Friday, December 5, 2008

December 5, 2008

Having lunch with Adam was definitely strange. Not only did it feel weird to be sitting across from someone who had caused me so much pain, but pretending as we made small talk that none of the past had occurred, made it seem even more surreal. I had agreed to have lunch with Adam because he said we could work something out with the money he owed me from when we lived together. I figured he was going to reimburse me for everything he owed or at the very least talk to me about a payment plan or something. Yet as our entrees arrived, he still hadn’t broached the subject, and my patience was wearing thin.

Just as I was about to bring up the subject myself, Adam spoke up.

“So, Vivian, about when we were living together,” he began, haltingly. I wondered what he seemed to be holding back. “What did I tell you when I broke up with you again? I can’t remember.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He couldn’t remember how things had gone down? Seriously?

“Adam, you didn’t say anything,” I began. “I came home from class one day and all your stuff was gone and some of my stuff, too. I looked for you on campus every day for the next few weeks, but you were no where to be found.

“Finally, I went to the registrar’s office to see if you were still enrolled at
school, and I was told that you had been dropped from all your classes for ‘non-attendance’.

“Does any of this sound familiar?” I asked, fixing Adam with a hard look. All my old feelings of annoyance were coming to the surface.

Adam stared at me blankly, seemingly at a loss for words. Why did he appear to be
so surprised to hear how he had behaved?

“Well?” I pressed when Adam still sat there silently.

“Sorry...” he began, seeming deflated. “I never said anything to you? I can’t believe I treated you like such crap.” He shook his head slowly, lost in his own thoughts.

I looked at him and saw that his eyes were getting misty. Was he going to cry?

“What are you talking about, Adam?” I asked, confused. “Don’t you remember what you did?”

“That’s the thing, Vivian, I don’t. I can’t remember anything about that time because...” And then, under his breath, he said, “Why is this so hard to say?

Finally, he seemed to muster the courage to be straight with me.

“I was doing drugs back then, Vivian. I was wasted out of my mind, and honestly, I don’t have many clear memories of that time at all,” he blurted out.

“What? You were some kind of junkie or something?” I asked, feeling shock spread through me.

“So what exactly are you telling me? That you can’t remember our relationship?”

Adam looked at me with regret in his eyes. “Not the last year or so, not really.”

“You were high throughout the last year we were together?” I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. It didn’t make any sense. “But you were working at that pizza place by our apartment and going to school full time. When did you have time to do drugs?”

“Didn’t you ever notice that I hardly ever slept?”

“Well, yeah, but I figured that caffeine carried you through like everybody else on campus,” I answered. “What drugs were you doing then?”

Adam couldn’t meet my gaze. He looked down at his plate and fiddled with the cold french fries that lay there. “I tried a few different ones...but then I tried meth and things in my life started to get out of control.”

At the mention of the word “meth”, a couple of older ladies who were sitting near us quickly looked our way and then started talking to each other in hushed voices, all the while glancing at us and then turning back to each other as they, no doubt, gossiped about us.

I felt embarrassed to be sitting there.

Adam lowered his voice as he continued, “At first, when I was just smoking or snorting it, I had so much energy, and I felt like I could do anything. I was more focused, and I could get through my homework like it was nothing. I had so many awesome ideas, and my artwork was so creative during that time.

“Don’t you remember all the pointillism paintings I did that year? How else could I have had the patience to paint all those little dots? You know me, I’m not a very patient person, but with the meth, I’d get so focused and lost in what I was doing that it would feel like I’d only been working on a piece for a few minutes when really it had been hours. I was so productive.

“Things were all good until I shot up the first time. The rush I felt was incredible. As soon as I felt it spreading through my body, all my worries would just melt away, and I’d feel free. It was a beautiful experience; it really was, but then the rush became all I could think about.

“I started skipping classes and ditching work so I could get high with some guys I’d met in biology. And then I started lying to you about where I was and what I was doing.

“I’d make sure I’d come home after I knew you’d be asleep so that you wouldn’t ask me any questions about my day. And it got to the point that all I cared about was getting high. Nothing else mattered to me.”

He looked up at me and must have seen the hurt look on my face.

“I’m sorry, Vivian. I really am. I thought I had broken up with you before I moved out. I didn’t know I never said anything to you. At that point, it was hard to tell what was reality. I’d go for 8 or 10 days without sleeping, and I’d be hallucinating half the time. I was pretty messed up.”

