Got something playing so heavily in my mind, going around in loop-dee-loops right now, and it’s not anything having to do with me whatsoever. It’s gossip, pure and simple. Well, not so pure and maybe not entirely all that simple.
Before I even touch upon what has nothing to do with me and made purely on assumptions, speculations, observation, and quasi-educated guesswork… I am, if anything, incredibly empathetic to victims of psychopaths to the point where I marvel…I mean I am in AWE of the victims who have that sense of willpower to continue onwards, the victims who are able to forgive the human monsters who’ve destroyed their livelihoods and reemerge unscathed. Whether through a spiritual awakening or through intensive psychotherapy, it doesn’t matter to me. The fact that they’re able to claim a sense of peace after everything that’s been done to them is inspirational.
I used to belong to an amateur improv group in my town. I know I’ve mentioned it somewhere here before, but it’s not something I write about much. It was just something to do here in my alligator-infested, tourist trap of a locale. Anyway, the group eventually disbanded. Some moved out of the area. Some started their own spinoff groups. Some, like me, took on other interests and extra work responsibilities. Others didn’t care much for the big-fish-in-little-ponds roleplaying. Many of us don’t keep in touch much at all, except with a select few, those we consider close friends. I’ve a couple I still am in infrequent contact with. I’d like to see them much more often, but alas, those very work responsibilities and other interests keep us away.
The couple and I are mutually acquainted with a local stand-up comedian, a guy full of charm and swagger. I always enjoyed talking with him whenever I ran into him from time to time. My friends are closer to him than I am since comedy groups attach to comedy groups and keep the Circle of Life going. They know him through those sorts of attachments that are so socially awkward for me, an introverted type who can’t find it in her to…well….swagger. It’s why I couldn’t do the whole performance-thing anymore. It’s exhausting to the core.
So like any ex-performer who didn’t care to socialize, I did what comes naturally to us introverts in the 21st century: I befriended everyone on Facebook and paid close attention.
For performers, Facebook is a virtual dramatic haven of interactive theatrics. A place where live soap is on 24-hour display, and folks become engaged in it whether they like it or not.
The comedian, like any performer, any artist, used Facebook primarily to advertise his venues. However, it wasn’t long before he was also proudly displaying his new lady love for all to see. There were the requisite photographs of the two of them clinging to one another, beaming at whatever camera was around. Like the other observers around, I had no idea of much about her, just that she was round-faced and pretty and seemingly happy to be with the comedian.
Of course, it wasn’t long before they were married, and there were further pictures of their sunny, smiling faces complete with plenty of declarations of love and pride courtesy of the comedian.
He was so happy; she was so happy.
And then…things turned a bit dark for the happy couple.
The new lady love’s cancer from long before had, apparently, returned with a vengeance. Those of us who’d been casual observers suddenly found ourselves immersed into what seemed to be an outright wrenching ordeal. He’d post updates on her pain and suffering, and he was suffering right along side of her, frantic and desperate, for they had only JUST gotten married and had barely had time to settle. One afternoon, she posted a nightmarish photo of a porcelain bowl splattered in gore, clogged with bloody clumps of Something Awful, her simple caption holding more horror than the image itself:
“Would somebody please get my husband?”
Their situation seem to plummet into hopelessness. Lots and lots of sleepless nights up caring for her. Painful moments. Weary, pale faces. Then the medical bills starting rolling in. I knew that the comedian was working hard at various part-time jobs, work that didn’t seem to offer much by way of health benefits. I didn’t know what she did, but at the time, it seemed the equivalent as her husband, a job consisting of few hours and even fewer dollar earnings. The outsiders looking in, we felt deeply for them. I’ve seen cancer taking people away from friends, ripping them from a full life’s worth of memories.
A last resort was needed. They’d taken out another mortgage on her house, sold everything of value they owned, held a giant auction of items that had been donated. Still, nothing would cover the last dregs of expenses. A GoFundMe account was set up, along with a tearful plea by the comedian indicating what was happening, that all he wanted was for her to enjoy her last moments left without worry of becoming destitute.
As you well know how these sorts of stories tend to go… those of us who’d been so shamefully suckered in for the ride having donated what we were able could only watch on in incredulity as the GoFundMe page suddenly disappeared, as if it had never existed in the first place.
There was silence. Nothing from him. Nothing from her.
My concern for them had long since developed into a series of red flags. This, even though I’d donated a measly $20 to their GoFundMe. I’d cared about the comedian — he never struck me as someone rotten. I considered him a good acquaintance. But the red flags…For one, I never once recalled anyone mentioning an oncologist visit, let alone anything about a hospital or a clinic, even though medical “expenses” had certainly been brought up. Also, no one else seemed to be there for new lady love, no family being mentioned aside from her children, I think, from a previous marriage. All of the attention had come from the comedian and his family and friends.
Gradually, I forgot about them.
Much later, out of the blue, I received a text from one of my close friends about the comedian. He was in jail on a domestic violence/assault charge. That was all my friend and her husband, my other ex-performer friend, knew. Naturally, I had to look up the mug shot for myself because I couldn’t believe it. The comedian had been the kind of man who seemed unlikely to be physically abusive to a woman — I’d never had a red flag waving regarding this, and I have a keenly empathetic sense of that sort of thing these days. Now, even so, I’d been told he’d had his share of bar brawls over the years, so he wasn’t a man who avoided violence, but he didn’t seem to be the type who’d find any enjoyment in it. Swagger, mind you. Bravado and swagger with a heavy lashing of pride thrown in for good measure. But a wife-abuser? A man who’d strike a woman? I didn’t sense that about him at all, and I never had.
I did, however, sense something nastier lurking there, but I wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t about to jump to any hyper-imaginative conclusions.
The lady love had also detached herself from his Facebook page, removing any sort of relationship connection to him, even though the comedian still kept his “married” status evident.
He then reemerged not too long ago with nothing indicative about his ordeal at all. He seemed on the verge of renewal, like he had re-discovered himself. He linked back up with his friends and fellow stand-ups and began performing once again.
Again though, nothing about what had happened. In retro, I respected that, even though I was as curious as anyone looking in from the outside. I understood that he needed clarity and a purpose. He also needed downtime.
A few days ago, and a few vague, reflective updates and prayer requests later, the comedian shared the happy news of having been cleared of all charges, and others did as well for verification, for, apparently, he’d fallen for a psychopath, a woman who’d made up an entire ordeal of long-term suffering and disease and, later, abuse. I only know this because her estranged sister linked the comedian to a status update that indicated all of this for the record, that the newfound ladylove had had a pattern of doing this sort of thing to various people and that the comedian had been the latest victim ensnared by a trap of her own design.
Right now, someone needs to warn the new guy in her life quickly.
Looking back on it, I suppose it surprises me that one performer can’t seem to recognize a performance when it’s happening right in front of him.
Then again, some masks are permanently affixed.
Featured image courtesy of charchub.com