Abandonment, Relapse, and Cheating (first two pages of Chapter 16)

As I mentioned, Nikki was back in the children’s lives when Nate was arrested, but she only made trips to see them every other weekend or so. Nate was living with The Smiths, Xavier’s parents, who were pretty much all of our saviors. Whenever one of us was in need they took us in, no questions asked.

Nikki came up on Christmas Eve, but was gone that night. When we woke up on Christmas it was The Smiths, Xavier’s sister Morgan, her boyfriend, their son, Nixon, Nathaniel, Holden, and me. We called ourselves “The Village,” but main people were missing.

We tried our best to give the children the most normal Christmas as possible. We opened presents and told them Daddy loved them very much but was unable to be there. We left the room when we had to cry. They seemed happy enough, but it’s heartbreaking to watch young kids on Christmas without either parent present.

Once Christmas was over it was time to discuss what was going to happen to the children. I offered to move up and take care of them, but Nikki wouldn’t allow that to happen. She said she would do it. And she did. For a week.

Nikki and I put on a good face for those around us, but there was still some hostility there. Hostility I wasn’t even aware of. Supposedly, the first thing she did when she moved up was steal Nate’s remaining Xanax and any change he had lying around, along with any other valuables of his or mine. Then she packed up all of Holden’s and my stuff to make it seem like we were never there to begin with.

Then, after a week, she started coming down to Jersey all the time again. The Smiths got worried about what would happen if one day she didn’t come back, so they called Nikki’s parents who came to get the kids immediately. The whole thing was really just one giant misunderstanding. The Smiths wanted the kids there, but Nikki’s mom took it as they didn’t.

Nikki never came back from Jersey. She was supposed to pick up the kids’ stuff and bring it to her parents’, but she didn’t. She was supposed to move in with her parents to take care of the kids, but she didn’t.

I can’t pretend to know what Nikki was going through. Supposedly she suffers from Bipolar disorder, possibly among other things, and was not in the right mind to take care of her kids. But even more than not understanding what she was personally going through, I cannot understand how someone could abandon their children twice.

When Nate got arrested we all took it hard. Nikki partied and left her children, others cried, and I relapsed.

I wasn’t planning on it.

I had gotten off of methadone at the end of October, 2011. It was a hell week. I stayed with Nate for the week so he could help me with Holden, but he still had to sleep and work so I was forced to do some stuff. I was shaky and sweaty and cold and couldn’t sleep to save my fucking life. I would toss and turn for hours on end, trying to lull myself by watching Nate’s stupid fish tank, but obviously that didn’t work. Sometimes Nate would give me a Xanax and I would be able to pass out for a few hours, but then I withdrew from that, too, so I really wasn’t able to sleep.

The Village did the best they could to help me, but I felt bad asking for so much help. After the week was over I could finally function but still felt like crap. After a month I could really function, but still felt like crap. Food still tasted like cardboard and my body temperature was still out of whack.

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