I hear my children screaming in the other room. What are they fighting about now, I wonder to myself. It could be something as serious as who gets to sit INSIDE the fort or something as insignificant as why did you move my shoe. As I check I them, I quickly adjust the blanket that drapes the tent like structure they have created by stringing together a robe, a blanket, and the corner of a bunk bed. I admire their creativity, although I have to take points off for the overall durability. I pat my son's head as I walk back to my spot on the couch.
The IKEA cover is slightly worn now. We switched it last year. Apparently, tan isn't a good color when you have cats and kids. Who knew? I had never bought a couch before. The only thing I knew about couches was dragging them up from the curb with the hope that they didn't have bed bugs or scabies. My parents had the nearly the exact same furniture my entire life. Ethan Allen furniture was accented by a la-Z- boy recliner. You knew you had reached the lower middle class when your family got a lazy boy to sit in front of the television. There, in the throne, the paterfamilias could sit and cheer their teams. College football was a staple on Saturday, the NFL on Sunday. In other words, I had an ordinary life. Just like my kids have now.
I dragged the la-Z-Boy up to my apartment. Well, Eric actually helped me drag it up. I had slowly been downgrading over the past two years. I started out with a few nice pieces of furniture and a room mate. Now, I was living in what amounted to a shooting gallery. I had embarrassed my parents again. This time, with a DUI. It was almost a rite of passage in my family to get arrested. It seemed like we all had done it, much to the dismay of my mother. Unlike my siblings, I was still experiencing the prolonged adolescence that started when I took those vicodin my senior year in high school. I was dragging a recliner up from the street, a perfect place to "nod and chill". There would be no football in my apartment, no trappings of success. I had no phone, no tv; just a radio, a few CDs, and a large metal trashcan to puke in that was left by the workmen who had prepped the apartment for a new renter. Next to Jane's Addiction, the Velvet Underground, and Motorhead was a paycheck stub that was gone before it hit the bank, the remnants were left at the bottom of a spoon.
If you would have told me I would have ended up a junkie at 21 years old, I would have thought you had lost your mind. I was the type of lady who didn't even want you to blow pot smoke in my direction at 15. I was voted "least likely to get laid" at my high school. I got a 31 on my ACT. I was going places in life, right? I have to remind myself. I push myself back into my chair and take a sip of my beer. Hell, I didn't even lose my virginity until I was 17. I was in love with a freckly ginger who carved "Tracey, I wanna be your dog" into his leg with a razor blade to prove he loved me. I guess he didn't. He dumped me a few months later. Everyone fucking leaves. You know the drill. I had so much to live for but I never wanted to live my life alone. The beer is starting to kick in, helping me keep the sick off.
Where am I going to night? How will I eat? How can I see my mother with these bruises on my arms. Exactly, I can't. I just can't do that to her. I will find something, anything. I will eat food left on tables at taco bell or find some left over pizza over when the bars close. Next time, I promise myself I won't spend all my money on my drugs. Next time, things are going to be different. Until the next time.