Some days are not so easy to relive. We bury things deep into the dark corners of our memory. We hide them far beyond the reaches of the light. But in this process of documenting my life through these blogs so that I may have a better understanding. I must reveal all my experience, good or bad.
Imperial beach was my darkness hour. If I could be once again at that fork in the road, I would have gone in a different direction. Earlier I said that I had only two regrets in my life. One was not leaving Yreka on the Greyhound bus when I had the chance. Moving to Imperial Beach was my second.
I had just ended things with my girlfriend Gina. My heart was broken. She was the first serious relationship I had been in for quite some time. But staying would have not been in her best interest. As hard as it was to walk away, I had no choice. We were at a changing point in our lives when she became pregnant. Days before I planned to move in with her she lost the baby. We never recovered from that. I went to stay with a very good friend of mine who lived in an apartment on the beach just south of San Diego. He was in the Navy and was about to be shipped out on an air craft carrier for a two-year stint. He offered his place to me. I need a change and this was going to be a perfect location for finding myself again. I was very lost.
I had a car, a place to stay, the beach. I found work just a block away as a short order cook at a breakfast cafe. I started running along the shore every morning as the sun came up. I started eating better and working out. I became friends with this local musician. We would hang out and play guitar and write songs. One afternoon he brought me to the local bar to play some pool. It was there I met Alana. I recognized her right away. As a child she did a series of Noxzema commercials on t.v. She was in a few after school specials and some made for television movies. She had a boyfriend at the time but it didn’t stop me from pursuing her. I wrote her poetry, left roses on her car, and started hanging around the places she did.
Life was going pretty good for those first few weeks. Then there was a knock on the door. A Navy buddy of my friend had just been released from duty and was told he could crash at the apartment for a couple of weeks and enjoy the beach before heading to his house somewhere back east. I welcomed him in. He bought some beers and some steaks and we bbq’d on the deck that night. We went out on the beach after dinner and met a couple of girls there. After a bit we went back the their place just a block or so from where we were staying. One of the girls brought out some crystal meth and lined everyone up. Now it wasn’t the first time I had done that, but it was the first time I had done that in a long time. The quality had definitely improved. It was lightning in a vile. One line and it was off to the races. We stayed there until morning and then made our way home.
But this guy couldn’t leave it alone. He went back for more, and more. When the girls ran out he asked me if I knew where to get any. I asked the musician friend of mine who knew this girl just down at the other end of the alley behind the cafe. This girl’s name was Tina. She was a little Mexican girl with tattoos. He just tapped on her window and it opened. He reached in with the cash and out with the bag. It was like a drive through window at a McDonald’s. This guy said that he would only stay two weeks and would only spend the few hundred dollars he had on him. But within a month he had emptied his savings. We partied every day and every night. We invited people we met on the beach to come back to the house. It was around the clock people. Even the two girls who started it all were hanging out all the time. Afterwards he couldn’t even afford to get back home. He had his father send him money which he promptly snorted. The following week his parents flew out and took him back.
But at this point the fire was already burning out of control. There was a constant flow of people in and out of the apartment. Kids shooting up in the kitchen, naked girls in the shower, people in the living room with eyes as wide as silver dollars. Drugs were everywhere. There were bowls of weed on the tables like normal people had bowls of fruit. There was a drawer filled with pipes and papers and lighters. As long as I let them in, they supplied, and the party rolled on. There was this girl Sally who lived in a motel across the street. She was tall, blonde, good-looking. She waited tables during the day and sold drugs at night. I was kind of a sub-station for her. She would drop of baggies of meth and X and I would sell them for her. Moving product was never an issue. Sally was a strange character. She lost her house and kids and husband because of drugs and was trying to get them all back. Not sure her plan was working out too well. She was nice though. She use to come over and cook me dinner once a week and watch videos. We tried fooling around once but it was more awkward than anything. We never bothered trying it again.
This girl Melissa that I knew in San Diego came by one day with a friend of hers. Her friend had been thrown out of her house and needed a place to stay. I offered the apartment until she could make other plans. That ended up being strange too. I didn’t even know this girl. The apartment had only one bedroom and the living room seemed to always have people in it. So we both slept in the same bed in the room. Very strange to say the least.
