Hurt is giving way to wonder regarding the Fisherman.
In general, I am wondering what makes people go to such extreme lengths to create a fake persona to tap into someone else’s emotions just to get money out of them?
According to what I have read on the Internet, these people are usually naturally socially gregarious. Sometimes they are lonely attention seekers. There is evidently some kind of emotional aspect to it for them, in addition to the money.
It is sadly misspent emotions, though. In pursuit of a dollar. Is there some special sort of high they get when someone sends them the money? A triumphal moment of Hah! I acted this out so superbly they didn’t even suspect?
You see, I would have done more for the Fisherman than he realizes. I would have booked a plane trip to Turkey had my passport been active. I spent money with Sprint for the month to get international calling on my phone. When someone is in “critical condition,” that usually means life or death. I had only interacted with this man via text, aborted Skype sessions and one brief call. Yet I would have willingly gone to his side if he had asked for that instead of money. They do expedite passports in emergencies.
But that wasn’t what he asked. He asked for the one thing I promised my son I would turn around and walk away from him if he did it. The Fisherman asked for money.
It’s not like I haven’t given money away before without expectation of getting it back. Heck, I have loaned much larger sums than he requested and not been paid back in return (part of the problem of my anemic savings now, I am afraid).
I give money each month to pay for Carmen Roxana in a village in Peru. I have never met her face to face either. She is a post card child assigned to me by an international Christian relief charity. She writes postcard “letters” to me in Spanish that are carefully translated. She has confirmed to me that yes, in keeping with her clothes in her pictures, pink is indeed her favorite color. She wants to know if I live in a jungle, too. She asks me to pray for her family.
Was the man on the Facebook page a real person who truly does live in Atlanta and has had his photos and pictures appropriated, or was the Facebook page a fake too? Probably the latter. It was only begun last summer, has few postings, and no “friends” attached to it. All “catfishing” warning signs, I later learned.
Was it that I was really in love with the Fisherman himself, or because he seemed to embody the kind of man I want to find for myself? Is it shallow that I was so attracted at first by his picture? It might seem so at first blush. But it was more the “type” of man: not only good-looking, but neat and squared away, very clean-cut. You could almost smell a freshness emanating off him from the pictures themselves.
He was (allegedly) an engineer, you see. That usually means a sharp mind that takes a situation in and has the dimensions of it quickly figured out. He had asked to see a picture of my home. I sent him one, along with a picture of the expansive back yard. Quickly he sized the parcel up to an acre of land. I gave him a point for having keen insight into acreage from working on tracts of oil land. I didn’t think he was measuring the size of my pocket-book as well.
But I had told him up front I look more well-to-do than I currently am. The thing the Fisherman didn’t understand about me – I am relentlessly honest, even when it is damaging to myself.
His Facebook page noted that he (allegedly) had studied at a renowned musical academy in Sweden before (allegedly) going on to what I presume was an engineering degree at Uppsala University (yes, both are real places; I Googled them. Remember, I Google everything.)
He didn’t bring that up to me, but I brought it up to him. Again, it is a quality I enjoy in a man. A rougher, manly exterior life that has the quiet underpinnings of an artist beneath. Someone who can maneuver through the world and its intricacies, solve what seem to be its unending problems, yet be moved at a very deep level by something – a sunset, a song, a tiny gesture of intimacy.
When I asked him about it, he shrugged it off as his father’s wish for his life, not his own and said playing piano alone was a boring thing to him. He told me he does keep a piano in his home. I got a supposed picture of his office once; not one of the piano.
I had wondered, but didn’t ask, if his father had wanted a life for him as a concert pianist. We never got that far into the discussion. I also wondered a bit about his relationship with his father, as he had spoken of his parents lovingly.
But how could we have gotten into a side note I raised that was so personal that he seemed to have a deeply personal answer for it? One of what will remain the Fisherman’s enduring mysteries.
He doesn’t know, because we never discussed it, that when I traveled to Turkey and Greece in 2014 I fainted in Athens (first and only time, ever). I was transported by ambulance to a Greek hospital. After a couple of bags of fluids, I was discharged. With no bill, whatsoever. (Love it or hate it, this is what national healthcare looks like.)
It caused me to wonder if Turkey were the same. I later Googled it. Sweden is one of about twenty odd countries with which Turkey has reciprocal healthcare privileges for citizens. In other words, the Swedish government reimburses the Turkish government for the care of its citizens working there. If this guy had been real and got charged a $7,000 hospital bill, he would have been gypped by someone pretending to be a doctor somewhere.
He also didn’t understand that I had worked in enough corporate environments that I knew a company like Shell Oil would not give him an independent contract to drill for said oil without some guarantee of indemnification. In other words, he would have had to show Shell he carried insurance to cover accidents to people, plant and property under his supervision. Either that, or Shell has some mighty lousy lawyers that failed to put it in his contract.
Right now it is not the person he pretended he was that I am still hung up on. Rather the idea of that person, I guess.
It’s just that now I have a face to go along with that fantasy.
That means losing heart for it is going to take longer than I would wish. But, God willing, it will fade, like the sun sinking into the ocean on a quiet summer’s night. Until all that is left is the darkness of unending sky, and the sound of the sea singing like angels in continuous, hypnotic chorus:
Peace I give you. My peace I give unto you. Peace.