She would be 52 now. I had to think about it for a few minutes before I wrote it. Her daughter is now married and 30.
It was a Friday night, 25 years ago this month. She had asked me to leave about three weeks earlier and I agreed. I remember her telling me there was no way her daughter (I had a nickname for her, that I still refer to her as, but I will take the lesser of being sued or worse, for the sake of my sanity) was ever going to accept me as anything but an annoyance.
As for her, she basically confessed that she never loved me. She was 27, I was 40, when I left. I was with her for roughly nine months.
Being born with a disability is different then ‘acquiring’ one, via accident or a degenerative affliction, like Lupus or Multiple Sclerosis. Cerebral Palsy is a ‘born with’ disability that affects your motor skills and can affect speech, muscles, delayed development and in about 15–20%, mental impairment.
There will be no names used in this post.
We met on a phone chat line. Where the guys pay and the girls get paid. After one very long night of talking to several girls, a couple started calling me directly. More or less, it all kinda held me in a holding pattern for a few weeks.
People lie. They lie to their parents, family, friends, police, lovers, strangers, neighbors and themselves. Looking back on at that time, I’ve attempted to explain to friends and acquaintances why I did it and what my motives were at the time.
In early 1998, I was busy. I was playing wheelchair rugby and basketball. I was involved with a local guy whom I was writing screenplays for. I occasionally did stuff for local bands. I had an eclectic group of friends, some of whom I’m still friends with today. Others, not so much. I had also qualified for the 1998 Paralympic Track and Field World Championships in Birmingham, England, a key qualifier for the Sydney 2020 Paralympic Games. So, why uproot my life for what turned out to be a disaster?
Respect. I wanted respect. I always felt undervalued and looked at more as a curiosity than anything else. I could have been a greedy SOB or even worse, but I never asked for anything more than I needed. For some reason, even though I knew people loved me and cared about me, I needed that one intangible.
Honesty, as Billy Joel once intoned, is a lonely word. If I would have just stuck to my plan, I would have gone there and come…