“She’s Been What???”

Memoir Excerpt:

“I guess none of us knew at that point what we were dealing with, but we were soon to find out. In January my birthday came and went without a word from Angie, and I felt that same familiar cloud descending into my carefully protected space threatening my well-being…

Doc called that weekend of the 12th, telling me that Angie and Joe had taken off without a word. I’ll never forget how I felt when he told me this. That same familiar hollowness returned, as if I’d been gutted on the spot. And as to Doc, I was speechless with shame, after all he and his family had done for them. A couple of days later, Angie called from Richmond, asking me to pay for one night in a hotel before they went back to Doc’s to apologize.

They went back to Doc’s all right, but not to apologize.

Doc called to tell me that someone had broken into his house, stolen his credit cards, and taken his truck. Apparently they had been sleeping in the chicken coop, in January, waiting for the best time to make their move. ‘Sleeping in the chicken coop?’ I moaned to myself. Oh, God, what had she come to? He called the police, and they were picked up pretty quickly in Baltimore.

The policeman who arrested them told me that Angie tried to get away, screaming, “I’ll kill myself if you arrest me!” They were both taken to the jail in Baltimore. Joe was locked up on the spot for grand larceny/car theft; Angie was released to the psych ward in a nearby hospital. She had no priors and got off the hook. The very sympathetic policeman who arrested my daughter gave all this information to me over the phone. It was a Tuesday night, and I needed to get to my parents’ Al-Anon meeting. I was leading that night. I’ll never forget how I was feeling: hollow again, but wooden; it was almost surreal, sort of an out of body experience.

This wasn’t happening! My daughter was getting arrested? I kept saying to myself.

“Mrs. Romero? Mrs. Romero? Are you still there?” the policeman


Then he advised me, “Let it go, Mrs. Romero. There’s nothing you can do for her now. Let the legal system handle her.”

Sure, but they’d have to find her first.

I didn’t have time to go into rescue mode. After one day in her second psych ward, she called a friend who lived in Baltimore to come get her out. Poor, hapless friend, she had no idea that she was releasing Angie to the wind. This time my girl truly was gone with the wind: no word—no contact—nothing. “


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