"The Raven Flies Low"


One of my past relationships, which happened to have taken place with a Black Cuban, caused me to have some temporary issues with reference to race. I had initially felt after having written this manuscript that I should go back into it and take out the derogatory statements I had made about him as not to offend people of color who may be offended by such phases. I did however decide not to do so for the following reason. The reason being that I want to show both people of color and non color alike how easy it can be to allow issues of a broken relationship to cross over in ones mind to becoming issues of race and culture.

Fortunately for me I did eventually realize that I not only needed to seek professional help in reference to the issues. They were strictly indigenous to that relationship and one other. By then I also had issues in reference to the relationship, which I had made racial within the confines of my own mind. By the time Juan had had left me I had had at least one friendship with a person of color. It was very nurturing and constructive for us both, until the church stepped in saying we were spending too much time together, for they feared a more intimate relationship would evolve. That was not his fault alone. The fault for us even listening to them lay with the church, him and I.

"The Raven Flies Low"

"Chapter One"

"A Typical Latino Lover"

Thomas had been discarded by his Latino Lover in June of 2000. Juan had decided that he was going to go to Atlanta without Thomas. Juan, like most Caribbean Latinos thought he was perfect in every way while everyone, including Juan was beneath him. Thomas knew of at least one occasion that Juan had cheated on him; in that Juan had told him about it. Juan claimed that since someone was calling their apartment and hanging up when he would answer the phone; Thomas must have given the number to someone that he was having an affair with. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. Juan decided after the third or fourth time that this happened; he was going to an adult book store with peep show booths, to get his Black Cuban dick sucked off.

Thomas knew something was wrong. As usual, when Juan had concocted a situation such as this in his head, he didn't speak to Thomas or even get close to him in bed. There Thomas would be; trying to figure out what he had done to deserve such treatment from someone whom he lived to love and tried so hard to please, often times to no avail. Thomas knew that Juan had cheated many times; and from the beginning. Unfortunately for Thomas, for some ungodly reason; he loved the Son of a Bi sexual Sugarcane Cutter. He kept trying to give him the benefit of what minimal doubt there may have been. He could never understand why he tried so hard to do so; God knows Juan never cared to do the same in return! Juan was a never ending source of accusation, insinuation and suspicion!

Thomas was H.I.V. +. He had told Juan about his H.I.V. status just a couple of days after they'd had sex using a condom. One of the few good things that Juan had ever had to say about Thomas was, that he respected him a great deal for having told him so soon after they had met. Juan said he didn't have an issue with his status; that was what rubbers were for. Juan said he didn't really care if he got H.I.V. or not, "everybody has got to die some day from something, he said; it doesn't really matter what."

When Juan had decided he was going to dump Thomas; because he didn't tell him about an excursion he'd had a couple of weeks prior to them leaving for Atlanta, until a few days before they were to move; Thomas was devastated to the brink of suicide. It was then, that was going to finally come clean about all of the sexual binges he'd gone on throughout the duration of their "relationship." He'd been having excessive amounts of sex while away on business trips to Atlanta as well as when he went to Miami to pick up his mother who had come to visit them for a month from Cuba. He did the same thing again when he left to take his mother back to Miami to go home, just a few weeks before they were to move to Atlanta.

Needless to say, none of what Juan had done was his fault, according to him; it was all Thomas fault. Everything was always Thomas fault weather it really was, or not. Thomas could neither believe nor accept that this farce of a relationship was over. He figured Juan just needed some time to think things through. Thomas went to stay with some old friends who had initiated him into Wicca; their names were Charlene and Michael.

Thomas had decided that he would surprise Juan, by coming to Atlanta to live nearby him. He just couldn't live the rest of his life without knowing what might have happened if he'd been able to reconcile with that Black Cuban Asshole. Charlene and Michael tried to convince him that Juan was really not worth putting himself through all of the stress, hassle and extra heartache of being rejected again. Thomas would simply not be convinced. He had to know for sure, that there was no chance at all for Juan and him to reunite.

Thomas left his home after having donated 2/3 of his wardrobe to a transitional housing unit for men with H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. He withdrew all of his savings and checking to follow after a person who had never really deserved someone as kind and loving as he was. Juan definitely didn't deserve to be pursued with such loving persistence. Thomas had run into nothing but problems when he got to Atlanta. He moved into a place that he didn't know was condemned and had to move again the first week. Being that he really knew nothing about Atlanta; he had no idea where to look for work. He was almost broke after his first week there; because the cost of living was so expensive. He figured it was time to call Juan and see if he could be convinced to reconcile.

They talked for a little over an hour. The more Thomas tried to convince him that they should reunite, the angrier Juan became. Juan told Thomas he could not see him for at least a month; maybe two. The longer they talked the lower Thomas heart continued to sink into his stomach. By the time Juan told him he had to eat and go to bed; Thomas was physically sick with the grief that this whole situation had caused him. Still he could not let go of the false hope he continued to hold onto for an eventual reconciliation.

The worst part of the whole situation was that Thomas really believed he'd lost the only man he'd ever love with his whole heart. What made matters worse still, was that Juan had him convinced that it was he, not Juan who was to blame. As far as Juan was concerned, he held no blame for the break up at all Thomas was 100% to blame for it all. He fell for it hook, line and sinker. .

Juan had always been an expert at convincing Thomas that he was 100% to blame for every issue that came up in their relationship; especially the ones that Juan simply invented in his own mind. There was seldom ever any true reality to any of accusations, insinuations and suspicion that Juan so often made use of. It wasn't until Thomas had come back home and temporarily moved in with his old friend "Fuzzy" that he finally began to realize he was far less to blame for the break up than that lying, cheating, double standard, Black Cuban Scum Bag whom he had unwisely given his heart and life to. He couldn't believe the gall of that Skuzzy Cuban Slut, never showing any appreciation for anything he did for him. He couldn't even buy Juan a gift for no other purpose than expressing his love for him, without being accused of cheating, trying to cheat or just simply having done something he wasn't supposed to do.

