I first heard about Eve from my friend Dave. He thought we would do well
together and seeked some way of having us meet. Still, it would be a few
months before he found a way to make this happen. In the meantime, I had
contact with her in another way. Eve was editing Bolo Book IV: Last
Stand, which I had a short story accepted into. Unfortunately, I didn't
know that, or else I may have slipped some personal notes into the
packages that I sent her.
Eve had come to work with Dave after being enlisted by a software design
company as a consultant to a variety of projects that the owner was doing.
This came on the heels of a severe onslaught of depression that had left Eve
bedridden, and suicidal, for the previous year. After seeing many
psychologists, one finally confirmed Eve's chemical imbalance and had put her
on medication. After a while, Eve got better to the point where she felt
good enough to get out on her own, and took the job in Chicago. Once she got
back on her feet, she stopped taking the drugs, since she did not like the
side effects, and in the end never truly believed that they had helped.
But Eve was desperate again. Desperate for the job. Desperate for
escape from Indiana. Desperate to be self-supporting. Desperate for
steady money. Desperate for so much more. And so found herself in a
horrible situation once again.
I wish I could have met her right away. We would have hit-it-off just as
easily. But that was not the case. Eve had to suffer for a while longer
until Dave maneuvered a situation where we were playing computer games at
work when Eve was there. She watched us for a while play some Real-Time
Strategy game, which was a very complicated game to jump into. But when
Dave had to talk business for a while, Eve and I played Diablo together
for a long time.
This was on a Saturday, February 15th actually. When it came time to
break up for the night, I offered to come down the next day to teach Eve
to play Magic: The Gathering, which is a wonderful card game that my
friends were all heavily involved in at the time. Eve thought that would
be great, and so we managed a way to get to know one another.
The next few weeks went on as one would expect a long range romance to
work. I would come down to stay with Eve on weekends. Sometimes she
would come up to Milwaukee to stay with me, once for an entire week (Her
cats were none too pleased with her about that, I'm sure). Once I was
her boyfriend, the horrible situation that she was in fizzled. She
wasn't dependant anymore. I had freed her.
Eve was honest with me from the start, and told me of her chemical
imbalance, and how horrible her life had been with it. I could see how
fragile she was, but none of this deterred me. She had a frightening
breakdown one night in the first few weeks, but the thought of backing
away from her never entered my mind. I had a suicidally depressed friend
from High School who sometimes came to me at his worst hours. I've
always had a knack for being able to place myself in other persons shoes,
and thus have the ability to know what to say to cheer them up, and not
offend. I don't understand the kind of depression that tortured Eve and
my friend, but that never mattered. I could see how they were hurting,
and what made them hurt, and could therefore stop the hurting. The 'why'
wasn't necessary, and in the end didn't matter at all to me. They hurt,
and I could help.