His voice was tentative, and I listened as I drove the quiet backroads to Leesburg, VA contemplating whether he was capable of uttering one truthful word.
I miss you, he told me. It was hard not to miss him too, not to struggle with the sadness of everything, even knowing I did the right thing. "I tried not to call but then I miss you too much and can't take it," he went on. I took a deep breath, unready for another chapter in this saga.
But what of the lies, believing his sentiments aside?
I do use drugs and I sell them..., he told me. But he sacrificed those two lies for the lie he was not ready to admit to, this I knew somewhere deep-down, but did not push the issue. I was weary.
The words he uttered after that were a total blur. All the mysterious calls he couldn't make in front of me. Drug deals, mostly, he said. My hopes drifted in the fresh mountain air, my heart sank to the bottom of the nearest river. But I listened and he kept talking.
I told him I wrote the police and gave them all the information they needed in case anything happened to me. I told him everything about me, brought no danger into his life, gave him the chance to choose me and this is what I get in return? I was already a victim of violent crime. There are risks that I just don't take. Dating, let alone marrying, a drug dealer/abuser was just not one. I was in nearly a decade of recovery myself. I was alone to fend for myself and he took away my choice, and my ability to know exactly what I was dealing (pun) with in the first place. I wouldn't expect a good man and especially my future husband to put me in any harm's way, let alone, blindly. So, yes, I wrote my local PD. Ain' nobody got time to find out the hard way.
WHAT?!? WHAT?!? You are the shrimpiest gangsta I have ever known! he exclaimed.
On top of all that, I added, I live nearly in an all-glass lake house, alone. He admitted that was the source of the big wads of money. I'm not interested in this life, drug-using, drug-dealing circles, I told him. Unsafe, for me. He only thought of himself and his situation. I didn't even have a weapon in the house.
His explanation for the home address with the woman who shared his name was clumsy. He claimed he lived with his mother. I didn't believe him but I let it go for the moment.
I was in seminary, about to go out of town for a month to work and for school. There was just no more time to investigate him. I was foolishly in love and missed him terribly, which made me susceptible to his manipulation.
And. The sex was out of the world, well beyond anything physical. We continued to talk about his drug involvement and I told him he'd have to go clean and find proper work if we were to have a future. He agreed. He was gifted in so many ways and offered many golden tickets, all declined for foolish reasons. He'd have to answer why, but his life went down the path of deception, destruction, and drugs. That is a big clue.
He went through a brutal opioid withdrawal for me, around the time we spoke, a problem, because one must choose sobriety for themselves. But he told me he would do anything to be with me, that I was the love of his life and he wanted to marry me. Still no dinners or trips to his house though.
When I came back from my month out of town, he came over. That night, we conceived Willow. I was a first-year seminarian. My fertility issues at the time were not fully known, but I am a woman who knows she is pregnant...quickly. She was not my first miscarriage but my first one in which I and my mama dreamed of the child.
About 6 weeks into that pregnancy, with no insurance, I miscarried her, but my body was having trouble. I went to an acupuncturist regularly. Sitting on his table, I told him what I was going through. Ongoing cramps, feeling faint, weak, my body was struggling. It was brutal.
Chinese medicine is thousands of years older than Western Medicine and I was about to experience its full power, at a fraction of the price.
Earlier that day, as my body labored to expel my dead daughter, I blacked out talking to my sister on the phone. It was then I knew I needed help, some kind of help, though I was afraid of the high cost of an ER visit. It was early, my body is sensitive and I was hoping an older medicine would help me. I would not be wrong.
As my acupuncturist put his needle on the uterine point (or whatever they call it) my uterus started contracting and my cramps were different, somehow. By the second or third day and lots of rest, the treatment helped me through the saddest loss I'd known, a different type. I was left feeling empty, dead inside.
Later that night, my daughter came to me in a dream, no words, just a baby, lying next to me, reddish-brown curls, bluish-green eyes. I held her. It was like a "Hi, mama and bye, mama" at once. I felt a power in her I'd never felt before. I was not ready to tell TL.
My mother called, a day or two later, "Honey, are you pregnant? I dreamed of a little girl with blue eyes that change to green. She is beautiful." She also mentioned the curls, in detail.
We have a connection to end all connections and we are both gifted, mama and me. But she didn't go far enough, maybe couldn't bear to see that far. "Mom, I lost her. I didn't have insurance so my acupuncturist helped me through it. It was rough. I blacked out at one point, so I knew I need help. But I'm dealing with everything the best I can." She was no fan of TL at this point, so didn't care if he knew, only that I was OK.
I'm sorry honey. She is with you. She will come to you in one way or another.
I told her she already did and how.
Willow is a mighty soul, who I can't explain why she revealed herself to my mother and me, and in other ways, at other times too much to explain in this blog series. But I'm grateful to have been her mother, if for just a little while.
One day soon after, I felt it was time to tell TL. He was taken aback. The thing about any type of child loss is that it does odd things to relationships. We spent one blissful day together, holding each other, falling in love all over again, him telling deeper truths about his life, making lots of love.
Late in the evening, he went to his "mother's" house, but called back and said he had to tell me something, that he needed to drive back to me. When he got to my house, he said he lied about living with his mother.
You were right. he said. I live with my wife, but I'm in the middle of a divorce. My mother's name is not the name I gave you. That was my wife's. My mom's name is "Molly."
I want a new life with you, and no lies. I will leave her, and come to you, quit all the drugs. Except he was not telling the whole truth. He was still using, though battling to stop, keeping that battle away from me. Addiction breeds devastating lies.
He grabbed me and held me tight, wrapped me in his body a last time that night, every time we connected like that it was like nothing else mattered or existed. We were in a rapture, sweet and savage. Exhausted, we tried to sleep. He said he had to go home that he didn't have his meds.
But he was lying, again...The lies kept spilling out, as if I summoned them, as if he was meant to tell me. The problem is opportunity is what you make of it, and TL kept wasting them and had a twisted view of women. He held onto that harder than he held onto me to get people to do what he wanted them to do.
Sometimes the path of soulmates is not full of light and promise, but the shadow from our unchecked ego, unhealed psyches, addictions, and feelings of entitlement. Every soul gets the chance to heal, not every soul takes it. We were not star-crossed, TL and I. No. He made terrible choices and therefore was a force of destruction. Soon, I would discover that lesson, and that even when TL claims to be telling truths, there was always a dangerous deception, attached...
He was the living embodiment of "we are as sick as our secrets," and I was a young 30-something woman headed for the concrete wall of lies. Well, I did not consent, but he did make me the other woman, if by default when I didn't know there was another woman on the other side of him. I would come to know that the divorce story was not exactly the truth. Believing his thorny promises was doomed to draw blood because he could only break them, and cut me to the bone...
Ignorance was blissful for a few sweet moments filled with a few sweet visions of a future he promised me but had no intention of ever giving me. He had gone home to get his things, an easy thing for a man "in the middle of a divorce." I made myself up for work, bounce in my step, and planned to head to mama's house later. But before I could get halfway to work, my mobile rang. It was TL. Everything was about to change, but in TL style, very painfully...
P4 coming soon...