Well in my sleepiness, I completely overlooked a turning point last time...
I didn't go from the shelter to my first apartment, duh?! The years can muddle things even if the drugs and booze do not. Keep in mind this was 14 years ago!
I actually got thrown out of the shelter (Dave I am SO sorry I almost missed your part :) ) There was this girl who stayed there too, named Erica. First lesbian I ever know. Well we got to friends as there were not many girls our age there. She used to take me to Springfield, OH for day trips. I met all her lesbian friends and they seemed SO happy and close. Well I got more than a little envious. Keep in mind I had not been in Richmond long and not many friends and was sober.
One night we got back from the shelter past curfew and found they had thrown out all our stuff, including $150 worth of library books (that I still owe for to this day. I looked at her and said "Fuck it, I have a check coming tomorrow. Let's move to Springfield!" I have to admit my motives were not entirely pure, I had a nasty crush on her at that point. We agreed to meet the next night at 10 pm and she would have a ride for us. We went separate ways to try to find somewhere to crash. I dug a duffel bag's worth of stuff out of the shelter's dumpster and started wandering.
My mind was going a million miles an hour. I had nowhere to go, most of my possessions had been ruined by the shelter's dinner waste, and I was getting ready to run away with a GIRL. How did this happen?! I was doing the right thing, damn it! Next thing you know I'm standing by the liquor store looking for a guy to flirt with so he'd buy me a bottle. It didn't take long! Next thing you know I'm in Glen Miller Park asleep on the ground, cradling a bottle of vodka like a newborn baby.
I woke up with a splitting headache, a half broken back, and the sun shining directly above me. I had done it again! But I was not to drink again for awhile. This was to be the day my life made a hairpin turn and I would meet a group of people who are still my "kids" to this very day.
I picked up my my check and cashed it just as dusk started to fall over the city. It was a lovely day and I decided to go to my fave coffee house by Earlham to play some chess and say my goodbyes to the town. I arrived with a buzz saw going off in my head, and found I couldn't concentrate for shit. So I look over to my right and see this hippie dude with long brown hair (we'll call him DA). I thought, "Hmmmm this guy looks like he could get me some dank nugs!" So I plucked up the courage and just walked up and asked. To my surprise and delight he said yes!
We jumped in his car and got what we needed to. He mentioned he had friends hanging out by Centerville and did I want to come? I agreed on the condition that I was back to meet Erica. I arrived to a nice house and found a group of people my age chilling in the basement.
Many joints were passed and before long I found myself opening up to these strangers, telling them of my intentions and apprehensions. Suddenly DA's sister V said (and I can remember this exactly forever) "Don't go! You can stay with us!" To my shock, I heard OK floating out of my numb, stoned lips.
They took me home where I met their parent, the 2 most decent, God-fearing folks it has been my privilege to meet. No questions were asked, they just took me in with open arms and let me stay till I got that apartment!
You know, usually drugs and alcohol lead to nothing but bad situations, but every once in a while by fate, or God, or whatever you believe in they lead to something wonderful! Remember these kind folks because they have a hand in saving my life about a million times in this story!
As always Thank you and God Bless!