My sister knocked on my door at 3:00 a.m. She seemed strung out on something, and she was bleeding and bruised. She had no place to stay. Jimmy kicked her out, beat her, told her he would kill her. I told her to go to the shelter, that I couldn’t let her stay with me because my apartment was partially subsidized with a Section 8 voucher, but she said she hated the shelter. She said it would just be for the night. My kids were asleep and it was a school night. I didn’t want to hear the drama from my sister and I didn’t want her to wake my kids. I was letting her sleep on the couch, but I was afraid her bleeding would stain the couch or the blanket, so I told her we needed to get her washed up. We went to the bathroom and I started to clean her up. It was hard because I’d taken Niquil because of a bad cold and I was really drowsy. She screamed in pain as I cleaned her cuts, and I yelled at her out of frustration.
The kids (ages 6 and 7) heard it all, and they dragged themselves into the bathroom. If one woke up, the other always did too, and it’s been like that ever since my youngest was a baby. My sister suddenly got excited to see them, as if it was Christmas Eve and not 3:00 in the morning on a school night. “Hey Sweeties! Give your aunt Casey a hug!” She held out her arms, forcing me to stop cleaning up her wounds for a minute.
“Casey, let them go back to bed. It’s a school night.”
“I know, but I miss them.” Then she starts thinking of her own kids, who are now in foster care, and starts crying. “And I miss my own babies too.”
“Yeah, I know Casey.”
The kids have trouble falling back asleep. I finally get Casey down on the couch at 3:30. I reset my alarm to give myself an extra 15 minutes of sleep before getting the kids up for school.
In the morning, I hit the snooze button one too many times and we rush like crazy to get the kids onto the school bus by 6:15. Casey is still awake on the couch, likely because of the meth—it can keep you awake even when you’re tired. She’s watching an infomercial but offers no help.
We race out the door to the bus, likely forgetting something. The bus is just closing its doors as we get out the front door of our apartment, but the driver sees us and waits. I say good-bye and go back into the house to realize what I’d forgotten—to give both kids their ADHD medication. Crap! The school’s going to be up my ass again, I think.
I try and talk with Casey, who’s still awake, about going to the shelter and getting help for her drug problem. I know how tough it is to get off drugs from personal experience. Casey and I used to do drugs together. My kids were in foster care for a while once as well, but I got them back. I got off drugs. But I know how hard it is to do so. I’m losing patience with Casey. I love her—we were each other’s only support growing up, when our step-dad was having his way with both of us while our mom worked 2nd shift. But she’s bringing me down now.
I can’t get anywhere with her. She’s too strung out. I just want to go back to bed. I can’t handle her drama, and I’m tired and not feeling well. I take some more Niquil to help me sleep through it all.
Just before noon, I wake up to a commotion. I hear Casey cussing someone out. I figure Jimmy’s come for her, and I run out to help. But when I get there, it’s the landlord. He tells me he’s giving me 30 days notice to get out, that I know I can’t have a druggie in the home due to my Section 8 voucher. I beg him to reconsider, but he’s made up his mind. My sister keeps yelling and I tell her to shut the fuck up.
I call my old social worker at Social Services to ask for help. While talking to her, I realize that she was the one who called the landlord, that someone must have called her for one reason or another to complain about me.