I was going to school at San Francisco State University and randomly met a guy at a club that ended up getting me a job at a brewery on Embarcadero. This is where I met my husband. While working there, I got to know J and we became friends and partied together. That place produced some wild parties and great friends. The entire group was like family. We played hard and we worked hard.
After about a year and a half, I began to notice that J was flirting with me and I flirted back, nothing serious. He would give me shoulder rubs and back massages, as he did for all the ladies that worked with us. He always brought me food when I was starving, as I was the epitome of the starving student. The food I snagged from work was about the only food I ate. The rest of my diet was based solely on the French Roast coffee and cigarettes. J took pity on me and fed me frequently.
One night, one of our managers told us about a party at a local strip club that he ran and was being bought out. He invited us all over for the party so we could drink all of the liquor we could handle. So we did. They were playing some rockin’ dance music and we had a great time. One of my best memories, really. I decided to get up and dance with the strippers (fully clothed) and was bustin’ a move. J comes and begins to dance with me. He kept up and complimented my every move. It was awesome and that’s when I felt a spark.
It took us a few months to get things together. He was flirting and messing around with other ladies and I with other men. When we officially began dating, the people we worked with were pretty shocked. They could not believe that this sweet guy was dating me. I was hard core about my work ethic and I lead my staff with a soft iron fist. I was firm and drunk (or high or both) most of the time. I always took the staff down to the parking garage to get high and smoke a little weed and they always returned the favor. Those were the days I didn’t have to pay for weed. It was plentiful. Still, people did not like the fact that we were dating. Some loved us both and cheered us on and those people are the ones that got us through.
We began living together after a year. We moved into a very tiny studio in the Civic Center district and did our best to survive in tight quarters. Shortly after, I graduated from college and quit the brewery. I figured it was time to get a big girl job and go back to the corporate grind. However, I could not find a job to save my life. A couple months into it, I had a suspicion I was pregnant. I had some serious mixed emotions about it. I did not have a job, I was broke and the guy, J, I just moved in with had a serious drug and drinking problem.
I was not aware that J had a drug problem. I was clueless. Everyone else that we worked with knew. He was the one that dealt the drugs to them. No one told me. If you weren’t on the coke train, you weren’t privy to the coke parties or who actually did coke. I was just a pot head. The stress that his drug and alcohol problem had on us living in tight quarters was pretty severe. Many nights, he didn’t come home. When he did come home, he was wasted beyond recognition and I was irritated and angry. He brought people home late at night while I was sleeping (in the same room). They drank more and partied more and thus caused more stress which turned into hardcore anger. When I finally confirmed my pregnancy, I told him immediately. We sat down and had a long talk. He was excited. He was going to have a child, something he always wanted. Me, on the other hand, I never wanted children. This was not something I was excited about. Especially given that the father was an addict. We talked more about the changes that needed to happen. If we were to have this child, he absolutely, 100% had to give up the drugs, alcohol and partying. He was going to be a daddy and daddy’s don’t do that. He needed to be responsible and grow up. He agreed and said he would work hard at it.
A week later, he fell. He went out after work, came home at 4:00am and was high on coke and drunk. My hurt and anger rocketed through the roof. We had a serious fight. I ended up on top of him, hitting him in the shoulder and trying to bean him in the balls. He didn’t feel he did anything wrong. Weeks went by and the behavior did not change.
One morning I woke up and I was so sick. I could not even get out of bed. I was vomiting and weak. J had not come home again. I called his cell phone, no answer. I called his family, they hadn’t a clue. They began searching for him. When they found him, they lectured him then sent him home. They were not happy with him. He ended up falling asleep at his dealer’s place around the corner. Apparently, he only wanted to answer the phone for his family and not for me. I took it as a sign that things were over and I needed to self-preserve.
I made a fateful decision not to keep the baby. I told J of my plans and feelings. He was incredibly upset and sad. He asked me to have it and just let him and his mother raise it. I turned him down. So, I traveled to Southern California to be with my mother and look into an abortion. Neither my family nor I were in a financial position to support a child and I needed to find a job and could not do that pregnant.
When I returned to San Francisco, I was sad. I wished things could’ve been different. J hated me. He was devastated with the decision I had made. I blamed him for the decision so I did not feel so bad. I did feel bad. I did not know what to do, I had never been in that position before. I am always careful. Maybe I should have taken responsibility for my mistake and raised a child. All that played in my head though, I am going to raise a child that I hate and resent and will leave me more broke than I am now, visualizing me abusing the kid and having it taken away from me and put into the system and visualizing me on welfare and wearing tattered clothes and living in a shelter. I saw my life being destroyed.
J considered it to be a selfish decision. It was. I did not care what he wanted. I stopped caring what he wanted. A few weeks later, I decided to move out and go back to Southern California. There were no jobs in NorCal. Within a month, I found a job and an apartment. I even took in an abandoned chihuahua mix and named her Emma. It was peaceful, but I missed J. I felt so incredibly guilty about what I had done to him and our unborn child. The decision to have an abortion has long lasting effects. It was not one I took lightly and it left it’s mark on me and J. To this day, he resents me for that decision. On many occasions, during our fights, he would call me a baby killer. I deserved it.
J and I started talking over the phone every night. He apologized profusely for helping to create the situation we were in right now. He had recently taken a second job as a bartender at a dive bar in the Tenderloin district. It was a horrible little place. They fed him all the beer he could drink, shots of liquor and more coke. One early morning, he called and told me about a “skirmish” they had at the bar. Apparently, a gangster had run into the bar, locked himself n a bathroom and would not come out. Shortly after, some other unsavory characters entered the bar looking for the guy and wielding guns. They shot up the bar and the bathroom before the police were called. No one was arrested and no one was seriously hurt. Some flying glass had cut J’s arm and he was pretty upset about it.
He decided that the incident was a sign. He needed to stop the lifestyle he was living and become a responsible adult. After a few weeks, I invited him to Southern California to live with me and to start fresh. We cared about one another. I did not feel that anyone would love me like he loved me. He was my only chance, as I saw it.
When I went to San Francisco to get him and his things, he proposed to me in front of his family. I reluctantly said yes. He gave me a huge rock that his aunt had specially made for me. His family was so happy. They saw me as his only chance to survive and thrive. They knew he would continue in a downward spiral without me. They were ecstatic. They were in favor of the marriage, even if I was a white girl that did not share their values.
After arriving at our new home, his withdrawals began. He laid in bed late most afternoons, sweating and depressed. I cuddled him when I got home, made him a hot meal and got through those rough times. It took two months for him to withdrawal completely. He would have a beer on occasion to stave off serious depression. I did not mind him having an occasional beer, as long as he did not overdo it. I always joined him. I liked beer too.
A friend from San Francisco had called J one day. She told him that our old friend and manager had also moved to Orange County. She gave him her contact info to see if she could help him get a job and get on his feet. He didn’t want to call her. So I did. We met up for drinks and talked about life and everything that was going on with us. She offered J a job. It was perfect. Right up his alley and right across the street from where we lived. We were set.
We were happy.