We lived in many different places. When #2 got out of prison the first time, he did really well for a long time. Eventually, he came to live with me in my bungalow (really, a bungalow). Things were good. I was working at a software testing lab and he was looking for work. He was going to his meetings and to see his probation officer just as he was supposed to.
The are of LA we lived in was far removed from his old stomping grounds – in hindsight, this is why he was doing so well. He was far from his old friends and their lifestyles. He was making some new friends’; he experienced a “normal” lifestyle; he wanted to succeed. And he was. For a while.
#2 had a son that lived in his old neighborhood and he made arrangements to visit with him. So we drove for a little over an hour to get to son’s house. During the visit, he was having a great time playing with son. Unbeknownst to me, son’s mother had called some of the old gang to let them #2 was there – and they came. That was it. The end of “normal”.
At the end of the visit that day, we drove back to my bungalow. #2 was sad but excited because he got to see his son, but almost more excited that he got to reconnect with the old gang. I should’ve seen the BIG RED FLAG waving brilliantly in my face at that moment. But I didn’t recognize it – I was holding out hope that he would be able to continue what we were building.
The next day I went to work. Back to the routine of life for me. We had one car. It was mine, #2 naturally didn’t have one since it’s really not something you need in prison. When I returned home from work at the end of the day, #2 was gone. Not gone, gone. But he wasn’t home. His things were there. I couldn’t imagine where he had gone but thought maybe he’d gone for a walk or something. Hours went by and he didn’t return. I made myself some dinner, he didn’t come home. I went to bed and woke the next morning, he didn’t come home. I left for work… and when I came home he was there. I was pissed! He was high… damn him! Damn his friends!
He had found my emergency stash of money that I kept in the house and took the bus to his old neighborhood. Apparently there was a large celebration of his release from prison that son’s mother organized with the old gang. He knew about it the day we had gone to visit his son – they planned while we were there visiting. No, he didn’t tell me, nor did anyone else. They knew.
I don’t know why I stayed with him. Why didn’t I just make him pack his shit and go? I can’t answer that question. I really can’t. Fear of being alone maybe… no clue. I have thought about it many, many times.
From that point forward, he was never inclined to live “normal” again. His pride in earning his possessions went away. His pride in being sober went away. And things got worse. I ended up losing my bungalow – he ran through my money like crazy. I let him. Why? Again, I don’t know… seriously.
We ended up living in a hotel closer to his old neighborhood…yes a hotel. It was a nice one. We stayed there for about 6 months until a prison buddy was released. This buddy was a white collar crime guy, not a drug addict or anything. This buddy was into real estate… he would by up government foreclosures, fix them up, and flip them. He hired #2 to do some work for him. The deal was we got to live in the homes until they were ready for sale. We did one house…. #2 continued using dope and it was crazy. I worked on the house too. I was ambitious and thought this was a great job. We could keep on this track with prison buddy and maybe start earning some commission from the sale of each home. I put my all into it. #2 didn’t. One day the probation officer showed up to do an inspection. This is normal procedure when a parolee would move to a new location.
#2 ended up going back to prison for 28 days. His parole was violated because there was a pair of scissors out on the counter top… the parole officer indicated that they were a weapon, and being a convicted felon, #2 wasn’t allowed access to weapons. Pretty chicken shit, but probably necessary too. So #2 was hauled off. Because he was gone, prison buddy abandoned me, told me I had to move out of the house. What?!
Well, I was now homeless. First time in my life. Horrible horrible feeling. And here is that BIG RED FLAG once again, waving brilliantly in my face. Did I recognize it this time? Nope….