I was back at my favorite bar shooting pool. I was winning until a good looking woman walked in. She came to the juke box and asked, "Where do the quarters go in."

"It takes dollars. Here let me take care of it for you." and I put a dollar in for her. Then I said to her, "If I had the money, I would take you out on the town, but I don't so I won't." I went back to my game and lost.

She was sitting at the bar with a beer. I had enough to buy a beer so I went to her and bought her one and had a glass of water for myself.

Here name was Brenda and she said, "A guy is supposed to pick me up. It's a blind date. Why don't you give me your phone number in case it doesn't work out." I went home.

A half hour after I got home she called, " I had a drink with him and didn't like him so I had him take me home. I have some corned beef and cabbage if you are hungry."

My office was 5 blocks away and I lived in the upstairs above my office. I said, "I'll be there in a half an hour."

She asked, "Why so long?"

"I want to shave and clean up."

That was the wrong answer. She said, "If you aren't here in five minutes I will not open the door."

I was there in three minutes. She had a friend there as a chaperon. It was love at first site.

I saw her every day after that. Three days later we want to the office and the fire department was there. The front of the first floor, which was another business, burned. The front was going to be a resale shop and included the basement. There was a lot of junk in there. I had the back and upstairs. There was no damage to my part except smoke.

Brenda told me I could stay with her for 3 days until we could get rid of the smoke smell. That three days ended up being 6 months. Her daughter Cookie adopted me as her daddy. Before she was 2 she would say, "He is my daddy." The son Bay Bay was 16 and very troubled. Brenda was an alcoholic and crack addict. She took care of the rent, utilities and food. I took care of her crack and our beer.

One night she and her sister took cookie went out to get some more beer and crack. I was asleep and they took my car. When they came to an intersection the light was green. The Driver of the car coming from the other direction was being beat on by her boyfriend. She went into Brenda's lane and hit her car head on.

Someone was pounding on the door and yelling my name. It was Brenda's mother. She said, "Bay Bay called and Brenda was in an accident. I will take you there."

We got there and Brenda was being help up by the EMS technician. I ran towards her as they were putting her in the EMS truck. A cop tried to stop me and I stiff armed him and continued on. Her mother told him I was the man. They put Brenda, her sister, me holding Cookie and the driver of the other car in the EMS truck and took us to the hospital.

By the time we got to the hospital Brenda was out of it. Cookie was had a bump on the head. The sister had a broken nose and her lip was badly cut. The driver of the other car had a broken leg. The boyfriend was not hurt.

At the hospital the rest of Brenda's family showed up. Since Brenda could not give consent and there was not one that could I said I was Cookies father so they would treat her. After wards Social Services asked why her birth certificate had another father. I told them I lied so that she would be treated. That was all that was said about that.

In the emergency room I went back and forth between the Brenda and Cookie. Cookie was OK Brenda spent two weeks in the hospital and the sister was treated and released. The girl driving was treated and released. The boy friend got beat up by the brothers and her son. They dropped him off at the emergency entrance where he was treated and admitted..

I ended up going to the crack house for her crack. I got to know the dealers. Their bosses got to know me and when they got a new house going they took me there and introduced me to the dealers. They gave me the street name was the president.

In the beginning there were a lot of people coming over to do their crack. Cookie was going around with a contact high. They used to supply Brenda with her crack for the use of the house. I started to get rid of them. Some of her white friends would come and want me to buy theirs because they were afraid of the hood. If they wanted four rocks they had to pay for five. (One for my lady.)

The dealer would give me six for five. Four small and two big. I would get home and give her friends the four little ones and get rid of them. My lady would have the two big ones. One big problem was that if I got busted it would be for sale. In most cases I was only buying for my lady under the law I was selling it to her for room, board and sex.

One time I was leaving a crack house and I saw Narco coming down the street. I stayed until they were gone and talked with the dealer. Brenda was not too happy when I got back.

Another time when I left I picked up what I thought was a tail. After a few turns the went another way.

One place was busted five minutes after I left another one was firebombed just before I got there. I also just missed a drive by shooting.

If you are caught with drugs and you are not a user you must be a seller. I came close a few times and I was trying to get her to quit. She did not think she had a problem.

Brenda did not admit to herself that she had a problem. I told her that if she did not quit I would go back to 151 rum. She did not want that but she said she would not quit because she was not addicted. I bought a pint of 151. Before I got home I poured out half and filled it with water. I told her I was going to drink the it all now and from now on I was going to drink 151 with a Malt Liquor chaser. I drank the pint and a 40 ounce malt liquor. She did not quit.

Bay Bay adopted me too. He was 16 and still in the ninth grade. We would sit on the front porch a lot and try to figure out how we could get her to quit. He never knew his father and I was the first father figure he had.

