Anniversaries, Part I


September 23rd makes four years.

Four years since the day my life came tumbling down around my ears. Every facet of who I am, who I thought I was, where I saw my life heading, who I’d spend it with…all reduced to mere illusions, cruel constructs I’d built in my head and heart, that, apparently, only I shared.

Most men aren’t good at anniversaries. Our internal calendar has only a few permanent, red letter dates in it – wedding anniversary, birthdays of our spouse and children, Valentine’s Day, and opening day of deer season. Everything else is just penciled in, and fades very quickly.

We don’t remember the anniversary of our first date, or our first kiss, or the first time we told someone we loved them.

And we damned sure don’t remember the restaurant, or what we were wearing, or what movie was playing. But it was probably a chick flick, because that’s what you wanted to see, and honestly, we could care less about the movie, anyway.

But the day a man comes home to find his wife and child gone, with nothing left behind but a note…

…that’s one that will be seared into your memory forever. Trust me on that one.

And when you read the letter and come to the realization that the reasons for her leaving were largely your fault, it shakes you to your very core. You look in the mirror and don’t much like the man you see there. You aren’t the man you could have been, or the husband you should have been, and the reason for being both of those things has gone forever.

But I get ahead of myself. We were talking about anniversaries. And to understand how this one came about, we have to go back to where I was when it all began…

**********

I’ve been aloof most of my life. My friends may have trouble believing that, but it’s true. I’m the youngest child of five. My parents were good people, but they had their flaws – big ones. My childhood was not idyllic, but neither was it abusive. There was pain aplenty, but there was also laughter.But when I was a kid, I’d imagine my future, and see in it nothing but pain and misery. I saw failure. My mother gave her children many wonderful things, both inherited and nurtured, but she also taught us all the lessons we needed to fail. I was determined not to learn those lessons.

In my college psych classes, I learned of John Locke and the tabula rasa, and suddenly my childhood made sense. I may have been born with a blank slate, but the things being inscribed on it were hopelessly muddled. If I was going to have a clear path in life, I needed a new author.

Me.

In the great nature vs nurture debate, count me squarely on the side of nurture. I became a Lockean empiricist at age twelve, before I even knew who John Locke was. I was going to be the author of my destiny, and to do that I had to get as far away from my family as possible.

I suppose that’s where the aloofness comes from. When you’re twelve, you can’t just run away to join the circus, no matter how well it worked for Dennis the Menace. So when you can’t attain that physical distance, what you do instead is start distancing your mind. And your heart. When I was a child, my mother would often tease me about being off in my own little world.

If she only knew.

My brother Terry was my refuge. He was older than I, already a man when I came into this world. And when life at home became too difficult to bear, his home was where I ran. He raised me, taught me how to be a man. All the wonderful gifts my mother passed to us with her genes, Terry taught me how to use. For all life’s lessons my father tried, and failed, to teach me, Terry pointed out the same lessons in the example my father set. Dad was a poor teacher, but he set a good example. My brother and I were both grown men before we understood the importance of that example, and learned to forgive all the missteps Dad made along the way.

I’ve got three sisters. If I died tomorrow, they probably wouldn’t be at the funeral. Not because they don’t love me, but because I haven’t bothered to know anything about them for twenty-five years. I couldn’t tell you their addresses, or phone numbers. Whoever makes my funeral arrangements wouldn’t have a clue who to call. I have nieces and nephews I’ve barely met, and grand nieces and nephews whose names I haven’t even bothered to learn.

I don’t even remember their birthdays, Terry’s included. I have a twin sister with whom a feel absolutely no kinship, but at least it’s easy to remember her birthday.

In my family, I’m the arrogant asshole brother who thinks he’s better than the rest of them. And if I cared what they thought, that would bother me. But I don’t, so it doesn’t, and it’s probably true anyway.

I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church after being raised as a Methodist. Mom hated that. Terry and I attended an Episcopal church which had a rather affluent congregation, and my mother, predictably, saw us as social climbers who didn’t know our place. What should have been a joyful occasion was made less so by her bitterness and resentment.

Our priest was a gentle bear of a man named Frank Swindle, and during those tumultuous teenage years, he became more of a friend and mentor than simply the man in vestments we saw every Sunday at mass.

Shortly before I graduated high school, Frank took me to lunch. We were sitting on the levee watching the Ouachita River, eating our lunch, when I confessed to Frank that I felt alone. Not just lonely, but on life’s path all by myself, with no one to consult for guidance. And that was okay, because I was pretty sure of the accuracy of my own map. But sometimes, just sometimes, I wished I could see someone else taking that same road, just to be sure I wasn’t lost.

He didn’t answer me by telling me to seek God. He wasn’t that kind of priest. He knew I knew all those things. He sermonized on it every Sunday. He lectured us on it in confirmation class. Private conversations with Frank were a little, well…earthier.

Instead, he asked me a question that floored me. He just nodded thoughtfully, and quietly asked, “Are you gay, AD?”

