My blog is about the scenic, stressful, spectacular life (and everything screwy in between) of a
California girl turned expat transplanted to the land down under: North Queensland, Australia.

October 10, 2010

Day 10…on 10/10/10? Sweet.

Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn't know.

I thought about this question for about three seconds. Like I said in my last post, the people I have chosen to be a part of my life are still in my life, so it would be hard to say who I would need to let go-but someone I wish I didn’t know? That one’s easy. Smith.

I met Smith just before I turned 20. He was just barely 18 and full of hope and promise. I literally saw him from afar and was like, “oh my God, who is that?” His background was complicated: his father (who was actually his grandfather but adopted Smith when he was around 9) just recently passed away. He also grew up in a conservative Christian household: 12 years of Christian school, church four times a week, no sleeping over at other people’s houses, 8pm curfew, etc. I, on the other hand, had an eighteen-month-old, was a single mom from divorced parents and never, ever went to church (once Smith’s mom actually called me “Jezebel”). We hit it off instantly because he was sweet and pure and innocent, and after all the bad boys I had encountered over my life he was a breath of fresh air….but his mom was a pain in the freaking ass.

I would only be allowed over there when she was home, and even then it was on the outside of her property. That suited us just fine, because we were happy just being in each other’s company. About three months in, his mom went upstate for Thanksgiving and he had the house all to himself. I didn’t plan on staying the night, but I came over and watched movies with Smith in his room. I changed into some of his PJ pants for comfort. We fell asleep, on top of the blankets, fully clothed, and his mom had come back because she had forgotten something or whatever and freaked out. She threw Smith out, and my parents took pity on this sweet kid and let him stay at our house until he could get back on his feet. That was a huge mistake. The sweet taste of freedom after eighteen years of solitude and strictness had really made an impression on him.

Eventually we got our own studio apartment and he got a job at Rite-Aid. One day after a couple of months he comes home early in tears because he had gotten fired because his “ice cream scoops were too big and it was considered stealing”. I consoled him and helped him get a job at the photography place I worked at. I didn’t find out until later that my mom’s neighbour (who worked at Rite-Aid as a security guard) caught Smith taking packs of beer and leaving it outside on the loading dock for his “friends”. I didn’t believe it, and we moved on from it. After about six months in the studio we moved to a duplex, and shortly after Smith got fired from the photo place because of “unreliable transportation”. Okay, we’ll get you another job. Rinse and repeat. Also, he would answer ads in the paper about “make $500 a week! Ask me how!” and was convinced we could make all this money if we just bought computer software/a set of steak knives/a vacuum to sell door-to-door. Really?

During this time he opened up to me and gave me the full story on his family and his background, which could be an afterschool special. To try and keep him anonymous I won’t bring it all out in the open, but it was pretty bad. This only made me want to help him more. His mother wanted no part of him anymore (by the way it was his stepmom-his real mother was in prison for life), so grandma came to the rescue and helped out when we needed it (which, by this point, was all the time). I ended up having to file for bankruptcy at 22 because there was not enough money coming in. Smith was getting more and more distant: he would say he was going to a friends house to play video games for a few hours, and he would take my car. My grandfather was making car payments for me, and the one rule he had was “don’t let Smith drive that car”. Smith didn’t care, and would leave for hours and hours until I pretty much screamed at him to come home. Most days he would come home reeking of pot, which I told him from day one was a dealbreaker. He didn’t care. Not that he wasn’t a sweetheart, that’s just it: he treated me like a princess. He would pretty much do everything for me, and after the bankruptcy I became so sick I didn’t work for a year (the doctor later told me it was from extreme stress), and he made it unbelievably easy for me to sleep twenty hours a day and eat whatever I wanted. I put on forty pounds during that year.

