You see that, folks? That is blue sky. Blue sky.
We haven't seen that around here for almost three weeks. I feel like I should go outside and roll around in it or something, to quote my oldest kiddo.
Interesting moment last night, but first, the night before: Logan, home visiting from Cali, went out with some guy friends, out to a bar to play pool. There he found other friends playing poker. I'd said he had to be home by midnight, and he'd agreed. At 11:30 I woke up, sure something was wrong. You know the feeling. I called him to say, "You must be on your way home by now." He didn't pick up. Gave me a strange mixture of panic and anger. I sat down on the couch to wait, magazine in hand. Five minutes later, the phone rang and it was him.
"Did you call me, Mom?"
"Yes. Why didn't you pick up?" Envisioning him smoking weed or worse in a crowded room, oh shit, my mom called.
"Because I didn't hear the phone." Sounding innocent, background noise evident, so not in a house.
"You must be almost on your way home." Changing tacks.
"Yeah. We're leaving right now."
He got home half an hour later, me sitting on the couch with the same magazine. We talked, he told me who he'd seen. Nothing seemed wrong or out of place, not overtly. He played with the dog, we had some light banter about her. I hugged him goodnight, he smelled smoky but nothing else.
And yet I went to bed troubled, not sure if my troubledness was due to my own suspicion or to a gut instinct you get after a while with an addicted child. See, there was something...weird...it's hard to describe. Some over-the-top-ness to his banter. Just a tiny bit, just shades of what he used to do when he was high. Some not-letting-go in the conversation. A pursuing of a topic after it's dead, after you're tired of it and want to move on. A not-knowing-when-to-stop-ness.
But it was minor. So, so minor. Like on a cloudy day: are there shadows? Not really. He could've had a hit on a joint, or he could've just been jazzed from being out with friends. So I went to bed and scolded myself for being over the top myself
, suspecting anything. My last thought before going to sleep was, "But on the other hand, if you feel it in your gut, it's probably right."
And I felt it in my gut.
Okay, so fast forward to the next night, last night.
He was with his brother during the afternoon, then his dad in the evening. He came home around 9 and went to see a friend, a girl we all really like a lot, who he hadn't seen in maybe a year, a girl he couldn't see while he was dating the now-pregnant former girlfriend. He was home by 10:30, when my hubby was asleep on the couch and I was just headed to bed. Well shit, you can't just go to sleep. So I rubbed my eyes and told hubby to go to bed without me. He did, but stayed awake playing solitaire and putzing in the bedroom. Logan was in on the computer, and seemed quiet, withdrawn. I went in to sit with him: "Whatcha doin?"
"How do I register for college?" He's online, the Cali college web site up, the registration page staring at him.
"You want to do it now?" Random, but great.
We've been encouraging him to register for a couple months now.
He starts going through the form, filling it out slowly. I kneel on the floor beside him, watching him fill out the form and answering occasional questions. He's slow on the uptake, and I can't help but flash back to this one time when he was working for me, high as a kite but before I knew about the heroin use, and I can't help reliving how he acted that day. Slow, slow, studying every minutiae I explained. Makes me shiver in disgust and horror, remembering and wondering how I could've not known. God.
He looks up. "What's my zip code in Cali?"
I think. "Hmm. Wait, it's written in my notebook. I'll go get it."
I get up and walk into the living room, and suddenly I am hit with a smell. Stops me dead in my tracks. Like super-sweet tobacco. Pot?
Words of my sister's come back to me: once you smell that smell, you never forget it.
I grew up sheltered, never smelled it until my kids used it, and even then they masked it with incense. All I know is this smell wafting through my living room is somehow associated with pot, which inevitably has led Logan back to heroin.
I'm still standing dead still in the middle of the living room, and now I step carefully to the left, the right. Where is that smell coming from? I go slowly to the car to get the notebook, sniffing all the way. It's strongest near the computer room, where Logan is. Goddamn it. Goddamn
I go back in to the computer room and hand him the notebook. Now I don't smell it.
Shit, I tell myself. Frankie, give it up. Nothing is going on. It's your imagination. Yet...is there some slowness to Logan's ability to fill out the form? He skips questions, asks how to answer certain obvious ones, stumbles on "birthplace; city and state/country." He knows the town where he was born, duh, and fills it in quickly, but gets stuck on what else they want in that field. I stumble too, with whether the answers are only obvious to me, whether a non-high 20-year-old knows how to answer that. God. Is that my gut talking again? God, god, god. I HATE this, this suspicion, this fear he'll slip up, this responsibility that's suddenly mine whenever he's home in my house.
Eventually he finishes the form, and suddenly seems normal again. Not slow, not weird, not over the top or depressed. Just completely normal. He asks to use the laptop, which hubby is using, to check email since the one in the computer room has an old browser and can't read certain sites. I hesitate, but know hub won't mind, so go in to ask him if he's almost finished playing solitaire.
And am hit in the face with that smell again.
I stand in the middle of the bedroom. "Why does it smell like super-sweet tobacco in here?"
Hub looks up, brightly. "Oh. You mean like incense? I lit some incense matches I had, to see what they smelled like. You can smell that?" He sniffs. "My cold must be worse than I thought. I don't smell a thing."
He hands me the laptop and I give it to Logan, feeling foolish. Thank god I didn't say anything to him. He pokes his head around me, into the bedroom and toward hub. "Hey, thanks for letting me use this."
Which bowls me over agin. Okay, forget what I said. He's not high or anywhere close to it. When he's high, he's self-absorbed and never notices anything anyone does for him. You could slit open your wrists to give him blood and he'd walk away without thanking you.
No, he's not high. He's, apparently, just bad with online registration forms.
And I, apparently, am bad with the gut.
So I guess you could say this story has a happy ending. I climb into bed and hub pulls me close, rubs circles in that spot on my temple like he does. "Did you have a nice time with Logan this evening?"
I nod into his shoulder. "Yes, love. I did." I pause. "But do you mind if I throw away those incense matches?"
The rubbing on my temple stops. "Sure, that's fine. But why?"
"It's a long story."