Portlock 1989I saved someone’s life once.

In the early 90s, I was at a big party some of my college buddies were throwing, & I pulled a girlfriend out of a car.   I hadn’t seen her since graduation, & after a brief reunion at the party, I’d seen her disappear with a guy I knew was bad news.   Some stupid sixth sense told me to go rescue her, so I went outside & yanked her drunk ass out of his car & told him to get lost.   I told her the party was over for her & I was going to drive her home.

That wasn’t the moment I saved her life though.   Ron was a total choad (pretty, witty, & smart… & a big fat misogynist womanizer), but not dangerous.

At the prospect of being taken home, she broke into tears & the whole sordid tale of her life since I’d last seen her spilled out – abusive drug dealer boyfriend who forced a pipe into her face & raped her with beer bottles, desertion by her family, no job, no home.   So I took her home with me, to the UH dorms.   I was in the apartments, so we had a couch.

She was on a lot of drugs.   The next day I called her mother, who reminded me that they had kicked her out of their house.   I asked if she could go home just to sleep, & that I would pick her up in the morning & drop her off at night.   I will never forget what her mother said: “We’ve washed our hands of ___.   And if you’re smart, you will, too.”   And so she stayed with me.

She didn’t sleep more than a few hours a night, even off drugs.   When she woke up, there would be dried mucus all over her face.   She was 5’3″ & 70 lbs & didn’t even know what was going on half the time.   I almost failed all my courses that semester.   We’d get up & watch the sun rise at the rocky seaside in Portlock, & all we talked about was what she envisioned for herself & her future, what she wanted from life.   I wanted her to have dreams & I wanted her to see how beautiful the world right here, right in front of us, was, & to think about something other than drugs.   She came to my part-time job with me, & she stayed in my dorm the few times I made it to class, & at night we went to warehouse dance clubs & I hoped she’d dance some of that frenetic energy off, but she never did.

She drove me nuts over the next few months, & it took all my meager earnings & all my time, but she got clean.   We went to her widowed rich grandmother to beg for money for UH summer school tuition; her grandmother wrote the check out to me, not trusting her own granddaughter.   She went back to school, got accepted back by her family, got into a sorority, & I faded out of her life because I could see I didn’t really fit there any more.

Years later, she needed me again.   And then again.   And each time, she used me, lied about things, & the final time, she tried to destroy everyone around her, including me.   She had Borderline Personality Disorder – the kind that craves chaos, & isn’t happy unless she’s destroying someone, playing people like puppets.   If everything was peaceful, she’d weave some kind of web of lies to get people feuding with each other.   I could write a book of her exploits & perhaps that would be a great topic for another post, but let me just say… she turned out to be one of those people who the world is probably better without.   Last I heard she was active in politics & the leader of a charity organization, which is probably the perfect position for her, but I will personally forever carry the burden of guilt that I nurtured someone -some thing– like her.

I should have left her to whatever was in store for her.   So much less damage she could have done if she was some crackwhore on the street.

Portlock4I was thinking about her today because, for no reason, the memory of someone else completely unrelated to her popped into my head.

I knew this bass player back around the same time.   Good-looking, funny.   My age but younger.   I had sex with him once, sort of just to see what he’d be like, but I was a female version of Ron back then.   He got kicked out of his house because the fact that his father wasn’t actually his father came out.   I remember the crazy look of tragedy on his face.  We drank beers, he ranted.   We were pretty good friends.   He never had a shortage of girlfriends.   We dropped out of touch at some point.

Years later we got back in touch; I misremember how.   He had a kanemochi, a rich Japanese girlfriend who paid for everything.   He worked in a bar.   He’d call me at 3 in the morning to talk; sometimes I could tell he was high as a kite.   Sometimes he would say horrible things to his girlfriend with me on the phone.   Sometimes he would cry.   Always, he’d bring up the good old days & what good friends we used to be.   He’d tell me I was his only friend now.

He never told me, but someone who knew his family told me he’d been abused as a child.   I guess his father had known what he didn’t.   When he was as young as 4 or 5, his father & mother would tie him to the bed & beat him.   They would sometimes leave him like that for hours.   He grew up hated by his own parents in their shitty little apartment.   I never knew; he’d never told me.   I’d never known there was even any difficulty at home until the night he got kicked out.

I couldn’t take the drunken calls at 3am; I had a day job then.   I didn’t know about his childhood.   I stopped answering.  The phone would ring & ring & ring.   I didn’t answer.   He stopped calling.

I heard he moved to the mainland.   I heard he put his girlfriend in the hospital.   I heard he jumped from a bridge.

I have his bass; I bought it from him back before I even knew how to play a guitar.   It’s an Aria Pro II.   It’s right there in my hallway.   Maybe I should put new strings on it, but I can’t bring myself to open the case.   I haven’t opened that case in over a decade.   I haven’t thought about him in several years.

There’s no point being made here.   Just 2 stories for you guys; someone I saved & someone I didn’t.   Someone I was a good friend to, & someone I failed.   I don’t know what made me think about them today.


One response to “Lives

  1. Pingback: Psychopath Stories: The Diamond Ring | The Long Way Home

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