Surface Lot

My husband is an addict. 

Click, flame lights, tinfoil crackles, sharp inhale, lungs fill, smoke billows, brain floods, neck goes limp, pupils constrict. A man sits alone in a car in a concrete parking garage. The dome light inside of the car paints shadows across his face. Deepening the dark curved grooves beneath his eyes; sunken and empty spheres reflecting dope. Across a small bridge extending over a tepid canal, up six floors, a woman is alone in her apartment, thinking of the man in the concrete garage. The seed is planted. 

My husband is an addict. 

“What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb.” -Valarie Kaur

The car sits still in its place, engine off. The parking garage is dank. It smells of stale cigarettes, the floors are wet with an unknown black film. Careful not to slip, concrete cracks skulls.  There are occasional small empty liquor bottles, nips we call them, crackling glass below feet, emptied plastic baggies scattered in the cramped stairwells. It is dark in the parking structure, except for the light buzzing from a cracked fluorescent bulb. It’s too cold for a moth to circle the light. You can’t escape winter’s death grip inside the concrete tomb. He inhales toxic smoke from black burnt foil. It’s shine extinguished. Lights out. The man hasn’t made it there yet. To the stairwell I mean. He remains, lifeless, pale, limp, in the car. Languishing in car cell. Ashen fingers have not yet left stains upon the door handle. Evidence. Not yet ready to escape the prison, perhaps not knowing freedom is possible. Meanwhile, the woman on the sixth floor dreams of emancipation. The root takes hold. 

My husband is an addict. 

“Sometimes we have to do the work even though we don’t yet see a glimmer on the horizon that it’s actually going to be possible”. -Angela Davis 

The work started long before recovery. As a seed planted in her mind. It’s roots planted in dark hopeful soil, thoughts sprouting tiny desire leaves, the plant her living, breathing, spoken, written expression. Yes, the work started long before surrender, before withdrawals, before detox, before treatment, before meetings. It is warm in the apartment on the sixth floor, but the woman’s heart remains frozen. Glowing screen upon bed, she writes. Her narrative flowing tear filled pages, a past long gone, a present out of control, an ambivalent future, its door open and closed.  The woman upstairs, the man alone in the car. He waits in his dark, dank cell. Meanwhile the woman writes. She writes, he uses. She hopes, he spirals. She connects, he isolates. She wishes, he despairs. She speaks, he snorts. She patiently writes, she patiently waits, she diligently works, in her light filled home overlooking city and river. The seed sprouts. 

My husband is an addict. 

“Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against a solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”-George Orwell

The two of them, traversing the canal are separated by mere feet in distance, lifetimes apart. Perhaps language shapes reality. A woman’s desires, translated into writing, are fulfilled in life, born from an equal mix of love and despair, they open journey’s door. From her hope filled pages, written word’s hands beckon to the man across metaphysical matter. He takes his last hit and leaves the car in prison parking, down dank stairwell, past graffiti sprayed walls where the woman’s words are tagged in color poems begging mercy. The man continues on his endless short journey through gritty garage, over the canal’s brown shallow water, ascending to sixth floor, where the woman waits. She, 2 cats, and a dog greet him when he arrives, arms, hearts, open, tail wagging.  The leaves grow. 

My husband is an addict. 

My husband has been in recovery from opioid addiction, heroin, oxy, and fentanyl mostly, for 154 days. Almost 6 months clean. I don’t know exactly how we got him into treatment, I’m not sure what I did right. Of course I know what I did wrong when he was using, but what I, he, we did to get here, to sobriety, I’m still not sure. I think my right moves started with writing. What I do know is there was a time when I didn’t think recovery was possible. It is. 

Where we live there are 2 parking options, the surface lot and the parking garage I just described where my husband used to get high when I was home. The surface lot costs an extra 40$ a month, it’s cleaner, and it’s much more conveniently located close to our apartment building. At one of my husband’s lowest points, when he wasn’t working, we couldn’t afford the surface lot. 

When we renewed our lease last week, we decided to pay the the extra money for surface lot parking. When we walked out to the car this past weekend, I told my husband:  “we are really moving up in the world”. You see in sobriety there are these moments when the big things and little things crash into each other in the most crazy and earth shattering ways: my husband’s life and parking in the surface lot. A reminder of what we have and what we must fight for, endlessly. For ourselves and very very importantly for others. The work started long before recovery, and while I’m unsure of what went right, I can tell you this, the work, while it may change, it never ends. 

Keep fighting the good fight, working it, and taking care of each other. Peace out there. 

Blizzard in Massachusetts March 2017
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14 thoughts on “Surface Lot

  1. Thank you again, for sharing this.
    I am going to have my hubs read this.
    And you are right…we must fight for this endlessly.
    I will fight for myself to stay sober.
    I am so lucky to have a good man by my side, who is also fighting for not only me, but us.
    Big Hugs,
    Wendy

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Fantastic and beautiful post – I echo what others have said here. Great analogy between the wanting and desiring – however way that shows up. Drugs aren’t in my story, but I can relate to the dank parking lots of the world. In all manners.

    Please keep up the writing. You’ve got it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Paul. Recovery has its duality, the light and the dark. I find myself still returning to those dark places in my memory, trying to process without holding on too much. Once again a fine balancing act. Thank you again for your supportive comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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