At the beginning of this book I found the old postcard from Ruffo. The memories of a time long past and a life I had dreamed of having haunted me. I knew in all the relationships I have never really done anything deserving of the abuse and fowl treatment that I was given. I knew that it was of no matter, I wasn’t meant to be with them. Most of the torcher I went through was of my own ignorance, trying to hold on to men I knew were bad for me or didn’t fit. I was determined to make them fit. But Ruffo, He did nothing wrong and I forgot him like he was… nothing.
I never even wondered once were he was or how he had been. I was ashamed of myself for being one of “Those women” That would ignore the good men and run into the arms of bad. To add to the damage I had done, I thought I had just disappeared and that Ruffo had just stopped calling, but Talking to my Mother I found out that Ruffo had called one time and she overheard my frustrated father tell him that “Deborah is married with a son, I think you should stop calling”
I had written Ruffo a letter, simple and sweet really:
I wonder if you remember me or the small city Evansville Indiana that you visited on your travels with the carnival in 1987.
My name is Deborah and we spent many months talking on the phone. I hope that I haven’t brought you any bad memories of the past; I know our parting was sudden and no explanation was given.
I was going through some boxes and seen a postcard from you, and just had to see how you were and apologies for disappearing so many years ago. I hope you are doing well, I assume you are married with 10 children, I know you always did say you loved children. I am enclosing a few pictures of me, my 3 sons and the post card. I just want you to know that I am truly sorry and if it is any consolation to you, I have suffered many times over for what I did to you.
I hope this letter finds you well and happy
Ps notice the name has not changed, I was married for a few months and then quickly divorced
I do not know why I wanted so badly to write Ruffo. I could have chosen to forget him and never look that way again, but something made me wonder, had I left behind the love I was supposed to have? What if all of this drama and heart wrenching pain was never supposed to happen? What if I had just taken the wrong path?
I will be honest, just like most books and stories written I had an idea even with this auto-biography that there should be a happy ending. I wanted this story that was my life to have meaning; I wanted my fairy tale ending. Never once in all my life have I ever cried to god “Why? Why are you doing this to me?” I wanted to think that all the faith I held on to all these years should have some kind of reward.
With those questions in my mind I leaped with excitement at the letter post marked from Ruffo. I ran into the house and just sat there a minute. Hands shaking too hard to actually open the letter and I just stared at it. I cannot describe in words the amount of emotion I was feeling, I actually had no expectations, that letter could have any number of scenarios within it. I tried to ground myself by imagining him being angry with me, with curses and threats. I thought of all the bad things he would say to me and him asking why after all these years did I reopen a wound he had spent so much effort to heal.
I took a deep breath and opened it paying attention to every word.
Well Hello Debby
Wow it has been a long time, and you are just as beautiful as I remember you, maybe even a little prettier. I was surprised when my mother told me I had mail from a Deborah Cavins, I was just talking about you the other day to my friend. I wonder how you were doing. Yes, Deborah, I have always wondered what happened to you and whether you were happy in your marriage. I have had my share of difficulties, health problems and my father died 5 years ago.
My Parents were very support after we stopped taking. I did buy a house for you and when your father said I was too late, I was very devastated, but hey, life goes on. I have had several relationships throughout the years but none I felt needed to be permanent. I never married, I never had children, I would like to be able to tell you more but I am on my way to work now and wanted to send this letter to you as soon as possible. Here is my phone number and a few pictures of me now, hope to hear from you soon.
I still love you
What? He what? Oh my God! I was mixed between regret for hurting him, pity for his remembrance of me and not having a good life, or what if he had some devious underlying plan to get revenge. Who the hell keeps a flame burning for someone after almost 20 years? Opps that’s right, I would. Crap! Now I was all confused, I almost wish he had cursed me and swore his hatred of me. I emptied the envelope of its content and there, just as he had said, were two pictures: One standing proudly at the entrance to a movie theater in Chicago, joking with his friends and the other wearing a suit with his mother at what looks like a church.
I had forgotten how he looked, I never had a picture of him, I have only the memories of that carnival and his respectful, protective manor, he had long black hair and tan skin. We had talked for hours, everyday on the phone, when I was young, we planned a wonderful future, and those dreams were what I remembered. He seems to be much older in these photos, with all grey army cut hair and a broad smile. This man in the photos enjoyed life and had the scares to prove it. I wondered, he dressed nice and looked to have a very active life in the big city, would I even have the ability to keep up with such a social man?
I made the call. I listened to the phone ring, and then ring again. I watched the clock as it rang again there was no answer and just as I was hanging up the phone, I heard a faint voice ladies voice “Hola!” I said hello back and asked for Ruffo. “he is not here, you call later, ok?” I said ok thank you Madre.
“Debby? You call my Ruffo Debby? I so happy hear you again, Ruffo need you Debby, I call him and tell him you ask for him, Ok?”
I hadn’t realized what she was saying was more than her broken English (Ruffo needs you) was really what she was attempting to say. Ruffo did call me, he was so happy, I tried to stay grounded, but at the same time, I really enjoyed talking about old times. I heard all about his life, the places he has been and how he helped raise his best friend’s son. He seemed so educated, he spoke so fluently and wise it was hard for me to understand the next part of his life. He tried to nicely but truthfully tell me how he was so upset over loosing me that he gave our house to his sister. He had started drinking and just never stopped. While I was suffering from one man to another he was suffering the bottle. He was able to maintain a few jobs but wasn’t able to actually make a carrier of any of them.
He had stopped drinking after his father died but not before he had done liver damage and now had diabetes. He has occasionally fell off the wagon and had been hospitalized for his binges. He assured me that those days were past and that he has been trying to straighten his life. What could I say? I knew that my past was what it was, it had done its share of damage, and I expected others to overlook my past and my mistakes. I felt like I had an obligation, I had been what caused him so much pain that it plummeted him into the depths of alcoholism. Even if I had not been the cause, maybe if I had been there for him he would have had something other than the bottle to look forward to.
Months of talking on the phone and getting closer and closer to him, we made plans for him to come and spend the summer (he called it his vacation)
almost reaching the end… If you like what you have read, please donate now to my writing fund