For a long time Thomas couldn't decide if was angrier with Juan for having treated him the way he did, or with himself for having allowed himself to put up with it all for a year and a half. The ass hole treated him like some kind of cheap slut, which he had never been. I will never forget the day he told me about Juan having taken him to an adult book store one night after accusing him of trying to make a date with some Latin guy in a Latin bar that they had gone to with some of Juan's little Cuban friends; as if he would do so right under his nose like that. First of all Thomas was not stupid; he didn't cheat at all once they had moved in together. (This was before they did.) He knew what Juan was like; he'd be watching him like a hawk all the time they were there where so many men were around. Thomas and Juan had agreed that they were not going to drink that night. Thomas went to the bathroom after having told Juan he was going. Since it was a one person capacity bathroom, Thomas made sure he locked the door in order to avoid being accused of deliberately leaving it unlocked to let someone come in for sex.

While coming out of the bathroom he'd changed his mind about getting a drink. He got himself a beer and decided he'd better get one for Juan as well, or he'd be accused of being inconsiderate; although Juan had said he didn't want one. He went to the bar and after having had to wait for 10 or 15 minutes, because he was so busy; he asked for two beers. In the time it took for the bar tender to get the beers, Thomas noticed a very attractive, young Latin man sitting next to him at the bar. He didn't seem to have a lighter for his cigarette; and for some reason he wouldn't ask the bar tender for some matches. He just kept tapping his cigarette on the bar and it was getting on Thomas nerves. That continual tapping was driving Thomas crazy so he asked him if he needed a light and lit his cigarette for him. (That was his mistake.) Even though just simply asking the fellow if he needed a light was the extent of their conversation, that coupled with lighting it for the guy was all it took to put Juan in Cuban Bitch from Queer Hell mode.

When Thomas finally got back to Juan with the beers; he then of course was met yet again with the same old Cuban Bull Shit Jealousy, and possessiveness, when he returned to Juan with their drinks in hand; so much for trying to be a well mannered lover.

"I want you to know Thomas I saw everything you did! Juan said."

Thomas stood there very proud of himself, thinking that there may be a compliment in all of this for him, until the conversation began to turn on him. Hell, he couldn't be upset with him since he hadn't done anything wrong. Thomas gave Juan a big smile while he was holding his beer out toward him to take it.

"Who was that guy you were talking to up there at the bar?" "What guy? Thomas asked him. "

"The one who was standing beside you up there, he said."

"I don't know who he is; he seemed like a nice guy though."

"What were you doing up there at that bar around all those bi sexual guys?"

"What? What bi sexual guys?"

Thomas could almost see the steam rolling out of Juan's ears. Oh no; here we go the fuck again!

"I was watching you; I saw everything Thomas. "

Good said Thomas; you know I didn't do anything wrong!"

"Why did that guy follow you back here and then go back to the bar when he saw you come back here for me?"

"How the Hell was I supposed to know he was back there; I had my back turned to him; Thomas said.

"Why did you get the beers Thomas; I thought we say we were not here for drink tonight!"

"I changed my mind. I am still allowed to have a mind of my own; aren't I?

I am going to sit over there with the girls! Don't bother for me for a while Thomas!"

I swear I can't go anywhere with this ass hole without him turning into The Cuban Wonder Bitch from Fucking Hell!"

Thomas didn't know whether he was more hurt or angry by all of this idiotic Bull Shit he was dealing with yet again out of this Shitty, Cuban, asshole Jerk. He started to put down his beer and leave. Thomas has always been sort of tight with money. Even in the midst of all the lunacy he was dealing with; that didn't change. He wasn't going to spend his hard earned money on a beer as expensive as that one was and let Juan make him so upset that he couldn't drink the damn thing! He tried to decide while he guzzled it down what he was going to do next. Do I want to finish the beer and take the bus home, or do I want to go back to the Rodeo and make him take me home? He rolled this around in his head for a few minutes before he decided to go back to the Rodeo and wait for Juan to take him home.

It was about 15 or 20 minutes later that Juan came back to the Rodeo. Thomas just sat there in the grass like a damned fool waiting for the Bastard. He knew he should have just gone to a bus stop far away and just gave himself some space from the Black, Latin Bitch! Unfortunately he also knew that he loved the nasty ass ho more than anything, or so he thought. (Juan was really nothing more than a relationship addiction which Thomas just simply did not know how to withdrawal from.) He wanted to resolve this idiotic situation if it were going to be possible. The last thing he wanted was to break up with Juan; even if he was a jealous, possessive control freak. They didn't really even have to go anywhere together for Juan to treat him that way. Thomas couldn't even go to the neighborhood convenience store without being followed if Juan thought he was taking too long to get back home. It came to the point that Thomas started asking him to drive him to places that were no more than two or three blocks from home in order to avoid Juan's jealous rages and senseless insinuations.

Getting back to the story at hand, Juan came back and told him to get in the truck. Thomas thought Juan was going back to his apartment. He thought it seemed odd that Juan was taking the same rout that he always took to visit with his little Cuban friends at "The Americana Apartments." Thomas assumed Juan was still pissed and was driving out some angry frustration. He was quite shocked a little while later to see Juan pulling in to the parking lot of the "Arcade Bookstore." He was shocked because it was an adult bookstore. He knew at that point to expect some additional drama to unfold before him.

Juan parked the car and said;" here you go Thomas." If this is what you want; you can be with everybody for all the night!"

"Go; why do you wait for?"

"This is for what you want!"

"This is nothing but a bunch of Bull Shit; and you know it! Thomas said to him."

"You have no reason to be treated me like some kind of "cheap slut!"

"What do you want to do? Juan asked. "

"Just take me home; I'm sick to fucking death of all your stupid, Latin Bull Shit. As hard as it was to deal with Joseph when they were together in Rhode Island; he never did anything like bringing him to a place like this when accusing him of something.

"You're just being flat out rude and hateful Juan; Take me back home now!"

Thomas was never really good at knowing what to do in adverse situations like this. I remember him telling shortly after they left the lot; he wished he had gotten out of the car and walked across the street to the bus stop. That would have pissed Juan off even more to him Thomas doing the opposite of what he wanted him to do, and still not let him take him home. Hell, it might have made him see how stupid he was being. (Highly unlikely) The jerk would have probably just driven away before he could notice what was happening. Knowing him as Thomas did he told me that, Juan would have more than likely gone to a bar and picked somebody up, or gone to the bookstore thinking that Thomas was there and screwed around with somebody there to piss Thomas off before his ignorant ass realized that he wasn't even there. "Oh well; what's done is done; I can't go back and change it now; Thomas told me." I wish I could though; I'd sure do it all very different now. "I'd tell him to fuck the hell off, stay out of my life and I'd go home on the damn bus."