Smith would get a job, then lose it, and it was always their fault, not his. He got a final warning from his teacher assistant job because one of the teachers was told by a student that Smith was outside smoking pot with the kids (“that teacher had it out for me”). He finally got fired when the computer he signed in to was flagged because someone was trying to access porn (“one of the kids was trying to get me in trouble”). Porn was another source of contention. He would set up profiles in adult websites and use my guy friend’s picture and write up a bogus “about me”, yet he was too stupid to hide the evidence-he used my computer! When I would confront him, he said it wasn’t a big deal, he just liked to “be someone else” sometimes. These scumbags would come to our house and just use him up and he never saw it. He would beg me to let him borrow my car to take a friend to a city hours and hours away because the friend “needed help”. One time a new guy came over and I swear to God, started casing the joint. He noticed I had two identical Paul Frank posters in the house, and within three minutes of me meeting him asked, “can I have one?” WTF?

One day, out of nowhere, I woke up and said, “I’m done”. I gave my landlord my notice and told my mom I was moving back in. Smith freaked out and was like, “where am I supposed to go? Why are you mad at me?”, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. He never took responsibility for his own actions. He never grew up. I told him let’s give it six months and see what happens. He moved in with his grandma, and when that six months was up he had already been in jail. A friend he was driving with got pulled over and the guy already had two strikes, so he begged Smith that if any weed was found, to say it was his, which he agreed to (who does that!?!). Turns out there was over an ounce of pot in the car and a scale, which is considered “intent to sell” and a felony.

Its now been six years since we split, and I have risen and grown, yet he is still sleeping on his grandmother’s couch trying to find a “get rich quick” job when he feels like working. We would catch up every once in a while (I almost felt like I had to make sure he was okay), and every time he would tell me I was the best thing he ever had, that we needed to give it another shot, blah blah blah (he even did this after I was married). He violated probation twice by smoking pot and failing the monthly drug tests, and did another stint in jail and another in rehab followed by a group home. The last time I spoke to him he told me he had a medical marijuana prescription (“my eyes hurt”), and apparently had some slipped discs in his back and was given the drug Dilaudid, an extremely powerful morphine-like painkiller (my mom had been given Dilaudid after having knee replacement surgery). It’s so strong that Smith was also given a bottle of Methadone just in case he ever wanted to get off of Dilaudid. So tell me why, when I mentioned to him our favourite band was coming to L.A., he was like “I’ll go with you!” My mom was in so much pain when the Dilaudid was prescribed to her she could barely walk, yet Smith can go to a rock concert? Give me a fu*king break.

So yeah, I wish I had never met him. He ripped apart so much of my twenties. I thought back then that love conquers all, but now I know better. I feel so sorry for him, and when I look back scratch my head on what I ever saw in him. Yes, everyone you meet throughout your life teaches you a lesson, but I think I would be just fine without all the shit he “taught” me.


  1. Well...let me take a stab at this one. Hmmm. Who does Mr Smith sound like? Guess what? you got in a relationship with a re-do of daddy. I know, I did the same thing. I married my mommy (that's over thank freaking God) on some level, its like you get a redo and this time you can get it right. Nope. I wonder if its because their pain is so familiar we can deal with it and not notice that its crap? Everyone around us is losing their minds because we don't have a clue and we don't even see it. Your dad was that sweet innocent geeky boy when we were growing up. Always a clumsy uncool loser. Our family wasn't in prison but did feature some serious loons in the wood pile. So, yep. You got away and that's good--tell me, did you have trouble dating nice normal sweet guys? Bad guys are so much more fun...I have trouble staying married to a wonderful good guy and I know for him its like living with a very creative and crazy cactus, but I'm so grateful he gets me so I'll keep working at getting it.
    love you, crazy auntie R.

  2. Its a shame that he turned out like he did. But the problems would have come out even if he hadn't of met you.


  3. sure his name wasn't Michael? God, this sounds like my son to a T. The more we gave him the more he took and wanted even more. Fortunately, you could walk away from him. It's hard being a parent. I know what Michael is capable of, how successful he has proven on jobs before, and how awesome of a personality he as on his good days. So sad. Loved this post.