My Journey Through Darkness

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Chapter 4

October 2004 – December 2004

I met Andrew Hudson* on the 4th of October 2004 at the Ram pub where I was working. He started working at the pub just before I left it for another job. It was love at first sight for both of us. We would flirt and laugh like children in the playground and before we knew it, we became good friends.

The new job I had was a call centre coordinator in a very corporate, global medical assistance company. I worked twelve-hour shifts but the salary was excellent and it felt like all the pain of the past months was really going to come to an end. Desmond was gone and now I even had a great job earning enough money to look after myself.

What surprised me about meeting Andrew is that the last thing I was looking for was a new boyfriend. After the emotional battles with Desmond, falling in love with Andrew took me completely by surprise. I fell for him without fear, without caution.

27 October 2004 – Wednesday

I am madly in love. Crazy totally utterly in love with a man who makes me dizzy excited happy. Andrew, my salvation from the nightmare I have been trapped in for so long…

And, we are stoned immaculate!

29 October 2004 – Friday

A whirlwind of joy and excitement has blown into my life. I am high from the essence of this man. Andrew. I have been utterly captured by him in every sense. I have never felt so sexy, so loved or so understood, as he makes me feel. A prisoner of love I am. Drunk in love.

We are such a good match, so good together, so terribly attracted to each other. I have visions of us having a future together. He makes me feel so real, so alive.

One evening while Andrew was visiting me, he told me he had something for me. Excitedly I asked him what it was. He presented me with a tiny little object of what looked like off-white crystals, wrapped up in cling film. When I asked him what it was, he casually said: “Rocks, crack. Go on then, have you never had any?”

“No, but I’ve heard a little bit about crack. How do we use it?” He took my little steel pipe which I’d brought with me as a souvenir from Amsterdam and placed a small portion of the rocks on the gauze. “Here, when I light it, inhale from the pipe,” he said and with that I inhaled deeply as he lit the rocks. They made a crackling sound and Andrew told me that is why it’s called crack.

The moment that sweet chemical smoke entered my lungs I was flying higher than the highest peak of the Alps I had walked beside once before. I was gorgeous and brilliant and the queen of the world! After the initial few moments of the unexpected rush, I started scurrying around, chatting away and embracing every second of my new-found love.

Until then, what I knew of crack was very limited; it wasn’t something many people had told me about. So without fear I shared all the rocks Andrew had brought with him.

That same night Andrew casually told me how he’d run into a few guys at the train station. They gave him a present: the rocks and also… a bit of brown.

“What is brown?” I asked rather innocently.

“Heroin.”

Oh! Right. Ok then. My mind froze for a few minutes. That’s a whole different story. I knew about heroin. You don’t try it. You die. Heroin is one of the most physically addictive drugs on the streets and that scared me.

“So, do you have it here?” I heard myself say; my good old friend Curiosity coming out to play.

“Yeah”, came the simple answer as he started to fiddle with a piece of tin foil.

“So are you going to have some?” My mind raced as I thought of needles and all that go with it. I’d seen loads of movies and even read a lot of books about it. I assumed that was what was going to happen if he was to have any.

To my surprise Andrew took the piece of tin foil; about ten cm’s squared. On it were a few dark lines with what looked like a puddle of dark brown syrup stuck to the foil. Andrew insisted that I couldn’t have any. Even though I knew the effects of heroin, I still heard this voice which was my own, “tell him he couldn’t do it without me”. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. And so that night I found out what “chasing the dragon” meant. While Andrew lit the underside of the foil; making the syrup run down a furrow in the foil; I inhaled the smoke which came off the little puddle of liquid. We used another piece of foil and rolled it into what looked like a little straw to inhale the smoke with. Each time he lit the foil underneath, the puddle of hardened heroin would melt and run down a new furrow until the foil was covered in dark lines going up and down.

