*Steve sent me a BBM message on May 5th 2011, stating that he had been told by one of his Sergeants that as he was now a married man, he would have to find accommodation off post, as the barracks were for single soldiers only. Adding that he only had a few days in which to get off post and that he had no money for a deposit for an apartment, I felt bad for him. I told him to go to ask another Sergeant if this was true, because I couldn’t quite believe that the army would knowing leave a soldier homeless. By this point, I had all my own bills paid up to date; rent, utilities, cell/mobile, etc, so everything was fine my end. I was waiting for money to come in from some work I had completed (it took quite some time to get paid for TV & Film work – commercials and corporate videos were considerably longer), but I was still comfortable.
He asked me if I could help him. To be honest, I knew it was coming. I was dreading it. We had only been married for six days. I told him I’d not yet been paid, so I didn’t know what I could do to help. I hadn’t worked for a couple of months or so, as I tended to work in bursts so I could make enough money to relax for a couple of months. Also, mid-December through to February (sometimes March) was really slow for work. Good money management kept me in the lifestyle I had created for myself.
That evening, as we spoke via Skype. Obviously, the subject came up again. Steve told me that the same Sergeant has been hassling him again to find accommodation off post. I really didn’t know what to do. I was now his wife and a firm believer of “For better, for worse” and “For richer, for poorer”, so I told him I’d see what I could do. I thought about it all night long. There was only one way I would be able to raise this money fast so he wouldn’t have to suffer…
The next day, I sold a number of sentimental items of jewellery I had gotten from my ex-husband just for their weight in gold. I didn’t want to, but thought “The money I’ll get from these items will help to pave the way for my future”. The sales associate who was serving me had to ask me if I was sure I wanted to sell them for scrap, as he could see the tears welling up in my eyes. I told him I was going to step outside whilst he did all the weighing, and that I would come back in shortly. I needed some air. I told myself I was doing the right thing.
After getting some money, I sent Steve a message asking where he would like the money sent. With no hesitation, he told me as it was a four day weekend, he would spend it with his father, so I should send it to Tennessee, rather than to Savannah, Georgia. Being five hours ahead in London, we agreed I would send it the next day, May 7th.
And so I did. $1,310/£898.58 plus a fee.
The four day weekend was over and Steve was back at work in Savannah. A few days passed and I noticed that he had not mentioned looking for an apartment, so I questioned him about it. He said he hadn’t found time to look yet, but that he would. I also noticed that he had ordered pizza six days in a row totalling to $120. All I that was going through my mind was “I thought he didn’t have any money?” and “I thought he only had a few days in which to move off post?”.
More time went on and I was starting to get annoyed because my mother’s wedding was coming up the following month, and I really didn’t want to stay in a hotel and have to pay for it. Telling him of my concerns, he assured me he would find an apartment in time and that I shouldn’t worry. I believed him because I had sent him the money via Western Union and knew it would cover the deposit and the first month’s rent.
When I confronted him again, he told me conflicting stories, “I’ve hidden it under my mattress”, “I’ve put it in the bank”, “I’ve hidden some in my barracks room and some I’ve banked”. To cut a long story short, we kept arguing about it, whereby he finally told me he only had $300 left of the original $1,310 I had sent. Fuming couldn’t even begin to cover how I felt. What the hell was he playing at? The worst thing about it all was he couldn’t even tell me what he had done with the money. No doubt it paid for all the junk food he was ordering.
Steve used the last of the money to get his civilian passport. Yes, that’s right, I ended up paying for his passport, not knowing I would, for him to be able to attend my mother’s wedding, despite him being the one who asked if he could attend in the first place. We argued more and I blurted out how I got the money that I had sent to him. He apologised numerous times and promised when he came to London, he would buy my jewellery back. He never did get them back. No attempts were made either. In fact, when he arrived in London, he hadn’t brought any money with him at all.
Between April and May $7,000 passed thorough his hands but he could not tell me what happened to the all money. He purchased a car in June which cost $4,200. He didn’t pay for it outright even though he could have. Instead, his step mother was kind enough to take out a loan for him (I’m sure she was unaware of the amount of money he had misspent). If he had spent wisely, he would have still been left with $2,800 – the equivalent of $1,400 for each of the two months. Steve would later tell me he co-signed the loan and thought he was building his own credit. What a lie. Had he forgotten that he had already told me that he had tried to get a loan out himself, but couldn’t because his credit was bad? Not that he should have needed one because he had enough cash flow. These were the reasons, as well as he’d hadn’t paid back any monies owed before, that I didn’t want to put the cost of his return flights to London and the hotel on my credit card (see “My Mother’s Wedding”). I ended up paying for it all anyway.
(*Not his real name)