I am a liar, as far back as I can remember I have been a liar. You have to understand, a liar of my caliber has been lying for so long that he lives in full flight from reality. I am putting this on paper to find the truth.
The inner-city offers very little in the way of role models so you end up coping with life using the tools available to you in the street. I found the spike.
My mom is a junky. I don’t say that out of bitterness, she just is. She stands about 5′ foot tall with brown skin and big brown eyes that hold the suffering only a female junky can know. She gave birth to me when she was sixteen years old. Soon after, she got a tattoo of two hearts connected on her back that symbolized her and I. We grew up together, as far as I could tell. Her development was arrested and mine was to be stunted.
One time my mom and I were at my grandparents’ house where I was living. She was visiting and we were alone. Somehow she had disappeared then reappeared and went into the bathroom. I was laying on the bed, on my belly, my face as close to the TV as I could get it. This was a treat for me – papa did not allow TV on the weekdays. For some reason it was a sin and I would go to hell for it. I lay on my belly watching Gomer Pyle in black and white not because Gomer Pyle was in black and white but because my TV was black and white. Out of nowhere, I heard my mom cry out for me. I sprang to my feet and ran to her. She sat on the toilet, her small frame at odds with the world. To this day I can remember the moment with clarity, partly because I maintained an overwhelming state of panic as a small boy and in that state images are easily seared onto the mind’s eye. Her body was surrounded by a gray aura that separated her from the pastel pink and baby blue bubble bath bottles, bathmats and towels of my grandmother’s bathroom. She held an old rubber tie in her mouth and a broken off syringe in her arm. Gritting her teeth together to hold the tourniquet, a tear rolling down her face, she whispered “help me.” I felt so sorry for her. She said “push it in”, as she looked at the half cracked syringe held together by rubber bands. I pushed the broken-off plunger into the spike until it was done. She opened her mouth to release the tie. It snapped, hitting me on the arm. She fell to her knees and the syringe flew out of her arm and hit the floor. She looked up at me to tell me to get out but I was already backing up and closing the door. I went back to the bed and to the TV. Instead of dread, I felt that she had let me into her world to know the woman I longed for so much. Soon she came into the room and spooned me. I was so happy to have connected with her on her level and then to be near her. For a moment in time I felt her love and we fell asleep together.