Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Saving Whitney

Not her real name. "Whitney" was the fiancee' and housemate of a guy whose living room I lived in for a few months back in 1996. Things fell apart pretty dramatically, and by mid-to-late April they were no longer an item: Scumbag threw her off for this piece of crap he went to high school with (oddly enough, I dated that same piece of crap a few months before: Piglet).

Whitney tried to stay with him--and I'm sure Scumbag was playing her so he was getting some either way.

She finally reached a point where she couldn't take it anymore.

On Mother's day evening in 1996, Whitney walked out of the house. I was sitting at my old PC, writing. I didn't think much about where she'd gone. Then Scumbag comes into the living room and mutters something about her killing herself...then goes to the couch, sits on his scumbag ass, and turns on the TV.

I got up and walked out with no idea of where Whitney had gone. I knew she wasn't able to drive, had no car, and no one had picked her up, so I just picked a direction and went.

Scumbag apparently decided that This Was Important, and he tagged along.

I found her huddled in the bus stop shelter around the corner. I sat down with her and tried to get her to talk. I sent Scumbag home. Whitney told me that she'd taken pills, and she had a razor blade in her purse in case they didn't work. I tried to talk her out of it, but I knew I was out of my depth. I knew Whitney would only really listen to one of her close friends, and I knew I had to get to a phone to get that person out here. And I knew she needed medical help, since I had no idea what pills she'd taken. She told me to go away.

I felt shitty doing it, but who had a cell phone in 1996?

I ran all the way back to the house. Scumbag was still watching TV. Apparently the notion of calling 9-1-1 or friends or anyone who might help hadn't occurred to him.

I grabbed the phone and shouted at Scumbag to give me the friend's number. It rang for more than a minute.

"She might be out for dinner," Scumbag suggested. I tried a different friend. No answer. I called 9-1-1, knowing everyone in that tight-knit little group would resent the intrusion and not caring (maybe I'll try to explain their attitudes at some point). Within a minute, flashing blue lights whipped past the house, converging on Whitney. They found her wandering in the road. I was still trying to reach anyone in the group to have them get their asses moving, but it was nearly an hour before I got an answer.

I was right--everyone got pissed off at me for calling cops and ambulances and fire trucks out to help Whitney. None of them bothered to think that maybe her life was more important than some outsiders' intrusion on their clique.

Whitney spent a few days under observation in a psych house and made a full (physical) recovery.

But last I saw of her when I moved out a few months later, she'd moved back in with Scumbag. And that was 1996.

I did look her up online recently and found her blog. She's still alive and apparently happier, but still busted up over Scumbag even 13 years later. At least she's not with him--and I'm happy with that. She deserves better.

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