Within a few minutes of inhaling the heroin my body rejected the foul smelling gunk and I ran to the toilet to vomit. Andrew assured me it was normal on the first time to get sick, not to worry. But I did. Nevertheless, I tried a little more and as I slowly came down from my unbelievable crack high into the low dull heroin haze I remember thinking: “This stuff is silly, makes me all stoned… much prefer that other stuff. Must do that again sometime…”

11 November 2004 – Thursday

I never knew I could feel so crazily in love again. I cannot remember the last time I felt so good about myself. Andrew is so good for me, so good to me, he makes me so utterly happy. It feels like something inside me is missing when we’re not together, I hate being without him.

I have been so physically ill for weeks now. Too many drugs, too little sleep and too little good food. I so hate being ill, it makes me so weak and I feel useless. I long to stay in bed for days just to recover.

Work is hard and the hours are hard on me, but the job is exciting and I’m earning a decent salary, for the first time in my twenty-three years. I’ve only just started this job at the beginning of this month and even though I know it’s not something I want to do forever, it’s a great opportunity to save money and start a decent life here in London.

Although, what overshadows my life right now is Andrew and all the wonderful moments we spend together. I am so insanely in love. It’s not only our physical chemistry, but we share such an intimate love for each other.

During this time I got to know Andrew quite well as he came to visit me every night after work. We spent most of our time chatting and making love. As his past unfolded during each visit it didn’t seem to shock me, as it perhaps should have.

Andrew was the father of two young boys. At the age of twenty-six he had done a jail sentence for Class A drug dealing, robbing, stealing and blowing up cars. He faced drug addiction of all kinds. Andrew turned out to be a pure criminal. I would never have imagined that he’d done any of these crimes; he looked like an angel!

He had short, soft blonde hair, crystal baby blue eyes and a smooth milky skin. Andrew was absolutely beautiful to me and his Leeds accent was the end of me. He appeared to be a gentle character that wouldn’t hurt a fly, but there was a slight mischief to him that made the stories of his past almost-believable.

Even though I came from a small town in South Africa, I’d been around the block enough times not to have his past be too much of a shock to me. I thought I understood people and I connected with humanness and flaws. I’d faced my own problems in life, and was proud to have gone through what I had. I could never judge someone like Andrew for what he’d done in his past. In a way it almost excited me to know a man who’d actually been a drug dealer!

Andrew’s mother had passed away from a rare disease when he was only twelve. Shortly thereafter his father moved to Spain with his new wife. All he had left for family were his two older brothers; Paul*, who seemed to have a personality disorder, and Matthew*, who was a medical doctor. Matthew seemed to be the only form of stability in Andrew’s life and he did very well for himself with his wife Jane*, who was also a doctor.

17 November 2004 – Wednesday

Andrew has been away this week on a plumbing course and I am missing him so much. After spending almost every day together, it’s so strange not having him here with me, especially in bed cuddling. He has become my true best friend, my most fiery lover and most intimate partner. I still feel so alive and so young and stupidly in love. I felt similar in high school, not quite the same, but similar. I am so happy with Andrew; not having him here feels like a part of me is missing. Two more days to get through until I see his sweet crooked smile again. I cannot wait to wrap myself around him.

One week after I started my new job, Andrew was fired from the pub for some unknown reason. Matthew, who everyone called Matt, took it upon himself to help his little brother. He invested his time and money by sending Andrew on a plumbing course. Thereafter he hauled Andrew in to help him renovate his place, which he would eventually sell for a profit.

One evening, during one of my tirades of questioning, I discovered that Andrew was still using heroin when he came out of prison. When he got to the point of using needles, or mainlining, he’d asked Matt to help him. At the time, he agreed with his girlfriend of eleven years to finally split up, as they stayed together mainly for the kids’ sake. Andrew had had enough of the life he was living and wanted to offer more to his sons than a life bought with drug money.

Matt took him out of Leeds to stay with him and Jane in Surrey, where they lived at the time. Andrew came clean and looked forward to starting a whole new life. The three of them moved up to London only a few months before our paths crossed, when I became a part of the small Hudson family.

