It’s hard to try to summarize, but in short – here it is: my roommates are each intelligent and dependable in his own right; they are unique in unique ways that are too minutely attached to the tiny details of one’s persona to ever take an accurate stock of.
In one of them (“Dice”), I can have complete faith regarding the maintenance of my car, for example; this same roommate would also be the one I would turn to with a jammed rifle, any kind of measurement, centralized heating and cooling issues, and/or the use or instructions for use of any power tool imaginable; I trust this roommate much more so than I trust 9 out of 10 human beings on a very generalized basis because of the years’ worth of water under our bridge as friends without any drama or bullshit at all; he is a kind person with a good heart, in spite of himself; his is also the sole hand that touches the BBQ grill in my household. We share things like The Walking Dead, LOTR, reggae music, good weed and being recluse in common. This roommate is Persian (Iranian) by blood, born in the US to parents who emigrated here during the 1960’s.
The other roommate (“The Orphan”) is the one who I can query at random with a wide ranging interrogative and receive generally sound answers from; he was also my sky-diving instructor, so there’s a very weird kind of trust between this roommate and myself despite our sometimes volatile relationship; he is a surf buddy, a swim buddy and as some of you may remember – got here as my adopted orphan, who was a suicidal train wreck on the other side of the globe when we first became friends. He has been here over 2 years now, has healed his spirit well, got his citizenship, has a good job and a cute little girlfriend; and is doing shiningly in comparison to what he once was. He is also a former French Military Special Forces Paratrooper who has an uncanny comprehension of all things tactical and military. We share things like the Unsecret Death Wish, the ocean, raunchy jokes and coffee in common.This roommate is Corsican by blood (which is French by nationality), raised in Germany, and is a French National with German and American citizenship.
The three of us can happily sit around our kitchen table at a meal and discuss pretty much anything in an amiable, if not jovial, manner. Typically, this is the case. Tonight, things became heated between them during a (take a guess) political disagreement. I came out into the kitchen and said,
“C’mon you guys…really, you’re gonna let Trump or whoever ruin our BBQ?” in a joking tone to lighten the tension (because that’s who I am, the peacemaker), only to find out that they were bumping heads about the tragedy in France.
It was pretty disturbing to me, as I proceeded to listen to the Orphan vehemently arguing his point to Dice with true passion; such a final and decisive reaction he is having that he feels as if it has come to the point where mass preemptive murders via the military would be the only answer. To hear the guy whose military experience has unfailingly spoken truths upon truths thus far say such a thing was deeply unsettling; and left a nasty taste in my mouth.
The Orphan is moving out – and I am so torn over it that I need to write a few things to hopefully clear my head…
Firstly, I am very happy for him, for his progress through his trauma and near-fatal divorce; with that said: I worry about him, he is ALWAYS in the cerebral with me…because he has become like family over the past half-year. Wow…
He has pretty much been gone all of the time anyway lately – assuring himself the right spots with all of the right people in the City, doing what he does best: rubbing elbows with Police Commissioners and Porn Actresses – and of course, surfing and swimming with sharks. I have already been feeling a hole where he used to be with me every day, all day – for days on end – before he had his own car and I was like his soccer mom…all of the shit that we got into when he first moved across the globe to come here and heal…all of the hours spent sucking down nicotine and coffee and bleeding our individual traumas all over each other. We were weird, our friendship is weird…but I love him like my own flesh and blood. And, I worry about my own flesh and blood – that’s just how I roll.
He doesn’t say
“I’m coming home”, anymore…he says,
“I’m coming over”….
It’s funny in a weird and twisted way:
The Orphan is a beautiful creature, inside and out (he could easily be one of those Greaser style models from Europe) but he sells himself so short in the realm of love and closeness…he has so very much to offer a woman someday when he feels like he’s ready to try that again, but I fear that he has turned cold permanently. His “new” persona doesn’t leave room for these things at all – robotic and frigid when it comes to matters of the heart (not towards me, but in general). This worries me, a lot. And it makes me sad and I begin to feel uncertain about his being on his own already, which I know is none of my business at the end of the day. But I can’t help but think that he might be just teetering still…and I do not want to throw him to the wolves before he can fend for himself completely…I am a worry wart, I know this….but I love him very much and he has come through so much recently…I don’t know…I just don’t know…
I’ll give it to the guy, he’s patient as dead elephant when it comes to my essentially dragging him around behind me aimlessly, during the grips of a random expeditious episode on my part. He usually seems quite content in just silently trailing, hands in his Pendleton pockets…it takes him at least an hour to even chime in with something like, “Uhhhh, should I Google Map it?”