Juan took him to the "Drama House" first. That was the local transitional housing unit for men with H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. That's not its real name but it's definitely an appropriate one for the place. Thomas often reflects upon an interesting past reality there. When he wasn't dealing with "Drama Queens" there; he was dealing with having one for a lover. What a fateful twist of irony that was. They came to the "Drama House" and Juan asked him if he was going in. Thomas told him he wanted to go back to Juan's apartment to get his things. Juan took him back and Thomas began packing up the things he'd brought with him for the weekend. Juan just sat down and started watching that idiotic "Jerry Springer Show."

Thomas sat down on the bed and tried to decide what would be the best course of action to take at the time. After all he'd never been in one quite like this before. Should he stay or should he go; this was the question he could not yet answer. Thomas had to answer it for himself. The only thing he could think of at the time was his mother and father. He had lived with them until he was almost twenty two years old. He saw some pretty nasty situations take place between them, but they stayed together through it all; no matter what came their way. Thomas knew that Juan would never change. As far as Juan was concerned; it was Thomas who needed to change. Juan really thought he was perfect just as he was. He had told Thomas many times that he would never let down the walls of protection that he had built around him. They were there to keep his heart safe from harm, and there they would forever stay. He would never again allow himself to be that vulnerable.

Juan turned off the T.V. after his other boyfriend "Jerry" went off the air.

"What do you want to do?" Juan asked him." Do you want to stay here or do you want to go?"

What do you want me to do? Thomas asked him."

"I no the Hell don't care, was Juan's reply."

That was how the conversation started. Thomas thought it was a good thing that they had been able to resolve these issues before they went to sleep that night and they made up in some awesome ways to. Although Thomas didn't expect by any means that this would be the last situation of this kind to come up between them; he hoped and prayed that it would be. In the end it didn't matter to Juan how much and how hard Thomas had tried to please him, how much he loved him or how much of himself he was willing to give up to keep him in his life; it would not suffice to be enough.

Chapter Two

"Life after Juan"

When Thomas came back to Louisville he was like a lost dog in the same back yard he'd grown up in. He'd come to stay with his friend Kendal for a while, until he could get his head together and get on his feet. Thomas was still convinced that he was holistically to blame for Juan leaving him. It wasn't until he'd began showing Kendal his journal entries from the year and a half prior to his and Juan's break; that he began getting more clearly intelligent insight into the matter. He then began to realize something very important. It truly does take two to make or break a relationship of any kind.

"Journal Entry"

Friday March 24th, 2000

11:53 P.M.

Yesterday evening Juan asked me what was wrong. I told him that I really didn't know if I should mention it or not. "It could just be a temporary side affect of the anti depressant that my doctor has prescribed for me; I told him."

You know Senior Openness; he had to have me tell him everything regardless.

"Since I started taking this new medication I don't only feel that I don't care about a lot of things; I don't really feel much of anything for you either." I didn't want to say anything about it because I'm not sure if it's a side affect, or if this is the way I really feel."

"I don't believe you ever really did love me anyway Thomas." "I believe you care for me deeply, and you respect me a lot; but I don't believe you ever loved me."

I think those words had to have been the most sickening that I'd ever heard come out of his mouth. I just wasn't sure if it was the meds or my real feelings. That was all I was trying to tell him. I thought it was probably normal when taking an anti depressant to feel a little confused about things in the beginning; if it's causing one to think so drastically different than usual when it's started. I know it's normal actually; the same thing happened to Joseph when I was with him. I don't know why I didn't remember that until after I made such a shambles of Juan and me by telling him how I was feeling. I guess it's too late to try and make it right now; the Son of a Bi sexual sugar Cane Cutter broke up with me yesterday before going back to the adult book store again.

I feel so sick in my heart and stomach. I feel like such a fool for even doubting that I love him. I wouldn't be feeling so nauseous right now if I didn't really love his black ass. Why didn't I understand that before we both got stupid and let myself tell him, that I actually doubted weather we should even be together or not.(Which was something he did frequently) It was sex that I was feeling no interest in. That in itself is very odd for me. I just couldn't seem to distinguish between not being interested in sex with him and wondering if maybe the magic was gone from our relationship. They had always seemed to go hand in hand with each other in my life. I want so much to tell him all of this; have him read this journal, entry or something. I have to try to do something to save whatever is left of our relationship that may be worth holding on to. It's still worth a great deal to me if it is to him or not. Maybe that's what's been the problem all of these months. Maybe it has always been worth saving to me; but it never really was to him.

He said he wanted me to be more open with him about my feelings, my thoughts; he wanted to know me as well as I know him. I started talking to him about everything that was on my mind. Why is it that when I gave him what he said he wanted; he used it against me to break up with me? I just don't get it. I don't understand that part of him at all.

Maybe he's the one who didn't ever really love me. He may not have really even wanted to be with me from the beginning. He may have just not liked that little raggedy ass efficiency apartment he was living in and saw someone who was willing to work and pay half of the expenses to get us both in a more appropriate dwelling. So what if he had to give up extra sex with other guys to have a better place to live. Maybe he considered it a small price to pay to get away from that tiny little place he was in where everything was breaking down all of the time.

May be he feels the same way toward me that said I do about him. Perhaps he cares about me and has grown to have wee bit of respect for me, but he never really loved me. I may have never been more to him than a close friend whom he just happened to have some really hot sex with. I guess I'm really nothing more to him than a room mate and a sex toy. It appears it's beginning to make more sense to me now. I'm probably better off without him and I just can't bring myself to accept it.