“Gay??” I spluttered with all the shocked incredulity a male heterosexual teenager could muster. “What in the world would make you think that?”

“You speak of walking alone through life, of no one knowing who you really are. Of wishing that you could find someone out there who felt the same. Gays are forced to walk a very lonely path in our society. It’s even more lonely when you deny to yourself and your loved ones what you really are.”

“Uh, well,” I assured him, “I am most definitely not gay. I like girls.”

“And yet I’ve never met a girl you’ve dated,” he pointed out.

Yeah you have, Frank. Tracy Shipman from our youth group, in the back of a cotton trailer during our fall retreat. But if I told you that, you’d put an end to the youth group retreats.

“Well, that’s because the kind of girls I date aren’t exactly the type I’d introduce to my priest,” I said instead. It was even true. Frank was my priest, but I didn’t tell him everything. I’m Episcopalian, after all, not Catholic.

“Okay, fair enough,” he said. “So you’d rather rely on no one in this life but yourself, yet you fear being alone.”

“Yeah, that’s it in a nutshell.”

“Life is hard,” he told me. “It’s a big shit sandwich, but we are given the choice of whether we want it on white or whole wheat. Going through it without a companion is most definitely white bread, with no condiments. It’s bland and tasteless.”

“I’ve had plenty of companions, Frank,” I protested. “Plenty.”

“You’re a seventeen-year-old boy,” Frank snorted, rolling his eyes. “Whatever number you give me, I can probably divide by three and still be on the high side. But that wasn’t what I meant. I’m not speaking of fucking. I’m talking about loving someone. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to trust someone enough to let them in. You can’t have joy in your life until you open yourself to the possibility of it. That means risking pain, too.”

“Maybe so,” I muttered dubiously. “Have you ever felt like that, Frank? Does it make sense to you?”

“I’m the son of an oilfield roughneck who grew up in Perryville, Louisiana and became, of all things, an Episcopal priest,” he chuckled. “Yeah, I know all about walking lonely paths.”

“And how did you find joy in your life?” I wanted to know.

“You’ve met my wife and daughter,” he winked. “You tell me.”

**********

I was twenty-seven when we met. I had just moved to Podunk after quitting the Little Ambulance Service That Could. I was cocky, arrogant, and thought my personal feces were not odorific.You know, much like today, except that as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that my feces actually do carry an odor. If you follow me into the bathroom, you may even catch a faint whiff of lilacs and jasmine. Sometimes honeysuckle, depending on what I’ve eaten.

I was also single, and busy sleeping my way through a growing collection of ER nurses. Not a playah, mind you, more like a serial monogamist with Relationship ADHD.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I was an asshole. Only no one thought I was an asshole, because I was charming and funny. Humor can be quite a useful disguise for misanthropy, you see.

And there was this ER nurse who had this…something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I first noticed her when I transported the husband of one her co-workers, an LPN who worked the med/surg unit. Or, more accurately, that was when she first noticed me.

I took the old man out of PGHNSTRACH’s ICU (so designated solely because it had a telemetry monitor and close proximity to the nurse’s station and the crash cart) to the Big City for treatment of his CHF. He wasn’t in good shape when we started, and got worse along the way. He crumped, and I had to intubate him and start a dopamine drip. He died a couple of days later.

She noticed me because I spoke gently to her co-worker, and took time to reassure her and coax a smile with a joke or two. I also took the time to call the hospital back and give them an update on his status. Apparently that wasn’t typical behavior for the medics in Podunk Parish at the time, and it got her attention. For me, it was nothing special. It was simply what I always did.

I didn’t really notice her, though, because once I took report and packaged my patient, the nurses just faded into the background. I didn’t see them as people; they were just a part of the furniture, wearing scrubs the same shade of institutional green as the upholstery. Unfortunately, that was also something I always did.

I first took notice of her when I brought an arrest into the hospital one day. I’d gotten a pulse back in the field, an all-too-rare occurrence in rural EMS.

My patient was still teetering on the brink of arrest when we arrived at the ER, and I anticipated having to hold the ER doctor’s hand and tactfully “suggest” all the things he needed to do in order to stabilize the patient, an all-too-common occurrence in rural hospitals back then.

Only I didn’t need to take over. The nurse did it for me. She gave orders like you’re supposed to give orders; calmly and politely, but with the undertones that say unmistakably I Will Be Obeyed. She cracked a joke or two, kept everyone loose, and ran the code. She was the Charge Nurse, and I say that with the capital letters because, rather than just being the poor nurse saddled with the responsibility for that shift, she was in charge, and everyone there knew it.

Including the doctor.

I remember thinking to myself, “Damn, she thinks like a medic.”

Thirteen years ago, that was the highest praise I could give.

And as I watched her work, it occurred to me that she reminded me of, well…me. I mean, not me as I muddle through the rest of my life, but me at my best, when I’m working with a patient. When I’m in my zone. She was all the things I’m most proud of about myself, only with big boobs and deep, expressive brown eyes. And long, dark brown hair. And a smile that lit up her entire face.

