It was a rude awakening. A friendship built on two people new to a city, finding a common ground only to discover, one of them was lying. There was little truth in their story.
And in the wake of their passing through, destruction, pain, anger, disbelief.
"You won't believe what I discovered about A.J.," C.C. text me from where he was watching the hockey game Wednesday night. "I'll Skype when I get home."
And then the mayhem ensued and I was mesmerized by the drama unfolding on the streets of Vancouver while C.C. was driving the streets of Saskatoon, searching for a man he couldn't believe would lie with such aplomb. He had to admit that even the father and brother-in-law he believed had been killed in a car accident were probably sitting drinking a glass of wine in La Belle Province, or maybe at a sidewalk cafe in The City of Lights.
C.C. was devastated.
"I can't believe I could be so stupid," he said when we later connected.
"You weren't." I told him. "He is a subject matter expert in human manipulation. He's spent his lifetime perfecting his craft. You weren't suspecting deception. You were expecting what you were giving. Your honesty. Truth. Care."
"But how could he do so many kind things and be a liar?"
"Because the things he did were based on creating the effect he needed. Your confidence. Trust. Respect. He'd do anything to get those. And that includes lying."
In the wake of A.J.'s passing through the lives of several people C.C. knows there has been much destruction. Jobs lost. Bank accounts slimmed down. Items stolen.
And yet, in the wake of A.J.'s rampage through trust and hearts and minds, there is left behind an awareness no one ever had before -- this could happen to me. It could happen to anyone.
And in the end, it isn't about closing down trust, it's about opening up to intuition. Fine-tuning our hearing to our inner voice.
It was there.
I heard it when I first met A.J. But, pushed it aside. It's just me being my suspicious self, I told myself. C.C. is enjoying this friendship. You're just being difficult.
But each time C.C. told me of something else, some other promise -- that didn't materialize (yet, he said), some other missed event that didn't happen (yet, he insisted), I wondered.
But I didn't stop to listen.
Last night C.C. said, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true."
I learned that the hard way. In a relationship with a man who promised me the world, who promised to 'love me 'til death do us part' and who then actively set about making the 'death' part come alive so that I would be out of this world.
And now, a police file has been built. A warrant issued. Somewhere, out there, is a man rioting through people's lives. Sure, it isn't of the magnitude of the destruction in Vancouver, it isn't of the dark and lethal nature of a Jeffrey Dahmer, but it is deadly.
A.J.s brand of rioting kills trust. Kills spirits. Kills hope and belief in humankind. It kills.
If we let it.
And we can't.
For in the end, the A.J.s of the world can only survive with our collusion.
and we don't have to do that.
We can fight back.
We can't stop the A.J.s of the world from being who they are. We can stop them from being who they are in our lives.
I can't change an abuser. I can stop abuse in my life.
By waking up. Opening up. Living up to all I'm meant to be.
It's been a hard go for those who got caught in the web of A.J.s deceit. But they will survive. They will grow and thrive and flourish.
Sad thing is, the A.J.s of the world seldom do. Trapped in the lies of their creation, floundering in a world of little conscience, they continue to create mayhem where ever they go, moving on when the heat gets too hot to stay. Spinning their web faster and faster.
The A.J.s and Conrad's of the world seldom find what they're looking for. they can't because there is no truth in lies. No beauty in deception.
But you and I can.
Because what we're looking for is right here. Inside each and every one of us.
Truth. Beauty. Honesty. Integrity. Joy.
It's all there, waiting for us to claim our gifts. Let's do it!