pearls around the neck • 163
Puff knows not to crash down with Crack by combining it with alcohol and falling asleep early in the
morning at my side. I do not see it coming.
Now he is inviting me to try it. The first two times I am not high, I just can’t fall asleep.
I try again and…it is of to the races! Once you have that first high, oh yeah! I feel invincible. Almost
When I started Crack, I would only do it when I got my paycheck. That soon changed. Nobody
saw the change. It was a very well hidden secret for a very long time. Puff became a real addict, a
non-functioning addict. He was smoking up all the bills that had to be paid. I stopped paying the
mortgage… Oh, it all went down hill.
Then came that fight. Who cares about the reason? The words, the yelling, the screaming and the
hitting… me carrying my little Tiana. He kicked me and I kicked back. I then put my baby safe on the
front porch. She was so cute with her little pansies all buttoned up sitting all alone on the porch in
the middle of the night. I followed Puff in down the staircase to the basement. I pushed him, we fell
together, and he fell on me. The fight was brutal. My teenage cousin who lived with me on and off, she
threw me a knife and I stabbed him. I stabbed him in the back. Is it my Mom’s prediction coming true?
He ran, he was so drunk and high, he did not even feel the pain I guess. The police came as neighbors
saw my little baby on the porch all alone and heard that entire racket going on. It was the same
policeman that had come the first time. He says: “You actually married him?” We don’t talk about the
stabbing. Nobody will know. A week later, Puff is back!
Same routine. Now we are heavy on Crack. One morning, I want to wash and brush my teeth:
the water had been cut of. So I pick up the kids, drop them at the sitter and go to my Mom. I call
everybody and every social help organization. I want to save myself and save the kids. No bill has been
paid in months; I can’t live in my home no more.
I end up at the domestic violence shelter. And out of hundreds of women on the waiting list, they give
me an apartment. I have a roof over my head and I can live through the social aid system.
Puff is in Georgia. One of those weekends, I feel bored; I take the kids and drive to Georgia. We see
each other, we get high, I forget my apartment, my new work, my duties and I stay with him -high- for
two weeks. Oh yeah, the kids were there…
I drive back home after this episode: my Mom has packed all my belongings and tells me to leave.
Forever. I lost my job, of course, for not showing up in 14 days…
In 1998, I move to Georgia. No job but I do get a check for $300/$400 a week from the unemployment
benefits. And I’m pregnant of number 3. Puff works a stable job by then. He pressures me for an
abortion but I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it.
I’m in my addiction. It became a social skill. When all the bills were paid, I would drop the kids with
some of Puff’s family. We would all smoke crack, in a group. Bouncing of the walls, our hearts racing,