As the Dust Settles: The Paltry Sum Blog

There are always days in my life where my stability, security and fragile sense of safety comes tumbling down around my ears. The problem is trust. I don’t trust easy, and when I am coaxed into trusting I am safe, it removes all vestiges of my psychological ability to withstand the inevitable disasters that lay round the corner in my world. I can’t trust I am ok. I can’t falsely believe I am safe. I cannot ever relax, because to do so is to let my guard down. To get comfortable is to die, or even worse, risk the Boy and my ability to stay with him. He is not old enough to manage without me. I will never be old enough to manage without him.

No more allowing myself to feel safe. Back on the hyper-vigilance horse. My brief vacation in the world of other people, with rent safely secured is over. I have to prepare myself for the possibility I will not be able to find anywhere cheap enough in August in order to be able to carry on staying with the Boy, even if I do go as far north as is feasible. It is not easy not being able to drive here. It is almost impossible to explain to those who live in countries where a car is a luxury, and a working public transportation system, that in this vast country of food deserts, where many people only have a fried chicken outlet in the local gas station, and a small general store with ten dollar cans of minestrone soup, otherwise the prospect of a two hour drive to the closest Walmart and Safeway combo is the only way you are going to feed yourselves. Outside of the major cities, there is no public transport – no buses, no train lines, no taxis…no nothing. Just vast swathes of nothing, a few houses and more nothing. Moving out of the City requires a car. Finding somewhere cheaper to rent, with grocery stores, a hospital somewhere near by and that is walkable that is not San Francisco or Los Angeles is not easy at all. Walkable with amenities and grocery stores equals high rent. The end.

The USA is so alien to the outside world. Our violence, our gun crime, our huge geographical spread with poor areas that have absolutely no grocery stores, no hospitals, no public transport and hours and hours walk to anything required to live, otherwise a car and a driver’s licence are the norm. Even in places like Klamath Falls, Medford and Redding California, or Modesto a car is needed to get around the City. In some places…dare I say most places, buses are rare if they exist at all, and are only in the middle of cities. San Francisco is livable because it is a modern city which is made to be walkable. Other cities are made to drive around. It is a hangover from the days America thought that the oil would last forever.

I might have found a solution – a large town, has affordable grocery stores, not the wildly overpriced and unstocked places that exist next to Dollar Generals that sell only soda, chips and frozen pizza. It is walkable, possibly perfect to bicycle around, has a hospital in the town for emergencies, and though I will be doing a lot of walking, it is possible to live without a car. Walkscores are a thing of beauty. Where I am has a walkscore of 99, in San Francisco. Where I am thinking of going to has a walkscore of 88 or so. It is cheaper, but once I narrowed it down to close enough to walk to things I would need to walk to in order to live, not in such a bad part of town that I would be jumping into danger and cockroach motel status, and not a scam the price rose slightly. Currently my rent is $2050 a month. It will rise again in August, no doubt. I expect it to be around $2100 to $2150, which is allowed under SF law. It could go higher. Looking at current rent prices I have one of the current cheapest places to live in the entire City. I expect when I go, this place will be relisted as at least $2700 a month. Where I am looking at I expect I can find somewhere around $1700 a month, but cannot promise that I can, and that is on the very cheapest end of things that are livable. I am incredibly worried, especially if inflation continues. It might almost be worth moving sooner to lock in the cheaper price. To say I am concerned is an understatement. I am convinced I am doomed.

Going out to a place that requires a car is not possible – I can’t drive because I can’t get a license due to my status, and I will not break the law any more than my being here has already done. I could find somewhere cheaper if I could drive, but I don’t, and that is that. I have absolutely no idea what to do.

I still have to find someone that will rent to an undocumented person, that will accept a co-signer to guarantee the rent and will allow us to move in. In short, my friends, I fear I am screwed.

From here I have to at least have a plan B, which in reality is probably a plan A. My options are returning to a very violent man who might kill me, but who is a legal US resident, who will sign my visa paperwork, and who has a house. Not one really want to do under any circumstances, but I am a runaway who is not free of him, who was not free to leave and I might be forced back there if I decide that staying with the Boy means I have to go back temporarily. I have the specter of the Hague over my head, which will also be resolved if I return. Realistically I would end up back in Japan at least after a while and this will have been for nothing. Well not nothing. I got time. I think I would already be dead if I stayed. The Boy has not been bullied by his old man for years and has grown up kind, not bitter. So not nothing. But I lost so much risking running. My friends sacrificed too. In the end perhaps I have done as much as I can do.

