Oh, what a tangled web!

I remember it as clearly as if it had happened today, if only because other people remind me from time to time. I think it was 1974, but it could have been 1975, and our coffee table and floor lamp were broken. My brother Rick brought us a beautiful antique coffee table made of wood, with a cherry wood veneer and leather inlays. Then Rick took our broken furniture down to the dumpster for us. Phil couldn’t do it because of his shoulder injury. The stairs up to our apartment on Cameo Lane were treacherous enough, but Rick managed them easily. We were very grateful to him, and we loved the coffee table that he gave us.

Well, the story gets back to me that my brother Rick supposedly took away half our furniture, and that I went with him. Never happened. Whoever is telling that story must have an extremely faulty memory. A second event might have become confused with what happened on Cameo Lane.

In fact, less than a year after we moved to the house on Santa Ysabel, Phil ordered me to leave so his girlfriend could move in. He threatened to kill me if I did not leave immediately, so I walked out with nothing. I believe that was in 1976. I called my brother Steve, and he and his wife helped me to get my young son’s clothes and toys. I picked up my son from daycare, and we spent the night at my parents’ house. In the morning I learned that Phil was in the hospital after having attempted suicide because his girlfriend refused to move in with him.

But the story comes back to me that I supposedly left Phil in a cruel manner, and that he tried to kill himself because I left. In fact, he was still trying to convince his girlfriend to move in with him. He told her that she had to move in with him because he tried to kill himself.

One of his so-called friends took his keys, his car, his money and my gasoline credit card, and left a note at the house telling me to take Phil some clothes and feed the cats. Maybe I was foolish, but I still loved Phil, so I used the little money that I had to buy him some new clothes, and I took them to the mental ward where they were keeping him. I also bought some cat food. While I was cleaning the blood and vomit in our bathroom, his so-called friend was driving his car, spending his money and using my credit card.

A couple months later, Phil hired a moving van and took almost everything from our rented house to his new apartment, where his girlfriend moved in with him. He did not take the couch or the bed because they were ready to go into the trash, but he did take his favorite chair, our bar with stools that we had instead of a dining table with chairs, and a lamp and glass table. He also took the television, the stereo system and all sorts of decor and knickknacks. The story that comes back to me is that I left him. If that is so, why was he in a new apartment, with a new girlfriend, and with our best furniture and other possessions?  He let me have the coffee table that my brother gave us because his girlfriend wanted to use her coffee table. He bought a new bed and couch.

I had no money, so I was forced to move in with my family in Northern California. Phil complained bitterly that I had taken his son so far away, but I had no choice. He did not give me any money until I hired a lawyer. He did not fly up to see us, which was quite inexpensive at the time. After five months, I finally was able to rent a room near where Phil lived, so I came back down to Orange County.

So why do I come out as the bad guy? Because life is not fair, and some people weave tangled webs to justify their cruelty.

I’m content to live alone in a small mountain cabin where my closest friends are cats. They never tell lies about me.


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