"End of Entry"

"You know Thomas; you've really done a lot of healthy righting from a lot of what you've shown me so far." I think you still have an unhealthy habit of over rationalizing a lot of situations and emotions." There are some things that just can't be rationalized because they just don't have any logical foundation on which to build." It would be really great if every one could just think like a Vulcan, when things come up in life that we don't understand." Even Janeway will let Tuvok know in no uncertain terms to give her a break from logic when he gets a little too intense with it for her." Watch her; listen to her sometimes when she's talking to him." She'll let that bastard know in a heartbeat, that sometimes logic is not appropriate in some situations." Sometimes you have to just go with your gut, or accept a particular person or situation for exactly who or what it is, illogical, irrational and very emotional." I think that there probably is an intellectually superior race of people out there in the universe somewhere, but if there is; they are surely not human." I'd like to think that some day humanity might evolve to a greater Plato of reasoning and understanding; but don't ask me to hold my breath until I see it happen." I don't really think I'll see in my lifetime." Hell, I'm not so sure it will ever happen. "As Janeway would say; "that's one of the great mysteries of Humanity which makes our species unique."

"I guess what I'm trying to tell you is you two were in a really sick relationship. "You were two sick people who wanted to be in a healthy relationship, but unfortunately; you wanted to and tried to get healthy, while he was fighting you every step of the way on everything you tried to do for the two of you to make that happen." He just wasn't ready or willing to give up his old unhealthy attitudes and ways of thinking." He wouldn't give up his insecurity for one; that's where all of the jealousy, possessiveness and control issues came from on his end of it." It's really unfortunate that you couldn't get him to go with you for couples counseling." I really think you guys could have made it work." You had your sex and relationship addiction to try and keep in check; which would have been impossible for most addicts to do I might add; without going to meetings." I really have to commend you for being as persistent with your recovery as you were when you two were together." I know a lot of people who aren't addicts who couldn't have been faithful to somebody like him for a whole ten and a half months; I wouldn't have!" I'd have told him to get the hell out and don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you Mother Fucker! To be honest with you, just from what you've told me and what I've read in your journal entries; he sounds to me that he was more sexually addictive in that "relationship" than you were and you were the addict! I think he was to and he was, still is and will probably always be too deep in denial to admit it!

"You tried to talk to him and be open and honest with as he'd asked you to." "He did use it against you!" You were just trying to explain what was going on in your mind! "You even tried to tell him that, you should probably not talk about it until you knew for sure what was going on!" He wouldn't listen to what you were really saying to him, and then blamed you for his inability to deal with it appropriately!" He's the one who wasn't at all understanding or compassionate with you; you didn't do anything wrong in that situation but let him have his way, when you should have got up and left if he wouldn't leave you alone to think your feelings through!

"I'm not so sure that the only reason he broke up with me that night wasn't because he wanted to get a little sexual variety outside of me; Thomas told him."

"Really, why do you say that; Kendal asked?" "I'm saying that because shortly after he left that night to be alone for a while, as he put it; I went out as well. I went walking down Fourth Street on my way to Teddy Bears that night for a beer or two. While walking down near Central Park; I saw him driving through in that blue Ford Ranger of his" I had a feeling I knew where he was going." He was going to Teddy Bears also." I went over there to see if his truck was in the lot and sure enough; there it was." I decided at that point to go to Tryangles." I didn't really want to be in Teddy Bears watching him cruising somebody else." I knew him well enough to know that, that was what he was there for." He always did go after some "strange fruit" whenever there was a big issue between us." He never could just be a man and stay home to work it out." I figure if he could fuck around; I could to if I felt like it." I really didn't feel like until I had a few to many beers in my system." Then I saw this hot little Asian fellow and it was all over."

"I wound up doing a three way with him and another hot dude." I really did enjoy myself; but it didn't make me feel any better; if that makes any sense." I knew it wouldn't. It really just made me feel even worse because; I knew before I did it that it wouldn't make me feel any better." I knew it wasn't going to change the situation for the better and I knew it would more than likely just make me feel worse." I couldn't believe it when it happened; I'd allowed myself to sink to his slimy level."

"Revenge Sex just makes you feel so damned dirty! Kendal said." It's just so pointless I think is why." You know they aren't the one you really want to be with when you're having it; and you do it anyway." It just doesn't make any sense; you know it." It really just doesn't make a lick of sense at all." I would tell you it's all your fault; but I'm afraid you might it this time." (Kendal had a habit of telling people that the tragedies in his life were all their fault; it was always in jest.)

Kendal started to laugh quite heartily at that point. I have to admit; he did at least bring a smile to my face in the midst of all tears that were falling down my face.

They fell like a waterfall in those days. He then looked at yet another of my journal entries and we later began talking about that.

Sunday October 10th, 1999


My little sister Delia turned 18 three days ago. I was very happy that I was finally able to do something nice for her. I took Juan, Delia, Metri and myself to Ernesto's for dinner. We really had a lot of fun; I wish my baby sister Ellen could have been there with us. It just wasn't the same without her there with us instead of just my oldest younger sister and her boyfriend. Afterward we came back to mine and Juan's place to watch a documentary on "Gay American History" called "Before Stonewall."

Everything seems to be going alright between Juan and me. I am still being faithful in this relationship. I do get tempted at times to be with other guys, but I love Juan and; I don't want to lose him. Although I do have my doubts as to weather he's being faithful to me or not a lot of the time; I have no proof that he's not. I don't know, he told me the last time he fucked around on me; so I guess he would tell me if he still was. (RIGHT; how good I was at self deception.) (That sentence wasn't part of this entry, by the way.) I do find it awfully odd however, that he stays at U of L Chemistry Lab until midnight and often later most of the time, conducting experiments; I wonder who is the subject of those experiments.

"You weren't being fooled; you knew exactly what he was doing! Kendal said." You just weren't going to accept how double standard he was with you." You wouldn't have put up with all of that "Bull Shit" he dished out to you; if only you could have just realized how much more you were worth than putting up with all of that." We live and learn; I guess." The sad thing is, that even though you're beginning to understand that now, if you were to get into another relationship too soon in the near future; you'd let someone else do you the same way he did." I know you're really lonely and you hurt like Hell right now; but I think you know also; that it would be a big mistake."