My other option is giving myself up, never seeing my child again and probably going to jail due to the Hague. In this scenario my Boy goes into care, is possibly returned to his father and I sit in a jail for up to 25 years. Nice. Don’t fancy that one, but in the end the Boy is what matters. I’ve had my miserable life and he has not. If going into care provides him with possibilities and opportunities then perhaps I have to say however much he loves me, then perhaps I need to take my own advice: if you love something, let it go. The only problem is these motherfuckers got my trust before and trashed it, destroying my life and heart in the process. Do I dare trust them with this kid? Probably not.

I could run again. Be homeless. Outside. Can’t do it to the kid. I could go back out there, pick up whatever chemical comfort finds its way to me, and slowly drift away, like Lou Reed once sang. If I do this, the Boy has to go to care. He already said he would rather go to care than to his father. He is terrified of him.

My friends, particularly my darling sister-of-my-heart have done so very much out of pure charity. They have given me this time, these years which have let me get my little boy to the stage of being a teenager, however, there is not infinite resources, and I understand this absolutely. We all do the best we can. Me included and I will never have the words to express how grateful I am to my Ruthie. She is a star and possibly an entire Angel and cute with it.

I have failed to make a career out of writing. It is impossible especially when undocumented and you can’t get fucking paid for doing stuff and can’t have a bank account and you get led on and let down by certain vile individuals who promise a career. I wish I could be writing for Rolling Stone, Pitchfork or Time Out. In another lifetime perhaps I would be. As it is, it was all too little too late on my part, but I tried. I am quite proud of this blog, it is looking good, I have a regular readership and I think I put out some interesting content. I am glad I did it.

I am going to have to take stock of where I am and what I am going to do from here on in and in all likelihood, I am not going to be able to give my readers a happy ending to my blog tales, but who knows? Not me. That is the beautiful thing about life, all that uncertainty is also all that possibility.

I miss my old friend today, the one who put me in a camper with two kids and drove me across the country. I miss my other kid. I miss everyone else I have lost. I am feeling like a child on fire with the hoses all pointed away from me. I am utterly lost. I don’t feel like getting up. I don’t feel like much at all. I feel ashamed and embarrassed and like a failure. This world is brutal. I haven’t seen my ‘husband’ – (he still wont divorce me. Eight years going on 9 without seeing him and he still refuses) in a long time. I am almost disgusted with myself at considering going back for a visa and a roof.

Almost. You see I have lost so much, to accept not seeing my Son again is incomprehensible. I really can’t face it. There is no future where I live to see grandbabies and have a normal life as an older person. I am not going to make that kind of stage in proceedings. I can see, taste and fear the day where I say to him for the last time, and say” “I love you. You are the best son a mother could ever wish you. I adore you. I’ve loved you from the second I saw you, from the moment you existed and I always will. I fought for you and I am ashamed to say I have lost. I let you down but I just couldn’t win. It was all too big, too much, too many people trying to destroy me. Forgive me. I love you. Be happy. Be safe. Do good things. Don’t forget me.” I had pushed the possibility of that day to one side. I had let myself forget it existed. I let myself live in a magical fairyland where it might all be alright in the end. It was reckless and foolish of me and now I will pay the price in tears. I would rather have the pain at a slow burn, than all at once like this. The feeling of letting down the Boy is too much to bear. I am distraught. But there it is; reality is staring me full in the face and I have to grab its big old moon face with two hands and kiss it full on the lips.

I won a few battles. I’ve had some good comrades, but it looks like the war was always too big a goal to aim for. All that’s left is to fall metaphorically on my sword and do what gives the Boy the best chance at being ok. I even have a table. What on earth am I going to do with a table when I have to leave all this safety behind? I am a perfect fool.

(If anyone wants to petition any of the big culture and music mags to give me a job and a visa….please do…hail mary pass time is upon us..)


      1. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        The authorities would not let me on a plane out of the USA without a passport. I don’t have one, and getting one is risky. Besides, my friend, I don’t speak the language, I don’t know anyone there, and I would just not be able to cope, but it is sweet of you to try and come up with a solution. I bet Brazil wouldn’t deport me though!

      2. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        It is beautiful. He is a romantic! The lyrics are cute, but let’s face it, love is a big ole ‘lie meant to make you blue” to steal someone Nazareth’s lyric! I believe in friendship, care and humanity. Everything else is…unrealistic. But he made me smile. Gorgeous voice!

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