Four years ago to the date, I opened my Facebook intending to wish my pal Mukei a happy fourth level birthday.
At the top right hand corner of my home page, I noticed that my ‘inbox’ messages box was showing dozens of unread messages – and felt a flash of panic.
You see, unlike the Santa sack in Xmas movies (Christmas will be back in season, 3 months from today, yay!) which, when it bulges, means good news for kids, ‘bulging’ inboxes for adults can only mean one is about to be bludgeoned with bad news.
It is like when your mobile phone rings at 2.26a.m. incessantly. If it is not your drunken buddy calling to say they are in the local opposite your apartment block, (or that crazy ex hoping you’ll invite him or her for a booty call in your flat), it is often bad news of the kind that someone close has passed away, isn’t it?
I have a sister overseas, and having buried a loved one four weeks before, I remember my hands shaking as I clicked into ‘Inbox’, whispering please let it not be Sis!
It wasn’t! But my relief soon turned into disbelief, then outrage, as I realised the messages were from friends asking ‘what happened?’
Turns out that while I slept in late that morning, (having come from a literary festival party that ended late) Twitter had been afire with a woman accusing me of having behaved indecently towards her friend at a poetry party the previous Saturday.
I knew the claim was absolutely untrue but as they say, a lie is halfway around the world while Truth is still putting on her traveling shoes. So there I was, weathering this total storm of slander on Twitter, so much so I became a ‘trend.’
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Last week, the editor here wrote about how life will throw moments of deep disappointment (and a few of great despair) your way, and she said ‘what matters is how you react to them.’
I have always been a fighter, not a quitter – and so even as the hailstorm of social horror howled around my head, until I got headaches (and a bit of insomnia that first night, feeling like I was wading through a nightmare), I planned my moves.
I swore once my name was cleared by the rightful authorities, and I had no doubt it would as I was an innocent person (to be honest, I had never dreamed a guy like me could be in that position), I would legally take down the duo for their evil poison.
Then exactly three weeks after the nightmare started, my then long term partner walks into our house and says she’s leaving me for an ex (we had been having issues to do with her gaming), and that it was ‘her last chance for happiness.’
‘Hun,’ I remember saying incredulously, ‘you are gonna lick me in the teeth when I’m down?’
Sometimes, in life, it helps to deliver lines as if you are in a movie; especially when you’ve been sucker punched!
So, picture this – in the space of seven weeks, I had suffered through death, defamation and desertion.
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What did I do? I went for a drink (that lasted three days, and lived through the worst ‘drink sick’ of my life on the fourth day, which happened to fall on a Thursday). Then, Friday, I went to work – and on Saturday gave my gold band (worth tens of thousands) to a street woman outside Tribeca.
That Sunday, I went to my childhood church in South B (hadn’t been there in 20 years) and said ‘oh ye, Hebrew God, get me through this,’ then in the afternoon went house hunting around – and found the fab crib in which I still live.
Fast forward four years on. I was cleared, and immediately took my two defamers to court for the evil of libel. We settled stuff amicably with the ex, and even had an official lunch recently.
Without our breakup, I would not have met my lady love, and my gloriously smart and cute lad Leo ne’er woulda been born.
When life throws you curved balls, bend, but never break. Then have a drink, and plot your comeback/payback.
Don’t do stupid stuff, like suicide by pesticide.