Love No One But You
I love no one but you,
Darling, don’t say we’re through
I can’t sleep at night
I dream with all of my might
that you’ll come into my heart
and we’ll never part.”—-hit song by the Jesters in 1957.
We would sit and have coffee and smoke cigarettes after shooting the heroin and she told me tales about what it was like when she was a child. About the time her father picked her up by her long beautiful hair and slammed her into the refrigerator because she dropped a dish. I was mesmerized by the story of her father chasing her across the pasture with a pitchfork because she was afraid to ride the new stallion. She showed me the scars on her butt when she told me the story. Her mother was the same size as her. When I met her mother she smiled at me and shook my hand. Just like her daughter her eyes always looked sad. Star was what everyone called her. Her real name was Anastasia. She loved her mother very much. Tears would fill her eyes as she talked about the times her father would beat her mother. I’m not sure if my parents ever really loved each other but my father would never hit my mother. Never.
I had just returned from California. One year on Parole. It went pretty fast now that I think of it. I worked most of the time in a group home for assaultive autistic teenagers. Sometimes they would get really violent. I was pretty good with them when things got rough. The other counselors liked working with me because I was really effective when a client went off. One, two, three, and they would go down.
Anyway, I got back to New Hampshire and had been there only a few days. Right away I started working at an inn as a chef and dishwasher. It was a live in situation.
Next door to the inn was a low-income apartment building. I knew some of the people there and when I passed the building some of my old acquaintances were drinking beer out on the front steps. I wasn’t going to go over to see them.
Then I saw her! Her hair was reddish brown and was full like a lion’s mane. I could see her eyes from the street. They were like haunted holes in her face and they pulled me right across the lawn of the building. I was talking to my old buddies but I couldn’t get my eyes off her.
“Hey, I’m Dean,” was what I said and held my hand out to shake hers.
“Star,” was all she said as she gripped my hand.
Her hand was dwarfed in mine but she had the strong shake of a working man. We talked for a while. When I mentioned prison her eyes got real big. I don’t know. I never saw eyes that big in my life before. When I was younger there was a set of paintings that were popular and all the people and animals in them were all eyes that you could fall into. Maybe God saw those pictures and made Star.
At first she wouldn’t go out with me. Every time I saw her I would ask her out. She would always have some excuse. She was staying with the people I knew in that building. I noticed that she slept in her car sometimes. She asked me for money twice. I said no. I figured that if she wouldn’t go out with me why should I let her use me for the money.
Finally one night she was hanging out on the front steps and she asked me if I had five dollars. “No, but I have a tab at the bar in the inn,” was what I said. “Do you want to have a few drinks with me?”
She thought for a long minute.
“Yes,” she said. “ I guess I could use a drink.”
I don’t think she wanted particularly to drink with me. She just wanted to drink. That was okay by me. I didn’t really want to drink. I just wanted to be with her.
We closed the bar and went back to my room. She never left.
A lot of things happened over the next four years. We got married. We moved into the city and were working two jobs.
At one job we were Mental Health Workers in Medfield Hospital. I worked the acute admissions ward. Star worked with the chronics. We worked the graveyard shift and after getting out of work we went to a horse farm and grained and watered the horses and walked them. Star would groom the horses. She grew up on a horse farm and could even break horses. She used to talk about it all the time. After work we would go to a bar and drink until about noon. Then we would go home and sleep.
We would argue sometimes. I had started shooting heroin again and soon I would leave her at the bar while I went off with some people to get the stuff. When I came back she would have some guy or another hanging around her. Sometimes I would fight with them.
One time there was this guy who started giving me a hard time when I told him to keep away from her and we started to fight. I wasn’t doing too well. The punches made noise in my ears and I could feel the vibrations. The punches were coming at me one after another and I was dizzy but waiting for an opening so I could take the mother-fucker down. I don’t know how many times he hit me but I knew if I couldn’t start hitting soon that I would be in trouble.
That was when I heard the crack and the glass breaking. Suddenly I wasn’t being hit anymore and it took a couple of seconds for my eyes to focus. He was on the floor and blood was pouring from his head. Star was standing there with a broken beer bottle in her hand and her eyes were full of tears.
“I hit him. He was beating you up like my father always beat my mom. No one will ever do that to someone I love again.” she said.
I looked down at the guy on the floor. He was still breathing but he didn’t look too good.
“We better go.” was what I said. And we left.
I kept watching Star as she drove us home. She watched the road.
“I love no one but you.” I said to her.
She put her big eyes on me and smiled with her mouth.
“I know you do.” was what she said.
Star kept getting sicker and sicker from all the drinking. I had almost stopped going to the bars because I was shooting heroin every day now. I was worried about her because of the drinking, so I asked her if she wanted to try a shot. She yelled at me and told me never to let her take a shot.
I knew that the drinking was going to kill her. She was losing weight. She started missing days at work. At least the heroin was healthy, I thought. I knew the only thing bad about using junk was that you were constantly breaking the law. All the trouble I had with prison and all that was just because it was against the law. Maybe one day things would change.
