Friday, March 26, 2010

Divine Retribution

Talking to an old friend the other day, I am struck with how the universe works. I have always been a firm believer in threefold, which states that whatever you put out in the universe comes back to you three times as good or bad. For instance, if you put out get three times negativity in return. If you put out love and goodness, you will be rewarded threefold. Some people call it karma, and other people say it is divine retribution. Whatever it is makes us sometimes realize how the balance of things can work.
My friend Scarlet and I used to be real tight back in the day. We had a lot in common, both straddled between two different worlds. Sometimes back then, people used to confuse the two of us. Scarlet was into all the same shit I was, only she had more of the die hard attitude. She could be cold and calculated in order to take care of her business. When Scarlet needed something, she had a way of making it happen.
Scarlet was married to a kid that seemed pretty nice to me. From what I gathered, they were very tight. They had been madly in love, you know, soulmates and shit. They were thick as thieves, always getting high or scamming to get high together. I used to see them fight sometimes, and it seemed to me that their addictions had become more important than their love. I hate to see this kind of thing happen. It is tragic, really. And I really relate to these kinds of tragedies.
Scarlet's husband always treated her like a queen. He was sensitive and caring, and his feelings could easily be hurt by her. He would do anything to make her happy. You could tell he adored her by the way he looked at her. You could tell he admired her strength and often found solace in it. She was his rock even when he was drowning in the storm. And he was fiercely loyal. I never even saw him glance at another woman.
Scarlet took good care of her man. He worked sporadically, and she always complained because he had not kept a steady job in years. He had a great job before they started using dope, maybe working in a kitchen somewhere. Since their lives had been overtaken by heroin, they had fallen on some hard times.
Scarlet always made sure they had a roof over their heads. They had been evicted from apartment after apartment, so they were crashed at different hotels for years it seemed. It is expensive to pay for a room by the night, especially when the couple spent between one and two hundred dollars a day shooting dope.
Scarlet always made sure there was enough food to eat, and cigarettes to smoke. And she always made sure her man had his dope. Granted, when she would slave away all night at the strip club while her husband was not working, she would do more dope than she gave to him. I could not really blame her since she was putting out at least two hundred dollars a day for all their expenses.
I am not sure how Scarlet paid for her lifestyle sometimes. Sometimes, she would make really great money at the club. She was generally one of the top earners. But, every night cannot be a busy night. And every morning the same need calls on the junky, demanding the same high. Many nights she had five hundred dollars before nine, and other nights there is no way any girl made even a hundred. But, Scarlet always managed to come bouncing back into the club high as a kite, with her loyal husband escorting her to the door. I am not sure if her husband really knew where all the money came from, but then I think he just was afraid to ask. After all, he needed his fix more than anything else, too.
After Hurricane Katrina, I lost touch with Scarlet. I heard she had stayed behind and was forced to evacuate many days after the storm. It was the same as so many of us. Sometimes I wondered what had happened to her. I wondered where that confident girl who could get whatever she needed had disappeared to. She had a survival instinct. I knew she had made sure her man came out of the mess okay, too. She would have never left him behind in that shit that Katrina brought to New Orleans. And she probably made sure they raided the pharmacies so the lovers would have their fix.
I got a call from a friend who ran into Scarlet in the French Quarter. She handed the phone to Scarlet, and I was able to catch up with her a little. She had changed as much as any of had since getting clean. Scarlet had also started her life over, clean and sober. It is always interesting to see the paths we take in life.
Scarlet had gotten a divorce. She said the addiction and years of abuse finally tore the lovers apart. I am not even sure if she really knew what happened. There were so many lies and just too much water under the bridge. Both Scarlet and her husband had moved on to start new lives, separately. I was shocked. They had just been so close, and I could not imagine that their paths had gotten so far apart.
Scarlet had gotten involved with another man. They ended up having a child together. She was also separated from him, and she was out on her own with her young son. Her child's father had turned out to be a bum. He did not help with the baby very much, and he had no intentions of improving his life to better their son. Her child's father was lazy and unmotivated. Not to mention, he had turned out to be quite a pervert.
When they met, Scarlet said she was completely lost. Without her beloved soulmate, she did not know what to do. Missing him terribly, she clung to this man she had good sex with. Good sex and a lot of it does often lead to a pregnancy. Clinging to the fantasies of a perfect life and the desire to have a child, Scarlet went forward as planned.
She only had sex in common with her baby's father. After a baby is born, we all know how the sex life dwindles. Scarlet was nursing and not sleeping, and her baby's father was still expected sex all the time. Her desire had dwindled and her heart was no longer in it. She had a renewed interest in life after the birth of her child, but not much interest in sex anymore. What new mothers really do though?
Shortly after the baby was born, Scarlet discovered her baby's father was cheating. She tried to work it out for the sake of the child. She tried to just ignore it, knowing that he had a large appetite for sex that she could satisfy. But, she just could not let it go. She was bombarded with all kinds of thoughts and memories as he pressured her for sex nightly. She had to end the relationship and strike out on her own.
I thought about the days when we used to get high together. I am pretty sure she was not the world's most loyal wife. I felt that maybe it was divine retribution that she also gets cheated on later. Maybe this is a just punishment for someone who throws away such a strong connection for the pursuit of addiction. But who I am to talk? I lost everything because of my addiction as well, and I know how crappy that feels.
The good thing is that Scarlet is also much happier now than I have ever imagined. I am also a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I think Scarlet has come into her own in spite of all her tragedy. She has become a strong mother who does need any assistance from anyone else. She lives her life for her son, now. She is back in school, and she will certainly provide a stable and happy life for both her and her son.
I asked her if she thought she might ever get married again. She said she doubted it. She was already married to her son's future for now. Scarlet had enough sex, drugs, and rock and roll for a lifetime. She once used to tell her younger girlfriends to never settle for less, and she was going back to that mantra. She was such a powerhouse on her own, and she did not need the companionship. She figured everything was back in balance in her world this way. Scarlet giggled, "But you never know...I may meet someone that will change my mind one day. He would have to be a very amazing person. I doubt that kind of thing happens twice in a lifetime, though."

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