And I knew right then I had to go out with this girl. So I got Effeminate Partner to introduce us, and eventually I summoned up the courage to ask her out to dinner.

It didn’t take many dates before I realized what that certain thing was that I couldn’t put my finger on. Not only was she everything I liked about myself, she was also everything that I wasn’t, but wanted to be. She was warm. She was genuine. She was tender and caring. I was none of those things, but I had developed a knack for faking it.

And she was all of the above, yet still capable of ordering a burly and belligerent cop out of her ER, lest she kick his ass before she got him fired.

And she could make you believe it, too. She had spunk.

And despite my best acting, she could tell I faked it. She called it my Paramedic Face. It resembled whatever mask I needed to wear to get the job done, and it was convincing to everyone but her, but she recognized it for what it was – just a mask.

And she finally convinced me to drop it, and she didn’t run away. Every ugly thing I told her about my childhood, my past relationships, my career…all of that she countered with a gentle smile and, “So? That’s who you were. But who do you want to be?”

I didn’t know right then who I wanted to be, but I knew that night where I wanted to be.

When I dropped her off at her truck that night, she stood outside and asked me, pensively, “Soooo, what is this? This thing between you and me? Where are we going?”

I thought about it for a minute, and answered, “I suppose this ‘thing’ is us. Not ‘you and me’, but ‘us’. Like, boyfriend and girlfriend.”

“You sure that’s what you want?” she asked. “Because I’m serious. This is not casual for me.”

“It’s not casual for me, either,” I assured her. “I love you.”

She smiled big enough to light up the parking lot, but chuckled, “I’ll bet you’ve said that to every nurse you’ve dated.”

“I haven’t said that to anyone, not even family, in fourteen years,” I answered honestly.

And she recognized the truth in that, too.

So it began between us, and from that point forward, it was us; a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. A couple of months later I proposed to her, kneeling next to the jewelry counter at Dillard’s in the Galleria mall in Houston, Texas.

Effeminate Partner had helped me pick out the ring the week before, and helped me carefully lay my plans for the big day. Four of us – me, Effeminate Partner, The Girlfriend and her cousin – went to Houston for the weekend. The plan was, when we went to Six Flags Astroworld, we’d have The Girlfriend paged to the Looney Tunes Village, and I’d have Bugs Bunny present her with the ring, and ask her to marry me over the park PA system.

Six Flags refused to do it. They wouldn’t let me ask her over the PA system, wouldn’t even let Bugs give her the ring. Bastards.

Hey, Astroworld? I’ve got three words for you: Disney World, bitches. That’s why people go to Orlando or Anaheim and wear their little Mickey and Minnie top hats and veils, instead of your park.

Anyhoo, I had to resort to Plan B, which was effectively summed up by EP as “whenever it feels right.” Whenever it felt right turned out to be the Dillard’s jewelry counter, me with wet ass and knees from falling at the ice-skating rink. Still, everyone who saw it applauded, The Cousin said, Awwwwww,” and Effeminate Partner cried like a little girl.

Most importantly though, The Girlfriend said yes, and became The Fiancee. Six months later, she became The Missus.

Effeminate Partner and Farting Partner and several other partners I’ve not mentioned were my groomsmen, although to be fair, we seriously considered EP for Maid of Honor. As it was, he bawled through most of the ceremony, and endured a merciless teasing from the rest of my groomsmen. Looking back at it now, I realized that my half of the wedding party was entirely EMS people.

I’m not really sure if that’s a healthy thing or not.

**********

To be continued…

 

  • hilinda

    AD-I’d say I’m waiting to see where you’re going with this, but I have a horrible feeling that I already know… but at least you are, so far, able to write about it.Loved the “white or whole wheat” bit from your priest.Some awfully personal sharing you got going on there for a self-proclaimed aloof asshole. :-)

  • hilinda

    AD-I’d say I’m waiting to see where you’re going with this, but I have a horrible feeling that I already know… but at least you are, so far, able to write about it.Loved the “white or whole wheat” bit from your priest.Some awfully personal sharing you got going on there for a self-proclaimed aloof asshole. :-)

  • hilinda

    AD-I’d say I’m waiting to see where you’re going with this, but I have a horrible feeling that I already know… but at least you are, so far, able to write about it.Loved the “white or whole wheat” bit from your priest.Some awfully personal sharing you got going on there for a self-proclaimed aloof asshole. :-)

  • hilinda

    AD-I’d say I’m waiting to see where you’re going with this, but I have a horrible feeling that I already know… but at least you are, so far, able to write about it.Loved the “white or whole wheat” bit from your priest.Some awfully personal sharing you got going on there for a self-proclaimed aloof asshole. :-)

  • Asphyxiated Emancipation

    That’s rough, man. Really rough. And yet, so familiar…Please keep sharing, I feel as though maybe there’s something for me to learn here….