The Orphan came home this morning…after three days and nights away.
He announced his arrival by sending me the following text message first:
“You know…it’s called a wetsuit for a reason, not a hang up dry suit.”
Basically, his way of provoking me into going to the beach with him…
I do not prefer to spend the day with anyone out of a sense of pity they may be feeling for me, but he means well. When he actually got home, I told him it’s too late for surfing today, by the time we got there the sun will be starting to set – and he is not keen on nighttime water activities so much…smart guy. Anyway, he told about his latest endeavors and I told him I had nothing new to report; we drank over-strong coffee and chain-smoked together, a default comfort mechanism that we have always shared in common, and I eventually just asked him straight up:
“You trying to take me to the beach ‘cause you feel sorry for me?”
He doesn’t miss a beat before replying:
“That’s the ONLY way you EVER get to follow me over there…”
The Orphan boasts the biggest, whitest, most Un-American looking choppers I have ever seen in person…his smile is unmatched by any dude that I know, and when he cracks a joke prior to cracking that smile, he does this funny thing with his neck – the combination of the three together is instant comfort to me, regardless of the situation; one of his most endearing physical displays, in my opinion.
“I don’t do shit with anybody out of pity, you dumbass…”
The words seem to speak directly to my heart as he says them at me.
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself…”
He’s standing, staring down at me, still smiling – but his eyes are afire like he’s possibly bordering angry as he retinal-burns me with his line of vision; waiting for my response.
I am caught off guard by his calling me out, and it apparently showed because his expression softens itself immediately before he adds, “Jackass…”
I stood there temporarily stuck on stupid, not sure what to say back to him, thinking about how right he actually is with his point.
“Okay, Killer…I will.”
His mouth is hanging open slightly across the table from me, as we sit under the now-naked pomegranate tree out back; he was not expecting me to agree with him, no doubt.
For someone so wet behind his little (sunburned) ears, he can be pretty wise when he doesn’t want to be, sometimes…
The Orphan’s handsome face begins to form a look of defiance, but suddenly reveals his sense of trust in me, as he eases his t-shirt up and over his head.
My eyes swell with tears and I am overtaken with pride for some ungodly reason…he has meat on his bones once more!!!
“Atta Boy, Rock Star!”
I punch him playfully in his washboard belly and wink blatantly up at his now-blushing, chiseled face.
“Why are you crying?” he is seriously wondering out loud at my over-expressiveness…
“Because I can so vividly recall what you looked like when you came back to live here…when I picked you up from the airport the second time…” my head is slowly shaking from side to side as I speak to him – looking him in his lighter colored eye (the left one). He’s been gone for a few days and I worry…but he always comes home and makes me feel stupid as hell for ever thinking he can’t handle himself.
Despite the “unapproachability” that I so openly tease the Orphan about on a regular basis, he continues to be socially accosted by some of the most pond-scummiest of creatures imaginable so far, in his evolutionary adventures as a born-again Red Triangle Surfer God.
The Orphan is a strange combination of “Foreign” = the Orphan interacts socially in a different manner than that which Americans (especially West Coast Surfer Boys/OGSC’s) are at all prepared for, much less have any clue how to respond to, in most cases.
It’s actually pretty fuckin’ funny to watch from a safe distance most of the time…shame on me.
The Orphan does Him, and tends not to worry about what anyone is doing until whatever they’re doing starts to impede on his own gig = he’s 9 times out of 10 NOT the one to initiate conversation with a stranger (I imagine he was this way always, even in his most familiar of environments). He keeps to himself unless a nerve gets pinched.
The Orphan is, just like Yours Truly, allergic to BULLSHIT = don’t talk in front of him if you’re full of shit because he will sniff you out in an nano-second and expose you until you disappear.
A BELOVEDLY TRUE STORY:
He is sitting out past the breakers in the solitude of a favorite beach break of his, enjoying the peace and quiet away from the trendy tourist beaches that have become UN-FUN due to so many idiot vacationers. Suddenly, he is startled by a raspy voice behind him somewhere close by and he whips his head around to see a washed-up, rode hard, dirty Surf Bum paddling up to his position in the lineup.
His eye rolling doesn’t deter the man from sliding in next to him as he waits for a good ride and begins to talk to the Orphan openly about his problems.
