These days I normally tell people I am happy. I’m three years clean after all – I have my son back for nearly a year now and all is well. It’s mostly true and I am happy, but it’s more complicated than that and I have written about it before. I feel it’s time to do so again.
This time I’ll wind back the clock a little further. I don’t know how to avoid this post being too long though. I’ll try to be brief, but too much brevity will result in glossing over things that had significant impact on my life.
Let’s go back to 2010. I’d spent 4 months in rehab, and upon coming out Megan followed me in. She was there for 3 months. Our son Josh was with my brother and his wife – a private arrangement. Three months later, Megan joined me in a sober house where I was living temporarily, and two months after that we rented a place, the place where I am living now – a 2 bedroom place because Josh was supposed to come back to us then.
Our relationship was not normal. I need to point this out or else again give the impression that everything was her fault. We were not having sex, because I rejected her every advance, every day. It’s hard to explain, but due to what happened before, I couldn’t. I figured I would get over it eventually, but “just for now” I couldn’t. So in September 2010, 2 days before Josh was supposed to come back to us, she disappeared. My brother and I went to every hospital looking for her, and he suggested what had happened, but I didn’t want to hear it. She had run away to Cape Town. (We are from Cape Town. I stay in Johannesburg now. Rehab was in Natal, followed by a relocation.)
So I was broken up about that, was borderline suicidal, and thus didn’t get Josh back as planned. Megan relapsed, but I convinced her over the phone to stop and stay clean for a week, then return to Johannesburg and test negative for meth. (Not too bright on my part.) After she returned, she tried to talk me into using (which she had already been doing without success for a few months). And this time I gave in. So at nine months clean, I relapsed, and we both used for a week. I managed to stop, but it was too late. My family involved child welfare, and even though we had already stopped using, they interviewed Megan while I was at work, and concluded that she was on drugs (she wasn’t) and could not make any decisions by herself… And thus the arrangement with Josh in foster care became more official. Not “finalized” yet but that happened later.
After that, she convinced me to use again. And I figured that since they were treating me like I was using, even though I wasn’t, I might as well use. I wanted to anyway. And that was that.
Then Megan liked playing with my phone… The app everyone used was called Mixit, and she met a guy through that, and started cheating on me before leaving me for him. He was a Pakistani, and abusive… At one stage she begged me to fetch her from the police station when she was staying in Springs because he had hit her. But every time, she only stayed with me for a couple of days, then went back to him for weeks or months, and over a year the last time. She used to come back and promise not to leave again… then I’d go to work and return to an empty apartment because she’d left me while I was at work.
I was a wreck then. I was using meth every day, and every night. I had voices in my head most of the time, often Megan’s voice telling me that she loved me. (Something the real Megan hadn’t said for years, but the one in my head used to say it all the time. I’d be at work or walking across a parking lot, and suddenly freak out because I’d heard her whisper in my ear, sometimes in company. And it was getting more difficult all the time to shut the voices out.) I knew the voices weren’t real, but I saw a pattern… every time, just before she would call and come back to me, the voices would “peak” and I’d hear her crying and begging me to help her… then she’d show up in real life. So I was delusional, thinking that we had some kind of psychic connection and belonged together. Meanwhile I was incapable of being there for Josh, although I did start paying his expenses. And I saw him now and then, by staying clean for a week here and there so that I could test negative for meth and be allowed to visit him.
Meanwhile Megan had converted to Islam and gone to Pakistan with her new husband. After she found that he had full blown AIDS, which he refused to treat because he was in denial, she came back again, leaving him on his deathbed. Not to me at first, but eventually, having given birth to his daughter. (I don’t pity him. At one stage, one of the many times she came back to me briefly, he called me and gave me a long lecture about how I should control her, not unlike a similar conversation from another guy that she cheated on me with before all of this. It seems that abusers love to tell me how I should treat women – and abuse them just like they do. It’s unfortunate that she would leave me repeatedly for an abuser, and I don’t know why she would do that, but the “fix” is not to become abusive myself. Anyway, that guy was an idiot and I’m glad he’s dead.)