  • Asphyxiated Emancipation

    That’s rough, man. Really rough. And yet, so familiar…Please keep sharing, I feel as though maybe there’s something for me to learn here….

  • Asphyxiated Emancipation

    That’s rough, man. Really rough. And yet, so familiar…Please keep sharing, I feel as though maybe there’s something for me to learn here….

  • Asphyxiated Emancipation

    That’s rough, man. Really rough. And yet, so familiar…Please keep sharing, I feel as though maybe there’s something for me to learn here….

  • Sabra

    You remind me a lot of myself in that story, and also if I am honest of my ex-husband. I bet if we got together to tell the stories of the things that fucked up our respective marriages, they'd be a lot alike.Maybe, just maybe, there's a lesson in there for those who haven't screwed it up yet.(Oh, & you also managed to hit on the reason I'm an Episcopalian.)

  • Sabra

    You remind me a lot of myself in that story, and also if I am honest of my ex-husband. I bet if we got together to tell the stories of the things that fucked up our respective marriages, they'd be a lot alike.Maybe, just maybe, there's a lesson in there for those who haven't screwed it up yet.(Oh, & you also managed to hit on the reason I'm an Episcopalian.)

  • Sabra

    You remind me a lot of myself in that story, and also if I am honest of my ex-husband. I bet if we got together to tell the stories of the things that fucked up our respective marriages, they'd be a lot alike.Maybe, just maybe, there's a lesson in there for those who haven't screwed it up yet.(Oh, & you also managed to hit on the reason I'm an Episcopalian.)

  • Sabra

    You remind me a lot of myself in that story, and also if I am honest of my ex-husband. I bet if we got together to tell the stories of the things that fucked up our respective marriages, they'd be a lot alike.Maybe, just maybe, there's a lesson in there for those who haven't screwed it up yet.(Oh, & you also managed to hit on the reason I'm an Episcopalian.)

  • the pistolero

    Thanks for sharing, AD. I am sure it’s painful as hell…but if it imparts a lesson to those of us who still have it good, and those of us who got a second chance, then at least one of us will be grateful to you for sharing your story, as searing as it is for you.

  • the pistolero

    Thanks for sharing, AD. I am sure it’s painful as hell…but if it imparts a lesson to those of us who still have it good, and those of us who got a second chance, then at least one of us will be grateful to you for sharing your story, as searing as it is for you.

  • the pistolero

    Thanks for sharing, AD. I am sure it’s painful as hell…but if it imparts a lesson to those of us who still have it good, and those of us who got a second chance, then at least one of us will be grateful to you for sharing your story, as searing as it is for you.

  • the pistolero

    Thanks for sharing, AD. I am sure it’s painful as hell…but if it imparts a lesson to those of us who still have it good, and those of us who got a second chance, then at least one of us will be grateful to you for sharing your story, as searing as it is for you.

  • Anonymous

    an older and wiser medic than i told me the other day to inasmuch diversify my friends…for as soon as i no longer worked here, i would lose contact with nearly all of them…i hope that’s not true,…~van

  • Anonymous

    an older and wiser medic than i told me the other day to inasmuch diversify my friends…for as soon as i no longer worked here, i would lose contact with nearly all of them…i hope that’s not true,…~van

  • Anonymous

    an older and wiser medic than i told me the other day to inasmuch diversify my friends…for as soon as i no longer worked here, i would lose contact with nearly all of them…i hope that’s not true,…~van

  • Anonymous

    an older and wiser medic than i told me the other day to inasmuch diversify my friends…for as soon as i no longer worked here, i would lose contact with nearly all of them…i hope that’s not true,…~van

  • Manda Renee

    Oh yes, you could be talking about my own marriage (and subsequent divorce) too, and of every other relationship I’ve had with a fellow EMS-er. I’m certain there IS “a lesson in there for those who haven’t screwed it up yet.”Brave of you to share – looking forward to the next installment. ~M

  • Manda Renee

    Oh yes, you could be talking about my own marriage (and subsequent divorce) too, and of every other relationship I’ve had with a fellow EMS-er. I’m certain there IS “a lesson in there for those who haven’t screwed it up yet.”Brave of you to share – looking forward to the next installment. ~M

  • Manda Renee

    Oh yes, you could be talking about my own marriage (and subsequent divorce) too, and of every other relationship I’ve had with a fellow EMS-er. I’m certain there IS “a lesson in there for those who haven’t screwed it up yet.”Brave of you to share – looking forward to the next installment. ~M

  • Manda Renee

    Oh yes, you could be talking about my own marriage (and subsequent divorce) too, and of every other relationship I’ve had with a fellow EMS-er. I’m certain there IS “a lesson in there for those who haven’t screwed it up yet.”Brave of you to share – looking forward to the next installment. ~M

  • Jean

    I’ve wondered what the beginning of your story was. Glad you decided to share it, finally.

  • Rogue Medic

    You remind me that I need to call some family members.

