My relationship with women is not quite normal, yet the same as any man’s when it comes to biology and love. There is a chemistry, better than any drug . . . it is heaven as close as we can come on earth. Yet, that chemical reaction is not as stable as we’d like.
Trauma comes to mind, as I’ve seen it in my life and, more tragically, toward women. My Taxi Diaries have a few stories of drugs, rape, criminal activity, loss of trust and care for women I’ve met while out on the streets. They are man’s key to heaven, and yet we’ve abused that key, broken it . . . dulled its edges to such a degree as the key no longer works.
I’ve been able to help a few of them. Some I’ve gotten out of dangerous situations; some I’ve kept in touch with while in jail and in counseling, and another I got a legal settlement for a boyfriend breaking her arm of over $10,000. One pregnant woman was alone, tossed out by her husband, and I convinced a Christian charity to furnish her apartment and provide her with a good bed.
We are chemical and spiritual. Chemistry reacts while Spirituality directs; both catalyze and buffer the reaction.
I’ve experienced great love, both physically and spiritually, and loss. The past fifteen years took me from married to a beautiful woman, in love with me, the love of my life; in business together in an upscale hair salon to the dissolution of that marriage and family and rebuilding here only to be struck down time and time again by legal and physical traumas. We remained close, friends, and her family even grew closer to me in time . . . but we never renewed our vows and when I was paralyzed she cut all ties to me.
I rebuilt physically both in body and business, and learned a great deal about the law.
I’ve sued business partners in breach of contract and lawyers too, and woke up once in an ambulance and another time faced imminent death in an ICU. The last incident in 2005 cost me both my legal education and photography business, everything I had . . . including my once fine-tuned body.
If not for taxi driving and savings I would not have been able to support myself. I was so devastated by paralysis and nerve damage that work was impossible, being bedridden most the day for two years. Yet, I love women and the women I love have a pattern of being broken as well, traumatized just as I was, and am still today.
The pattern was that of picking up an injured bird with a broken wing.
I’ve related a few incidents in the Taxi Diaries. The latest, however, took the better part of a year of my life and ended in a tragedy to my heart, yet perhaps still her salvation. It is now up to her and her friends and family. I am out of the picture.
Update — February 18, 2015
I wrote this painful synopsis almost a year ago. Just before Valentine’s Day I got a call from L—–. She called to tell me she was now in a lesbian relationship with the woman, but after a year of drinking her health suffered and she was now sober for three months. She thanked me for all I had done for her, the bills . . . the tooth.
I told her I knew the lesbian was after her, and that she intentionally used her knowledge of L—–‘s blackouts after two or three strong drinks to seduce her, which is RAPE. L—– refused to hear this, but we met and we hugged, held hands, stroked each other’s faces, and hugged more. She was very glad to see me, and I her.
As much as I tried to inform her of how evil her new ‘mate’ was, she refused to accept it. I asked, “Don’t you feel trapped here?” She had no job, no access to transportation, no phone, no school . . . she immediately said, “Yes,” but backed off, fear in her face. “Things are good here.”
My fury built, a storm inside of me, of hatred for the lesbian who intentionally used L—–‘s susceptibility to blackouts in order to RAPE her and keep her in an alcoholic prison, until L—–‘s health failed. I could see what the year of drinking had done to her.
I took action, writing her a brief explanation of what happened to her in a very loving Hallmark card, and also informed her psychologist counselor. I called L—– and told her the lesbian had not taken care of her, endangered her health, and ended her college education. So, I asked her to come back and I’d put her back in school, and I even had a part-time job for her. She said she’d think about it. Even with as close to an argument we’ve ever had, she still hasn’t said, ‘No.’ So, I just have to wait.
Eighteen Months Ago
My last call after 2 AM was way out in Rio Rancho. I saw her come towards my taxi out of the night like a ghost, her white jeans glowing. I helped her with her belongings and took her to her cousin’s home twenty miles away, downtown in Albuquerque.
She was delighted I had a half pint of whisky and sipped at it like a bird, barely consuming it a bit at a time, but finding comfort in the burn of the bourbon across her lips and down her throat. She kissed me, butterfly kisses across my face.
Later, I found out she was destitute, homeless. She had been raped and disgraced, left her husband, son and home, only to connect with an even more abusive boyfriend who used her weakness and lack of tolerance for alcohol to enslave her, create a dependency. Two drinks of strong liquor and she was blacked out, helpless.
Finally, when employed and no longer homeless, she announced she was leaving him. He came to her workplace and beat her, knocking her out and knocking out a tooth. She lost her home and job, just as he had abandoned her at an accident scene caused by his driving while intoxicated cost her both drivers license and car, and put her in jail for months.
