growing up and dealing with drug related issues from family members can be one of your worst nightmares. It can hit you mentally and physically, and no one should go through this experience especially as a kid. this is my story.

When I dream or have nightmares, I still find myself there. My house was the one

about halfway down the street with the big mulberry tree. I am forever trapped

within its cracked white walls which were filled with roach eggs and an underbelly

beneath the house crawlspace which was shared with all the rats. The berries from

outside were tracked in by those who frequented our home, leaving stains in the

70’s shag carpet that over time looked like they were part of the pattern. In my

room, with my door closed, I was never afraid. I had a nail that was driven halfway

through the door frame which was then bent in the shape of an “L.” I could twist the

nail from side to side as a way of locking it. I thought I was a genius when I came

up with that. It kept out the crazy people that frequented and lived in my home.

Most of the crazy people were my family. The only one that was sane in my young

eyes was mama.


My room was right next to the bathroom where they would smoke crack.

“When I was between the ages of seven to thirteen, my father, my uncle, one of my

aunts, and multiple “family friends” would use that bathroom as their sanctuary.

Crack has a musky, sweet odor, one that could probably be mistaken for incense by

the layperson; I was able to identify this smell by the time I was nine. The back

wall of the closet in my room was thin and made up the other side of the bathroom

wall. There were once nails that had been hammered through this wall to hold up

various pictures over the years. After these pictures came down, along with the

nails, the holes remained. From these holes I was able to watch them.


The glass crack pipe was the popular choice of smoking, but some would fall

back on other various contraptions, I assume because they lost their pipe while on

one of their delusional rampages. Considering the depth of their drug-induced

insanity at times, the ingenuity always surprised me. It was like watching that old

television show MacGyver: an old soda can, a toilet paper roll with some tin foil,

you name it, give them the resources and they would make it into a crack pipe.

Desperation is an understatement when it comes to describing people who are

hooked on crack. Some of their makeshift pipes would get so hot they burned their

lips. So strange to watch it happen. They would react to the pain when the scorching

hot pipe touched their lips, but then go straight back to it for another hit. Once they

got that rock, it was going to get smoked.


Some acted stranger than others when they smoked crack. Most could try to

act normal as an attempt to not let mama know what they were doing. Mama and

my aunt Pat were the only ones that didn’t use. My father was by far the worst. At

baseline, my father was already paranoid, but when he was using, you knew it.

Over 300 pounds, pacing the floor, drenched in sweat, opening, and closing doors,

locking and unlocking windows. Even if I was in my room with the door closed, I

could tell what was going on by the frantic sounds of his footsteps throughout the

house. The weight of each step reverberated through the baseboards enough to wake

me from sleep, afraid there was an intruder that broke in or that we were being

raided by the police. On multiple occasions, I would try to keep him from going

outside when he was high. I wanted to protect myself from the embarrassment of the

neighborhood kids seeing him in his “cracked out” state. One time, when I was

around 9 years old, I thought I could use all my strength to keep that 300+ pound

man in the house by force, I obviously was mistaken.


I grabbed his arm by the elbow when he reached for the front door. I was met

with a quick glance through eyes that didn’t seem to recognize who I was. It wasn’t

my dad, but a monster who somehow stole my voice like in one of my nightmares

where I was unable to scream. My mouth opened, but the sound remained trapped in

my lungs making my chest feel like it was about to explode. I was thrown on the

couch, unable to even exhale. My muscles involuntarily tightened as I curled into a

ball, preparing to be hit. My father had never struck me, but everything in the

moment seemed as though this man with the empty unrecognizing eyes was not my

father. The crack was like rabies to his mind. I was facing Stephen King’s Cujo in

the form of a man.


Instead of feeling the impact of a fist, I felt his hands going down to my

waist. He started to burr his huge hand into my pockets. His fingers felt like

multiple little mice had entered my pocket and were looking for some other way to

escape. I didn’t initially understand what was happening, but my fear immediately

transformed into anger which broke my paralysis. My scream finally escaped as a

young boys shrill which could probably not be distinguished from that of a girls. He

was not phased by my screams. He pulled my front pockets inside out. His focus

then shifted as his eyes showed a feeling of hope. He picked at a white ball of lint

in my pocket and closely inspected it. He held me down with one hand while the

other raised the potential crack rock up to the light of the window in his field of

view. As I screamed helplessly on the couch, mama came from behind him,

swinging a frying pan, yelling at him to get out. I think she may have struck him at

least one time because he quickly retreated out the front door in the way that an

injured bear, shot by a hunter, would scurry off into the woods. A couple years

passed before seeing him again.

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