I felt guilty for hitting Mom but easily rationalized it away. I hadn’t been back to the apartment for over a month and I was really missing Jason.
Our apartment was a shithole in the center of a fucking warzone but dog gonnit, it was our shithole. My best memories of the apartment centered on my brothers who helped make any little shithole a home. Jason and I standing outside on the small concrete slab patio, staring in awe at the complete covering of ash on the ground on the morning of May 18, 1980; After a few weeks of threatening, Mt St Helens finally lost her cool and erupted in a magnificent display of power and fury. It looked like a snowfall from our Montana childhood. Wearing out the stylus on the cheap turntable from my first purchased album, Dark Side of the Moon, and then my second, Generation X; Jerry had brought us up on perpetual music and the habit continued as the house was typically filled with sound. Jerry coming over to visit and sleeping in the dry bathtub- an old habit initiated because the tub could be comfortably heated by the adjacent heater and because we literally had no room otherwise; My friend Rene stayed the night once and got quite a scare when she got up to pee in the middle of the night.
I lifted the back sliding door off of its tracks and slid it to the side to overcome the wimpy lock and entered the apartment. At first I was scared that I had entered the wrong apartment as the place was completely barren, but upon closer examination realized that this indeed was our apartment. Within a month of my absence Mom had schlepped Jason off to some family and moved downtown Portland to a weekly hotel with her boyfriend, Clayton. The story that Jason tells is horrifying. Mom told him that they were going to visit some friends and the next thing he knows mom is driving off without him. Jason says he chased her down the street yelling, “Don’t leave me! Don’t leave me!” as she drove off and left him in the care of strangers.
I checked the lights and water and realized that neither had been turned off and that I could at least stay here for a couple of nights. There was about $40 in my pocket from buying an ounce of shake and selling it a joint at a time. A small time entrepreneur I was, perhaps I had a future in starting my own business? I walked to the nearby 7-11, got a microwaved burrito for dinner and then headed to my friend’s apartment to collect my small box of belongings and sleeping bag. My new apartment would be the perfect place to eat in peace and figure out a plan. At thirteen, it wasn’t the best position to be in but I felt a sanctuary in the solitude. I secured the sliding door with the rod from the closet and settled on the floor to enjoy my dinner. The anxiety to remain guarded and on the defense was released into the emptiness of the apartment, as there was no one else present of whom to be afraid.