18 November 2004 – Thursday

Desmond, my ex husband, who just over two months ago walked out of my life after we tried to repair our broken marriage of two years ago, has been sending me heart felt messages lately. This annoys me more than anything. He seems to think he’ll get me back soon, and I can’t help thinking that I’ll never allow myself to go through what I already have, for a third time around. I know I’m over him and what a real relationship and real love should be like. I wasted too many years believing that the way he treated me was ok, but after spending a month with a man like Andrew, who makes me feel nothing but happy, I know I was just fooling myself with Desmond, hurting myself by staying with him for so long.

I never really fell in love with him again when we came here to London to try again, and even though he’ll always be a friend, I know in my heart of hearts that he could never be the friend, lover and partner who will make me happy, as he never has.

One day till I see Andrew! I miss him so very much!

27 November 2004 - Saturday

A living work of art is presented to me. A gift it is to be honoured to claim ownership of this sensual living being. I am so happy. I am so fulfilled, so in love and so loved. God has blessed me more than I feel I deserve to be. I have finally found my partner. I am not afraid, I feel so safe. Andrew is the colour of my world; he is the flavour of my choice and the only person who has managed to make the noise in my head go silent. The craving to fill the void I have always felt in me has finally been filled by this angel.

4 December 2004 – Saturday

I have spontaneously moved out of my house and moved in with Andrew. All in a day, I packed up and became a bigger part of Andrew’s life. There was a huge muck up at my old house with the housemates and issues of being evicted etc., so I bailed.

Today is also the last day of our drug abuse for both of us. We started meddling with crack and heroin a few weeks ago, every now and then, but it’s started to scare the shit out of me, as I can see how it possesses both of us. I know it will destroy us both, as people and as a couple. I care too deeply for Andrew and am too fulfilled by our relationship to allow this stupid shit to destroy us.

This was the house I’d moved into after leaving the room I’d shared with Desmond. It was a commune that I shared with about five others. Most of the guys who lived there didn’t even have jobs, and thus, few of us paid rent and the rest were just squatting. About a month after moving in there an estate agent called us to let us know that we were living there illegally. To my knowledge there were no estate agents involved but the lady said that the landlord had decided to pay them to sort out the mess.

She gave us two options: If the rent wasn’t paid in full within a month, we would all be evicted and thrown out onto the street. If everyone paid their share, we would all be put onto a legal lease and everything would be fine. I told her straight away that I already had paid my rent and that half the people living there could not afford it. She told me it would be best for me to get out immediately.

A day after I moved out, the housemates called me demanding me to pay my share of the rent for the next month because I hadn’t given a month’s notice. They had apparently come up with enough money not to be evicted but now they required my share. I stuck to my guns and refused to give them the money, as I’d already paid rent at Andrew’s flat. I didn’t owe them anything but they started threatening me with legal action.

I was terrified! I didn’t know anything about legal actions and I had to call mom and dad to get advice. I eventually asked my parents for money so I could pay them off and get them off my back. One of the guys promised to give me the money back in January; they just needed it not to get thrown out. I never saw him or a cent of the money again.

At this same time, I was still paying for the room I’d shared with Desmond. When he moved out he promised to find new tenants for our room but it took him three months. So I ended up paying for two rooms’ rent. Of course I’d lost my deposit money as well, so in all, I was pretty broke. Even though I had a well-paying job, the money was not enough, especially not enough to support a growing drug habit!!

9 December 2004 – Thursday

I always had a small expectation that I would at some time be facing this place, but never truly believed it. It’s that small expectation, which had prepared me and it’s never quite believing which has caused this fear.

I know what to do and I know the time is now, right now, or I will hand myself over to destruction if not death. Weakness of mind possesses me, but faith in the heart is what strengthens me.

The face of an angel transforms into contorted lifelessness. The pale blue eyes of profound love dilute into pinpoints of emptiness. Everything slows as words are muffled and irregular spasms jerk you out of sleep.

A cold heart and confused mind. Limp and too paralyzed to perform our greatest act of love.

Baby, I know you’re reading this and I want you to know that I will do whatever it takes to keep us away from this. Perhaps you really don’t think it’s so serious and that I’m off my head for freaking out about it, as it’s been a part of your life but not a part of mine, but perhaps deep down it also scares you and you’re trying to convince not only me but also yourself that you’re in control, knowing deep down… that you’re not.

