Book extract: 'Oscar Pistorius swore he would get help but left us tormented by worry and furious over his lies'
“Oscar: An Accident Waiting to Happen” by Patricia Taylor and Melinda Ferguson is the inside story of Samantha Taylor's tumultuous romantic relationship with Oscar Pistorius.
The 24-year-old Pistorius began dating Sam when she was a 17-year-old schoolgirl. Her mother describes how the relationship became a roller-coaster ride‚ bookended by his emotional fragility and growing fame.
In chapter 15‚ Patricia Taylor describes her final conversation with the athlete on the telephone‚ after she had reached "tipping point". Reeva Steenkamp died less than three months after this call.
“You are tearing us apart‚ Sammy‚ me...all of us. Have you seen what you have done to her? My daughter is like a rake. She barely weighs 35 kilos. She doesn’t smile‚ she doesn’t laugh‚ she doesn’t talk. You are destroying her... she is wasting away.
She got home from the airport yesterday and she hasn’t said a word‚ not a word since then – what have you done to her!”
“Trish‚ let me tell you‚ I don’t–”
“You don’t know – of course you don’t. You have no idea what you’re doing… because you are so f***ing selfish. Because there’s nobody else but you in your world. You can’t even see what you’ve done to our lives... you’re tearing us all apart‚ Oscar.”
And somewhere in the middle of it‚ I knew this had to be it. The end. The buck stops here. We just couldn’t do it any more. It had to be right now that I had to call it. Close the door on him. No more. He kept trying to interrupt‚ explain himself‚ but I just couldn’t listen to another word of it...
I couldn’t stop myself. I was like a huge wave in the ocean‚ on a roll. Later I would realise that I had got my strength from something bigger‚ from something much greater than me. All those hours of praying – of asking‚ of pleading with God to help me‚ give me a message – had given me the strength I so badly needed.
“Something terrible is going to happen‚ Oscar...” I hardly recognised my voice. It was coming from somewhere else.
I couldn’t stop it. “And it’s going to happen soon. Your life is a web of lies... and the worst thing is‚ you believe all the bullshit. All I keep seeing is this huge spider web... this web that is eating you‚ that is taking all of us down. You have got to step out of your life and look at it... you have got to! Because if you don’t‚ something bad‚ something really really bad is going to happen...”
“No‚ Trish‚” he said‚ “I know exactly what I am doing – everything is fine – I have control of it‚ really–”
“No‚ Oscar! You haven’t! That’s where you are so wrong. I’ve been watching everything. I see you–”
“I’ve got it Trish‚ I’m in control.”
“No‚ Oscar‚ you are not! You have got to listen to me‚ you have got to step out of your life. All you are is a cog‚ an object in a massive money-making machine. They don’t care about you. They’re just using you. Where are they when you need them? Nowhere‚ they just leave you to struggle on your own. Your friends – where are they when you need them? Where! When you were crying‚ weeping‚ sobbing‚ where were all these people?”
Every word that came out of me was pointed‚ firm. I was unable to stop. “In all this time I have known you I have never met your family. And do you know why? Because you are so damned scared that when we meet you will be caught out with all the lies you have been telling‚ with all the different stories you keep concocting – telling them one thing and us another – who knows what the truth and lies are any more?
“You keep saying you’ll get help‚ you keep telling me things will change‚ but they don’t.
You were going to rest‚ take time out‚ go on holiday with us to Mozambique… you declined that to go on this f***ing motorbike trip to god knows where‚ with these boys who only want to be your friends because of the good times you heap on them‚ because they all want to be seen with the great famous Oscar Pistorius... to be seen with the man who’s buying some R4-million McLaren... the only reason they are around you is because you pay… cars... parties‚ clubs – throwing all this money around.”
“No‚ Trish‚” he said‚ “they are my friends‚ my friends...”
“No‚ Oscar‚ you are wrong! You have new best friends every other day! And the ones you do have‚ the loyal ones‚ you treat like shit.
These people – all these guys – can’t you see‚ they are just with you for the good times? You went to LA‚ you clubbed nonstop‚ you went motorbike riding... you were driving fast cars… that was not a holiday... you got yourself deeper and deeper into trouble... into more emotional trouble... You can’t see what’s happening in your life‚ but I can! It’s a disaster – a total f***ing disaster!”
I couldn’t stop now. Everything was coming out‚ roaring out of my like some god-awful tsunami. “You know why I’m even more pissed off?
After all the time I spent with you during the Olympics – all the phone calls‚ the midnight calls‚ the SMSes‚ all the emails‚ all the calls you made to my kids‚ all the hours and hours I spent with you...
“You never listened to a single thing I told you. You never went to a psychologist‚ you never did what I kept telling you to do... even though every time we talked you admitted you needed help‚ and you swore on your life that you would get it.”
How would I ever forget the Olympics‚ where instead of watching races and hearing stadium cheers‚ all I’d heard was him weeping and sobbing‚ begging for help‚ begging for Samantha to join him‚ unable to see his way through.
He had wept like a baby‚ a demented man. That’s really when I began to see the whole thing coming apart‚ the myth of Oscar Pistorius‚ the hero of the Olympics. All those nights‚ he’d robbed me of sleep.
The whole family had been on a knife’s edge – texting and talking and trying to help him at every turn. I was tormented by worry‚ wondering whether he was going to kill himself while he was London. Would we ever see him again? Or would he wait to do it for when he got back? So desperate‚ so sad‚ so at a loss...
There was a huge hole in Oscar’s soul that we had all tried so desperately to fill. “You know you never went for that coffee with me because you always had one of your flipping sidekicks with you... You were too busy racing around in your fast cars‚ frenetic‚ rushing – you never took my advice‚ you never went for help even though I begged you to. Now look at you. Nothing about you is real any more‚ you’ve lost yourself.”
By now he was silent.
“Something is going to happen. Something is going to go wrong. And it’s going to happen soon. It’s going wrong already. Oscar‚ can’t you see! I know it. Your life‚ Oscar‚ is like this terrible accident waiting to happen.”
Although I never said it‚ spoke the following words aloud‚ I was terrified that if he carried on in the same way‚ by the end of that year he would be dead – in a car crash or by his own hand‚ and I knew‚ come hell or high water‚ Sammy would no longer be there at his side.
- The book can be found here