...Agape Love by Marilyn R. Lyon
...episodes about Todd Wm. Gibson alias ie: "Crackhead"
I was becoming an expert on organizing a crack-heads life after a fall. Something I never would have believed possible. I felt like George M. with a skill no one wanted.
When I received the last call of distress and failure I would ever receive from my son, I was calm, collected, organized and dedicated. As though I had been called at a professional emergency help facility.
I picked him up on a cold wet fall morning from a street corner about 2 miles from where he lived. He had on a summer hat, an unlined cotton jacket and no socks. He had just said, "pick me up". I did. Neither of us said anything.
I drove to a restaurant and we sat down over hot coffee. This time he did not start an explanation with how much he had failed, how low he was, how helpless he was. He matter of factly explained as though he had just visited a relative at the hospital who was in serious condition.
He had picked the lock on his landlady’s bedroom door and stole $200 in tips she had left on her dresser. He re-locked the door. She was retired and worked part time and did not really need the money. A week or two previous she suspected Todd but never did or said anything. Instead she had a bolt lock put on her bedroom door. So next time he broke in the window and this time stole $400 in quarters.
When she discovered the second theft and the dislodged window, she called the police. Todd was so mindless he was just in his room as usual. When the police arrived he and his sleeping mind hid in the closet.
However strangely, when the police searched the room and the closet, they found no one. It is hard to say how much crack related crime they had already been drenched with that day.
When they left he went out the window and wandered around half clothed in the bitter cold until it was late enough to call me.
I went to see his landlady that morning. She was amazed that a crack-head she had living in her house had stolen money she left laying on a dresser behind a locked door. She also seemed to enjoy the excitement of re-telling the story and made a very large point of making me look in his room to see that she had in fact packed up all his things. But really had a waitress from work come and pack his things as though that would have some significance in my then soggy mind. I looked at the pillows on the bed and wondered if they were Todd’s, but just wanted to get his things and go. I did not even look in the drawers or closet. I knew more about what he had lost than what he had left.
Very soon we discovered a shark tooth necklace my brother had just given him while visiting form Florida. A beaded necklace made by his sister for Christmas last year; a typewriter he had bought while in school. A pair of pet shears he had for 15 years, and a new portable heater in a box and his toiletries in the bathroom.
Todd had done something very, very wrong. The courts would see to it that he pay back every dime. As well as the fact that Todd would feel loosing his stuff was what he deserved. But the personal things from my brother brought tears to his eyes. The typewriter was one of the few things he had bought for himself in 5 years. His wrong did not seem to us to make their wrong right.
I called the landlady thinking that these things had been overlooked. She hung up on me. I just wanted to retrieve the necklace not because they were so valuable, but because of their personal meaning.
Although he never spoke of it, I am sure he knew there would be a warrant out for him. So did I. He had committed his first felony that I knew of, or that he had been caught at. Although I was operating efficiently, I was very, very numb inside. Inside I was not operating, not thinking and not feeling anything.
I was drained. Todd talked about having to go back to the hotel he had been at the last year. He went immediately that day and got a job as a waiter at a new restaurant that had just opened. He was numb too and dumb and living in some fantasy world that by getting a job getting a place to live and by pretending it never happened, it would go away.
He was frantically running. I was humbly waiting. I saw Todd’s body in my house but I did not feel connected to it.
Somewhere I must have known he had to be punished for this, and that he would be punished. Nothing seemed to matter to me. I just went through the motions.
It was only a few days after he had called me on that cold wet morning when I looked out and saw police converging from all sides of the house. They hand cuffed him. I kissed him and gave him a hug and cried. I said to no one in particular, "He is a crack-head, not a criminal", as they took him away.
Can this be happening to me? I could not see how it could. But it was. This was not a TV program. This was happening to us.
I sat around like a zombie when I was not at work. Scott would call me with the details of charges and things that he called to find out about. A felony did not connect in my mind. All crimes were the same to me.
Then I got a telephone call one day when I was sitting at my desk starring dazed and empty, out the window. She was calling from the Bail Bond Dept. of the jail to find out some information so she could advise in bond being set. I did not give her a chance to ask any questions. A volcano erupted inside me. "It doesn’t matter what the bond is", I told her, and "He does not have it". None of us were going to pay it, and I started to cry. "He’s a crack-head. We are all still standing by him but he is a hopeless crack-head. We have tried everything. He has tried and failed so many times. He use to be a completely different person". I cried, "He needs a good drug program, or even a bad one. He was so much stronger than he was 5 years ago. I know he is on the brink of being able to stop. He just needs some help, some tools, and some information. I tried and tried and cannot find any help". All this poured out of me again like it was coming from someone else. Like I was reciting something to an empty room again.
"Well. If you think a drug program would help him, that’s where we will put him".
Just like that. I was silenced. Did I hear her right?
"Hello"? She said.
"Yes I am here. OK. I do think it would help. I know it will help. He is ready. Maybe it would not have helped in the beginning, I do not know. I know he is ready now. Thank you. You really mean it? Just like that you can get him in a drug program’?
My son never knew about my conversations with all the people I have talked to. He did not know about this one. When he stood in front of the Judge and the Judge said his sentence would be 6 months in a re-hab facility, he asked, "Why"? "Why now"?
"You have committed a felony", the Judge said.
"You mean I could have gotten in a Re-hab program before, if I had committed a felony"?, He asked?
"Yes", the Judge answered.
"I wish someone had told me", my son said.
The judge had no idea what he was talking about, naturally.