We’re all blinded by what we think is love at least once in our lives. The trick is not letting it destroy you when you find out it wasn’t what you thought
“Now, we don’t have any reason to believe that Ross is dangerous-it seems like his only agenda is to disappear as quickly as possible- but if, for any reason, he contacts you, please promise that you will not jeopardize yourself by attempting to help him.” I mentally interrupted Officer Burban’s lecture thinking “Fat fucking chance”.
This would be our third time talking on the phone, the cop and me. He was the officer in charge of Ross’s case and had questioned me about things pertaining to his personality, our relationship and other bits of information to help with the case. At this point I almost considered the officer a girlfriend to vent to; here was a person who actually wanted to hear about the intricacies of my relationship and didn’t seem to get sick of it as my true gal-pals did. As he talked, I simultaneously tried to hold the cell phone between ear and shoulder, while smoking my Marlboro light and attempting to navigate the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“Just report his whereabouts to the local police if you see or hear from him,” he continued. “Now, we don’t think that he’ll be sticking around Gettysburg, but we’re not entirely sure of anything at this point. We assume he’s heading south, but we could be way off base.”
“No pun intended,” I joked, this time aloud instead of safely within my own thoughts. Officer Burban’s silence on the other side of the line told me that he did not appreciate my humor, nor did he consider me a gal-pal, as I did him. The severity of the situation struck me again like a punch to the jaw. I bit the inside of my cheeks.
“I’m sorry,” I said trying to mend the bridge, “that was completely inappropriate. Sometimes I make stupid jokes to try to deal with this kind of sh-Crap! Sorry. Inappropriate.” I smacked my head to punish it for allowing me to make an ass of myself and ashed all over my t-shirt.
“That’s alright, Miss. I understand. Stella…I have to get a bit personal with you now.”
“Alright, please ask away,” I said, smearing the gray residue into my shirt, rather than off of it.
“We’re you and Ross sexually active when he returned from the base?”
My heart fluttered at the sound of the words “sexually active”. I couldn’t even think for a moment, given the events of our last day together.
“Yes,” I replied. “Well…I mean we did date for almost a year and a half.” I don’t know why I felt the need to explain myself. It’s almost as if I could foresee what Officer Burban was leading up to.
“Noted,” he said. There was a brief pause before he dropped his imminent bombshell. “Were you aware that Ross had also led a girl from Tech School to believe that they would be getting married by the end of this year?”
Obviously I was unaware of this. Was I surprised? Absolutely not.
“No, I was not aware of this officer.”
He did not speak for several seconds, obviously trying to find the appropriate words to console me.
“I’m sorry that I had to be the one to tell you that. It doesn’t seem like this boy treated you well-and that’s exactly what he is: a boy. I hope you find a man next time; you’re a good girl and you deserve someone who knows that.”
Wow, I thought. Are you single, sir?
“Thank you, officer. I appreciate what you’re trying to do but it’s not necessary. I deserved to be treated the way I was. I did nothing to stop it,” I said, wisely-or it sounded wise in my head at the time. “I knew that Ross was cheating on me, treating me…not nicely and using me in general. I saw it, but chose to ignore it, sealed my own fate in this deal. You don’t have to try to make me feel better for something I was responsible for.”
“The sad thing is, Stella…I think you actually believe the words that are coming out of your mouth. We’re all blinded by what we think is love at least once in our lives. The trick is not letting it destroy you when you find out it wasn’t what you thought.”
Clearly done with his rant, the officer branched off to end the conversation. “Well, I think that’s about all I need from you for now. Take care of yourself. You deserve more than you think. If I have any other questions, I’ll be in contact and as usual, if you hear from or see Ross, call me immediately. Have a nice day.”