"You know, Kendal; there have been some people over the last few weeks who have told me that; the best way to get over the loss of one relationship is to get involved in another one as soon as possible." The thing about that is; I know that I'm in no condition to do that right now. I'd drive the poor fool crazy crying and talking about Juan all of the time. He's all I can think about, him and how much I wish I could get him back. He's all I talk about most of the time." No body in his right mind wants to listen to his lover crying and talking about his ex all of the time." People definitely don't want to be around someone who does precious little more than cry all day." I couldn't live with someone like me, the way I am right now." Hell; I can barely live with myself right now!" How could I expect anybody else to want to be around me much?" I have nothing to offer anyone right now but misery and depression!" I think it would actually be very cruel of me to get involved with anybody, until I've had enough time to get my self over "Fuck Face."

Kendal began to laugh so loud I thought he'd wake the dead in the nearest grave yard.

I'm sorry; I don't mean to laugh at you Love" I just wish you hear your self from the way it sounds to me." I can barely stand to live with my self right now; how the Hell could I expect anybody else to want to live with me; Kendal jokingly repeated?

I have to admit with the tone of voice facial expressions he was using when he repeated my statement; it did sound pretty funny. I sure am glade to hear that you thinking clearly about that right now though; Kendal said trying unsuccessfully to stop laughing." I think you're right on the money with what you're saying right now, however." You wouldn't be doing anything but jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire if you got involved with anybody right now!" It's bad enough that you're as miserable as you are right now!" You wouldn't be doing anything in a situation like that but making another person miserable with you!" When you get involved with someone again, and you will; you want to make each other happy, not sad, depressed and lonely."

Kendal was still looking at my journal entries. Spotting another one that sounded very healthy; he began again to offer some more of his heart felt encouragement.

"See Love" you don't realize how much better than him you were doing with your end of that Sick excuse for a relationship." A lot of the things you were writing in your journal sound like very healthy stuff to me!" You were being honest with your self about your temptations to be with other guys, but you didn't because you loved this sick bastard so much; and you didn't want to lose him." You knew what he was doing behind your back, but you kept your self faithful." You didn't do it for him; you did for your self, partly because you didn't want him to leave you, but in part because if it didn't work out; you wanted to leave the relationship with your self respect in tact." You don't realize how much you were really doing right in that relationship on your part." You had no control over what he did when you weren't in the same place at the same time." Listen to what you wrote here."

Sunday March 26th. 2000

4:34 P.M.

It's been less than a month since I lost my sister Katie. The grief still runs deep within me. It's been very hard, as it still remains to be. Juan is so cold about it with me. He was an angel for about a week after the funeral, as well as the three days prior to it. He was doing the house work and being very loving, understanding and caring; considering the fact that all he wanted to do was be there for me during that horrible time in my life; but my ass hole brother in law wouldn't allow him at the funeral home, or the funeral. Sometimes I can really hate my extended family with such flaming passion. I will never forgive him for making me deal with that almost completely alone. That hurt us both deeply; as if I was not already hurting enough. All day long he tried not to think about it by playing with his computer, while I had to grieve without anyone that I really wanted to comfort me in that horrible funeral home. God how I hated that place! I guess I shouldn't be surprised about how quickly his coldness toward her death came about, taking into consideration that my family was telling us; she wouldn't have wanted him there either. The fact being that was never willing to allow him self to love anyone enough to mourn them if he did lose anyone, it shouldn't surprise me that; he didn't remain very supportive for very long afterward.

At least something good is coming from all of the misery and grief that I'm dealing with right now. I am in a process of learning about my self and who I really am as a human being; and about my very soul. One thing that I know I must learn to do is, love my self. Whoever I am, whatever I find within me that I don't necessarily like; I must learn to love my self regardless of my shortcomings. Everything within is me is either good or bad depending on my own perception of various aspects of my personality. The time has come for my perceptions of many things to change.

First of all sex and love, are not at all the same thing. They are two completely different aspects of life. Sex has only three purposes that I can see. Those are to create life, to give and experience pleasure and to express ones love of self or someone else. Those are the only purposes I can see for sex, other than an occasional cleansing ritual. There are no other appropriate purposes which I am aware of. Sex should not be used as a drug for the purpose of evading life's challenging issues, when they come up. It should not be depended upon as an escape from the reality that is ones life. It is not an appropriate solution for dealing with problems. It does nothing but delay the process of dealing with issues of difficulty when they pop up. Using sex as a means of coping with a problematic issues does nothing for anyone but help them to put off dealing with those issues in a suitably appropriate way. Sex has never been a positive means of dealing with anything other than being horny! It's not a solution for a problem. It has never been a way of dealing with one. The only way to do that is to face it head on, no matter how difficult it may be, or how much it hurts to dos so. It isn't easy to do it that way; but it's the best way.

"You don't realize how understanding you were trying be with him weather you were able to understand or not. You were really trying hard to do that! I just don't understand how you can sit in that chair, crying your eyes out and believing that you're 100% to blame for his issues and yours. How did you let this guy do this to you? You're just not the Thomas that I remember at all. He's turned you in to some kind of a fucking zombie.

"Chapter Three"

"Back to Step One"

Being a recovering sex and relationship addict is truly no easy task to undertake. I knew that with Juan out of the picture in the physical sense; the sexual aspect of the addict within me would be working a lot of overtime, trying to destroy whatever chance there might still be for me to find some kind of self love and acceptance. I had also come to understand through the help of my favorite author "Ms. Lynn V. Andrews" That I must find some form of self realization before I could find the self love and acceptance that I desperately needed in my life. This I had been seeking for the past seven years, while reading and studying her shamaic, spiritual teachings. Her books were truly more valuable to me at the time of mine and Juan's parting than they had ever been to me in the seven years prior. This was considering of course the fact that I was and still can become addicted to relationships of any kind imaginable, as well as romantic intrigue.

My recovery started in Providence Rhode Island. I began to see how out of control I was getting with using sex to medicate the loneliness and desperation I was feeling. I had had no luck at all in making any "real friends" because I couldn't see that all of my time was being focused on how I was going to find my next "sexual fix" to alleviate the pain of having no family or friends within a 1000 mile radius of where I was living at the time.

