Her name was India. Or at least that’s what she told me. I trusted her briefly.
She discovered the blog in 2004, and came around from time to time with great comment-suggestions for ramping it up a notch–generating photographic cards (which I have since done), having a business card (which I did not need very much at that point, but she insisted) and other more aggressive marketing actions for my writing and photography at a time when I was still “reinventing” my future. She almost convinced me to take myself seriously and not just blog my life away.
That kind of work is what she did, she had told me, after losing her federal job with the transition of administrations in 2004. She also told me she’d had a serious skiing injury and was not able to leave her apartment very much to find other work, so was trying to make things happen using her computer.
We had several long phone calls and became friends, I thought. I introduced her to some colleagues for whom she had some targeted promotional ideas related to their businesses. I couldn’t vouch for her, but only passed along her contact information, and she did the rest. I wish I’d kicked the tires a little longer.
Point came in our two month acquaintance where she was becoming desperate to pay her rent, voicing her concerns resolutely and courageously at first, but quickly becoming tearful and anxious. I still don’t know the truth of it, but think looking back it was a clever ploy, and I bought it.
I was torn about what to do. She needed $300 right away, and would repay me. I decided I’d be better to be a fool than a miser. I sent the money. I never heard anything more from her, and she couldn’t be reached at the (pay phone?) number we’d used for our conversations. There are legitimate reasons to explain why she suddenly disappeared, but I’m thinking I was manipulated and betrayed. Ah well.
I heard “told you so” from Ann. I felt confused and sad, then angry. I gradually forgot that episode that at the time was so significant and troubling–until I saw the little snippet on my “calendar map” of 2004 like I mentioned here the other day. A few succinct words in the November panel that brought it all back.
A story lives like an insect in amber in so many of those entries–of events that, at the time, consumed so much of my emotional or physical energy, that brought such joy or disappointment, hope or despair. It astounds me how quickly they recede in the distance of time, sinking beneath the surface of our present and lost for good if we don’t do something–like the calendar map, or like this blog–to give them buoyancy, to keep them afloat beyond us on a far horizon, to preserve them in a bottle that might drift ashore on a future continent of our lives.