“I feel like shit, Man…haven’t had a drink in over 48 hours…trying to quit, ya know?…
The Orphan just stares straight ahead but gives a nod of acknowledgment because he is, unfortunately for him at this very moment in the story, a Human Being.
“Just gotta stop drinking, Man…” no waves to ride in come, so the Orphan listens on, somehow intrigued by the train wreck of a surfer.
The older guy is obviously distraught and in a state of disarray as he tells the Orphan about a “fight” with his “Ol’ Lady” a few nights prior, and having had to leave the house afterward so as not to be arrested when the police arrived.
“It’s all because women ya know?…they are so fragile …you can’t hit ‘em like you could, a man, ya know…? …so much frailer, so easy to really fuck up in fight…so I gotta stop that drinkin’, Man…”
After several minutes of collecting enough verbal information that the Orphan felt certain of his quickly forming opinion regarding a somewhat “touchy” subject, he responded to this miserably clueless, self-admitted woman beater in the way that ONLY the Orphan could.
He turned and made intentionally piercing eye-contact with the man on the board just 2 feet away from him and simply stated:
“Hey…Dude…. I mean, I think it has certainly occurred to you by now that maybe…..you don’t need to stop fighting with your lady because “she is fragile and frail”…”, his fingers are up to do the accompanying gesture of quotation marks, “maybe it’s just because you’re an alcoholic idiot who can’t control himself when he’s drunk – which sounds like it’s ALWAYS….”
The Orphans posture is straight and self-assured as he sits like statue waiting for a response of any kind that takes a while to come, surprisingly.
Yesterday, the Orphan and I had the ever-dwindling opportunity to eat Super Burritos (one of our shared favorites) together at the hole in the wall next to Big Lots; it was nice because it’s been a while…(by a while, I mean like 2 weeks or something). Yeah yeah yeah, we live together – but you might know how that goes with two broken people under one roof: lots of time alone, in separate rooms, being broken for our own separate reasons…
He’s suddenly looking better everyday when I see him , as if there has been some kind of boulder lifted from his shoulder blades at a gradual pace. He is just like any other broken man that I know: proud and tough as nails – unable to resign even for a moment – unable to accept defeat (even when it’s shoving a brick down his throat) – working out the trauma he has just come through in abstract ways that personally soothe him best – he knows what he needs and wants, and he’s ready to get up and go out looking to find it.
Two weeks ago, he told me that he’d be going abroad for the Holidays – going “home” to his native country to be with his parents and childhood friends for he holidays. I will admit that part of me (being the Abandonment Issue Queen that I am) was crushed at this news; but the bigger, more humanitarian part of me was thrilled to hear that he misses them and desires a closeness to them at all. I settled on the agreement of helping him get his clothes folded and packed and smelling clean for the hugs he’ll be giving to his mom and dad and sister. This specimen of the Male Persuasion (the Orphan) is truly a rare creature; and it’s not often that I say this, but he has my 110% faith, trust and support in all he does. Since he technically began living with me, there are things that I haven’t been able to peg in regard to his overall personality; for example:
It has always stricken as very odd that someone like the Orphan, who is so logical, practical, fair, calm, non-confrontational, and most notably – well-educated; somehow found himself tied in with a creature who was the epitome of a man-eater – an extremely narcissistic/sociopathic female who has ended up being the one in his own experience to have “turned him cold” in regard to his willingness to LOVE.
When we first “met”, it was due to the healing process in which he is still enduring, resultant of the above described relationship. He reached out to me because he was desperate for answers, for the much needed closure that he already sensed he would never get; he was in despair and feeling without hope to push on. I instantly loved him, the little fucker; he is a human being…he is a good human being.
Since our initial online emails volleys (that sometimes became so obnoxiously long in the thread, it was disturbing lol), things have evolved quite a bit in the context of his hopelessness and my helplessness in the context of our everyday lives – separately and together. After his first visit (one that was kind of a spontaneous form of support on my part and a total leap of faith on his), he decided that this place felt more like “home” than any of his other options (and for the record, this guy has handfuls and handfuls of choices, worldwide); or, better described, he chose here to be his beginning point for the rest of life. Where his life might take him, who knows? But the point here is that he was intuitive enough to recognize a safe haven when he saw one – and jump on the opportunity to take some time to heal himself.
Back to the point of post:
Over Super Burritos, we were discussing things about our similarly terrifyingly sociopathic exes (a topic that we haven’t touch on for months because I think we both got tired of talking about so much ugliness nonstop), and he began to describe things that lead to a complete epiphany for me in regard to the recovering men(and there are sad numbers of this type of Survivor, unfortunately) who have been intimately involved with (and in turn, DESTROYED BY) a sociopathic/psychologically terroristic woman. This can even be his mother or another female relative or teacher, etc.
