“SORRY I STOLE YOUR MONEY AND SPENT IT ON MY DRUG HABIT”. That’s what the card would’ve said – but there was no card. Because Hallmark doesn’t have a crackhead section yet. White dahlias wrapped in burlap came as an apology from my landlord’s too-old-to-be-living-at-home son and he handed them over with a smile that made the Grinch’s look like a fucking Colgate commercial. My skin crawled.

Two weeks would pass before I mustered the courage to leave. I looked my landlord in the face and told her I was going, conjuring up some half-truth that I couldn’t afford it but told her plainly that I was uncomfortable. Has a 71-year old ever squared up to you? Let me tell you, I’ve never had adrenaline pump like that in my life. Words like “nasty” and “disgusting” were spat in my face over the fact that this woman legitimately felt I was stealing HER money. You put my life in danger by making me live with your son, but I’m stealing YOUR money. I could’ve died, homie! Bizarre is an understatement.

I packed my suitcases with the anxiousness of knowing an anvil could have dropped on my head at any moment; throwing shoes in with shampoo and dirty jeans in with newly washed lingerie. I clutched my face wash and toothpaste in my left hand and led myself out the door with my right, picking up my feet quickly while an elderly woman screamed at me through the gate.

A white Audi packed with friends pulled up to the curb: my getaway car. The wells from which my tears had sprang ran dry immediately. Relief and the slowing of my pulse found me comfortable in the backseat, left hand now release, touching leather like it was land after months at sea. I was safe.

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