Tuesday, January 18, 2011
When I was finally approved the extra hours needed for help and hired Nicole, I thought I had found the perfect attendant, the cure to the household ills, and the best friend I ever had. She was married and had four small children so I figured she was mature, organized and could multi-task. I confided ALL my hopes, fears, dreams and of course what longed for most; a relationship with the man I loved more than anything. She entrusted me with a few personal thoughts and facts of her own. She said she didn’t have any girl friends because they were all lying, back stabbing bitches present company excluded of course. She admitted to being quite the drinker and having a taste for cocaine. I felt as close to Nicole as any sister could and trusted her without reservation. The words she spoke to me and things she would do gave me such a boost to my self esteem that I once told her she made me feel like I was standing even though I was confined this chair. She seemed genuinely touched. I never met another human being with so much game.
When my buddy Don called and asked if I wanted to be a model in a fashion show for a benefit his organization was putting on I was so excited, flattered, and grateful words escaped for me moment. After I accepted, he went on to explain that the Three Rivers Centers for Independent Living was having a benefit dinner to honor their biggest contributors and a there would be fashion show after dinner put on by the publisher of small magazine called Chloe completely designed by and for disabled women. During the show six models would be showing adaptive clothing made by designers with the disabled in mind. Dinner was included with the tickets for models, their significant other or their attendant. Eric said he’d drive but would rather stay in the van and sleep so I asked Nikky to be my guest. She honestly sounded thrilled to be invited as my guest and even said she didn’t have many chances to get dressed up and go out to nice places like the Sheridan. It was on the South Side of Pittsburgh right on the river with the city lights dancing off the water like fiery imps.
The show was a success and at the risk of tooting my own horn, I was the star. Coming down that runway in my wheelchair felt more like flying a magical chariot I was so full of pure joy, honor and confidence. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt closer to actually walking since my accident than I did that night. And when the show was over so many people came up to congratulate and chat with me I simply felt famous. Nicole managed to get few pictures after the show because she was simply too busy with outfit changes, hair management and lipstick while the festivities were going on to take photos. Andrew Stockey from Action News MCed the whole event and not only did I make it on the local TV news but Mr. Stokey used my picture in his blog for the local newspaper. I felt like a star. However, stars sometimes fall and it wasn’t long before mine was pulled from the heavens and imploded…along with my heart.
If I lived to be 150 years I don’t believe I’d ever forget that fateful day when my beloved, my savior, my protector, my one time greatest lover, my hopes and dreams, my man wheeled me into the shower like a thousand times before, pushed my shower chair into place and lit a smoke for us chatting all the while just as our ritual dictated. But then he grew quiet and began tenderly stroking my head. I looked up into his face surprised by the sudden outpouring of affection and the look in his eyes nearly stopped my heart and in a faint and unsteady voice I asked him what I feared for my sanity I didn’t want know, “What’s wrong honey?” He sighed long and hard. We were staring into each others’ eyes; an almost mirror image of big dark brown eyes looking so deeply and intently into one another the moment almost seemed surreal. Then he took a deep breath and told me that he and Nicole had been having an affair for some time and he was in love with her. At that moment I swear I felt my heart break like a china tea cup being dropped on a tile floor. He went on to explain that he would always love me and take care of me but he was no longer “in love” with me. By this time tears were streaming down my face and I was asking question after question: What did I do wrong? How did this happen? How long has this going on? Why did they do this to me? And many, many more whose answers only left me more and more broken. I felt bad about Nicole too. I loved her and she betrayed me. But the worst thing he said to me was I’d better not think about firing her because she was the best attendant I ever had and she helped HIM out so much that I’d never find anyone as good as she was for both of us. I was flabbergasted. He went on to say that he’d go see her anyway and if I was left here with substandard care it would be my own fault. I felt trapped and kept her on for awhile.
So I had to look at Nicole every morning knowing she had come in early to be with Eric in very next room while I slept. And to rub salt in the wound she would always be sure to describe the love poetry he had texted the night before, ask a personal question such as if when me and Eric made love if we ever just kissed for half an hour beforehand or simply come straight out and describe their lovemaking. I never hated anyone in my life before and believe me I’ve been done wrong but I can honestly say without shame, regret, guilt or fear of retribution that I hate that vile woman.
Eventually Nicole’s true colors began to show through even to Eric. Although I knew her dark secrets, telling Eric had done no good because he thought I was lying to win him back away from his whore. Her employment here ended one day when she came in with a written notice of her resignation. At that point I didn’t have the full story behind her reasons for quitting but she told me some terrible things that to this day I don’t if are true or false. She said Eric gave her an X-rated DVD he made showing himself masturbating and did the same thing over web cam the night before. But when I told this to Eric, he FLIPPED OUT confronting her in my room while I lay in bed helpless to move. They were screaming at each other for almost two hours with Nicole crying, begging and saying but I love you over and over. It was agonizing. Finally, gratefully, she left. She never came back to house but Eric still talked to her on the phone and met her a few times after that. It took another woman to completely rid that disease from his life… his old girlfriend in Canada.