When I first came to Rhode Island I was staying with my ex lover Stuart and his "girlfriend" at the time; whom he only using for a vacation spot to get away from his hellishly bitchy mother, who couldn't bear to cut away from her apron strings. I stayed with them for two weeks and then I left to stay at a shelter for homeless men in the same tiny town they were in called "Woonsocket." Aside from coming down with a fairly serious case of "Hepatitis" while I was there; the shelter wasn't really a bad place to live, until the weather started getting bitter cold. That was when everyone and their brother started coming in. It was a very lively bunch of fellows. We had addicts of all sorts including myself, the current sex and relationship addict in bitterly, deeply imbedded denial. Of course there were you run of the mill alcoholics in denial, as well as most of them being ex convicts who couldn't get reliable work due to their past betrayal of the public trust. Some of them would get jobs briefly after lying on their applications out of understandable desperation to make something of themselves again, only to find themselves fired shortly thereafter; due to thorough background checks done by their current employer. It was really quite saddening to see how unwilling many employers are to give someone a chance to prove that they learned their lesson, and allow them to feel that they've begun the process of becoming somebody worthwhile again. The main issue that I had with the place was the noise when it was supposed to be lights out and everybody in bed. It seldom happened that way. One thing that I did tend to like about it though was that; most of the time I didn't have to share a room with even one other man. After about six weeks of unneeded workshops in reference to "Life Skills" that took up the majority of our day and prevented anyone such as myself who wanted to work from having the time to apply anywhere at all; one of the fellows that I met there tried to get me to let him "pimp me out" as an easy yet undesirable for me at the time way of making money for us both. I decided it was time to find some way to get out of that place. I went to "Video Expo" one of the adult film stores in Downtown Providence. I felt that if I was going to have any luck roping somebody into letting me have a temporary place to stay; it would be there. The bars in Providence were not really conducive to succeeding at that. It was just too easy to get barred from the bars there for even attempting something like that in them. I went upstairs where the video booths were and began my search for someone whom I thought might have enough compassion to take pity on me. I met up with a couple of guys named Jim and Joe. They had been friends for many years. They were both interested in me but Joe lived in a large Victorian home in East Providence with his mother. I wasn't really sure how that would work out, but I decided within a week or so; I would stay with him if his mother didn't object.

Joe's mothers name was Marie. She was a kind old soul; the kind of woman that anyone who knows how to treat his mother would be grateful for. Her hospitality to me during that trying time in my life will never be forgotten; and will always be much appreciated. Joe on the other hand would frequently in drunk, high or both. I had been briefly interested in being his lover and living there in the basement apartment they had. When he started that shit; it didn't take long to lose every ounce of interest that was at fist.

We started to drift apart very quickly after I sang for him, "Don't come home a Drinkin with Lovin on your mind." It was long after he realized how much I tended to be like "Loretta Lynn" he decided he was not only, not interested in me; he was no longer interested having me living there with them either. If his mother wasn't telling me he didn't want me to stay; he was telling me she didn't want me to stay. Of course every time this would happen, the one who was telling me that the other wanted me to go would also tell me that they didn't mind if I stayed until I could get in at the Y.M.C.A.; it was always the other one who wanted me out as soon as possible. After several attempts at appealing to their compassion they both finally agreed to let me stay just long enough for a room to come up open at The Y. Fortunately they let me use the basement apartment until then. That was no problem for me at all. I felt so relieved.

Within the first month after I had moved into The Y, I had not only had sex with the manager of a bar and grill to get a job; I had begun attending Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meetings, thanks to Diane Crabtree, my case worker at Travelers Aid. I didn't fare to good with my program in the beginning; but I had made a start. I had also made some very good friends at those meetings and it wasn't long afterwards that I began to feel some of the intense loneliness start to slip away. I had found some truly beautiful people to have in my life as friends. Most of them understood me better sometimes than I understood myself. I thank God to this day for putting them and the program into my life.

Getting back into Juan again; I didn't know quite how to feel when I realized that there were no S.L.A.A. meetings going on anywhere in the city of Louisville. I was disappointed at best, but I felt that if pattern of addiction remained constant; I would need to focus more on refraining from sex for at least a while anyway. It might be a little to easy for me to find myself in a worse situation than not having Juan if I lapsed into another relationship too soon without being anywhere near ready for it just yet. It took several months as it was before I could even think about it without feeling terrified of being hurt again.

The only good that Juan had done for me was introduced me to meditation. I really don't have any use for the Silva Meditation series that he used. I still believe it was directly responsible for our break up. Silva taught that everyone we come into contact with should be seen by us as a brother, sister, mother or father depending upon the age of the individual. I believe to this day that Juan saw me as his brother whom he just happened to love incestuously. The only time he ever treated me like his lover and not his brother was when we were having sex or he was accusing me of cheating on him after inventing one of his cockeyed stories in his own mind of how I was trying to do it. When I really began to think it all through; it started to make a little more sense how this had all happened. It didn't make me feel any better about it; but at least it did start making some sense in a sick and twisted kind of way. Of course when I mentioned this to Kendal he not only agreed that Juan was a very sick puppy; but I was once again trying to hard to rationalize why we broke up, when I should just be glad I was rid of the sick bastard.

"The only reason for him leaving you is that; he's an addict to Thomas!" I'm telling you, pardon the analogy; but it's as plain as the stains in my fucking underwear!" From what you've told me and everything I've read in your journal, it sounds to me that the only reason he really left you is because he wanted to be able to practice his own sex addiction without having to feel guilty about it because; he knew you were trying to get healthy and he didn't want to!" You were making him face his own addiction by trying to get healthy and he just wanted to stay in denial about!" He just didn't want you to do the same thing and when you told him about what you'd done with that guy he figured you'd keep doing it!" That's putting aside the facts that you felt so bad about what you'd done that you told him about it; but you were sick to fucking tears when you did! That would have been a dead give away to anybody with any brains that you were not only sorry for what you did; but you really regretted it and wished it hadn't happened!" Didn't that bastard have a fucking heart, no forgiveness in his soul at all for you?" Look how many things you repeatedly overlooked and forgave him for shit, and he couldn't forgive you for one mistake after ten and a half months of fidelity under circumstances that almost no addict could have been faithful under!" My God; who does who he think he is to put all the blame for what you did and what he did on you too?" I know for a fact you wouldn't have done him the way he did you if he'd come you crying his eyes out because he felt so horrible about being with someone else!" "You've got a fucking heart!" I know you still love this guy and all, but I've got to tell you I think in the long run; you're really going to realize how much better off you are without this guy!"

