I guess maybe it’s a good time to write about how I first started smoking crack. For me, it was all about a boy.
I had gone through a sort of rough year. I was smoking pot all day every day, and had recently quit my job due to sexual harassment. Two of my grandparents died. I think I was around 22 or 23.
I was living in Montreal at the time, and since it has a pretty progressive socialist-type of government, I was able to sign up for french classes while I was on unemployment. I could do this for a year instead of looking for a job, and still receive employment insurance.
When you go to free government-sponsored french school, it is inevitably a school full of new immigrants. I was one of maybe a handful of other Canadians whose french was sub-par enough to attend the school. The school also housed an alternative highschool, so along with the new immigrants was a large population of youths who didn’t quite fit into the regular education system. It was actually kind of great for me. I got to hang out with the french “bad kids” and smoke lots of weed, and also hang out with people from all over the world who were trying to learn french and get on their feet in a new country.
One of the new Canadians I met was the boy. He was from Central America, named Mateo. He had snuck into Canada somehow – his story involves jumping trains across tiny Central American countries, swimming to the US, staying with an aunt in Los Angeles, and finally sneaking into Canada. I’m not sure about all the details but I know it sounded like a terrifying and amazing journey. He even had a story about meeting a smoking monkey.
I liked Mateo. He was adorable – small, dark, long lashes, bad english. He was perfect. Due to our bad communication abilities, we ended up hooking up – I think I kissed him at school because I didn’t know what to say to him and it just seemed like the right thing to do.
The first time I took him to my apartment, Mateo thought I had been broken into. He had never been to a single woman’s apartment who was a heavy pot smoker and rarely cleaned up. I guess in his country you live at home until you’re married, and probably women living away from their parents have their shit together a bit better than I did.
I don’t know if it was that first visit or one soon after, but one day he pulled something out of his pocket and asked if I wanted to smoke crack. I said sure! Yes, I am a smart person, who knows better. But I guess I am also an insecure person, a person who was already smoking pot on an hourly basis, a person who did coke occasionally. So what did I have to lose?
I think it may have been a week later that I remember lying on my bed saying “oh fuck. I’m totally addicted to crack.” It turns out when Mateo offered it to me, he assumed I had already smoked it and had tons of experience. He actually felt bad that he introduced it to me.
So then began a several year relationship with a boy I was crazy about, a drug I couldn’t quit, and a life spiralling out of my control. Never once in that time did Mateo call me his girlfriend. I don’t think I was very important to him. When I had money, he would appear and we would buy drugs together. When he had money, he would sometimes reciprocate. He sold my dvd player (remember those?). He sold my camera. I sold my books and cds.
Eventually things all came crashing down and I had to stop doing crack (more about that another time). I even stayed with him after that. At that point he would always come over after coming down off crack, feeling miserable and sad. I became more of a caregiver than a girlfriend. It was around this time that he started saying he loved me, and the relationship stopped being quite as one-sided. I stayed with him until I moved away for a new job. It was the only way I could escape him. After that we continued talking on the phone. Then he was deported to the US.
Eventually I had a new boyfriend who didn’t like us talking. I told Mateo, and he said “it sounds like he loves you.” He never called me again after that. Sometime now I panic, not knowing where he is. It has been 8 years since I last heard from him. I have tried googling him, but he has a very popular spanish name and it’s hopeless. I found a person with his name who was arrested in the states, but I don’t know if it’s him. Sometimes it tortures me not knowing. Wondering if he’s alive. Wondering if I’ll run into him on the street.
*Mateo isn’t his real name.