I would also spend a lot of time over Tina’s. She ran the drug operations in Imperial Beach for a gang she ran with. She lived with her four younger brothers. There were guns lying around everywhere and bars on the windows. Tina never let anyone in her room, ever. I have no idea why, but one day she invited me in. I am not sure what her family thought of me, but they respected her wishes without question and were always very cool to me. We would sit on the floor in her room. No lights on ever, only a candle burning on a small night stand in the corner. She had a matress with no frame and a blanklet hanging over the window. We would just sit and wait for taps on the glass. She never went out, never left the room. I tried a few times to get her to walk on the beach with me but she had to tend the window. We would get high a lot. Her room was a supermarket for anything you needed. Meth, weed, heroin, coke. She had clean needles, bent spoons and glass pipes. She controlled the inventory and the flow, her brothers controlled security. We fooled around quite a bit. Not so much out of affection, but out of boredom. I think she looked at me like I looked at her. Someone completely detached from reality, void of emotion and dead inside. We could have sex and there would be no perception of attachment afterwards. The window would slow down and sleep was not an option. So we passed the time the best way we knew how. She once told me that she use to be heavy into voodoo and the black arts. So again out of boredom I asked her to teach me. I figured if I couldn’t find proof of God I might be able to find proof of something else. She showed me how to cleanse a room. We did some conjuring rituals, some blood rituals. But came to the same conclusion that she had already discovered. It was all crap. But it usually involved sex afterwards so I didn’t mind so much.
There was another dealer at the other end of town. An older lady with teenage kids. I would go over there and hang out once in a while. I never saw her use much, but her kids were complete junkies. Imperial Beach was the meth capital of the world. We would walk out on the pier at sunset and the freaks and tweekers would start wandering around. It was like the zombie Apocalypse. Some of them even had huge holes in their foreheads from their sinus cavities collapsing. Their skin was pale, full of sores, hair and teeth falling out. Most had been up for weeks, even months, walking around bumping into walls and each other. Every time the wind blew you could smell the meth being cooked in the bath tubs at the area hotels. You couldn’t walk along the sand without shoes because of the needles and broken glass that littered the beach.
One night Alana showed up at my door. She needed a place to stay. I didn’t even think twice. I cleared everyone out of the apartment and made room for her. With this girl still sleeping in my bed, Alana took the couch. By the following weekend we were a couple. She was amazing, but I was blind by then so what did I know. She took over and made herself at home. She didn’t like someone else in my bed however, within days the girl was gone. I have no idea where she went, hell I never even caught her name. Alana was a practicing witch. She would meet with her coven out on the beach at night and hold rituals. Sometimes they would meet over her teachers house in Chula Vista. I went with her a few times, but always felt uncomfortable and out-of-place. Sometimes it did involve group sex though so I didn’t mind so much.
Things with Alana were really good at first. I was happy for a brief moment. But she would start leaving at night and staying out for days on end. I was trying to clean up and she wasn’t having any of that. Her best friend Patty would come over looking for her and end up staying with me while Alana was gone. Patty was married, had three kids, a house, a nice life. But she would come see me when she wanted a place to escape and get high. She was very cute and I was very lonely.
One afternoon I received a letter from my X Gina. She told me she missed me and wanted to work things out. I just threw the letter away. I would have ruined her life if I would have gone back to her. Right around then a guy came knocking on my door. It was Alana’s x-boyfriend, he asked is she was living there. I said she was and he walked down the stairs and back up with a two-year old girl. He said that she was Alana’s daughter. She left his house one night and never came back. He told me the kid was my problem now and left. So there I was, with a kid, and no idea where her mother was.
A couple of days later I got word she was staying in a motel down the road. When I went to find her I found her wasted, half-naked and with two guys in her room, also wasted and half-dressed. I couldn’t leave this little girl there. I took her back to my place and called social services. It broke my heart. This little girl was so cute and so sweet and so scared.
It was a very rough time for me during those two years. What I have said here in this blog doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. I had become some kind of monster. I didn’t care about anyone or anything. I was a danger to myself and everyone around me.
When my buddy returned from duty, I left instantly. I couldn’t stay there any longer knowing how I abused his trust. I loved him like a brother and I took advantage of his kindness. I was far worse off than I was when I had arrived.
I spent the next month living on the streets. I would wonder into open laundry rooms at night, sometimes under bridges, or behind garbage bins. I was afraid to stop moving when the sun was down out of fear that the zombies would beat me and rob me for what they thought I might have. I roamed the darkness. I slept on the beach during the day. I was a bum. I sold blood at the hospital for food money. I kept a bag of clothes stashed under the stairs at the apartments. I was completely broken, and very close to the end.
Then something happened. A letter came to my friend’s house. It was from a girl I had met years before in Newport beach. She lived out in Maine. I wrote her once when I first moved to Imperial and told her how I needed a fresh start. In the letter she told me that if it didn’t work out that I should come and stay with her and give New England a chance. So I took the only two things I had of any worth, a gold ring and a gold bracelet that my late wife had given me, and sold them to the local pawn shop.
And so with a one way ticket, thirty dollars, and an ounce of weed. I set off for a the north-east coast. Brunswick was new place unlike anything I had ever seen before. And although I would eventually build a beautiful life in New England. I would never again feel any kind of deep companionship. I left that beach a changed man. A different man. It wouldn’t be until years later when I first held my son in my arms, that I would again begin to grow.