"He does have a lot of character defects; that's true." I won't deny that" I told Kendal. I think I'd be an unfair bitch though if I didn't say that as hard as they may be to see right now; he must have had some good and redeeming qualities about him, or I couldn't have fallen so deeply in love with him."

"You didn't fall in love Thomas; you fell in addiction!"

Chapter Four

"Personal Self Hypnosis Meditation"

You should begin this exercise by finding a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Relax your body. Clear your mind of all inhibiting thoughts while concentrating on your breathing. Now take very deep breaths, as deep as you can take.

For almost a year and a half this is the way I began my day, as well as the way it was ended. I have decided that the preliminaries of the meditation that I created for myself to help me get over Juan and make sure that I didn't find myself in a similar type of relationship with anyone else, the same type or worse is of little importance. I have decided to show you only the portions which I feel are most pertinent, to explain why they are so and how even the best intended efforts to restart and maintain an appropriate recovery program can easily be overshadowed by addictive thinking caused by destructive intimate relationships.

I have discovered that in order to create an appropriately healthy meditation for ones self, one must allow for the much needed feed back from ones sponsor in the program. The fact that we as addicts are continuously looking for that easier, softer way to start, restart and or maintain our personal recovery program often causes the cunning and powerful nature of the addict within to completely baffle us; especially at times when we least realize that it is happening. That is exactly what happened to me after Juan left and I'd thought I had my head screwed back on strait. It was during my second failed attempt at recovery that I created this particular meditation for my self. I had no idea that certain aspects of it, which I truly believed were healthy for me, were not only dangerous to the health of my program; but they were also unrealistic in nature.

There were six initial statements in the beginning of the meditation I used; only some which were damaging. They are as follows.

(1) I am a good person. I am kind, caring, loving and compassionate; first to my self and then to all those around me. This was only true in part for me. I had always been this kind of person; that was true. Unfortunately for my self and others; my reasons for being so were generally hidden methods of enabling my self to practice my self destructive pattern of addiction. There were times when I exercised these traits simply because I wanted to be this type of person for no other reason than I'd met someone who needed them. Most of the time however it was generally because I was trying get into some awesome sex with either a man, woman or both at the same time.

(2) I will knowingly allow nothing to remain in my life that is harmful to me in any way. I will deliberately keep harmful people with negative attributes at an appropriately safe distance. There are some aspects of ourselves and others that we as addicts can remove from our lives; and there are those which we simply can't. We are all capable of removing the destructive behaviors from our lives; but none of us can ever remove the addict within. He or she is with us until the day we leave this world and possibly beyond this world. The addict never stops trying to pull us back into practicing our addiction. It never stops trying to convince us that we can handle putting ourselves in potentially dangerous situations.

Go ahead, play with fire says the addict within us; I won't let you get burned. Just trust me. Addictively harmful people and attitudes should always be kept at as safe of a distance as possible. None of us should allow ourselves to spend an abundance of time with anyone who falls into this category. We should not spend any more time around someone who is sick and practicing than is absolutely necessary, unless we have found ourselves in a mode of thinking that we just don't care at the moment. Even then if possible; we should try to get away from them as quickly as we can. If you find you self in the presence of someone who is practicing addiction or self pity; get away as soon as you can. It's just too easy for us as addicts to catch the sick thinking of someone who's practicing a sick attitude toward life and recovery.

(3) Positive thoughts, actions and people aid me in achieving the goals I've set for my self to make the kind of healthy balanced individual that I want most to be. This stands true for everyone who is willing to really benefit from listening to a healthy person. The key word here however, is willing. If we as addicts are not truly willing to listen to the wisdom of healthy people who cross our paths; the wisdom they have to offer can't help us at that moment. As addicts we need always remember that these people are put in lives to cross our paths by our higher power; often when we need those most to be there. We should hear them out at all times. If someone is trying to help us to prevent ourselves from acting out our pattern; we should stay and listen to what they have to say even if it infuriates us to be helped at that time. Somewhere down the difficult road of recovery, we may remember something very important they told us, at a time when we are a little more willing to benefit from it.

(4) Negative thoughts, actions and people have no place in my life. This one in particular was really helping me to screw up my recovery. It does sound somewhat logical. Why then is it damaging? It is so because this statement is only partly true. In reference to ourselves as individuals negative thoughts and actions are only as negative as we see them at a given moment. Thoughts in and of themselves are never intrinsically positive or negative; the same holds true for emotions. Thoughts and emotions such as anger or hate can be very powerful, difficult to overcome and often little good can come from them. The issue here however is not what thoughts we allow ourselves to think, or even what emotions we allow ourselves to feel. It is more so how we allow ourselves to react to them and what we allow ourselves to do with those thoughts and feelings which will inevitably make them positive or negative for us and others as well.

Let me offer you a very clear perspective on what I mean by this. When I began my first failed attempt at recovery, I was going to meetings regularly every Monday night. The first year after I began attending I may have missed three meetings due to illness or unreliable transportation issues. First of all, there were enough meetings being held in Providence that; I could have gone to a different one every night of the week, had I been truly as serious as I'd led my self to believe that I was. I have realized for some years now; that I should have done just that. It was one of those situations in which I was just "not willing" to listen the reason of wisdom at the time; I had convinced my self that I didn't need that many meetings. Hind sight is often 20/20. There's no need for dwelling to long in the past; what's done is done. There was a particular young woman who occasionally came to the Monday night meeting deliberately displaying a sick and destructive attitude to people who were there for the purpose of maintaining a healthy program. I remember it as if it were yesterday because she was not only an real idiot every sense of the word; but no one was willing to tell her to keep her mouth shut if she wasn't going to talk "RECOVERY."

