I spent the day  yesterday on a shoot for work at a conference.  The main speaker was a detective  who works cold cases. And I spent some time with him at lunch listening to him discuss the last case that just came back with a verdict of guilty.  It was a 20 year-old case based almost completely on circumstantial evidence.  What intrigued me was the man who was convicted was a manipulator and a liar.  One thing the detective said perked my ears up.  He said no one believed this guy could be a killer because he was not smart enough to pull it off and seemed like a bumbler.

The most damning evidence was video testimony he gave just after the murders where he lied “in the moment” to convince the murdered woman’s family that she was alive which contradicted things he said before and after.   He didn’t think it through and in the end his bumbling, and stupidity did him in.  Hmm…sounds familiar.

I was fascinated that the family believed the manipulator for YEARS.  Why?  It was somehow easier in their mind to believe she was a heartless mother and daughter who would ditch everyone she loved never to contact them again than to believe she was dead.

I can only imagine how devastated that mother was when she realized she was wrong about her own daughter.  How stupid she felt…how guilty…how deceived and then how sad to have to go through the grieving process so many years later.

There was this one blog I read and I wish I had bookmarked it because looking back now I realize I should have taken chancing upon it and reading it as more of a sign.  It was about this woman who was living with a man who actually had a wife and family hidden in another town.  I remember being so shocked by the blog that I read the whole thing to a man who was practically doing the same exact thing to me.  I didn’t see it.  I didn’t see it.

What liars do, is they rob people.  I was robbed for two years of those two years that had I known the truth would have played out very differently for me.  I was robbed of having a say in the matter.  I was robbed of opportunities.  And so was this family who had believed a lie for 20 years.  They were robbed.

Even though the verdict was guilty in this case, he hasn’t admitted guilt and because the case was so circumstantial,  for the family, there is only one real chance of closure.  I know from experience, how much more difficult it is when lots of things don’t add up, and the sick feeling in your gut is there, to believe someone is capable of extreme selfishness and betrayal without an admission of guilt.  Thankfully I have hard proof and direct evidence in my own case.  But this family has a remote chance that he’ll admit guilt at his sentencing hearing in order to get considered for parole years down the road.  I hope the family gets it.

Having that closure in my case has been the greatest gift of all.  I’m no longer burdened by the mystery.  And I’m using my freedom well.

I got some much-needed quiet time this weekend in with my Harry who has a cold, that he gave to me.  He came to the house bringing me flowers this morning and drove the family to church.

In the midst of our great day and great conversation I watched Harry as he tried to deal with an employee who is giving him a hassle.  He is being talked to very disrespectfully by someone who has no room to do so.  And while it upsets him I’ve watched the level of patience this man has for other human beings and how many chances he gives them.   In church today the pastor talked about how God motivates us as Christians with rewards not punishment.  And he could identify with that teaching because he deals with his employees much the same way.  And it impressed me that he is not ruled by his passion.  It’s definitely there but it’s controlled.  And I love that about him.

My ex had no passion.  My other ex was ruled by his.

Harry took us out to lunch after.  He told my daughter stories about how he used to beat people up in high school and be a bully and I laughed thinking…THAT’s why we weren’t friends!  He defended himself saying that most of the time other people took a swing at him first.  I reached over and said, “Tell me you don’t have an anger problem anymore.”  And he smiled and said, “The only time you’ll see it, is if someone threatens my family.  Nobody wants to do that cause there will be no stopping me.”

A flash went through my mind and all of a sudden we weren’t sitting in a TGI Friday’s anymore, but we were in a little Italian restaurant in Queens. When Harry pounded his fist into the palm of his hand…I believed what he was saying was very true.  This gentle giant can be transformed into a roaring bear.  In my mind anyway, he even had an accent.  And I suddenly felt very protected and safe.  Not only are we connected because we’re from the same hood – but this neighborhood girl is now under his protection.  I’m part of his family.  There is loyalty and respect on that level between us.  I don’t think there is anything we wouldn’t do for each other.

That feeling of safety has replaced my fear of being robbed in such a tangible way.  I’m physically safe.  I’m emotionally safe.  With Harry in my life I don’t think I’ll ever get robbed again.

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