  • Jean

    I’ve wondered what the beginning of your story was. Glad you decided to share it, finally.

  • Rogue Medic

    You remind me that I need to call some family members.

  • Jean

    I’ve wondered what the beginning of your story was. Glad you decided to share it, finally.

  • Rogue Medic

    You remind me that I need to call some family members.

  • Jean

    I’ve wondered what the beginning of your story was. Glad you decided to share it, finally.

  • Rogue Medic

    You remind me that I need to call some family members.

  • Erica

    I’m hooked, AD, waiting for the next installment… because you’re a great storyteller, but even more so because your story has entirely too many parallels to my own, and because I’m currently in the role of aloof asshole trying to screw up my second shot at happy. Maybe there’s a lesson it’s not too late for me to learn. Thank you for sharing. I admire the courage it takes to dump it all out there.

  • Erica

    I’m hooked, AD, waiting for the next installment… because you’re a great storyteller, but even more so because your story has entirely too many parallels to my own, and because I’m currently in the role of aloof asshole trying to screw up my second shot at happy. Maybe there’s a lesson it’s not too late for me to learn. Thank you for sharing. I admire the courage it takes to dump it all out there.

  • Erica

    I’m hooked, AD, waiting for the next installment… because you’re a great storyteller, but even more so because your story has entirely too many parallels to my own, and because I’m currently in the role of aloof asshole trying to screw up my second shot at happy. Maybe there’s a lesson it’s not too late for me to learn. Thank you for sharing. I admire the courage it takes to dump it all out there.

  • Erica

    I’m hooked, AD, waiting for the next installment… because you’re a great storyteller, but even more so because your story has entirely too many parallels to my own, and because I’m currently in the role of aloof asshole trying to screw up my second shot at happy. Maybe there’s a lesson it’s not too late for me to learn. Thank you for sharing. I admire the courage it takes to dump it all out there.

  • Jay G

    It takes a strong kinda man to put it all out there like that, AD.I’m not that strong. We’ll leave it at that.Damn, man…

  • Jay G

    It takes a strong kinda man to put it all out there like that, AD.I’m not that strong. We’ll leave it at that.Damn, man…

  • Jay G

    It takes a strong kinda man to put it all out there like that, AD.I’m not that strong. We’ll leave it at that.Damn, man…

  • Jay G

    It takes a strong kinda man to put it all out there like that, AD.I’m not that strong. We’ll leave it at that.Damn, man…

  • Suzi

    I feel your story, thanks for sharing.

  • Suzi

    I feel your story, thanks for sharing.

  • Suzi

    I feel your story, thanks for sharing.

  • Suzi

    I feel your story, thanks for sharing.

  • Tena

    Oh I understand exactly what you're talking about. Sounds like my entire life….& people wonder why I'm "cold hearted". Very brave of you to share.

  • Tena

    Oh I understand exactly what you're talking about. Sounds like my entire life….& people wonder why I'm "cold hearted". Very brave of you to share.

  • Tena

    Oh I understand exactly what you're talking about. Sounds like my entire life….& people wonder why I'm "cold hearted". Very brave of you to share.

  • Tena

    Oh I understand exactly what you're talking about. Sounds like my entire life….& people wonder why I'm "cold hearted". Very brave of you to share.

  • Ambulance Mommy

    thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to hearing more if you want to tell it.

  • Ambulance Mommy

    thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to hearing more if you want to tell it.

  • Ambulance Mommy

    thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to hearing more if you want to tell it.

  • Ambulance Mommy

    thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to hearing more if you want to tell it.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll be happy to know that Astroworld is gone, probably in part because of that stupid policy. ;-)Fascinating story so far.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll be happy to know that Astroworld is gone, probably in part because of that stupid policy. ;-)Fascinating story so far.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll be happy to know that Astroworld is gone, probably in part because of that stupid policy. ;-)Fascinating story so far.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll be happy to know that Astroworld is gone, probably in part because of that stupid policy. ;-)Fascinating story so far.

  • Hootie Mac

    I have come to the realization that some of us do not get ” the happily ever after.” Harsh, but true. Either we deny ourselves or it is just not going to be something we are blessed with.Even harder than not being able to love someone and they love you back is living every day with the knowledge that this will be denied to you in this lifetime. Just when you think you have accepted this as your fate and you can survive a new wave of absolute grief at what you will not have will take your breath away. And the walk to just make it through takes two steps back losing precious hard-fought-for peace of mind.

  • Hootie Mac

    I have come to the realization that some of us do not get ” the happily ever after.” Harsh, but true. Either we deny ourselves or it is just not going to be something we are blessed with.Even harder than not being able to love someone and they love you back is living every day with the knowledge that this will be denied to you in this lifetime. Just when you think you have accepted this as your fate and you can survive a new wave of absolute grief at what you will not have will take your breath away. And the walk to just make it through takes two steps back losing precious hard-fought-for peace of mind.

