“Love didn’t hurt you. Someone who doesn’t know how to love hurt you and you confused the two.” — Tony Gaskins, Jr.
In my mind, my choices were to live a boring life of poverty or run off with a much older man who promised an expensive lifestyle. I ran off with the man.
The man wanted me to fund that seductive lifestyle by selling myself. That existence would be many things, but boring would not be one of them.
My idea of love between a man and a woman came from the romance books I read and what I saw on TV. Those unrealistic expectations blinded me to anything but my desire for a fairy tale ending.
I didn’t know that he didn’t love me; he said he did. I believed.
I jumped on the road to destruction and ran as fast as I could toward a horrible faith. There were hints of the ugliness behind his promises. I could have stopped dreaming and gone home to my parents. I didn’t.
Once Leo and I were partying in an abandoned apartment building. There were two hundred people there.
Someone cleaned out a floor and put in gambling tables. There were free drinks, and every kind of bad person you could think of was in attendance.
There were drugs, alcohol, pot, magic mushrooms, pills, and money everywhere. Everyone looked wonderful and was high, having a superb time — until the police busted the place. We were not supposed to be doing drugs and drinking in an abandoned building. They took everyone downtown.
Tonight was one of those times where my decency protected me. When they emptied my purse at the station, the police didn’t find what they expected to find. Among my effects was my work ID and my checkbook. There were no pills, no condoms, no cigarettes, and no drugs in my purse.
One of the older white policemen stopped and said, “Wait a minute. Her name is Johnson. Don’t fingerprint her. Looks like she’s got a job.”
Another policeman looked at me closely and said, “Isn’t that Ben’s daughter? Call him.”
I didn’t realize the kindness the officer had shown me until much later. If my fingerprints had gotten in the system, I would have had to explain on every application for every engineering job I applied for later in life. Because the officers recognized me, besides not taking my fingerprints, they put me in my cell separate from everyone else.
Everyone saw when my father came in to pick me up. They let me out of the jail cell, handed my items, and walked away with my Dad — who was pissed.
They blew my bad girl reputation.
Dad asked me, “What in the world are you doing? Are you doing drugs?”
I told my dad, “I’m not using drugs. I was hanging out, having fun. I want to be a model. They have contacts.”
I disgusted my dad. He tried to talk to me, but I didn’t want to hear it. I knew everything. He knew nothing.
I’m certain I disappointed my father terribly.
I could have gone home with him that night. I did not. Instead, I went back to stay with Leo.
The police let everyone go after a night in jail. The police wanted to break up the illegal party to capture the names and fingerprints of the bad people at the party.
My self-esteem and intelligence were nowhere to be found. I would not get off my path to destruction easily.
Not returning home that night cemented my bad decision making in place.
My path was set. I was walking away from a decent life, and I did not care where I was going.
A link to another read: You Can Recover From an Irresponsible Love Blunder
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