I just rediscovered a Facebook post I wrote on this day precisely five years ago that barely addresses the living nightmare I found myself in up on an otherwise picturesque mountaintop in rural southeastern France. I have deliberately avoided thinking or talking very much about this traumatic experience since managing through the benevolent assistance of my former husband to return to my Cambodian home.
Although I am currently discombobulated and desperate for two weeks anonymity in a metropolis after what has been a year of constant assaults against my character and my person, absolutely nothing can compare to the genuine terror I felt five years ago to this day. It is somehow uplifting to compare this harrowing turning point in my life to how ridiculously trapped I have been feeling since the beginning of August this year.
Five years ago today
Mardi, 28 Septembre
I feel as if I am being accused of exageration by people who despite their very kind intentions, have no understanding of the reality with which I am faced. Please trust me, my partner Narorn does not use superlatives. Narorn saw first hand with his own eyes and heard with his ears everything I wish I could describe which prevents me from doing anything more than sitting quietly in the woods and waiting for my father to pass out from drink.
Last week, my father borrowed 1,400 euros from one of my step-mother Helene’s friends. Today, he borrowed 3,000 euros more from another of her friends. Where does this money go, you might ask yourself, and why does my father not even have enough money for gasoline? If you do not yet know, the answer will certainly shock you.
I have not been allowed out of this house but more than once for two hours since I arrived on September 9th. Copy and paste this address into Google to precisely see how remotely isolated I am at this moment… Martinol, 42220 Colombier, France.
Perhaps you might understand how my step-mother Helene, an otherwise brillliant and accomplished diplomat, has allowed herself to fall into the trap which she has. To question my father now, nine years and half a million dollars on, about the veracity of his beliefes and claims regarding these Nigerian and Togolese millions would be the same as admitting she was wrong to have ever allowed herself to believe him. So, despite the better judgement I would expect of her, she continues to hold out hope that indeed, tomorrow will be the final tomorrow of waiting for millions which never come.
She is an accomplished diplomat with more than 40 years experience at the highest levels of the United Nations. Additionally, she is highly intuitive and sensitive, which makes recent events and those of the last nine years seem to me all the more tragic.
I am only walking into this drama now.
Sure, I have been privy to all of my father’s E-mails regarding this decade long saga, all of which read uncannily like a Tom Clancy spy novel, and sure I had long since ceased believing any of these claims and tales. Yet, somewhere deep inside me was the desire not to disregard my father completely. So, when he offered to assist me with employment, emmigration and residency, despite my reservations, I chose to believe him.
Now, after sitting up here on this mountain, eating from a shrinking sack of potatoes and watching the fur on the neighbor’s donkey grow long and mildewy, I regret having ever given up so much which is precious based solely upon what has turned out to be figments of my father’s deluded imagination.
postscript: Shortly after I first wrote this, my stepmother left the house for three weeks and the real terror of being stuck in a 300 year old, dry stone cabin high in the French Alpes with a noncompliant diabetic, explosive & manic, third stage alcoholic began. I genuinely feared for my safety and begged online for help from friends overseas. One of the worst and most painful facets of this experience was being accused of lying by some of the people who were in positions to help me.