Last night was interesting. I met with my escort, we’ll call him Shep, since he guards me better than the last German Shepherd I had. And we headed over to the neighbours, and met with a small gathering of people for New Years. It was nice, quiet, and simple. There was a bonfire, beer, conversation, and just plain old fashioned enjoyment. I miss that in a lot of ways. I was sitting in a patio chair, staring at the bonfire, leg slung over one arm of the chair, beer in hand, and Shep came and sat next to me. “What are you thinking?” He asks. “Why aren’t you with your friends?” I asked, “Why are you working on a night like tonight?” He smiles and says, “I’ve been bucking for a night off for a month. And technically your file doesn’t exist, so it’s like a holiday. A very unusual holiday.” He continues to smile and stare at me, I can tell he’s thinking something, something about my character. “How did you end up here? I mean, why don’t you go do something else?” He looks inquisitively. I didn’t know what to say really. You always know the answer. I mean, it’s pretty real, and it’s pretty basic. But, when you have to say it out loud… I don’t know, something is different. He interrupts my hesitancy, “You’re classy. You’re not like the other women who get into these situations. What happened?” I took a swig of beer, and really within all of a millisecond my whole life hit me like a brick. Everything from my first step out of danger, first night of safety, first walk as Jane Woods, to my training, service, hostage, abduction, negotiation, trading money, taking kick backs, making friends, quietly falling in love with my partner and never telling him, to the scary secrets I kept, all came flooding back to me like some dark, oily water leaving a filthy uncomfortable residue on my memory and on my skin.
I looked up at Shep. He is a well groomed man, with a crew cut and goatee. When he’s laid back, he looks like any other nice guy, he has very kind eyes, and when he gets serious, you can see the dark side come out- his jaw pronounced, eyed deepen, and his entire face hardens. I thought to myself, you look like a butcher maybe, not some guy with a file. I tried my best to smile at him, “I guess I got so concerned with survival, the rest of me forgot how to age.” He knew what I was talking about. In our training we learned how people age. Some people age tough when they go through tough circumstances. Other people when exposed to severe trauma, the body slows down the production of hormones and continues to cleanse itself with fight or flight chemicals, making it appear you are younger than what you really are, or rather, just more innocent. Shep and I continued to talk quietly, and slowly. I learned more about him, and why he was really hanging around, and spending so much time in the area. I am glad to be surrounded with good people. At one point one of the neighbours had a row with his wife, and they screamed and yelled, and she stormed out. The made up around 10:30pm and came back to the gathering with lovey dovey faces and new found appreciation for one another. Nothing else really happened.
But I did decided that this year I would do more self work, and stop doing some of the tougher work. I think I am already exiting the field work stage. However, I am going to make more of an effort. I want to do the work I do, but I can see where it’s beginning to take a toll on my health. We’ll see. But I think this year should be classy, less intense, and be a new chapter in this story. That, would be nice.