It doesn’t really matter to me either way – I love you the same and don’t think you’re weak, just human – because I know how I feel about this and I am promising you that this will end.

I love you more than you know, and that love in me is what will give me strength to save both of us. I just refuse to allow anything – especially this – to ruin us. I still honestly believe we share the most beautiful love I ever came across and I have seen how that is affected.

Sometimes it crossed my mind that I would have to walk away in order to save us, or me, but that thought has disappeared as it would mean that I have given in to this evil, which I would fight, rather than losing you.

You also need to know and believe in your heart that I don’t blame you in any sense; I only blame Satan and myself for hitting my weakness.

I’m sorry if I upset you by taking this all so seriously, but you have to believe that I do this only because I love you and will not watch you being messed up, just as I won’t allow myself to be messed up by this.

So, I’ve said all this many times, but I will prove to you what I say tonight.

Soon after moving in with Andrew we’d started smoking crack and heroin on a daily basis, and this scared me senseless. What concerned me was that I would vomit endlessly from the heroin. It left me extremely shaky and some days I would even vomit before going to work, making my manager send me home because I looked like hell.

I worried a lot, as it was starting to affect my job and I knew I couldn’t afford to call in sick too often and face getting fired. I’d started doing that on a regular basis and it was only a matter of time before getting a warning.

14 December 2004 - Tuesday

Two days of cold turkey. This will be the death of me. The death of my soul anyway.

I am still so infatuated with Andrew; sometimes I get scared that my intense love for him will drive him away. He makes me so happy. He makes me want to erase his broken past, wipe away all the tears and sadness in his life, and give him a family, a love that he has never had. I want to so badly. Just make him happy and cover him in love. I’ve never wanted anything as bad as I want a future with Andrew. I pray that God will help us and bless me by letting me keep him.

15 December 2004 – Wednesday

It’s been written so many times and so many films have been made, relating to this subject. I have read the books and seen the films, and they put fear in me. I always had an idea why the story had to be told, why survival was such a victory, but never in my life did I know exactly what it was all about. Now I know that no one can really know unless they live through it themselves.

Only now do I really understand the need to share the experience, let all people know what it’s all about. Yet, somehow, no matter how raw the facts, how gruesome the images are presented, it still doesn’t prevent people from taking a bite from the apple of all evil and destruction.

I’ve always been a believer in learning the hard way. Let a child fall out of a tree to see the danger of climbing it rather than trying to keep a child away from all trees. I learned much in life this way; the hard way. And it hurts, very deeply sometimes, but I learned, and it always made me better for it.

This, however, is the only thing I’ve done which makes me doubt that it will strengthen me; that I will land on my feet, in one piece. This is only a small doubt, and it doesn’t mean I believe that I’ve reached the end of the line, no more turning back. It doesn’t even mean that I believe I could never be saved even if I was way beyond the line.

The only difference is that when learning about any other walk of life, you are comforted in knowing there is hope, you face things with a certain confidence, convinced that the positive things will overshadow all else. There is no doubt, not a tiny bit. When faced with this however, that small scrap of doubt is what sets the warning bells off, always keeps you aware of the negative side.

It never lets you forget how evil it is and it doesn’t let you get away with trying to convince yourself of the opposite. I guess it’s thanks to that tiny doubt which allows some people to survive it and land on their feet.

People, including myself, always go on about willpower and choices and self-control when it comes to things like this, but I have to admit that I have been wrong in my thinking and accept the fact that this is something which you willingly choose – mostly innocently – but then it possesses you before you realize you’re not in control anymore. That is when willpower and self-control lose all power and you are simply helpless and a slave to heroin.

It was during the month of December, when everyone was talking about and shopping for Christmas when I developed a fear greater than anything I’d ever known.

Andrew and I both got to a point where we had to agree that we were developing a habit and needed to stop. So when I had a few days off in a row, we stayed in bed all day going cold turkey. To my horror, we would become very ill. Andrew spent hours on the toilet with diarrhoea and vomiting non-stop. We both lay in bed, sweating but shivering with chills. Andrew explained to me that this was called “rattling”.

