried to speak with her about it she always said that she had it under control.  She could stop whenever she wanted to. Her thing was that she was not like those ďREALĒ addicts out there.  She didnít really have a problem. I listened to her lies and tried to keep my anger to a minimum.  It didnít accure to me that things were really really serious until I got ready to do laundry and found my credit card in the pocket of her jeans.  I confronted her about it and she lied. Mind you, I would have given Kenya anything that she wanted.  If she needed my credit card all she had to do was ask and I would have given it to her.  Of course she didnít see what the big deal was.  

I was pissed because I had just put the cost of our electric bill on it to keep the lights from getting turned off.  That was the only thing that I had as a back up in case things went wrong. I was holding things together and still being treated like crap by her.  She showed the dog more love than she showed me. Her dog got a kiss and was shown affection every day.  I was lucky if I was shown any type of attention. There is one particular moment stands out in my mind.  Kenya was sitting on the sofa getting high when I went to her and asked her to spend some time with me. She said that she would after she finished smoking her weed. That was at 10 am in the morning.  When she finally finished smoking and decided to come to bed it was well after 3am the next morning. 

I guess you could say that that was the turning point for me. Iím thinking to myself, this woman would rather smoke weed than to spend time with me. What kind of crap is that? I started making plans that day to get the hell out of there. 

Of course we went through the same crap some more about her wanting help.  On many occasions she did try to stop cold turkey.  It never worked.  Stopping cold turkey always made her mean and surly.  After a while, that old itch always came back and she would start using again.  When I finally left she pretended to get help. Of course she had issues about me leaving. Apparently I didnít really love her for me not be there for her during her ďTIMEĒ of need. Whatever! We went back and forth for a few months. She was even attending narcotics anonymous meetings. I was so proud of her. I was starting to think that maybe we could work this out.

Of course addicts are the best liars.  Kenya was attending the meetings daily; she even received a chip for being clean for one week. That was all a lie. Yes, she was attending the meetings but she was leaving them going to get high.  What the point of going to the meetings? 

Through it all I continued to pray for her well being.  God intervened in the form of Kenyaís former pastor.  She came in and saved Kenya from being put out on the street.  Through her Pastorís help, Kenya was able to get off drugs.  She cleaned up her act and was starting to see the bigger picture.  She was finally clean and healthy.  Her mind became clear enough for her to reevaluate her life and what she wanted.  Because we were not able to spend Christmas together we decided that New Years would be the best choice.  It symbolized a new beginning for us.  A clean slate for us to start fresh from. She came down and spent three days with me. For the first time in our relationship she took care of me. I didnít have to pay for anything except the room that we stayed in. In fact, she even bought me a ring and proposed. I was overjoyed that things were finally coming together.  She kept saying that she had a lot to make up to me and she was ready to do it. 

During that time, there was not a day that went by that she and I didnít speak.  We even had lunch together everyday over the phone. As the old saying goes ignorance is bliss.  For some reason the phone calls stopped. There would days that I would not hear from her. I almost went out of my mind with worry. I didnít know what was going on.  When she finally would call she would say that she didnít call because she was so busy. How the hell can you go without calling your girlfriend for days or weeks even?  That made no sense to me.  I planned a trip up there one Saturday to see her. I spoke to her on a Thursday and she claimed she was all excited to see me. But, I didnít hear from her that Friday. We had already confirmed our plans of where we would meet up. I tried calling where she was staying and she was not there. I figured I would do a little shopping, go get a hotel room and chill until she called me. I went and got a room and as I pulled around to where my room was whose car should I see? Kenyas. It never crossed my mind that she would be there cheating on me. I instantly knew that she was getting high. I knocked on her door ready to open a can of whoop ass. My worst fears were confirmed. She was high as a kite. I was so hurt that I didnít know what to do. She claimed that this was the first time she had gotten high in months.  My point was that she knew I was coming so why go out and get high?  I knew she had been doing this all along. I was done. 

After I got back, my feelings were never the same. Soon after, she stopped calling me completely. We were still together in a sense but at the same time not together.  Itís been a few months now and I still have not heard from her.  I will be the first to admit that yes I am bitter. How the hell does she get off not calling me? All the things that I went through with her sorry ass and she has the nerve to not talk to me, how dare she? I guess it really does not matter anymore.  Even if she did call what is there left to say?  She made her choices and so have I.  I still canít help but to be saddened every time I think of her because I have learned some very important lessons. Kenya never truly loved me, she was only pretending. She didnít know how to love anyone not even herself. Now that I have removed my rose colored glasses I am able to see and understand that Kenya was smoking much more than weed.  It was something much more serious than that. My mother always tells me that there is a sucker born every minute. I guess Kenya found herself a new sucker.

Kenya and I went through so many ups and down with her addiction.  There are so many things that I went through that I canít even speak about it.  I do realize that an addict has to want help in order to receive it.  If they are not ready for it, they will continue to abuse drugs. I hope that one day someone who may be going through the same things that I went through, will read what I have written and have the courage to get out early.  Itís ok to love someone but love yourself more. Loving yourself more will give you the strength and courage to walk away.  It is true what they say, time does heal all wounds.