December 29, 2006

When She Was My Girl

The Four Tops. I did a show with them (on the same bill) a few months before Laurence Payton passed. They were a great band especially considering their mileage. Here's the vid.

I'm not quite sure how to lead into this one. In my personal life I don't let people in very easily if I let them in at all nor do I trust people in certain areas until I'm fairly confident that trust is not misplaced. I almost never trust anyone completely. I tend to keep folks at some distance. So when I do offer to get close to someone or vice versa I'm usually sure of the outcome. I've known a lot of people in my life (mainly due to the networking & socializing involved in the music biz) & I've prided myself on being a good judge of character. I'm not infallible though as I was reminded of all too recently.

I haven't had a lot of people I've felt very close to. In fact I'm fairly solitary which is unusual given my former profession. I haven't had a lot of serious relationships although there have been more lovers than I care to admit to. But it hasn't been a lonely life or a particularly dark one either - just different than what most folks would envision. I'm not sure if its antequental or consequential but I do evaluate where a person could fit into my life & react accordingly as soon as possible. If I feel a person is too flawed for me to get close to I usually keep my distance. Not that I abandon the person completely but that I don't let myself care too much. Every now & then someone has slipped under my radar so to speak & to date the results haven't been stellar. Then again to be fair the results of my usual approach have landed me where I am - alone. But that's another rant.

I used to joke that when a lady & I were through she'd finally get her career together & find the man of her dreams because by comparison it wouldn't be that difficult. I also joked that any lady I went out with would only be liable to have a mug shot taken because she saw jail as an acceptable alternative to one more lame joke from me. I explain this to give a little background on why what comes in a bit hit me as it did. But here's a little more background.:

There was a girl I knew a while back. She was beautiful & not just in her appearance (though she was that). She was intelligent even if she didn't project it as strongly as others of her intellect did. She was quiet but when she warmed up to you she could be very expressive. But perhaps most importantly there was just something about her I liked. Perhaps a combination of her looks & her mind, or her shyness coupled with her warmth? I don't know & likely never will. But I knew very quickly that I liked her & could care for her a great deal. There were two impediments to me falling for her though: her letting me & me letting myself.

To sum things up we saw each other very briefly & she did some things that made me feel that it wouldn't work. Whether I was right or wrong will probably be a mystery to me but it's what I recall acting on. But I still remember clearly the last time I saw her & the last time we spoke.

Despite my perhaps hasty decision to discount any romantic possibilities between us I was never bitter about things (I seldom am). In her I saw a lot of potential. Whether I was around her or not I knew she had the capability of doing great things. Oh she was not perfect - no one ever is. & I've never been one to delude myself over a person detriments or attributes (well not in a very long time at least). She was scared a bit & unsure of herself & what to do at times. She had other flaws but nothing more than the flaws we all possess. She was human, but beautiful & full of potential. She didn't need me to fix anything in her life or to "save her" in some way, but for a while I thought I enhanced her world just by being in hers & treating her with some respect (which I do think she had been lacking).

Even though the time we had together was brief I recognized what possibilities we had. I didn't know her that well; there were things about her I never got a chance to find out. But I knew her core; her being as it were. The easiest way to explain it is this: There are a few women I'd take a bullet for but less than a handful that I'd live for. I hope that was clear because I can't think of a better way to explain it. & in her I saw that I could easily live for her. Maybe that's why I was so quick to distance myself. Or maybe I was correct in my reaction to her actions. Or maybe I was a fool.

Anyway I lost touch with her. I think I may have even offended her the last time we saw each other (though I didn't intend to - it was an odd situation). She's crossed my mind from time to time & I've always wondered what became of her.

Sadly enough the other night I found out.

I was doing some research & her name popped up. There were a few links with some of her brighter moments; some accomplishments she'd made & I was feeling quite proud of her. Then I found an article about the arrest. I did some more digging & found the court records & such. I checked the mug shot & it was her.

Without going into too much detail she assaulted her boyfriend with a firearm (though he was uninjured), stole said boyfriend's motorcycle & led the cops on a chase. They stopped pursuit because of bad road conditions & she crashed a few miles later. She was relatively uninjured but she was arrested, indicted & tried. She pled no contest to two charges of five & got a fairly light sentence.

I am many things good & bad but a hypocrite isn't usually one of them. If she'd have been killed by her boyfriend I'd have condoned his actions just as I did the lady who killed her ex a few days ago.

What bothers me isn't that I'd have condoned her being killed in those circumstances. It's that she seems to have initiated those circumstances. She was bright & she had great potential. She was even on the way to realizing that potential. But she screwed that up. She made choices that caused harm to others & would have justified herself being hurt or killed to stop her actions. & that fills me with pity for her consequences as much as it gives me anger at her actions. Not that I feel sorry for what she received; she got off very lightly. But I feel sorry that she got to a point where she chose something that wrong.

As I said I knew the girl. I knew she was raised better than that. I knew she had more sense than to act that way. But she did act that way despite her upbringing & intellect & heart & all the other good things I've dwelt on from time to time over the years. Looking back I cannot see what I or anyone could have done to keep her from making that choice, but more importantly I couldn't see what I or anyone else could have done to put her in the position she was in. I mean I cannot see how I or anyone else could have created such circumstances where she felt using violence in a relationship was a viable option.

There's a lot I don't know. It's been ten years since she & I spoke last. & it's doubtful that I'll be able to but I'll try to get in touch with her. Not just to get her side of the story, but to see if I could help her in some way (which I admit is doubtful but I feel bound to try). I probably won't succeed as I can't find a phone number or any other contact info on her let alone think of what I could do to get her back on track but I'm not content to sit back & say "ain't that a shame" if I could possibly do something to help someone I cared for, even briefly.

So that's the gist of it. I found out about an old lover (who's not that old really) making some very flawed choices despite her knowing better. It's not devastating or crippling to me, but I have been dwelling on it since I found out. It's always a bit of a surprise when you find an estranged acquaintance this way. Not to mention it's a bit surreal to see a mug shot & think "she looks as pretty as she did back in..."

But it all comes down to choices. No matter what potential is there in life or in romance what matters most are a personís actions. What a person's character is perceived to be doesn't matter when that's conflicted by what a person does. & though circumstances & motivations can explain a person's actions they don't always justify them. If it sounds like a harsh view of the world it is, but I apply that to myself much more strictly than I do anyone else.

& I do feel bad that I was not in her life. I don't know if I could have done anything to help her or keep her from making the decisions she did but I feel as if in some way I let her down because I wasn't around for her. Not that I'd have hung up on her if she had called - hell I'd have stayed up all night chatting with her if I thought she needed to talk. But she didn't have my number. She didn't refuse my number; I left town without letting her know. She didn't have me as an option in any capacity & for that I have regrets.

I'm afraid there's no moral to this, least not one I can think of. I'm just ranting a bit because I can. Or because I need to. Or because it'd seep out anyway even if I didn't mean for it to so it's best to get it out of the way now.

As I said there are a few women I cared greatly for. She never quite got to that stage but she easily could have if she'd have been a bit more aware of what I needed or if I'd have been a bit more understanding of her needs. The ones that did reach that stage have all done better (professionally & romantically) since they severed their ties with me (not that they were doing that bad professionally when I met them) so I count this as an unusual occurrence. Then again I never expect to find an ex-lover/partner/girlfriend of mine in a court docket.

& I won't link to the news stories about her. I'm not trying to protect her identity because of her actions but I just don't feel right disclosing anything about her because of what I've discussed in this post. Southern men don't kiss & tell, least not where the lady could be identified.

Posted by Publicola at December 29, 2006 06:54 AM | TrackBack
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