The District Attorneys office was seeking her to file criminal charges against her boyfriend for the beating and lost tooth, but they didn’t realize that now homeless she was forced to live with him. He was hiding her from the law to avoid prosecution.
This is where I came in.
The woman was traumatized and homeless, no place to stay but in my photography studio where I nursed her back to health. She was helpless, despondent, bedridden and whimpering. She refused to eat or drink water for days and I feared for her life; she had lost the will to live.
I got the idea to buy a cold bottle of Fiji water, and somehow got her to take a sip. That got her to start drinking again. I perfected soft and fluffy scrambled eggs, managing to get small spoonfuls in her . . . like a little bird she started eating again.
I took care of her every need. She slept in my office on a fainting couch. I cooked and researched her legal issues, even talking to the attorney at the DA’s office who had her case. I formulated a two-year plan to resolve all her legal and financial issues.
As for me, after years of isolation due to illness and being paralyzed, I was no longer alone. We ate breakfast and dinner together. We had a magic, a love that people could see when we were out. At night we’d watch movies or search music videos on the Internet. It was sweet and we were happy.
I got her into counseling for her alcohol problem and back into school for her RN degree. She worked hard, but there was something missing. Her family appreciated what I was doing and accepted our arrangement, but she was still troubled. Her Navajo friends did not like me, not at all.
Once her cousin got her terribly drunk and she missed a probation meeting. I took care of her while she was in jail and paid off her fines and phone bills.
Another time, her cousin tried to take her to Moriarty hoping to get her drunk enough to dance at the lowest and sleaziest of topless bars known to New Mexico. I stopped that in time.
She was safe in my studio and if she finished her RN degree and my attorney took care of her divorce, she would have a new life and money in the bank. But, a snake crept in to destroy what we had.
From time to time, she would go on dates that would get her too drunk and I would have to rescue her. As time went on, one of her trusted childhood friends would take her out and take her in on weekends when I was working. I could tell she was badmouthing me, for at times I could hear her words coming from L—‘s mouth. She was always so sweet to me, so the abuse was particularly noticeable.
Her childhood friend took her to the casinos, gave her liquor, but the end came when she gave her stashes of very powerful marijuana. It changed her, and she had to drop out of one of her nursing classes. She soured towards me. Getting high every day and failing school, hating me . . . that hurt me to the core and finally I ordered her out, and she now lives with the friend and I don’t ever hear from her or her family.
I know, lesbians are particularly aggressive . . . worse than men.
One of the legal issues was the loss of her tooth. It had to be replaced with an implant within a year or the procedure would require more surgery. By the time the settlement with the ex-boyfriend for compensation for the beating took place, I had to start the procedure and ended up paying for the tooth myself. I am still making payments. She was already moved out, but I stuck with my promise that she got that tooth. The ex-boyfriend reneged on his promissory note by declaring bankruptcy.
Is there more I could have done?
I found her a church within walking distance, the same denomination her mother attended. Perhaps if I took her there Sundays some structure, a higher morality, could have asserted itself. But I work until 3 AM Sunday mornings.
Sex? Consummation of the feelings we had could have cemented the chemistry and created an emotional dependency, but she was still married and resisted entering into divorce procedures.
I felt even considering marriage was premature until her issues were resolved, but time and again others who didn’t have the same feelings of protection and care came in to take advantage of her weakness for alcohol, and finally the marijuana.
That ended it. I am continuing on, the anger and frustration subsided. And I am learning to live alone again, but remember the joys we had caring and sharing.
Next time, . . .
There are some in every culture who cannot metabolize alcohol. They are called ‘two-drink drunks.’ Some have harsher terms.
I explained to L—- that it wasn’t her fault, that just as lactose intolerant people can’t metabolize milk products, she couldn’t metabolize alcohol, and I proved it to her with a breathalyzer.
The real crime, however, is that the Navajo culture doesn’t protect these people. Yes, men took advantage of her, deeply wounding her psyche, but even her friends . . . women . . . even relatives did not protect her as I tried to do
Alcohol is fine, but if you are busy taking care of business, your family, school projects, and your health alcohol gets in the way and you have to choose the former to advance your life and take care of your family, or fall into the pit alcohol abuse can dig for you.
This has been difficult to write, and much has been left out. I have many memories of L—-, even though they are fading . . . I know I don’t remember, because when alone it is impossible to recall the happiness and joy of sharing your life with a wonderfully sweet woman, which L—- was.