He seemed to be more ill and kept saying that I was lucky and could still stop easily; that I wasn’t hooked yet.

What scared me most was seeing the extent of Andrew’s illness and realising that he really did have a problem. This was a real wake-up call for me. I was suddenly caught in something I thought I’d had control of. I’d been doing it for a laugh until then, but it dawned on me as heavily as the world itself that I was in a very dangerous zone.

Life became about three white and two brown. 50quid down the drain – or rather, into our lungs. And every week it became more and more.

21 December 2004 – Tuesday

I had to put Andrew on a bus last night to let him go to Leeds. A few days would’ve been hard, but nearly a week is unbearable. The only reason he went earlier is because he had to appear in court today, but when he went, they just threw the case out of court. I am thankful it wasn’t complicated, but surely they could’ve done the same over here.

This week I have no drugs and even though I’m tempted to get some, I couldn’t smoke without Andrew, I’d just go off my head, so it’s a good time to get clean. I just hope we last and don’t just go on next week.

I have expressed my love for Andrew in all ways and so many times, I have no more words to explain how deeply I love him. The emptiness I feel without him is overwhelming. I miss him so very much.

Andrew going to visit his sons in Leeds was a real sore point for me. I had desperately wanted to go along, to meet his children and to also just be a part of some family over Christmas. In the circumstances however, it was impossible. Andrew had to stay with Carol*, the boys’ mom, even though I’d have to be alone over Christmas. I knew Andrew needed to see his children, so I didn’t make a fuss. There would be another time for me to meet the boys.

To Andrew’s surprise I never minded that he had kids. For most twenty-three year old girls this would be quite an issue, but I adored children and was looking forward to having my own someday.

29 December 2004 - Wednesday

Christmas is finally over! I had the loneliest, most melancholy Christmas of my life this year. Andrew was away in Leeds and I had to work overtime as well as get through my rattle. I survived it though and reuniting with Andrew was surreal. So good.

I have decided to make it a New Year resolution to stop this habit of ours. It’s hard for me as I got through the whole of last week, on my own, and now I have to do it again, God alone knows how. I don’t know how to get Andrew to stop, as it seems much harder for him, but I have to. When I see him so stoned I feel so sad and miss the way he is normally. Lately I have only had swift glimpses of that sober, not ill or stoned face. I miss it so much and still have such a fear of not being able to help both of us. This does not in the least make me love him less; I just fear we cannot find our way out of this trap, back to being the love-sick energetic couple we started out as.

I wouldn’t say we are less in love, or that our relationship is negatively affected, I just think that we were such an enigma, such a unique, naturally phenomenal couple, a couple who required nothing to be happy, entertained or fulfilled. Now it seems we can barely function without drugs, we have become dependent on it to be amused. I hate that fact.

It has to stop, and baby, you need to get into the same serious frame of mind as I am, or else I will feel like I have to carry this by myself, and battle it alone, for the both of us. And I don’t know if I am strong enough to be this. I need your help; I need to know you are with me, that I am safe in your care. I’m not saying I feel this now, I’m beginning to worry that this is what will happen. This has been going on for two months and for two months we keep saying, “This is the last time – promise!” and so far this promise has not been kept. I don’t want to feel like you can’t help me, or us, I want to continue knowing, as I do now, that I am safe and that I can depend on you to make this end.

I love you and honestly trust you more than I can explain, that’s why I’m writing this, to help you to understand my fears. This has never been a part of my life as it has yours and therefore I experience an uncontrollable fear, and I can’t make this fear go away, no matter how hard I try. You alone can help, and need to help this fear go away by proving we can honestly do it.

Ever since we met, when Andrew started visiting me, he would read my journal. In these times of fear I often wrote as if directly to him because I knew he would inevitably read my journal. Right in the beginning it surprised me that he just pried into my personal diary. As we grew closer however, I couldn’t imagine keeping anything from him and didn’t mind him reading it.

This was a good way of getting a message across to him. Usually he would be too stoned or wired to take anything I said seriously. When he was in a relatively decent state of mind he would read my journal and it seemed to have an effect on him.

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