As I watch my best friend fall apart both emotionally and physically, I don’t have to wonder what contributed to her downfall.
I know the reason why a predatory creep was able to manipulate his way into her fragile heart. It’s not because she’s stupid or foolhardy or careless. She’s the opposite, caring too much about everything, to the point where it is smothering and unhealthy.
It didn’t happen because she’s weak. She’s one of the strongest people I know and by far the most compassionate. At one point she was my hero. I was in awe of the way she cared for her dying mother with a stoicism few could muster.
I’ve seen her bring animals back from the brink of death. She is a crusader for the innocent or those without a voice.
The reason she left everything she holds sacred behind and committed her life to a child molester is because she has spent years being lonely and deprived of the loving treatment that a lot of women get from a man and take for granted.
She had a husband that for nearly three decades treated her with casual disregard and very little affection. He never bought her a birthday or Christmas gift and he has barely ever took her to dinner. He isn’t fun, gregarious or loyal.
She’s never been on vacation or driven a nice car.
He’s cheated and lied and had two affairs and one secret love child, minus the love.
He’s kind of a bastard.
Yes, she was ripe for a smooth talking predator because her body and soul have been screaming out for the sweet salvation that love brings for as long as I’ve known her.
And there but for the grace of God go I.
She and I bonded over our similar suffering and our friendship sprouted at first and then flourished over the years, laying a huge network of sprawling roots in the form of shared memories and quiet understanding of the other’s pain.
And as I sat in a jacuzzi tub full of warm, bubbling water on the eve of Valentine’s day, it occurred to me that the ONE major thing that I had that she didn’t was my lover, R.
He changed the course of my life and rescued me from the suffering she is going through. His love elevated me and made me enviable and fortunate.
Because of him, I don’t know what she’s feeling right now.
Because of him, I know only love and tenderness.
Because of him, I know what it feels like to truly believe I’m beautiful and to feel worthy of someone’s time and energy and attention and effort and forgiveness.
Because of him I am allowed to make mistakes and gain or lose weight and cry and throw a tantrum and wake up sorry for what I did and know that despite all those things I am STILL LOVED. I know that if I cry out to my lover, he will almost always respond to my needs.
I have a different kind of security. It doesn’t come in the typical form of commitment, and the relationship I share with my lover doesn’t even warrant commitment in his eyes. I can’t count on his fidelity.
But what I CAN count on is being treated like the ground I walk on is hallowed and I am the Goddess that governs it.
That rarely, if ever, wavers.
He. Spoils. Me. Rotten.
I one thousand percent know what it feels like to be worshipped and adored despite all that is ugly about me.
I know what it feels like to be someone’s sexual Achilles heel, the object of their powerful, burning desire.
I know what passion and romance look and feel and taste like.
When I walk into a room, the softness in his eyes leaves no question that he finds me beautiful.
Because of him, I know what it feels like to live every little girl’s dream and find Prince Charming and true love.
But just like in the fairy tale, midnight always comes around to smash my dreams and turn my beautiful clothes to rags.
The clock always winds its way around to reality and I wake up sitting on a pumpkin in a muddy garden in the darkness, wishing I could still smell his skin.
A smart woman would run away and never go back to wait for a rescue dependent upon finding your misplaced shoe.
You gotta ask yourself, how far are you gonna get in glass slippers anyway?
You have a better chance barefoot.
Even on the most difficult path.