My mother was in a relationship with a drug dealer for 14 years of her life. . . . here’s her story. (Some names have been kept anonymous)
Me: When and where did you meet him?
Mom: We met through mutual friends. It was at a party.
Me: Where was I when you were at this party, because I know I was about 2 at the time yall got together.
Mom: (Laughs) You were with Muv (my grandmother) (It’s a whole different story of why we called her that).
Me: Did you know he was a drug dealer when you met him?
Mom: . . . . No. No I didnt.
Me: When did you find out?
Mom: Maybe a month after we started dating.
Me: How did you find out?
Mom: Well . . . one day I was visiting him at his apartment. And I went to sit on the couch while I waited for him to finish getting dressed and I heard a crunching sound as my butt hit the cushion. And out of curiosity, I lifted the cushion and found about 20 mini ziplock bags full of everything from E to marijuana.
Me: How did you react? How did that make you feel?
Mom: Part of me was shocked. And the other half of me wasn’t because back then alot of the guys I knew were in the business. And he associated with alot of the same people I did. . . . I didn’t know what to do at first because I didn’t know how he’d react if he knew I knew.
Me: Did it make you like him anyless?
Mom:. . . No it actually made me want him more. . . .I mean I was young. And back then dating a drug dealer was a status thing. It meant you had money and you were a somebody.
Me: So what did you end up doing?
Mom: I waited for him to tell me.
Me: How long did that take?
Mom: It took him until we decided to move in together. Which was 2 years after we started dating.
Me: That wasn’t a red flag for you?
Mom: Well I thought, as long as we didn’t live together, it was none of my business. I thought there was no way it could effect me. . . . (laughs) Boy was I wrong at least in another sense.
Me: So lets fast forward a little. Now we live on Vosges Rd and I’m a little older, about 7 and Bria is born now. I’ve met Autumn ( his daughter with another woman, prior to his relationship with my mom. She’s two years younger than me). Autumn and I were very active children. We were always in things and playing around. But I have no recolection of ever being exposed to any type of drug as a child. Do you know why?
Mom: Well yea, I told him because we had you all, that he needed to find somewhere else to keep it because I didn’t want any mishaps. And he did.
Me: So you guys get married . . .
Me: And we move into the really big house. Why did you marry him? I mean didn’t you think marriage to a man like him was a bit much?
Mom: He provided a glamorous lifestyle. I had everything I wanted plus more. I could’ve provided it for myself but why? I had him and he was willing to do it so, I let him.
Me: Did you love him?
Mom: Yes of course. Come on Blair, you have to truly love someone in order to live on your toes like that and to have done it as long as I did. . . . . . . . But I think I loved the lifestyle more.
Me: What do you mean by live on your toes?
Mom: I worried about him everyday. I worried about ya’ll everyday. So many sleepless nights, worrying about whether or not he’d come home.
Me: Did it ever dawn on you that maybe he would get caught one day and how that might effect the family.
Mom: Yes! Absolutely! Everyday. But he’d been doing it for so long, I kind of let my guard down and got comfortable.
Me: Ok so lets fast forward a little more. So wev’e been living in the house for a few years now. Do you remember the last time you saw him as a free man?
Mom: I was actually at work the day he went to court. I hadn’t seen him since the night before. And even then I didn’t see much of him because he’d come in so late. I was asleep. I had no idea he was even goin to court that day. I was ignorant to everything. He didn’t tell me anything! (Angry)
Me: Did you know I saw him ?
Mom: No . . . No! Really?
Me: Yea. The last thing he said to me was, “Take care of your sister”. And the next time I saw him, was on our first visit to the prison.
Mom: I had no idea. ( In shock)
Me: Why didn’t you divorce him immediately?
Mom: I was waiting to see if he’d get out with some kind of plea bargain.
Me: And thats the only reason why?
Mom: . . . He just wasn’t changing. You know how you hear all those stories of men who go to prison and they turn they’re lives around. They try to become better people? Well that just wasn’t the case here. He was sentenced to 15 years with the possibility of parole and he was talking about “making moves” when he gets out. It’s been how many years now? Obviously that parole thing is out the window. And he still had that same attitude. I was looking at his arrest as a sign. It was time to grow up. I was tired of living that lie. But obviously he didn’t get the same message.
Me: How did you feel when you realized you’d have to sell the house?
Mom: I was humiliated. I was hurt. I was ashamed. I felt like my world was ending. But I held out, because I had you and your sister to take care of. I made alot of bad decisions in my relationship. I was already marked as a hopeless romantic. I refused to be a bad mother too. So I did what I had to do.
Me: I remember when the detectives came and searched the house. I remember them having K-9’s and all that. I was clueless back then as to what was going on. How come you never sat us down and explained to us what was goin on? I can understand Bria. But what about me?
Mom: Honestly, I didn’t know how. How do you explain something like this to a 13 year old? How do I tell you that were about to lose pretty much everything we have, that your stepfather is a drug lord and is the leader of a group of over 10 other men. Oh yea! And that he’s been put away for 15 years! You just dont! You dont! So I didn’t.
Me: Did you ever try to talk him out of selling drugs?
Mom: Numerous times. But a man like him . . . .( shakes head)
Me: What advice can you give me and other young woman about relationships?
Mom: Always have your own. Never depend on a man to take care of you. When the red flags pops up, pay attention to it. And nine times out of ten if your gut is telling you he isn’t the one, he isn’t. And just make wise choices. Because your bad choices will eventually catch up to you especially if your doing wrong intentionally.