“Oh My fuck!!!”, I bellowed out of my chip-filled Sailor’s mouth, in my typical impulsive manner.
His eyes do this funny bulge/roll movement that’s all tucked into one motion whenever I behave like an obnoxiously drunken lion-tamer in his public company;
“Sorry…but you just totally made me realize something…I’m having a moment here…” I tucked both hands into my lap and asked him from across the table:
“Were you afraid of her, somehow?”
His eyes lock cleanly into mine as I finish the sentence; I’ve never seen the look that overtakes his charmingly boyish face;
“…because from ALL of the many things you’ve shared with me of your relationship with her, it sure seems as though the same exact process was there – with some minor tweaks and twists, yea…but there all the same…”
His head is nodding vigorously; a smile washes off that unfamiliar look of what?…recognition?…relief?… and he pokes his long index finger into the table in front of his plate.
“You know, so-and-so (a psychiatrist friend of his from grade school) says that we (by “we”, he means himself and every other man who has suffered the traumas of a destructive and narcissistic female) have the same affected state as that of domestic violence victims…”
My dumbfounded shock must be glaringly apparent, because he adds, “The constant fear and manipulation, the isolation from “normal” people in our lives who would speak up and say how abnormal things are…”
I catch myself with my mouth hanging open, nearly frozen by the seemingly obvious, in retrospect. I have no words to say that might even come close to acknowledging so many discussions he and I have had about the ways that he felt “trapped”, “obligated”, “guilty” by the slightest thoughts of leaving her and getting away from her unhealthiness.
This handsome little devil is a veteran of some seriously traumatic warfare – numerous war experiences – and I’m talking VALIDATED and VERIFIED horror…living Hell…he’s no sissy; he doesn’t shy away from ANY kind of challenge by nature (like me), and he was not raised in an unhealthy environment. The slap to the back of my head came hardest when I recalled how many people have said things along the lines of: “You don’t seem at all like the type of woman to become a battered wife…”, or “I can’t even imagine you being married to that type of man and in a situation like you were in – it’s NOT like YOU…” over the years of my ongoing recovery from my own traumatic marriage; and then put those recollections in context with the times that I have said very similar things to him. What an ass…I am still sort of processing the common threads and mechanisms between the two of us – based solely on the experience with traumatic marriage and the associated effects that we share in common from them. But I felt like it was worth writing down because it was a light bulb moment for me in terms of decoding the Orphan and his current needs and state of being. I have long recognized his “Shell Shock”, and try to treat it accordingly how and when I can; but now – – – well, now I have a more clear appreciation for the absolute Hell that he has survived through much more recently than I came through mine. Now, he has become that much more endearing to me because I see a healing process quite differently in everything he is doing.
All in all, it was a very eye-opening discussion that ended up trailing back home after lunch and continuing until almost dinnertime…yesterday was a very therapeutic day for us both I think. Good.
“Oh my God! You live with Him?” her voice naturally lowered itself upon her own realization of how “teenaged girl” she was behaving; I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes and nod at her typical reaction.
“Yes…right next door…I even see him nearly naked on a daily basis…” I continued my speedy pace towards my newest roommate, “the Orphan”, where he sat in the shade under a tree on the side of the busy streets of the local Farmer’s Market.
“Okay, try to control yourself, Chica…he’s very timid, despite his gorgeousness…go easy on the lil’ guy…”my voice trails off as my cousin and I approach the Orphan’s position, and I inhale a deep breath to begin my introductions so that she might just go on about her business and leave he and I in peace to mosey the marketplace.
Her hand shoots out across the center of our tiny crowd of three before I can finish my first sentence – the one that would have included what a dumbass she is, if I had been obliged – and she begins to take off on one of her notorious tangents about how awesome she is. I can see the “deer come into the headlights” immediately from the corner of my left eye, where the Orphan stands, shocked like a hunted beast in the netting, his curious nature being nearly overtaken by over-stimulus of the most uncomfortable kinds for a person like him.
