Love on the Line

VINCE

I occasionally notice certain things that seem unbelievable. Like I can’t believe I have not heard one song in two months. No music at all. Or, when I was in Olmsted County Jail, I hadn’t seen a tree for over a month. Things people take for granted but to the extreme. I haven’t seen a bear in years but most people could say the same. Music is such a part of life. It is in everything we do. Around us all the time. And now I hear only the music in my head. It’s just not the same.

To clear up a couple things ma said in an earlier blog post: I was at no point looking at 11 years. Katie was, due to her criminal history. If I had taken my case to trial and lost, I could have received a maximum of 117 months (almost 10 years) but that would only be a worst-case scenario. Let’s say the task force had spent a year investigating me, had several controlled buys on me, and had to dress up and use grenades to blow down the door to my meth lab and hooker hut and then found me with guns and the President’s daughter doing a line off my dick. I still would have more likely seen about 86 months. That’s about 54 months with good time. Eligible for boot camp in 48 months. More time, yes. But I’m glad I pled out.

Ma was spot on about one thing. For me, Florida was a state of mind. I never wanted to leave. I knew that if Minnesota made me stay here on probation, it would lead to an inevitable relapse. Florida is where I grew up. Where I first learned how to be a friend. And how to have friends.

Growing up I had a tough time keeping friends. We seemed to move around a lot. I think I spent my time trying to make new friends in new places more than trying to hang on to old friendships. Something I still do to this day. Some of the people I have been closest to in my life I can discard without feeling. Family, friends, it doesn’t seem to matter. It’s not what I would call a conscious decision. It just happens. I’m not going to blame it, or anything, on my upbringing. That would be cheap.

I’ll say this: sometimes I wish I could take an ice cream scoop and remove the part of my brain that doesn’t care about anything. But idiot doctors say that is far more complicated than it sounds. I lack the surgical tools to remove my scalp and skull and that gross gray layer to get to my brain, and cannot legally obtain the anesthetic necessary to do it.

Back to Florida. I was surrounded by support. Everybody I knew had a sober existence. To me, true sobriety meant I wasn’t trying to be sober anymore. I was living sober. Meetings, sure. Softball in a sober league, fuck yeah!

My friends and I were part of an enormous network of like-minded individuals. By that I mean if we decided to stray, we would seek out our other comforts, our drugs of choice. But as a pack, nobody wanted to stray. I believe to this day I would still be sober if I had stayed put. But I am not ashamed of anything that has happened since my relapse either. I am constantly learning. Unfortunately, I seem to learn from the same mistake more than a few times. Or do I?

As much as I know I want to be sober when I get out, a part of me sits in here and reminisces about the very few good high times. I am going to need a strong support group again. Katie and I plan on being together when I get out. But if she’s using then, as she knows, I will not be there. I have a pretty good feeling she wants sobriety too. We have been through a lot together over the last eight months, even though we have only actually seen each other a handful of times in passing at the county detention center.

While I was out on bail we spoke almost nightly for a while. Illegally of course, because we were co-defendants.

You see. Some criminals are smart. Technically, Katie received mail from my alter-ego, Damon Martinez. And when she called me, it was after midnight from her job in the laundry room jail. Those calls, to our knowledge, were not recorded. I thought it was funny that her code name was Katy, instead of Katie. I would hear the standard prison jail operator greeting say I had a call from Katy, and I would accept and yell at her and she would say, “Oh baby, it’s a different spelling.” And that’s where we fell in love. On the phone. I was on the road dealing drugs all night, she was in jail and I was on bail. And we fell in love.

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