Thursday, July 26, 2007
Being back in PoDunk brings up memories...some good and some I would rather forget.
Seeing the hole in the ground where I used to live. A spacious 2 bedroom apartment but it had no windows or not even a fire escape plan. It was totally illegal but I could afford it and the landlord was ok.
My aunt used to live there but moved out and back to the reservation. She was only my neighbor for a short while.
Then I got new neighbors.
It was a couple. An Indian man and a white woman and their son who was the same age as my son Stephon. Their son's name was Shine. I never knew the man's name because he left her after she had been living there for a week.
Her name was Rhonda, she got a job working as maintenance for a prominent family business in town. Her son went to school up until his dad came and took him away.
Rhonda was depressed after that and started drinking again. She went to work drunk one day and was fired.
One day we had a horrible storm, I swear it was a tornado. I watched it from the doorway. The heavy brick building I was in made me feel safe so I watched as the light poles bent and I couldn't see anything across the street.
After the storm we had a blackout, which I don't know if ANYONE lived in a place with no windows, but having candles don't even help.
My kids and I sat in the stairwell. Soon Rhonda came out. We sat and talked and then she said she was going to the liquor store. She came back with a bottle of vodka and orange juice, no lights but the liquor store was open and busy she laughed about that.
We sat and visited and drank some screwdrivers. Soon she wasn't mixing it anymore. She was just drinking straight vodka from a glass.
She told me her whole life story in those 4 hours of darkness.
How HE made her move down here, uprooted her whole life only to leave her for a younger woman. How HE took their son away and placed him in foster care. How He broke her heart and now she was all alone.
She was going to get her life back together though, she swore she would.
When the lights came on, I went home feeling hopeless for her. I felt like her future was weak and waning.
I didn't want to feel like that though.
I remember days would go by and I wouldn't see her or any light from her apartment.
I would often check on her to see if she was ok.
Then I moved out and would see her occasionally at the store and such.
Then I moved to the reservation and never seen her again.
I overheard my EX-MIL's husband talking one day about "That was the apartment they found that lady in."
I felt myself take a deep breath. I knew.
So I asked.
She commited suicide in that apartment. No one checked on her until the landlord went to collect for rent.
She took a bunch of painkillers and washed them down with vodka.
I have nothing to say. I seen it coming. I seen her life flash before my eyes over candles and screwdrivers.
I knew it was going to happen and there was nothing I could do or did.
I think I met Rhonda so I could see how lucky I was in this lifetime for all that I had and have.