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2002-02-26 06:49:09 (UTC)

The Upward Spiral

(By the way, two posts in a night is not going to happen
very often...)

All this talk of new chapters in our lives and moving on
and such brought up a particular ghost in my past. This is
a story of a woman who is a dear friend of mine, and who
will remain nameless.

Once upon a time, she used to go out with me and all of my
friends. We had a good time, partied a lot. (I also had a
little bit of a crush on her for a while. Dont tell!
Shhh!) Anyhow, she always was a big drinker, and got
sloppy and reaaaaal friendly very easily. I would estimate
that I only got real ripped off drunk once or twice in the
period 1997-1999. The reason being is that I was the
designated babysitter. I have seen every inch of this
woman's body over the course of time. Mostly because I was
with her at the bar trying to put her clothes back on her
as she was taking them off. I can't honestly say as I
relished this role. Hell, I can barely take care of
myself, let alone her.

I always chalked it up to her trying to avoid the pain of
her life. And her's was a doozy. By all accounts, her
home life as a child was less than loving. She was teased
mercilessly about being an overweight teen. She suffered a
string of abusive, ultimately fruitless relationships.
(One of her boyfriends even had an affair with her
mother!) Eating disorders came and went. Drug abuse in
various forms came and went. A seemingly endless stream of
men came and went. Literally.

Along the way, she had two beautiful children. She loved
them dearly. That was easy to tell. However, due to her
life and emotional situation, she was not able to keep them
with her all the time. So, they lived most of their young
lives in the care of their grandparents.

So what was my role in all of this? I think I was little
more than a band-aid on leprosy. I did my best to support
her, protect her, pick her up, so on and so forth. I
brought her food when she would not eat. I carried her to
bed when she collapsed from exhaustion. I watched over her
during her bouts with bulimia...All the while deluding
myself that I was making a difference. She may argue with
me (and has) on that point, but really, I was not helping
for any positve change. I was just there to stop the

To my eternal shame, I admit on more than one occassion she
disgusted me to the point where I let her take her clothes
off, and go run off with some guy. And she would call me a
day or two later and cry over what happened. But at that,
I never knew how to feel. You see, on one hand, she's a
big girl and should be able to take care of herself. On
the other, she had a terrible sickness or three and I
failed to save her. But who was I saving her from? That
was a question I have asked myself so many times over the

Then came the night when all the shit hit the fan.

I was fully planning on coming up to see her that night. I
was off work, and was planning on stopping at the bar she
worked at for a quick one or two...Maybe hang out a bit.
As it was, I got tired and a bit lazy, and just decided to
stay home that night.

Now, the following account is culled from a few different
stories of the night's events. I have pieced them together
as well as I could.

She was at the bar that night, and got hammered. (She
rented the apartment above the bar, so getting home was not
an issue.) The owner of the bar was there, along with a
few other guys. She got loaded, and started to dance. And
as she danced, she was wearing less and less. This
apparently got the few patrons there that evening quite on
the hot and bothered side, so they were looking for a
little "gang" action. Never happened, though. She shut
that down right quick. So, the place closes and the
customers leave. The owner offers to walk her up the
stairs to her apartment. About halfway up, he knocks her
down and rapes her.

After it ends and he leaves, she picks herself up off the
stairs, and goes into the apartment. Takes a shower. Goes
to the kitchen, takes and knife, and proceeds to take a
huge chunk out of her left wrist. It would seem as the
blood began to flow out of her and onto the floor, she
decided she didn't want to die after all. (She told me it
was thoughts of her children that did it.) She managed to
get hold of a friend to take her to the hospital, where she
told the doctor that she cut herself on a broken glass
while washing dishes.

Charges were never brought against the man who did this.

I didn't find out until about a week later. I was
devestated. I felt that I had failed in my obligation to
protect her. And the worst part of it was the thought that
I was planning on seeing her that night, but was too lazy
to go. I could have saved her. I could have changed all
of that. But I was too lazy. I was filled with so much
hatred both for him and myself. I wanted to kill him.

It took me a lot of years to realize that I am not her
keeper. If I was there that night, yes, the assault would
not have happened. (I think.) But, who's to say about the
next night? Or the one after that? As hard as I try to
be, I am not Superman.

She spiraled after that. Moved to a new apartment, but
still the bad habits continued. It all culminated in a one-
month prision sentence for DUI. I sat with her in the
Dauphin County Courthouse all day, and we talked. I nearly
cried when they led her away in handcuffs. That was the
last I saw of her for a while.

When she got back out, her outlook on things had changed,
but her resolve was more than a little shaky. All it would
have taken was but a tiny push to send her back into the
life she tried so hard to leave behind. But she stayed

She moved into an apartment with a pretty decent guy that
she was just friends with. No other connection than that.
The kids stayed with her more now. She resumed steady
work. Eventually, she and her roomate realized they held
deep feelings for each other. And as a result, she became
pregnant with her third child.

They just recently purchased a new house with lots of space
and a big yard to play in. The kids are back with her full
time, and the baby was born a little while ago. (She was
talking to me about marrying her boyfriend, but we'll have
to see how that goes!)

All in all...She is happy.

I've spent awhile trying to come up with a moral for this
story, and sadly my Aesopian powers are failing me. Let me
just leave it at this:

Whatever your situation in life, no matter how ominous it
seems, is only temporary at best. Life will knock you
down, and sometimes kick you while you are there, but you
can always get back up if you have the strength and
determination to do it. Nothing is really as bad as it
seems, and nothing is forever.

(PS--To anyone out there who is close to the situation and
feels this posting was a bit out of line, drop me a note at
the usual and we'll talk.)