Floridian Captive

“We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses – on foot is on the horse called “fate,” the other on the horse called “free will.” And the question you have to ask every day is – which horse is which? -Elizabeth Gilbert

As I was about to check in for my rescheduled flight online, I announced to the universe that I wanted to stay longer. Literally minutes later, a colleague asked me to fly to South Florida to support a client traveling to New York. He laughed to learn I was already in the area. The job wasn’t definite but he offered to cover my next flight home if it didn’t happen. It didn’t. My stay in the Sunshine State was extended by yet another week.

My boyfriend seemed surprised, which surprised me – he’d seemed pretty well versed in the law of attraction when we met. I explained that when we have no resistance to what we want, it can come quite effortlessly. Little did I know (since he did not tell me), most of what I spoke about went dramatically against his belief system. But that’s a topic for another day.

When it finally came time for me to leave Florida, the predominant emotion I felt was excitement. I couldn’t wait to see my loved ones in New York!

Nevertheless, I cried all the way to the airport and as my plane took off. I wondered if perhaps I was feeling some of my boyfriend’s sadness. As an empath, I sometimes feel other people’s emotions and the wave of intense sadness didn’t seem to make sense, considering I was in pure faith that life would reunite us soon.

I trusted there would be ample opportunities to visit one another until I was ready to relocate. I couldn’t wait to take him and his son on their first tour of New York! I was all about possibilities.

The first one came before I was even ready for it. My suitcase was still unpacked when I was asked to take a 20-year-old to rehab. I love working with young adults but the job sounded too much like an intervention. I had spent the greater part of my two days home socializing with people I hadn’t seen in months. I felt like I needed at least a week’s worth of sleep.

I turned down the offer without even asking which treatment center had been lined up for her.

Twenty minutes later, another professional ally called.

“Miss your boyfriend?” she asked.


“Does he miss you?”

“I think so. Why?”

“Want to go visit him tomorrow? And maybe pick up an angry 20-year-old in Jersey on your way?”

In all my years doing this type of work, I had never been asked by two companies about the same client. I’d only taken one client to a treatment center in Florida. Most of my rehab escort gigs had been to centers in California and Arizona. I’d been to Antigua, which hosts Clapton’s rehab (Crossroads) more often than Floridian centers! 

I did already miss my boyfriend and his son, but I hesitated. Never in my life had I been so physically exhausted. The job sounded rough. I’d have to find this kid who had just been financially cut off by her parents in a drug den in some seedy area of Jersey, somehow convince her to get help and spend whatever was left of the night in a hotel room with her.

I rarely agreed to sharing hotel rooms with clients. The only time I’d done so before was accompanying a client I already knew on vacation to a five-star oceanfront hotel in Puerto Rico. Even that hadn’t gone well – she locked me out of the room when she decided she felt like drinking. Staying with an active drug user who I’d never met would have sounded quite unappealing even if I’d felt up to it. I didn’t. 

I didn’t feel energized enough to drive up the block, let alone Jersey. Rain was pouring down and the roads were flooded. I chose to decline a second time. I was offered a driver and a doubled pay rate while my conscience reminded me someone’s life was on the line. I relented. 

The job itself didn’t prove to be as challenging as I expected. I found the young woman easily enough and while I could feel toxic smoke rings of her fury circulating the hotel room, she didn’t try to escape. She also didn’t lock herself  in an airplane bathroom so the flight couldn’t take off, as had happened with my last client.

The job went off without a hitch which is more than I can say for the rest of the weekend. When crises work with an extremely angry client struggling with drug addiction feels easier than your relationship, something is starting to go seriously wrong.


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