Star was drunk and depressed when I came home with a bundle of dope. She went to sleep after she threw up and I shot two bags and nodded out. When I woke up she was opening another beer. I asked her if she wanted a shot.
“Okay, just don’t hurt me,” was what she said.
I tied her off and gave her one-third of a bag. She smiled at me and the pupils on her giant eyes became like pin-pricks.
“Make love to me now,” she said.
“Okay, I want to shoot another bag first.”
“Can I have a little more,” Star asked.
I was happy that she liked it and hoped that maybe she wouldn’t drink so much now. I gave her another small taste and her head drooped down as her eyes shut. I watched her for a minute to make sure that she was all right and then shot two bags because I was happy. We made love for a couple of hours. I couldn’t come because of the dope. It just felt good being skin to skin and inside each other. I never loved anyone like I loved her.
We began to make dope runs together every day. She always wanted to come along even though she was afraid of the police. I would always go to the connection in Great Brook Valley and she would wait in our truck. My friend Hector, who I was in prison with, would come with us a lot. He always had money.
Hector had a scam going with an old lady whose son he used to hang around with. Her name was Frannie. Her son’s name was Victor. Frannie always called Hector her other son.
Victor alway would call his mother for money when they were dope-sick and when she said no he would threaten to commit suicide. She always gave in.
One day Frannie started to go to Al-Anon. About a week later Victor called her up for money and she said no. He threatened to kill himself if she didn’t come up with the money. She didn’t budge and said that the people at Al-Anon told her she was enabling him.
Victor had a gun and shot himself in the head while he was talking to her on the phone. After that, whenever Hector called for money, she would cry and tell him to come over. She stopped going to Al-Anon. She never said no again. Over the next year she gave Hector over thirty thousand dollars. Someone told me she died penniless in a state mental hospital.
Hector didn’t have a car so we would pick him up and drive him over to get the money and he would buy us all some bags for the ride. We would go to McDonalds and shoot up in the bathroom.
Then we began seeing the police around there a lot so we started going to a bar parking lot to shoot up. We would bring a small vial of water and share the needles and the cooker. The worst part about it was when we had to wait for each other to get done to use the needle. I hated it when I was the last person to go.
One day the police came up on us when we were shooting up in the parking lot. We tried to make a run for it in the truck but they must have radioed ahead and cut us off on the back road. One of the cops hit Star in the middle of her back with a rifle butt and she fell down and cut her hands. She was crying and when I moved toward her the cop pushed me into the side of the truck and held his gun to my head.
“Go ahead, you fucking asshole. Move so I can shoot you,” said the cop.
I didn’t move. They handcuffed us and took us to the holding tank in the police station. Bail was twenty-five dollars apiece and we were charged with possession of heroin and hypodermics. We didn’t have the money. I called someone we worked with and he came down and bailed us out.
Star didn’t come with me to get the drugs again for a long time.
We were working a lot of hours at the psych hospital. There always was plenty of overtime because they were short-staffed. I would make the run into the Great Brook Valley projects or to a dope house on Charlton Street every morning before we went to work. Between the two of us we made close to thousand a week and it was all going into our arms.
We could barely pay our rent and utilities. If it wasn’t for the food at the hospital cafeteria we wouldn’t eat. Star went down to 105 pounds and I was pretty slim too. Heroin was the fuel that kept us going. During break times we would go into the bathroom and shoot up. A couple of times I fell out in the bathroom. I just told my co-workers that I had gotten sick.
On my floor I was a member of the treatment team. Sometimes we would refer a client to a drug program. I could always pick out the ones that had drug problems. The people I worked with always said that I had a lot of insight into that type of thing. Then I would go into the bathroom and do some more dope.
Once in a while we couldn’t get any dope before we came to work. People would remark that I didn’t seem quite normal on those days. Usually I would leave early to get some. It was hard to work like that. Star always said that “Heroin is the glue that keeps me together.”
Star would have trouble falling asleep and would drink coffee until about 3 or 4 every morning on the days we wouldn’t work. I could sleep early but I would wake up before it got light and watch her sleep. She looked so small and gentle and beautiful. I wanted to give her everything that her parents never gave her.
I would get up and do a bag. Then I would lay back down next to her and rest my hand on her arm while I smoked a cigarette. I watched her breathe for hours. She was the best thing that ever happened to me.
There were times that we argued over the dope. She accused me of shooting some of it before I got home and that she never got her equal half. Sometimes I would stop and shoot some right after I got out of the projects but it was the pressure of the chase that drove me to it. I always risked arrest and I felt like I was justified in taking a couple of extra bags.
Sometimes Hector wold come over with his wife Patti and we would shoot dope together. Star hated Patti. It would seem like Patti was coming on to me sometimes. She was very pretty and I would want to sleep with her but I never did. The two women fought all the time.
Then Hector and Patti lost their place to live and were living in their car. They asked if they could stay with us and we let them stay a couple of nights but it got to be too much. They began bouncing from place to place. We lost touch with them.
The last time I saw Patti she was selling blowjobs for ten dollars on the streets of Worcester. Hector was waiting for her in the car. I heard that Hector went back to prison and Patti just disappeared from the scene.