“Chris, listen…he doesn’t speak English so well,” (a total line of fabricated reality, as his English vocabulary and conversational skill often gets me up on my own toes…) “how would you like it if you were visiting a foreign place and some totally hot guy came up and bombarded you with words you couldn’t quite process…?” I see the smirk of disgusted recognition disappear just as quickly as it had appeared from the Orphan’s face to my side; I hear my cousin let out a long, frustrated breath as she pulls my arm, forcing me to step once to my right. She hisses into my ear and it feels as if someone is holding an acetylene torch to it as she says, “I don’t care if he speaks English…I just like how good he looks, Bambi….C’mon, you’re messin’ up my cha-cha…”.
She releases my arm and pushes me gently away from her and the Orphan as if to tell me to kick rocks, which I happily did – I know something she doesn’t know.
It only takes about a minute and half before he catches up to me on the trail towards our neck of the little woods where we live; he is smiling broadly and looking content. I say, “I knew you could handle yourself…”
A while ago, I made a decision to open my heart to a new person who’d come along and crossed paths with me in Life; and surprisingly, it’s been a decision that hasn’t yet bitten me in my hand.
The past four or five months have been a tornado of happenings here:
More pretenders and opportunistic mutants
More lies and deceit
More injustice and less answers for it
More questions surrounding everyone I know (or thought I did)
More painful recovery processes
More thoughts and fears
More mistaken identities
Through it all, I have had a steadfast ally at my side – this orphaned spirit that I decided to adopt into my family; a person who has taught me so much without intending to teach me a thing – a person whose very existence has been an anchor lately for me, to a previously untouched – more meaningful side of Life.
People say that our circumstance is crazy, that our bond is “insane, at its best”; my friends have all reminded me of the chances I’m taking with a ‘stranger’ from far away becoming so close in the cramped quarters of my limited world…of course, that had been the thing that caused me to jump into my new friendship head first like I did – don’t tell me NOT to do anything.
Upon first meeting the orphan, I was stricken by the sheer amount of loyalty and sincerity that seemed to ooze from his body; by the reluctance to let go of his own hope in his own way; his headstrong disposition sets him apart immediately from anyone with a pair of broken wings. His heart has been trampled and continues to be kicked from one side of the floor to the other in a volley of deeply entrenched deceitfulness and shocking cruelty; yet, he still smiles…somehow.
His former life was drained of its former goals and plans; and the future he had invested so completely in has been stripped right from his stubborn hands; he has been like an island growing out of the black, cold sea in the middle of nowhere to offer a form of relief and reprieve to a weary pirate driving a jacked vessel.
He’s lied down and said fuck it; then got back up and said he didn’t mean that.
Instead of becoming the shitty, embittered spirit that I embody, he doesn’t fall in line with the grief – he masters something new. He renews his sense of ability in whatever context he can, which is amazing and inspiring to me.
Overall, he has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
He hasn’t let me down like I’ve been expecting him to do; and I am so very grateful for his friendship now. I wish him all of the healing and strength in this world.
In the end, it’s kinda funny how when we think we are opening up a wing for someone else to climb underneath, the orphan scampering into the offered space doesn’t necessarily come empty-handed.
I sit here, chilled to the marrow of my bones, wondering if another innocent will die today.
In this war that rages against us, our powerful adversary has built armies of robotic, light-switch lovers who pose as the ones we commit ourselves to; who play the roles of the people we can trust and depend on – only to be remotely detonated from afar the instant we embrace them.
Will I lose another comrade today? Will I have to drag his battered, broken and lifeless body into the foxhole with me and try in vain to breathe his beautiful life back into him?
The war cries are slicing all around me as I watch, transfixed on his moments of truth; unable to turn away from my enveloping and morbid fears coming true before my eyes. Does he know he has removed his armor? Is he aware that he is a sitting duck, so vulnerable to the enemy only inches from his heart?
My body wracks with tremors of negative anticipation, my eyes pour tears of loss and pain down my muddy cheeks as I strain through the blur created by them; I am compelled to watch this macabre sacrifice that my comrade feels inclined to.
I silently pray to the Gods from my hole in the ground, pushing out all of the deafening sounds of warfare and death and destruction and despair:
May the Gods release my comrade from this gravitational pull he is caught in? I will do anything you ask of me, should you grant him safe return to our hole…he is special, he is rare, he is necessary to so many others in this battle. PLEASE CARRY HIM THROUGH TO THE LIGHT AND SAFETY.
My own spoken words startle me as I realize I have been hollering my prayer into the blackened skies overhead, at the top of my stinging lungs – in desperation. My comrade still stands too far from me, the distance between us – too great for my weapons to aid him at all. I am helpless in the hole we shared not long ago – helpless to force my comrade to survive through this epic battle of his…and I find myself tearfully asking the Gods: