PETER’S DEADLY SECRET “SHOWROOM OF PERFECTION”

28 06 2011

PETER’S DEADLY SECRET

 

A few months into our marriage, Peter and me have settled into an unspoken deal. It goes like this:

 

“I eat like an out of control pig, but you don’t notice the ungodly amounts of cookies and sandwiches I stuff down into my expanding and emptying belly, over and over again. In exchange for that, I make excuses why your beautiful face has become so haggard and empty, how shrunken your lovely blue-eyed pupils are most of the time and that we never have sex again. You are loaded on Heroin and I’m high on food. We both act like all is good and normal. We are just a happy couple, laying next to each other, not interacting, not speaking and giving each other space.

 

Except, my drug is not as powerful as yours and during the few moments when I come up for air between binges, I check out your eyes and what I see scares the shit out of me. You’re loaded. You’re high. No doubt about that. But since you don’t mention anything about the ungodly amounts of food that are disappearing in front of your heroin-eyes, I accept our silent agreement”

It works. For now.

Until I need to make a doctor’s appointment and find out that my insurance has been cancelled. I call them and rage, my natural reaction with institutions.

“You must be a real unorganized bunch of losers”, I bark in my best dominatrix German. “I have paid every single bill from you and I can prove it. You better check your records or I’ll have my lawyer on you”

“We checked. I am sorry, but your last three payments are not in our records” the poor lady on the other end of the line sounds apologetic.

“Then check again. You better find my payments, cause I’m not up for this crap” I snap.

“No reason to get abusive, Miss” she pleads at first, but then she raises her voice “I do not have to take this kind of language. This conversation is over”

“No! No, no, no no. It isn’t over. Here” I reach for my checkbook and read the numbers of the checks I’ve sent to them.

“No, Miss. We have not received those payments. I am sorry, but that’s how it is.”

“What is wrong with you?” I yell, “What else am I supposed to do than send those totally overpriced premiums? Do you require a personal delivery so you can file my payments?

That would be kinda impossible, with you in Alabama or wherever you’re located. I mean, even a dumb ass clown like you would get that, no?”

She hangs up on me.

I am so angry, I want her to stay on the phone, so I can give her a piece of my mind. How dare they? I call again, but – surprise – I get her voicemail. I leave a threatening and angry message and go through my checkbook. WTF! Here they are, the copies of the checks that Peter wrote with my signature. He’s been so helpful. I’m overwhelmed with my growing business and he has offered to take care of our bills. He writes the checks for me, tucks them neatly into the envelope with just the part for my signature sticking out. All I have to do is sign and I’m so grateful that I can focus on designing, selling, producing and running my business. I always wanted somebody to take those pesky tasks and intrusions into my busy day away from me. I’m so above menial bill paying. I got the money, plenty of it and I have better things to do than dealing with bills.

 

When Peter comes home from his job, I rage about the incompetency and idiocy from the Insurance Company. But instead of joining me in my rant about corporations, especially those crooked Health Insurance Robbers, he starts to cry. He jumps out of bed, where he was comfortably settled to watch another episode of “Star-Track” and rips his earrings and then his bracelets off. He slams them on the cracked concrete floor of our super-chic loft and paces back and forth between the bed and the kitchen. He lights a cigarette at the wrong end.

“Fuck! I can’t even do this” and grabs another one. His hands are shaking when he lights this one and he inhales deeply. He looks at me and quickly averts his eyes. I pick up his jewelry that I love so much on him, but he tosses it down again.

“I don’t deserve this stuff. I’m such a loser.” He wails.

I’m speechless. And scared. This Germanic God of a beautiful man is breaking down in front of me.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” I ask, trying to stay calm.

“I have to tell you something. I love you so much and I can’t live like this anymore. I have to tell you the truth”, he cries and sits down on the edge of the bed.

 

The moment he says those words, I fall asleep. It’s like something knocked me out. I know what he’s going to tell me and I can’t, I don’t want to hear it. I’m out cold.

 

I sleep for twelve ours and when I wake up, he has left for work. My stomach is in knots all day and for the first time in 5 years, I don’t binge all day. I can’t. A survival instinct has kicked in and my heart knows that I have to be strong. I can’t knock myself out because I know I have to be present and prepared for something I’ve known along, but refused to acknowledge.

He tiptoes into our loft at night and this time I listen.

 

“I have been shooting heroin for a few months. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m such a horrible person. Here I’m married to the women of my dreams and I can’t stay clean”

In emergencies I always managed to stay calm. This time is no different.

“It’s alright, baby. Just start over again. We’ll handle this. I love you and am not leaving you. You can do this.”

He hugs me so hard that my ribs hurt.

“I’m a liar and a cheat and I can never repair what I’ve done to you.”

I don’t want to let go of him, but he pushes me away.

“I don’t deserve to have you. I fucked you over so badly, I’m the worst piece of shit alive and you have every right to kick me out.”

“What? What have you done that’s so bad?” I grab his hand and smile “Come on. We all know that relapse is part of recovery. It’s no big deal. I’ll help you kick and in a few weeks you’ll look at this as a mistake and pick up where you left off and slipped”

“No” he says, choking up again. “It’s not that simple. I’ve stolen all your money and the money from the company. We are broke.”

“No, you didn’t. There are over ten grand in the account. We are fine”

“We’re not. All those bills I’ve been taken care of? I wrote all those checks to myself and our utilities will be shut off any moment”

“No way! I signed those checks. I saw the envelopes.”

“Exactly. All you saw where the envelops. You signed every single check out to me. I hate myself. I hate who I have become.”

It all makes sense. I flash back to the neatly folded bills, with just the part for my signature visible. I never looked at what I signed.

“And there is more” He’s on a roll now. “ I started to steal your checks and faked your signature. I’m a fucking criminal. Turn me in.”

Oh God. The health insurance lady was right. I jump on the phone and call the automated bank service. Sure enough, what I hear fills my brain with panicky fear.

Not only are all our accounts empty, but overdrawn. I quickly calculate. I’m about to receive payments from a few stores, somewhere in the amount of six, maybe seven thousand dollars. It’s a setback, but not the end of the world.

“Turn you in? Man, I was a junkie myself and did exactly what you did. Jeez, karma hits me back fast – not in another life time, but right now, way too soon”

I used to go sneak into my mother’s house when she was married to the impotent and arrogant Millionaire in Calabasas in that gated community she hated so much and snatch a few checks. The lady at Bank Of America liked me and never questioned the checks I presented to cash. Of course, it took only until her next statement arrived for her to find out.

I will never forget her call to me. I braced myself for a tirade of rage, but all she said was, in such a sweet voice that the memory of it still breaks my heart: “You are in trouble, Monah. You need to get help”.

“I do” I immediately sobbed and fell apart. “I do. I can’t live like this anymore. Please help me. Please get me into a rehab, mom.”

“I will. I’ll try. But please” and now she cried too. “Please don’t die before we find help”

 

So now, I find myself in my mother’s shoes and I react just like her.

“Peter?” I say, “Peter, look at me. We’re in this together and we will take care of this.”

“I don’t know how you can be so nice to me” He mumbles and lets me take him into my arms.

We’ll call Impact tomorrow and you’ll just get clean again. We can do this”

“I love you so much” he whispers.

We slip under the covers and hold on to each other for dear life. This night, we even have sex and it’s the most romantic and intense love I’ve ever felt for anybody.

Honesty is an aphrodisiac for me.

But the help I expected to get for him right away, is not as easy to come by. During the next month, where he has to call Impact every day or lose his queue in the line, I go through hell.

I’m instructed to throw him out. It breaks my heart. He sleeps in his truck parked next to our loft. Then an AA-buddy takes him in and I am told to stay out of it, to not call the buddy and find out how he’s doing. It’s so hard to not call. I miss him, I’m worried, I know he has a gun on him and all I want is to have him back.

But the one time I let him come in to take a shower, my checkbook is missing after he leaves. Addiction is so damn ugly. I lose another 15 pounds and can’t sleep.

What if he dies? What if he od’s? What if he doesn’t love me anymore?

This man, who has been the best relationship of my life so far, is ill, so seriously ill, that the chance of him dying is a real possibility now.

Finally, after 20 days of daily calls, they have a bed for him. I’m going to drive him there the next day.

For the first time in three weeks, I sleep. He will be safe. He will make it. I just know.

 

 

 

 


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