  • Hootie Mac

    I have come to the realization that some of us do not get ” the happily ever after.” Harsh, but true. Either we deny ourselves or it is just not going to be something we are blessed with.Even harder than not being able to love someone and they love you back is living every day with the knowledge that this will be denied to you in this lifetime. Just when you think you have accepted this as your fate and you can survive a new wave of absolute grief at what you will not have will take your breath away. And the walk to just make it through takes two steps back losing precious hard-fought-for peace of mind.

  • Hootie Mac

    I have come to the realization that some of us do not get ” the happily ever after.” Harsh, but true. Either we deny ourselves or it is just not going to be something we are blessed with.Even harder than not being able to love someone and they love you back is living every day with the knowledge that this will be denied to you in this lifetime. Just when you think you have accepted this as your fate and you can survive a new wave of absolute grief at what you will not have will take your breath away. And the walk to just make it through takes two steps back losing precious hard-fought-for peace of mind.

  • chuckr44

    Sounds like a dysfunctional family will affect your relationships for the rest of your life. Sounds like you needed someone to help give you hope and help you through your dysfunctional upbringing, which is fine. But you married her, which is not fine. That is not a good basis for a marriage.You don’t have to be sad about being alone. There’s a certain freedom in it. A certain reassurance that things will get done your way, the way you are comfortable with.

  • chuckr44

    Sounds like a dysfunctional family will affect your relationships for the rest of your life. Sounds like you needed someone to help give you hope and help you through your dysfunctional upbringing, which is fine. But you married her, which is not fine. That is not a good basis for a marriage.You don’t have to be sad about being alone. There’s a certain freedom in it. A certain reassurance that things will get done your way, the way you are comfortable with.

  • chuckr44

    Sounds like a dysfunctional family will affect your relationships for the rest of your life. Sounds like you needed someone to help give you hope and help you through your dysfunctional upbringing, which is fine. But you married her, which is not fine. That is not a good basis for a marriage.You don’t have to be sad about being alone. There’s a certain freedom in it. A certain reassurance that things will get done your way, the way you are comfortable with.

  • chuckr44

    Sounds like a dysfunctional family will affect your relationships for the rest of your life. Sounds like you needed someone to help give you hope and help you through your dysfunctional upbringing, which is fine. But you married her, which is not fine. That is not a good basis for a marriage.You don’t have to be sad about being alone. There’s a certain freedom in it. A certain reassurance that things will get done your way, the way you are comfortable with.

  • marcia

    I can really relate to the part about being aloof and alone. Spent most of my youth on horseback, which is probably the only thing that saved my sanity. Your story brings back a lot of memories.Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing.

  • marcia

    I can really relate to the part about being aloof and alone. Spent most of my youth on horseback, which is probably the only thing that saved my sanity. Your story brings back a lot of memories.Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing.

  • marcia

    I can really relate to the part about being aloof and alone. Spent most of my youth on horseback, which is probably the only thing that saved my sanity. Your story brings back a lot of memories.Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing.

  • marcia

    I can really relate to the part about being aloof and alone. Spent most of my youth on horseback, which is probably the only thing that saved my sanity. Your story brings back a lot of memories.Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing.

  • Andrew Weitzman

    I understand the sense of isolation. For most of my early life I suffered from a classic case of Aspergers’. Or at least a social deficit that would have made me damn near a posterboy for the disease. Misanthropic, zero concept of social cues, obsessive on a narrow range of subjects (SF fan, natch)… Yeah. It finally took a two month trip to Israel and a group of very understanding fellow campers (plus a marijuana arrest or two) to finally crack the ice around me. I still have mild problems in social situations and a tendency to self-isolate.

  • Andrew Weitzman

    I understand the sense of isolation. For most of my early life I suffered from a classic case of Aspergers’. Or at least a social deficit that would have made me damn near a posterboy for the disease. Misanthropic, zero concept of social cues, obsessive on a narrow range of subjects (SF fan, natch)… Yeah. It finally took a two month trip to Israel and a group of very understanding fellow campers (plus a marijuana arrest or two) to finally crack the ice around me. I still have mild problems in social situations and a tendency to self-isolate.

  • Andrew Weitzman

    I understand the sense of isolation. For most of my early life I suffered from a classic case of Aspergers’. Or at least a social deficit that would have made me damn near a posterboy for the disease. Misanthropic, zero concept of social cues, obsessive on a narrow range of subjects (SF fan, natch)… Yeah. It finally took a two month trip to Israel and a group of very understanding fellow campers (plus a marijuana arrest or two) to finally crack the ice around me. I still have mild problems in social situations and a tendency to self-isolate.

  • Andrew Weitzman

    I understand the sense of isolation. For most of my early life I suffered from a classic case of Aspergers’. Or at least a social deficit that would have made me damn near a posterboy for the disease. Misanthropic, zero concept of social cues, obsessive on a narrow range of subjects (SF fan, natch)… Yeah. It finally took a two month trip to Israel and a group of very understanding fellow campers (plus a marijuana arrest or two) to finally crack the ice around me. I still have mild problems in social situations and a tendency to self-isolate.

