I have done maybe a gram of speed today. I am laying behind my shopping chart on my blankets in a dirty parking garage on Sutter street, San Francisco. 25 years old, hopeless and homeless. It’s been raining recently and the rain comes in the garage and homeless kids sleep around the puddles if they sleep at all. It is safer to travel in packs when you are young and on the street. I am older but I am only a minor threat. I will take your drugs but I won’t rape you in your sleep so that makes me a companion worth having. I thought I was doing well for awhile. I had a little job at a store. I would clean up and park my shopping cart in back. But, here I am again. I am laying on my side, in my clothes.
I have shot maybe and gram of that grey stinking speed and I am still not fucking high because no amount of drugs can hide the fact that that muther fucker may come back to terrorize me at any minute. He has already beaten me, broken my nose. He held me hostage with a knife behind the movie theater. I was wearing a cotton nightgown because it was hot outside. I never met a homeless woman like me. It was like I never even realized that the world takes place indoors and I was in some state of limbo where demons had access to me 24/7 in the toilet of an alley I called my home. No amount of wool blanket cardboard, or carts with nice wheels could move me into reality as long as I injected powder depression straight to my body I was suffocating with utter neglect. I was about 119 pounds at this time. Why would any man want to fight with me when I had already surrendered to my fate? I had given up on the dream and the shadows ran into on ear and out the other.-
I can’t remember if it was 95 or 96. But, Believe it or not, this story has a happy ending if you call violence happy. The violence wasn’t directed at me for once. It was directed at my tormentor and a hero emerged from the alley. On that day, at that very moment, in the rain, laying on my side, a dark knight in shining flannel emerged. “Tracey, who did this to you.” He knew (and I knew) that no one was doing anything to me at that moment. It was the collective done, the heavy sadness that is an injustice so great that people poison themselves with drain-o and red phophorus to escape into broken dreams.
When I met Him, I wasn’t expecting much so I didn’t get it. He wasn’t my type. He had a car, manners, he was old- much older than he actually was at the time. I would have guess prison, I would have never guessed murderer although he did wear that off-the-yard cologne. He had dark brown eyes that bounced around like fireflies escaping destiny on a dark night. He broke into my life like he broke into cars. He smashed the window, took what he could get, and left me to pick up the shattered pieces. I don’t think I even loved him unless fear is love. Although, if a dog fears you, I don’t think they really love you because they are still waiting for an opportunity to run out the door. I am sure when I was with him, I had that same far-away look. I was waiting for the door to open on my opaque opportunity for escape.
On our second date, he broke down my door because I wouldn’t open it for him. I realized at that moment that there would be no rest until this ended. Between the broke noses, the humiliation, the isolation, and lack of privacy I see the real way to torture someone who thinks they are above this treatment. I had an invisible leash and a head full of messages telling me I could never, ever leave. I thought I was stronger than this, I told myself. I escaped back into heroin but even she couldn’t kill the pain anymore.
A year later was when my messenger arrived with a message of hope. “Who did this to you?” I gave his name, rank, and serial number. If he thought he was some kind of street soldier, he would have to deal with my friend the quiet assassin. I am not sure why exactly John took up my cause. It wasn’t for sex because we never slept together. It wasn’t for money because I didn’t have any that didn’t go in my arm. It wasn’t for revenge because he has never met HIM. To this day, I would like to believe he took on my lost cause because it was the right thing to do for me. He promised me that day he would find HIM and he would take care of it. And, he did.