In a previous post I talked about “the strange girl” event in my life. Well, I guess this is where I tell you about it.
It was March 1985 and I was 18 years old. My oldest brother was getting married. I was really excited about it because, while I kinda had a crush on the woman who was to be my sister-in-law, I was just so happy to have a “sister”. She was 6 months younger than me and we just got on really well together.
Nothing could have kept me away from the ceremony. Although it very nearly did. The roads were wet, I was driving too fast and the car hydroplaned.
The ceremony was at Percy’s Scenic Reserve and it was just utterly gorgeous. The first wedding I’d been to. The reception, well, that was another matter.
I wanted to go, but the thought of going filled me with dread. I knew there would be all these happy people, love would fill the air, but The Dark Beast was stirring, and my loneliness, my fear of people, my certainty that I couldn’t, could never really connect with anyone filled me with a strange mix of terror, self-loathing, and just a desire to disappear.
But I went. The meal was lovely. The speeches were great. Made all the funnier when, as someone referred to the bride, my elderly great aunt took a sip of wine and loudly proclaimed “Ooh it’s a bit tarty isn’t it?”
But as everyone was having a great time, I sank deeper and deeper into my despair. I may have gone outside to escape and to just cry. I don’t know whether she saw me doing this or not, but at one point a young woman, who I thought was older than me, came up to me and started talking. Just talking. To me. With me. And was interested.
She kept telling me how special I was, how I was loved and worthy of love. And just holding me. I was overcome by sensations I had never felt before. A sensation of being loved. But beyond that, there was the strangest physical sensation.
This is where you might want to look away. I don’t know if any of you have ever had something drawn out from your body. Something long and sticky and horrible. But I had that strong physical sensation. As she was talking to me, and holding me, something was being drawn out. Something dark and nasty and horrible. All the pain, all the self-loathing, all the hatred and darkness was being drawn out of me and, I sensed, being taken into her.
My family gave me a bit of ribbing about hooking up with this girl and the hugging and kissing (I don’t think she ever kissed me). But at the end of the evening she gave me her name and phone number on a napkin and told me that if I EVER needed her to just call. There are some people out there that might think this is nothing special, a fairly common occurrence, but to me at the time, it was something mystical. This. Does. Not. Happen. To. Me.
It was some time later I found out who she was. She was the daughter of my brother’s friend. And she was 14.
I kept the number with me always, everywhere I went. My mind and heart were a blur of activity. I went through all the obsession thing of being hopelessly in love, of being certain she felt the same way, of being too scared to call.
When I was in another bad place a few months later, I did call but was asked “look, do you really need me right now?” and was crestfallen. My saviour wasn’t the one I thought she was.
Six months after the wedding, though, I met her again. My brother and sister-in-law were involved in a serious car accident. Rushing up to see them in hospital, in the Emergency Department, a young woman I didn’t recognise came up to talk with me. It was HER. She remembered me, she remembered the wedding night and what she told me.
She said that her mother had beaten her up. I later found out that she had actually self-harmed and had serious mental health issues, and had been seriously abused earlier in her life. That kinda made things click into place, why she connected with me.
But I never saw her after that.
Some people have wondered why I do the things I do, the way I reach out to people. This strange young girl is one of the big reasons why. Someone I’d never met reaching out to me, and at that point in time probably saving my life. I am sure she knew the impact of her actions.
To this day it remains one of the strangest experiences of my life. I may marvel at how I have become blessed to have so many incredible, loving, wonderful people in my life, especially having the true love of my life as my darling wife. But this event is something I can only describe as angelic. I really, truly felt saved.