  • Lissa

    [imitating baby bird with mouth gaping]Eagerly awaiting the next installement, AD. You’re a gem of an author.

  • Lissa

    [imitating baby bird with mouth gaping]Eagerly awaiting the next installement, AD. You’re a gem of an author.

  • Lissa

    [imitating baby bird with mouth gaping]Eagerly awaiting the next installement, AD. You’re a gem of an author.

  • Lissa

    [imitating baby bird with mouth gaping]Eagerly awaiting the next installement, AD. You’re a gem of an author.

  • Anonymous

    AD,Thank you for opening up to all of us. One thing that I have learned from being a blog lurker is that so many of the things I pushed aside as just being weird, stupid,etc. etc, there are people that feel the same as you. I can’t wait for Part 2 but I have a strong feeling that there will be lots of tears shed here in Ms. for a friend I have never met.Linda

  • Anonymous

    AD,Thank you for opening up to all of us. One thing that I have learned from being a blog lurker is that so many of the things I pushed aside as just being weird, stupid,etc. etc, there are people that feel the same as you. I can’t wait for Part 2 but I have a strong feeling that there will be lots of tears shed here in Ms. for a friend I have never met.Linda

  • Anonymous

    AD,Thank you for opening up to all of us. One thing that I have learned from being a blog lurker is that so many of the things I pushed aside as just being weird, stupid,etc. etc, there are people that feel the same as you. I can’t wait for Part 2 but I have a strong feeling that there will be lots of tears shed here in Ms. for a friend I have never met.Linda

  • Anonymous

    AD,Thank you for opening up to all of us. One thing that I have learned from being a blog lurker is that so many of the things I pushed aside as just being weird, stupid,etc. etc, there are people that feel the same as you. I can’t wait for Part 2 but I have a strong feeling that there will be lots of tears shed here in Ms. for a friend I have never met.Linda

  • Can’tSpell, DVM

    You’re a great storyteller AD- keep it going.

  • Can’tSpell, DVM

    You’re a great storyteller AD- keep it going.

  • Can’tSpell, DVM

    You’re a great storyteller AD- keep it going.

  • Can’tSpell, DVM

    You’re a great storyteller AD- keep it going.

  • kbow18

    AD,I have been reading your blog for several months now, and have always thought you were good at writing. This story really hits home for me.I can see so much of me in the story. The blacksheep of the family, the constant feeling of isolation, the lack of functional relationships with women, the aloofness, using crude jokes and humor to hide the emotion, being able to control emotions in times of high stress, putting a mask on to keep yourself in control.I am only 24, and have often wondered if I ever will find a woman who I can truly “love”. All of my relationships in the past have been screwed up by me. I am always looking for that other half, the woman who makes me feel like I am not alone.As your priest had asked you if you were “gay” because of the feeling of isolation. I have asked myself this same question and I am definitely not gay. I greatly enjoy being with women, and it makes me feel so great when I am. These feelings never last though, and the women soon become just another person, just a memory.Please keep your writing, knowing that someone else who was like I am now, and has become more, gives me hope.

  • kbow18

    AD,I have been reading your blog for several months now, and have always thought you were good at writing. This story really hits home for me.I can see so much of me in the story. The blacksheep of the family, the constant feeling of isolation, the lack of functional relationships with women, the aloofness, using crude jokes and humor to hide the emotion, being able to control emotions in times of high stress, putting a mask on to keep yourself in control.I am only 24, and have often wondered if I ever will find a woman who I can truly “love”. All of my relationships in the past have been screwed up by me. I am always looking for that other half, the woman who makes me feel like I am not alone.As your priest had asked you if you were “gay” because of the feeling of isolation. I have asked myself this same question and I am definitely not gay. I greatly enjoy being with women, and it makes me feel so great when I am. These feelings never last though, and the women soon become just another person, just a memory.Please keep your writing, knowing that someone else who was like I am now, and has become more, gives me hope.

  • kbow18

    AD,I have been reading your blog for several months now, and have always thought you were good at writing. This story really hits home for me.I can see so much of me in the story. The blacksheep of the family, the constant feeling of isolation, the lack of functional relationships with women, the aloofness, using crude jokes and humor to hide the emotion, being able to control emotions in times of high stress, putting a mask on to keep yourself in control.I am only 24, and have often wondered if I ever will find a woman who I can truly “love”. All of my relationships in the past have been screwed up by me. I am always looking for that other half, the woman who makes me feel like I am not alone.As your priest had asked you if you were “gay” because of the feeling of isolation. I have asked myself this same question and I am definitely not gay. I greatly enjoy being with women, and it makes me feel so great when I am. These feelings never last though, and the women soon become just another person, just a memory.Please keep your writing, knowing that someone else who was like I am now, and has become more, gives me hope.

