I’m sitting here still stoned from the night before. I eventually gave up and smoked up the rest of the haze I had been saving, and then another hash-infused joint. Standing outside on the corner, smoking under a streetlamp, dog walkers and street people, and the boys on the corner not even existing in the bubble I live in, I really didn’t know what else to do.
There will, of course, be hell to pay eventually. This bliss of living quietly with my Boy can’t last, of course. I didn’t get a fix, I got a vacation. It was a lovely one. I liked being here. I have a garden on my window seat, with an orchid and some cacti, and a crazy spider plant that spits out pups. The real world is calling, not this glimpse into a stable and quiet one where I can be with my child and he has a chance at life. Not the world where me and him sit watching silly movies and giggling on the sofa, or he sits and plays the guitar for me, and makes me cups of tea and tells me he loves me. That reassurance that he feels that I “did good.” No. I thought I had managed to leave the trouble far behind me, but that was never going to be allowed. The Boy tells me he loves me every single day. He tells me that I am the best ma he ever could have wished for and that he is happy. There is nothing else I need from life, but I have to face facts. Our time is limited. It is looking unlikely that I will win the war.
I am swimming against the tide and the tide is coming for me, my friends. You see there are people out there who don’t ever listen. They never pay attention, and when they do all they spout is red hat bitterness that boils down to ‘You should never have come to the USA, why did you come here? I would get nothing if I went to your country.’ It is inappropriate but not unexpected. Why am I even surprised? Why does it hurt so much? It hurts because now I feel eminently unsafe. It is not safe when you know how someone feels who knows enough about you, because they work on your case, to do real damage.
Anyone who knows my story has the chance to say what they think. I accept there are people who think I should have done things differently. Some of them are other Hague mothers. I don’t judge their stories or actions, so why do they think they have the right to harshly judge mine? Because I didn’t play by a book that was set up for me to only have one negative outcome? People, I am not playing the game until I am forced to, and if that happens, ok. Let’s go then! Let’s fucking do it…and I will lose. I will always lose. That is the way this is set up: the abused woman loses, the man wins. The child are separated from the non-abusive parent who is then victimized.
All the Lou Reed and Miles Davis in the world will not make me feel better. All the tea in China and weed in California will not soothe. All the time in the world never heals some wounds. My son is the last fragment I have left of my happiness, and if I lose him too, I’m done. I’m out. I’m finished. It would destroy me.
I’m not giving up. I am just seeing the hint of a possibility of the life-equivalent of slamming into the big truck on a Rocky Mountain pass at 100 mph. My ego is hanging limp. I’m trying to boost it with Warren Zevon and vast amounts of thc, but I can barely raise my head. If I fuck up and can’t keep my Boy, and fail at this grand play for safety and happiness, then I have let him down horribly. He won’t see it that way, but I will.
I keep looking round and seeing my stuff in boxes, and taken to some storage place while I go sleep in a congregate shelter or in a fucking tent again. I’m too fucking old and besides, I won’t let the Boy go through it. He needs to go continue to go to high school. He is doing so well, scoring well above his classmates and already finishing the third semester of some courses, very early indeed. I am not dragging him onto the streets. If I can’t go this, then he will have to go elsewhere. Foster care I suppose. And he will hate me. And he will suffer. And I will have let him down. And I will have lost. But you know what, that is ok. I never did truly expect to win, anyhow.
If you are talking to an undocumented person, do me a favor, save your ‘go backs’ and your ‘shouldn’t have come heres’ and your ‘why didn’t you do something else, something other than here’ and ‘your country would not help me if I went theres’ and pour them out on me instead. You see I am used to the abuse. I am scarred with callouses and built up a healthy resistance. Someone softer than me would have broken into a million pieces.
I almost went and bought a bottle. I had my shoes on and my bag over my shoulder, grabbed my keys and walked out the door. I walked past those doomed boys on the corner and slowed slightly, then thought I haven’t lost him yet, I haven’t lost everyone and everything yet. Not quite. Don’t fuck it up before it has to go. Don’t make him hate you now. So I turned round, went to the weed store and bought a hash laced joint, and fired up John Prine and his Illegal Smile and made some popcorn. It ain’t over till the small dark haired lady sings “My Way”…and when I do I will be raising a middle finger at the world and lookin’ like Keith Richards on a good day.
I guess I will keep on fighting though all this, and wonder if the world will fall apart way before I do. To be frank, I struggle sometimes to summon up much affection for this spinning ball of inequity and injustice.