When genuine tragedy strikes, I'm always surprised. I mean, we spend our time--or I do, anyway--pretending this or that is tragic, a disaster, a crisis, but it always turns out that those things are petty and small. Like, for instance, being late with the rent, or losing a bank card, or breaking a favorite glass. Small things. Petty. An imagined slight, an unkind word from a friend about your favorite book, a sold-out movie you want to go see. These things might inspire rants, but they're not really worth the rant.
Here's a tragedy that is happening now, and it's pretty real, and it's really tragic: my aunt, 2 years older than I, was found in a hotel room in Jasper, AL, with an empty bottle of pills and several empty bottles of whiskey. She was rushed to the local hospital.
To me, that's not the tragedy, though. That's the happy ending. My aunt--I'll call her Diane--was rescued from the pills and the booze by cops who stormed into her hotel room. She lived.
Here's this: Diane was living in a minuscule town in Alabama, and she didn't want to be living in that small town. She was a few hours away from her family, and she didn't want to be a few hours away from her family. She was married, and had two children. She worked as a secretary for the small town's Church of Christ. She was college educated, and spent her time preparing church bulletins and organizing prayer lists.
Here's this too: small towns in Alabama love scandal. Scandal passes the time, takes your mind off the heat, and gives you something to talk about during commercial breaks and standing in line at the grocery store. The scandal of other people's lives gives you a chance to talk about something other than the weather. Sure, everyone talks about the weather; most people would rather not though, and scandal gives a great opportunity to change the fucking subject.
The subject usually changes to fucking.
Diane was caught, apparently, fucking a married man behind her own married man's back. She was caught by the wife of the married man she was fucking behind her own married man's back. The wife of the married man called Diane's own married man. And Diane disappeared from her small town in Alabama, leaving, I'm sure, a lot of unorganized prayer lists and an ill-conceived church bulletin.
When the secretary of the local Church of Christ is revealed to be a harlot, you can bet people will forget the small change in temperature and wind, and chatter on and on about the fact that the secretary of the local Church of Christ tried to commit suicide as they wait for the produce to be scanned and charged. Diane, who is now in the mental health ward of a hospital in Alabama, is now also an anecdote in the lines of the grocery stores of a small town in Alabama, a change of conversational temperature, a low, sharp whisper of windy gossip. She has kids, the oldest entering high school next year. She has a cuckolded husband, who for now is determined to give her a "second chance."
About the hotel room: it was a few hours away from the small town she'd lived in for the past 15 years. She drove to the hotel room when it was clear that the jig was up, that the affair was now an event. She left her home late Thursday night, and drove, and ended up in that hotel room, and did what she did. I don't blame her for doing it. I don't blame her for the affair. I've been there, in a sense, and was lucky enough to have a partner who gave me the second chance I wanted.
Diane wanted to move from that small town to the less-small town she grew up in, nearer to her family. I'm sure she's wanted a lot of things while living in that smaller town. When she married her husband and moved to that smaller town, she had two choices: adapt or die. She adapted, for 15 years. Then she gave up adapting, I guess.
The tragedy is that she'll have to go back to adapting, because there won't be any real change. Her cuckold is "willing to give her a second chance," as if it's his decision only. I don't know that she'll return to her church bulletins and prayer lists, but I'm certain she'll return to that smaller town that, over a period of years, pushed her out and away to a hotel a few hours from her 15-year home. The tragedy is also that her kids will now be the sons of the church secretary who had an affair and attempted suicide, and gave the town something else to talk about for a while besides the weather.
Interestingly, the smaller town boasts that it is the birthplace of 911. You'd think that town would be a bit more sensitive to crisis. I hope it is.
Here's this final thing: Diane was saved by a friend using 911. The story, the gossip, is this: Diane went to that hotel room, and called her lover to come help her. The lover refused. Distraught (that breaks my heart), Diane called her parents, then called the friend, Patty. Patty is her real name I'm not disguising, because I am grateful to Patty and do not want to pretend she could have another name.
Diane called Patty, and Patty realized that Diane was in, you know, crisis. When Diane refused to give her location, Patty contacted people from the church, who went to the lover's house and convinced him to tell them where Diane was, and they told Patty, and Patty called 911.
Cops bursting in. Diane rushed to the hospital. The cuckold rushing to the hospital. The end.
Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.
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