“These are my songs for you, Baby,” Charlie had told me.
A 104 fever and life-threatening infection put me in the ER three days before Thanksgiving, 2003, Unable to get the infection under control and after my thirty-day insurance coverage for a hospital stay expired, my doctor transferred me to Bayview at Johns Hopkins rehab/nursing home.
The experience frightened me and cut me off from life. Even though paralyzed from a rare virus, I was happily living on my own. Now my only access to the outside world was via the internet. Thankfully, I owned a laptop.
After surfing around, I found an online game website filled with dozens of card game rooms. I met Charlie at a table playing free poker. He started chatting with me in the chat box and we slowly became friends.
Charlie lived in Halifax, Canada, and worked at home as an accountant. Soon, we began chatting via Yahoo messenger and eventually video chatting.
Charlie chatted with me daily from early morning until late evening. He kept me company and let me watch him work. It seemed the perfect situation for a lonely and isolated woman like me.
However, after all I’d gone through, the last thing I thought I’d ever want was to be in a relationship. However, Charlie brought me something I never experienced before – happiness. He made me feel like an intelligent, desirable woman, whole and normal, something I not only had never felt before because I had no frame of reference regarding such a beautiful feeling.
Charlie started wooing me, capturing my heart completely. I never wondered why he had not visited me. He assured me he would as soon as he had an opportunity to take a vacation. Even after my nine-month stay in the nursing home without a visit, I trusted him implicitly.
You see, Charlie asked me to marry him four months after we met! My disability meant nothing to him. He loved me just the way I was. I was ecstatic – no reason to be suspicious of his absence from my bedside.
Our relationship thrived.
A few weeks after Charlie’s proposal, my mother passed away in a hospital in Florida, while doctors fought for my life in the nursing home in Baltimore. Although Mom and I were never close (she grew up in an orphanage and sadly lacked parenting skills and affection), losing her devastated me.
Charlie virtually held my hand and comforted me while i grieved. Even after my discharge that September from the nursing home, our relationship continued to strengthen and grow. He professed his undying love for me and I was hopelessly in love with him.
I asked Charlie if he’d be able to visit me now that I was home. He put me off, telling me he had a problem with his visa. I believed him. Then, I received news that my younger sister had a nervous breakdown and my younger brother had been put on a heart transplant list.
I had flown to Florida to handle my mother’s estate and care for my siblings, although I was in no condition to travel. Charlie assured me he would move in with me once I settled to help me.
I arrived on February 12, 2005, my daughter’s birthday, with another 104 fever. I developed a severe infection and spent another three weeks in a hospital. My never-failing Charlie “stayed” with me via video chat the entire time.
After that discharge, while taking care of the details of Mom’s estate, my brother Billy passed away in his bed in his apartment on May 24, almost a year to the day of Mom’s death.. It was more than I could handle. Devastated once again, I begged Charlie to come down. I desperately needed him to hold me.
A few days after my cry, my phone rang. The caller ID said Halifax. It was Charlie! I picked up the receiver.
“Hi honey!” I said, anxious to hear his calming voice.
“Are you Nancy?” a woman’s voice said.
“Uh, yes. Who is this?” My heart thumped so hard, I could hear it in my ears.
“My name is Nancy too, you slut!” she screamed. “I am Charlie’s wife. Stay the hell away from my husband!” She slammed the phone down.
For a moment, time halted and I couldn’t catch my breath. Then, puddles of tears soaked my face, dripping into my mouth. Choking on my tears, I sobbed and sobbed. How could it be? He spent days and hours with me. Not one hint that he could be married. I felt so stupid.
I fell into a deep depression after losing my brother and the shock of Charlie. I was at the point of suicide. .
My grown children lived with me at the time, helping me to cope physically and emotionally. Much to my surprise, at the end of June my daughter convinced me to sign up for Match.com. The last thing I wanted was to fall into another trap, which I had done so many times in my quest for true love.
Anyhow, after much debating, I created an honest profile about my condition and left it at that. To my surprise, I started receiving email responses. Most likely predators.
However one man stood out. His daughter laid in a coma due to a car accident (thankfully, she fully recovered), so we bonded because of our mutual grief.
We began emailing, consoling one another. When I felt safe enough, I gave him my phone number. A trust built and I felt ready to invite him to my mother’s home. We met just before Hurricane Katrina. He was very kind and did not make me feel uncomfortable about my disability.
We are now best friends. Without him, I would be in a nursing home, but he invited me to live in his condo. Ten years have gone by. I am a fortunate woman. Although I am confined to bed, he really cares about me . . . just the way I am.
Categories: Internet Predators