Thursday, October 1, 2009
BH Files - By Meditations in an Emergency
One night I returned home from work to find her curled up on the sofa, using my computer, as was often the case. We spent a few hours together before she made her excuses and left. Early morning lecture or something. Yet I could tell she had been crying.
So after she left, I checked my internet history.
What I was to find felt like a dagger being plunged into my very soul. It was a heart-wrenching letter posted to a help and advice website, spilling her emotions out about her family situation, depression and money worries, all of which I knew about until I came to the words: '...so I've turned to prostitution...'
In that one moment my whole world turned upside down.
I felt...I can't describe what I felt...
The next day I went to see her. We went for a walk and I confronted her. I wasn't angry. I was too heartbroken for that and so was she. Instead I just tried to understand.
We talked for hours. I forced her to tell me every sordid detail. Pretty Woman it wasn't.
I think she was surprised by my reaction. She expected me to be disgusted with her, to yell at her, to never want to see her or talk to her again.
Yet despite everything, despite all her revelations, despite the HIV and STI tests that were to come that would leave me worrying for weeks on end, I loved her still. So I offered my love and forgiveness if she would allow me to help her; if she were to give up this double life she had been leading.
Initially she accepted it. But perhaps because she thought that I would never be able to look at her in the same way again, with the love that she so badly needed, she ended things between us. She was wrong of course and I told her so. But she had promised me her old life was over and she was ready to move on, albeit without me, so like a fool I believed her and let her go.
A few weeks later, I received a misdirected text message from her saying: 'what room number?' and I realized it was far from over. I rang her and begged her to reconsider what she was about to do but she refused. I then rang her pimp, threatening him with all the anger I could muster and with the threat of the law, but he just laughed at me.
What could I do?
I still loved her and I was terrified that something would happen to her. So when we spoke next I made her promise me that whenever she was going to meet with someone, she would tell me beforehand where, then afterwords let me know she was safe. So for a few weeks, I received a steady stream of text messages, which only served to shatter the broken pieces of my heart further.
I couldn't handle it any further and my own family had also begun to disintegrate, so instead of fighting for her, I gave up and broke regular contact with her. Instead I threw myself into trying to fix my parents relationship and into my work. I needed to keep busy. Otherwise, I would have done something stupid. I was already on the brink.
We saw each other three or four times after that. I still had to know that she was okay. We still cared about each other, but we pretended like we were almost strangers, leaving whatever feelings we may have had for each other and the past unspoken.
Many months passed by until she got back in touch with me again. She claimed that she had given up her old life but she needed a favour. She was downsizing apartments, trying to get her financial affairs in order, and she needed someone to act as a guarantor on her new flat. With no family to turn to, I willingly agreed, as this time I knew that she was telling the truth. So I paid a sizable deposit - which despite her promises I knew I would never get back - and signed on as a guarantor to her new life.
As the months passed by, she continually defaulted on her rent, meaning I had to pay for it out of my own pocket. It wasn't easy or inexpensive for me to pay both her rent and my own, but pay out thousands of pounds I did. The alternative was unbearable. Although I never saw her and we never spoke, at least this way I knew she wasn't working. It was worth it.
Six months had passed, the summer came around, and finally I received a phone call from out of the blue. She was in hospital and wanted me to visit. So I did.
She had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy. My heart broke even further as I held her and forgave her once again as she cried and apologized to me for everything.
I continued to pay her rent until they were both well enough to return to Canada to be with her family. When she left, I cried some more, until eventually all my tears had run dry. I haven't cried since.
Every Christmas and Birthday that have passed since they went away I have sent her little boy a present, because truth be told, just like his mother I fell in love with him too in the brief moments I held him.
A few days I ago I heard from her again after a long long silence. I suspect that her lack of contact is not because she is ungrateful but rather because she does not want to be reminded of her old life. Yet she sent me an email thanking me for everything I had done for them both and the gifts I had sent her son. She included some pictures of him.
It broke my heart all over again.
Those pictures reminded me of the future that we could have had, a future together, a future that is now lost to me, with her or anybody else. Life for me will never be the same.
But at least I know she is doing okay. At least I know that they both have a future. For that, despite everything else, I am eternally grateful.