I was sitting in my parents' basement and waiting. I was trying to let the time pass.
I kept telling myself, "Relax, Haley. Breathe. He will eventually be here, and everything will be OK."
But it wasn’t OK.
An hour had passed since he said he would be there.
It was the third time that week that it had happened.
I got a text from him, saying he was running “errands.”
But I knew what that really meant.
I already had a vision in my head of how the night would turn out. I already knew what was coming.
He would pick me up an hour and a half late.
When I would get in his car, he would kiss me and apologize, giving me some lame excuse that never actually explained why he was late.
We would go back to his place.
Then, I would start to feel a little better about the situation.
I would loosen up as the night went on.
He would win me over once again.
We would cuddle.
That is, until he would start to get sketchy calls or texts from random numbers.
The little spark of romance I felt would instantly melt away as soon as that phone would ring.
He would eventually take me home, claiming he had something to do.
I would be left alone.
I was worried for his safety, and worried for my heart.
I was 19 years old, and I thought it was true love. I was dumb, like every other girl who thinks she's found “the one.”
I had met him in the sixth grade on the school bus. He lived a few streets away from me.
We had grown up together.
Ever since that moment on the school bus when he sat next to me, I thought it was meant to be.
He was always funny. He was always into me.
But somewhere between bus rides and high school crushes, he became a little less interested in me and a lot more interested in weed.
All of a sudden, we were here.
We were in this constant competition.
Was he going to spend the day with me or spend the day high?
Or even worse, both?
I used to sit around, watching him and his so-called “friends” light up.
Pipes, bongs, dabs: You name it, and they had to have it.
They were always sneaking around, trying not to get caught by his parents.
I would sit there, feeling awkward about myself while they got down to business.
I wished this wasn’t happening.
I wished the clouds of smoke would fade away.
I wished he might one day love me more than the burned residue that resides in his pipe.
I tried to fit in. I broke my values to try to make things work.
I would get f*cked up, just so he would accept me and pay me a little bit of attention.
I did everything I could to get one step closer to being his number one.
But everyone could see his priorities were elsewhere. It was a losing battle for me from the beginning.
He would run those “errands,” meeting up with God knows who all over the city to collect his money.
Trading green for green: That’s all he ever wanted to do.
He would stash it all under his bed with all his supplies. He had stacks of cash just lying around.
Yet, he couldn’t afford to ever take me on a date.
I was still head over heels for him.
To this day, I think he is toxic for me.
I loved him more than I loved myself, but he loved weed more than he could ever love me.
I was stuck in a dreaded triangle.
We talked about marriage and children. We talked about the future.
We did actually love each other at one point.
The pathetic part was, I meant what I said. I would have married that boy.
I once asked him during a conversation, “Are you going to be 40 years old with children, and still smoking weed?”
His response was, “Yeah, probably. What’s wrong with that?”
It wasn’t the weed itself that was the issue for me. I personally kind of enjoyed smoking weed for the short period I experimented with it.
The issue was my boyfriend of almost a year loved this plant more than he loved being around me, talking to me and even having sex with me.
He would skip out on plans. He would make excuses. He would let me down.
So, why would I stay with him?
Because every time I saw him, he would sweep me off my feet like that first time I sat by him on the school bus.
He would look at me with those frosty, blue, bloodshot eyes, and I would feel whole.
He would touch my hand, and there I was, back in seventh grade science class.
When he gave me that playful smirk, I secretly wished he was mine.
Then, I would come back to reality.
I would realize he truly was mine. He was just not mine in the way I wanted him.
For 19-year-old, rebellious me, this was exactly what I wanted and needed.
I eventually learned to let go.
I returned to college, met a lot of new people and moved on.
However, he will always hold a little piece of my heart with him, right next to the lighter in his pocket.