He said, "Dad, I'm not a bad kid. I see my mother the way she is and I wonder why I should even try. I sell drugs. She has even bought drugs from me and then tells me not to sell them. I can make $1000 a week easily selling."

"You can die tomorrow too." I said, "I am trying to get her to quit. I buy it for her to keep her safe from getting hurt or getting busted. I kicked out the other addicts except for family. The only thing left is to leave."

The next night she came at Bay Bay with a broom stick and told him he had to be out in the morning. She then started a fight with me and told me to leave. I said goodbye and walked out. The next day I went back to get my stuff and Bay Bay was moving out.

She asked me, "Why is he leaving?"

"Because you told him to move out." I answered.

"No I didn't." She insisted.

"Yes, you did and you kicked me out too."

"Don't leave me, Lee." she pleaded.

"Sorry kid. When you quit the crack I may come back."

I was gone. The Whitney Houston song from The Body Guard came on the radio and I cried. I still love her but we can not be together.

Over 8 years I lived with Brenda 5 times. Soon I will fill in the blanks.

I had taken a job 50 miles north of the city. I moved about 5 miles north of where I worked. I had a call from Brenda. She wanted to get off of drugs and alcohol and she felt if she moved in with me she could quit. Since I loved her I let her move in with Cookie. We lived in a motel. The owner had 3 kids and the oldest was a girl Cookie's age.

I still had some clients in the city so I would go there on Saturdays and in the first half of the month a couple of weekdays.

Soon Brenda missed the city and wanted to spend weekends with her mother. I soon found out that she was doing drugs and drinking on the weekends. We found out that she was pregnant.

I said, "Brenda you have to stop drinking and smoking crack. If you don't the baby may be harmed."

She insisted, "I have quit."

She started spotting and having pain so we went to the hospital. They gave her an ultrasound and told us to come in on Fridays for the rest of the pregnancy. Two weeks later the ultrasound showed that the baby was no longer there. The doctor said at that time if the baby dies it disintegrates. He had to do a D&C to take out the placenta.

The doctor could not tell me if Brenda had been using drugs but he could tell me about the baby since I was on record as the father. The baby was a crack baby. He said that it was common when mothers were on crack and he also said a woman should wait 5 years to have a baby after they quit using. It takes 5 years to clear out the system.

She wanted to rent a house but we could not because she was spending too much money. She said that we would not have lost the baby if we would have gotten out of the motel.

One Thursday a friend of hers from the city came up. She wanted to go out with her and said she would be back by 11pm.

I said, "You can go but you have to take Cookie to someone else because you said that too many times and I would not see you until the next day. I have to get to work in the morning and I can not take a chance on stranded with Cookie."

She took Cookie to a friends house who had a girl Cookie's age.

Friday night she called me and asked me, "Please, come and get me?"

I said, "You got yourself down there. You can get yourself back."

She asked, "Where is Cookie?"

I answered, "She is with Denise and she is pissed. She will keep her until you get back but I don't think she will babysit again. If you go out again take Cookie with you and if you don't come back when you say you will stay there and I will drop your things off at your mother's."

Saturday she called and said, "We stopped at a bar to go to the bathroom and some guys beat me up. Mary left me. Please pick me up."

One thing she did not realize is that I know everyone she knows and her family thinks of me as a part of the family. I can find out anything about her to this day from them. I picked her up and she repeated her story. I told her that I knew that Mary beat her up and that she was having an affair with her. She denied it.

I would take her and Cookie to the city Saturday morning and see my clients. I would pick her up and she would be high. When she was high she argued and picked fights. We would argue all the way home.

Mary came back up and got a room. I told Brenda that she and Cookie could stay with her. Mary went back after two weeks and Brenda wanted to stay with me again. I would not let her so her mother came and took her back to the city.

When Brenda got back to the city she rented a house down the street from where she was before and Mary moved in. Mary would beat her and one time tried to put lye down the throat. A nephew found out and when Mary came out he beat her up and almost killed her. The neighbors were all out watching and she was told that is she beat on Brenda again that she was going to get beat up worse and all of the neighbors would sweat she fell. She left.

About two years later when I was back in the city Brenda had a stroke (one month after her 40thbirthday) I told her that it was the best thing for her because it made her quit using drugs and alcohol. I slept on her Lazyboy chair and helped her out for a while. A month later she had another stroke and quit smoking cigarettes. Now I am happy to say that she is doing well. She is getting around with a cane. She has to relearn how to drive using her left foot I guess.

She called me and said she was getting married but she wanted me. I told her that I will always be her friend and whenever she needs me I will be available for her but marriage is out. I could never trust her. Every time she was late I would think she was back on drugs. I would always in the back of my mind blame her for the loss of our baby.

© Copyright 2001 Lee W. Gaylord

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