I took a rapid succession of arrests and was on probation with a two-year suspended sentence. Then I got dropped again and it looked like I was going to go away for sure. Star cut her wrists and they took her to a private psych hospital because through work we had good insurance.
I would come to see her and sneak dope in. Sometimes she would get a pass and we would go out and sit in a park and cuddle together. I loved her more than anything in the world. We were talking an I told her my court date was coming up and that I might be gone soon. She cried.
“You’re not going. I’ll kill the judge if he sends you away,” was what she said.
What I didn’t know was that she told her therapist at the hospital the same thing. Because of some kind of law they said that they were bound to call the courts and tell them what she said. And they did.
Star got out of the hospital and came with me to court. All of a sudden the State Police were all about us and whisked us out of the courtroom where we were the only ones there. I was frightened and thought that I was going away for sure. I wished that I had shot some dope that morning. I kept having to run to the bathroom with the shits. Star kept crying and leaning on my shoulder and the lawyer disappeared into the back room with the judge for over two hours.
Finally he came out.
“You’re very lucky,” was what he told me.
He said because the prisons were very crowded and I had no history of violence that they were going to make my probation longer and execute the sentence but put a stay of execution on it as long as I didn’t get into trouble again.
My probation officer told me that this was my last chance. He said he didn’t care if I drank eight days a week as long as I didn’t shoot any dope.
Star and I decided to clean up and stop shooting dope. After work we would go to the bar and drink to make the sickness go away. It didn’t work that well at first and we puked a lot. After a while, if we drank enough, we passed out. We began missing work quite a bit.
We drank more than ever before. I never liked drinking that much but I would sit at the bar and pound down Jack Daniels straight up like it was water. Star and I started arguing more and more. I used to hate it when guys would come up to her in the bar and act like I wasn’t there.
We went out dancing and drinking and always wound up in an argument. I felt like I was getting sicker and sicker and didn’t know what to do. When Star would start drinking she would just go and go and not stop until she passed out. Sometimes I could do that but sometimes I felt like I just couldn’t go on.
We had been clean for three weeks but were drinking more than we ever had. The fight started in the upstairs bedroom. Star leaped at me and her nails raked my face. I was shouting at her and punched her in the head and she kicked me hard. I fell back into the bedroom window.
There was the sound of breaking glass.
She jumped at me again before I could get my balance back and was all nails and teeth. I rolled to get away from her but she seemed like she was coming from every direction. I picked her up and threw her across the room. She hit the dresser and bounced to the floor. One leg snapped off the dresser.
Star stood up and grabbed the wedding picture that had fallen to the floor and smashed it against the wall and then threw the leaning dresser over and the drawers spilled out. She picked up a lamp and threw it at me and I ducked and it hit the mirror on the wall. Glass sprayed everywhere and I grabbed her by the arm hard. She leaned forward and bit me on the cheek.
I screamed and kicked her in the stomach and she curled up on the floor. I bent down and asked her if we could stop. I was frightened. She reached up real quick and grabbed my hair and spit in my face. I grabbed the hand that held my hair and squeezed it real hard and stamped on her foot with my boot as hard as I could and she let go.
I ran for the stairway just to get away from her and she hit me at the top of the stairs. We tumbled down like two wildcats in a fight to the finish. She was biting and scratching and punching. I kept hitting her over and over and she smashed her forehead into my head as we hit the bottom of the stairs.
I heard the sound of wood breaking and we fell through the broken bannisters. She pulled away from me and grabbed a vase and through it at the bay window. We had a three tier glass coffee table and she pulled the tv off the stand and dropped it through the table.
I came towards her to stop her from wrecking the place and she screeched and launched herself through the air at me like a wolverine in a killing frenzy. The momentum of the leap carried us into the kitchen. Everything was in motion.
We separated for a minute and stood there breathing at each other. There was blood running into my eye; Star’s face was swollen on one side and one of her eyes was closed. Our clothing was all ripped. There was blood on her hands and blood on mine.
Star smashed on of the three glass cabinets with a cast iron frying pan that she pulled off the wall. She swept the cups and dishes from the shelves and ripped up her arm on the broken glass.
“How do you like this?” she screamed at me.
She smashed the second cabinet, swept the glasses to the floor and my throat was screaming as she whipped the frying pan at me. I ducked and it went through the plaster wall. We came together and pummeled each other as we danced on the shards of glass.
I remember screaming at her. I remember holding her light body in the air like it was nothing and screaming at her. I remember holding her in the air by the throat and noticing suddenly that she was no longer moving. There are spaces in time where God stops the clock.
Someone had called the police. When they came in I was kneeling over her and holding her hand. It took a few minutes for her to begin breathing normal again. They took her away in an ambulance. They took me to jail.
Star did not want to press charges and the court was going to go for a violation of probation but for some reason they let me go.
On the way home I asked Star what had started the fight.
“I don’t remember,” was what she said.
Neither did I.
I had been fired from work and needed to look for another job. We were behind on the rent. We decided to stop drinking because of all the trouble. That afternoon I borrowed fifty dollars from my cousin and went out to buy us some heroin.