  • kbow18

    AD,I have been reading your blog for several months now, and have always thought you were good at writing. This story really hits home for me.I can see so much of me in the story. The blacksheep of the family, the constant feeling of isolation, the lack of functional relationships with women, the aloofness, using crude jokes and humor to hide the emotion, being able to control emotions in times of high stress, putting a mask on to keep yourself in control.I am only 24, and have often wondered if I ever will find a woman who I can truly “love”. All of my relationships in the past have been screwed up by me. I am always looking for that other half, the woman who makes me feel like I am not alone.As your priest had asked you if you were “gay” because of the feeling of isolation. I have asked myself this same question and I am definitely not gay. I greatly enjoy being with women, and it makes me feel so great when I am. These feelings never last though, and the women soon become just another person, just a memory.Please keep your writing, knowing that someone else who was like I am now, and has become more, gives me hope.

  • trigimper

    AD, great writing. I’ve been right there and have worn the painfully earned t-shirt.Sometimes in life, people can show us what we could be, or want to be, but we just can’t manage it when with them. That the change to finally being the person you want to be has to be done in solace, at which point you realise that change has to come from within, no one else can make it happen.A Christian friend often says these times are God’s way of showing us a path to ourselves, as an opportunity to change for good or better, but he leaves that choice to us.Of course another friend says that God will only give you as much pain as you can handle, the problem being he thinks you can handle a heck of a lot of pain..usually followed by death.

  • trigimper

    AD, great writing. I’ve been right there and have worn the painfully earned t-shirt.Sometimes in life, people can show us what we could be, or want to be, but we just can’t manage it when with them. That the change to finally being the person you want to be has to be done in solace, at which point you realise that change has to come from within, no one else can make it happen.A Christian friend often says these times are God’s way of showing us a path to ourselves, as an opportunity to change for good or better, but he leaves that choice to us.Of course another friend says that God will only give you as much pain as you can handle, the problem being he thinks you can handle a heck of a lot of pain..usually followed by death.

  • trigimper

    AD, great writing. I’ve been right there and have worn the painfully earned t-shirt.Sometimes in life, people can show us what we could be, or want to be, but we just can’t manage it when with them. That the change to finally being the person you want to be has to be done in solace, at which point you realise that change has to come from within, no one else can make it happen.A Christian friend often says these times are God’s way of showing us a path to ourselves, as an opportunity to change for good or better, but he leaves that choice to us.Of course another friend says that God will only give you as much pain as you can handle, the problem being he thinks you can handle a heck of a lot of pain..usually followed by death.

  • trigimper

    AD, great writing. I’ve been right there and have worn the painfully earned t-shirt.Sometimes in life, people can show us what we could be, or want to be, but we just can’t manage it when with them. That the change to finally being the person you want to be has to be done in solace, at which point you realise that change has to come from within, no one else can make it happen.A Christian friend often says these times are God’s way of showing us a path to ourselves, as an opportunity to change for good or better, but he leaves that choice to us.Of course another friend says that God will only give you as much pain as you can handle, the problem being he thinks you can handle a heck of a lot of pain..usually followed by death.

  • phlegmfatale

    i’m hoping this story will end with you throwing yourself on your mrs.’ mercy and pledging whatever it takes to work it out. when someone is honest, sees you for who you are and loves you in spite of it, well, that is indeed a rarity. I think she was good for you. you’re a smart man. you can fix it. be open-minded and patient. :)

  • phlegmfatale

    i’m hoping this story will end with you throwing yourself on your mrs.’ mercy and pledging whatever it takes to work it out. when someone is honest, sees you for who you are and loves you in spite of it, well, that is indeed a rarity. I think she was good for you. you’re a smart man. you can fix it. be open-minded and patient. :)

  • phlegmfatale

    i’m hoping this story will end with you throwing yourself on your mrs.’ mercy and pledging whatever it takes to work it out. when someone is honest, sees you for who you are and loves you in spite of it, well, that is indeed a rarity. I think she was good for you. you’re a smart man. you can fix it. be open-minded and patient. :)

  • phlegmfatale

    i’m hoping this story will end with you throwing yourself on your mrs.’ mercy and pledging whatever it takes to work it out. when someone is honest, sees you for who you are and loves you in spite of it, well, that is indeed a rarity. I think she was good for you. you’re a smart man. you can fix it. be open-minded and patient. :)

  • anparadox

    for the record.. I never though you an “arrogant asshole … who thinks he’s better than the rest of them” I remember the guy that made me smile and got in name calling matches with me and held my hands as I tried to walk up you! :-) .. I know that's off topic but thought you should know, you'll always be a great guy to me.

  • anparadox

    for the record.. I never though you an “arrogant asshole … who thinks he’s better than the rest of them” I remember the guy that made me smile and got in name calling matches with me and held my hands as I tried to walk up you! :-) .. I know that's off topic but thought you should know, you'll always be a great guy to me.

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