I listened to the words Adam was saying, but it was hard to grasp their meaning. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Why didn’t you tell me what was going on?” I asked quietly. “I would have helped you...I loved you.”

“I know you did, and I loved you, too, but I didn’t want help then,” he replied.

“Like I said, all I wanted to do was get high.”

I shook my head, trying to make sense of things. And then panic flashed through me as I realized that Adam had told me that he had been shooting up.

“Please tell me
you never shared needles with anyone.” The thought that I could have been infected with some deadly disease made me feel sick to my stomach.

“No, I never did,” he replied firmly. “That was one thing I would never compromise on. I used only my own needles. They were the ones that diabetics use, and they all came in their own sealed packages.”

I felt relief wash over me. Thank God.

“I still can’t believe what you’re telling me, though,” I said. “I never would have guessed that you were doing drugs when we were together, but I guess now that I look back, it certainly does explain a few things about your behavior.”

“I know it’s a lot to absorb, Vivian. We can talk about it more some other time, if you’d rather,” he said with a question in his voice. “I know you came here hoping to talk about the money I owe you, so we can talk about that now if you want to.”

“Ok, but you’ll have to excuse me for a minute,” I said as I stood up from the table and went to the washroom. I had to get away and take a breather.

I splashed cold water on my face at one of the sinks in the restroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked tired. Hell, I felt tired. This conversation was turning out to be more draining than I’d expected it to be. I knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant to meet with Adam, considering our past, but I’d never expected any of this.

After I got back to the table, I saw that Adam had pulled out his checkbook.

“So, how much do I owe you for my share of the rent and all the bills?” he asked with his pen poised.

When I told him the amount, he wrote me a check right there for all of it. I couldn’t believe that after all these years, he was paying me back in full.

“Thank you for this,” I said as I folded the check and stuck it in my purse. I couldn’t help myself from cynically wondering if the check would bounce, but I pushed the thought away.

I felt really drained after our conversation, so I told Adam that I’d better be going.

He stood up when I got up to leave and came towards me as if he were going to give me a hug. I pulled my purse toward the front of my body, showing him through my body language that I wasn’t interested in hugging him.

A great sense of betrayal was starting to creep into the edges of my mind. I had trusted Adam complicitly, and he had been lying to me through half of our relationship. That wasn’t the sort of thing I could forgive over the course of one lunch.

Once I got home, I called Kelly to see how she was doing and to tell her what I’d found out about Adam.

“Can you believe that he was a junkie?” I asked her, still in shock.

I expected her to be just as shocked as I was, but instead of expressing her disbelief, she was silent.

“Kelly? Why aren’t you saying anything?” I asked.

I heard her sigh at the other end of the phone. “I didn’t want to tell you, but I knew about Adam, or at least I suspected anyway.”

“What? Why wouldn’t you tell me that? You knew how hurt I was and that his leaving came out of no where for me. It would have been nice if my own sister could have helped fill in a few of the blanks for me.”

“Look, like I said, I didn’t know for sure, and I didn’t want to make an accusation like that unless I did. The only reason I thought he might be doing drugs was because I saw him in a smoky back room at a party once, and when someone opened the door to the room, the people inside freaked out and grabbed a bunch of things to hide them out of view before someone slammed the door shut,” she said. “And Adam was sitting in there on a bed. He looked right at me.

“You know, this happened before you two even moved in together, too. It’s not like
it was right before he left, so I didn’t even think that the two things might be related.”

“You knew about this before we lived together?” I couldn’t believe that she’d keep something like that from me.

And then I realized that if he was doing drugs before we’d even moved in together
that he must have lied to me at lunch when he told me that he’d only started during
our last year together. What a jerk. I started to feel anxious and question all that he’d said to me today.

“Look, Kel, I have to run. I have to take care of something,” I said, as I hung up the phone.

I wanted to get to the bank to deposit Adam’s check while I still had the chance.


Charlotte said...

glad to see an update! :)

Leitha said...

Thanks for the update. I love this story and will continue to read.

mum said...

Whoa! I'd still get tested. Who knows if he was lying about the needles.

Thanks for the post. I actually had to check the previous post because I wasn't sure who Adam was. Confused him with Alex. mum

Jamie said...

Good post! Keep it up.

Summer said...

I liked the update! I wish they were posted more often. Suumer