Edit: Worth adding, and I don’t know why or how this happened, but in the last six months before she returned and I then cleaned up, my meth use, which was more than ever before, more or less stabilized. It doesn’t make sense, but the voices stopped – except for when I stayed awake for several days at a time and became paranoid while coming down. But I slept an hour or two every night, so I didn’t get into that state anymore. I was still high all the time (because that’s how I used – that’s how it goes when you’re a meth addict), but was coherent and was thinking clearly. So in that last six months, I was functional, I was a team leader at work with two developers working under me, and in fact I was doing most of the work. I wasn’t normal by any means, but for that brief period, my drug use was under control. I didn’t want to use anymore, but procrastinated every day. “I’ll stop tomorrow”, I thought; but tomorrow never comes.
And that brings us up to date, more or less. I cleaned up the day they arrived, in September 2013. I’d reached a point where I needed a prod to motivate me to stop using, and this was it. Megan’s little girl gave that initial motivation I needed to stop. I love that little girl. And that’s where my sadness comes from now. They stayed with me for nearly two years, and in that time Aishah and I became close. I treated her like my own daughter. The other night, I was sitting on the balcony at home, and I looked up at a neighbour’s balcony, on which there was a child’s chair. It made me remember the day I bought a chair for Aishah. She was only just over a year old. But I brought it home and told her, “This is your chair. Aishah’s chair!” and she was so excited… She carried it everywhere and sat right in front of me on it. Then the next day she discovered that she could stand on it to reach stuff of interest.
That’s just one example. I can’t write more without becoming overly emotional. Aishah gave me reason to live again. Josh couldn’t because I didn’t see him every day. But his sister could. For two years I was not only happy, I was joyful, ecstatic even. And we did get to see Josh more, since we were clean and took part in two programs that we were required to do in order to get him back. But there were always things to be used against us, contrived reasons that the foster care, which should never have happened at all, dragged on and on.
And then, Megan and Aishah went to Cape Town on holiday. But she didn’t tell me that she had no intention of ever coming back. Let that sink in.
They came back to Johannesburg a couple of months later and lived with some family friends of Megan, without even telling me straight away. And after that, we did see Aishah regularly again. At one stage I took both children to an indoor trampoline park every week, and last December I got Josh back. But at the end of April, Megan and Aishah went to Cape Town for good.
So while I am happy to have Josh back, I miss his sister. I don’t think of her all the time and cry on my drive to work (because I used to take her to and from crèche every day, and we’d play these games where she called out “Bus!” or “Truck!” after I taught her the words)… not anymore. But I do think of her every day. Again, I can’t say too much on this subject, because the tears will flow too fast and leave me incapable of writing.
And recently Megan asked if Josh could come to her for a week’s holiday… I don’t have a piece of paper saying I have sole custody, although she agreed in court for him to come to me. So really, the same person who could go there “on holiday” with no intention of coming back, thinks that I can trust her enough to send our son there all by himself, on holiday. It really gets to me. But what gets to me most is how much I miss my little girl.
Edit: I do trust Megan now. I really do. But that doesn’t matter. If Josh were to go to Cape Town alone and anything happened, there are a few people who will say “I told you so”. And although I can trust her, I don’t know if I can trust her family. Megan is very impressionable… for years she listened to everyone except me. She will take advice from an imbecile before she considers my view. I recall once begging her for three hours not to leave when she decided to leave in the middle of the night. (We were both high.) She conceded that everything I said was true, and then left anyway. And when she went to Pakistan, those people told her that once you convert (or “revert” as they call it – they do believe stupid shit) to Islam, you can’t deconvert. And she believed them. For nearly two years she wouldn’t let Aishah eat bacon, for goodness sake. I do not know who she has been speaking to in Cape Town, and what kind of “advice” she has received. So while my heart may say I can trust her, my brain cannot take that risk. (And as illogical as it is, I do still love her and would take her back if I could. I must be a glutton for punishment.)