We'll call her Laguna. "My boyfriend (or one of the many) told the other day that he really loves me a lot; and he wants to be in a monogamous relationship." He doesn't want anyone else but me; and I just can't understand that at all, you know." It just doesn't make sense to me." I really hated to hurt his feelings, but I just had to tell him even though I know he really wants this; but I just can't be concerned with being in that kind of a relationship right now." I have to do what I think is right and good for me." I just really want to have a lot of lovers, male and female; both at the same time whenever possible." I just feel I need to have the experience of being with as many people as I can at this point in my life." I just can't allow myself to deal with all of the stress that goes in to trying to be monogamous at this point. "

Although there were some people at those meetings who seemed to always be struggling with their sobriety (myself included) we were trying to do what we felt we knew was best for us. Many of us being single and some who were wedded to their higher power; we were trying our damnedest to refrain from sex all together. The main issue here is that no one at that meeting or any meeting like this needed to be listening to her or anyone else talking about actively practicing their addiction as if engaging in active addiction without a care in the world was actually some form of "progressive recovery". This was good for me however because hearing her talk so ludicrously about practicing being some new and bizarre form of recovery simply reinforced for me not only what I don't want to be, but also that I don't want to buy into addictive "Bull Shit" from anyone including my own addict. In that respect, if responded to appropriately; listening to someone spouting out addictive "Bull Shit" like that can be a positive experience. I wouldn't suggest you try this at your own home meeting however. A lot of people are often too deep in their addict to be able to see that as the bull shit that it is. The healthier members of any meeting know this as well as knowing that they themselves could at any time be taken in by this attitude. Hopefully someone would tell you to either shut up and listen, or get the hell out of Dodge! However for the record, I do want to state that not everyone who engages in sexual activity with multiple partners is necessarily addicted to sex. If you can "honestly" tell your self and others that you are engaging in it simply for the sake of enjoying your self and someone else, and not because your using it to "make you happy" or avoid dealing with an issue that will still be there after you pop your wad; you can claim to be engaging in healthy sex if you're also not being obsessive with it.

(5) I am now taking control of my thoughts and actions as well as taking responsibility for them. I am taking control of them at every level, including the outer conscious level. Had this actually been true for me at the time; it would have been beneficial for me to hear it every day. Unfortunately for me, at that time; nothing could have been farther from the truth. I was taking responsibility for my thoughts and actions; but I was being very obsessive where sex was concerned. I was using it as a drug to medicate or put a band aid on internal wounds that needed a full body cast. I had brainwashed myself into believing that the opposite was true for me. This is very easy the addict to do.

(6) Every day and in every way I am getting better, better and better. Talk about a brainwashing technique! Although it was pretty damned sad at the time, when I look back on this now; I can't help but laugh at how addictively dishonest I was being with my self. It wasn't at all funny; it's just that I should have been completely aware that none of this was true. If I'd been practicing these statements in my life every day; they would have helpful for me hear but although I knew I wasn't; I convinced myself that I was. I wanted so badly to believe that it was all true and getting truer every day that passed me by. At this point I wouldn't have known what real recovery was if it had beat me in the head with a 2x4. I had my self so convinced that I was getting better, better and better, as far as I was concerned; I didn't even need the meetings anymore. I'd invented a cure for addiction of all types. I just wasn't willing to admit to my self at the time that what I was calling a cure was in fact very deeply imbedded denial of the issue.

Chapter Five

"Psycho Joe"

It took some time before Joe and Thomas spoke to each other enough to really start getting to know one another very good. The first time they saw each other he was not at all interested in talking to Thomas. He walked away just minutes after Thomas had spoken to him. It was quite some time later before Thomas seen him again. When he did see him he still wasn't talking; but he was behaving rather strangely.

They were at the bus stop on Roosevelt Ave in Downtown Pawtucket, when Thomas noticed that he had several decorative boxes that he had taken with him the trash can around the corner. He was taking them out of a bag one by one, sniffing them, and then seemed to be throwing them all in the trash. Thomas thought he'd just come from a birthday party and didn't like anything he'd been given; so he'd decided to dump them all in the trash on his way home. What an ungrateful wretch, He'd thought; those people spent money on that stuff. Thomas had actually wondered at one point if he hadn't escaped a "funny farm." He didn't find out until a few days later, that he was deliberately trying to make it obvious to Thomas that he was Gay to attract my attention. He thought he couldn't possibly make himself seem strait, when he was standing there sniffing colognes.

A day or two later Thomas saw him again at the same bus stop. Thomas had admit he was a little leery of him; he couldn't help but remember his unusual behavior when he'd seen him last. He did seem to be quite interested in Thomas this time however. They exchanged glances and smiles. For some reason, he waited until his bus arrived before he finally spoke to Thomas.

"How are you; Joe asked?"

"Fine, Thomas said; what's your name?"

"Joseph, he replied; what's yours?"

"Thomas; he said in return."

"I'm quite pleased to meet you; Joe said grinning widely."

They shook hands and at that moment it was obvious that neither of them really wanted to let the other go. He was quickly hooked.

It was just a few days later that they met up again at Kennedy Plaza in Downtown Providence. Thomas knew it was him as soon as he'd seen him. He kept calling to him trying to attract his attention two or three times before he finally let him know; he knew he was there. He didn't find out until some time after that he knew he was there the whole time; he just wanted to play hard to get, New England style. He had told him that he had some time on his hands before he had to be home, and invited me to go with him to "Blynkies" for a beer. Of course he thankfully accepted. No problem for him, if Joe was buying; he'd be drinking.

They walked and talked a little on our way to the bar; it was mainly bits and pieces of bull shit small talk. We went into the bar and he ordered their beers. Thomas went to sit at a table before anyone could prevent them from having somewhere to sit besides the bar. Joe came back with their beers and the conversation that should have made Thomas run for the Catskills began.

Thomas really felt kind of sympathetic toward him when he began telling him about his dreadful ex lover Kevin who'd left him emotionally years before he did physically for a very sensitive 14 year old boy; whom he was also cheating on with Joe and many others. He said he'd been with the boy for four years before he came home one day and found Kevin giving the now 18 year old young man the pounding of his life. Unfortunately instead of letting the bastard go on his merry way; he took revenge on the boy; who had been informed of what a monster Joe was, and that Kevin was afraid he'd try to kill him if he tried to leave. Of course the poor kid was terrified of Joe when they met under such awkward circumstances. He found out later he had good reason to be afraid. Joe had no feelings for that poor, unfortunate boy, but purposely convinced him that he did. He wanted him to fall in love with him giving him the impression that would take him away from Kevin's abuse, neglect and infidelity. The poor kid had been so abused, neglected and cheated by Kevin; that he really wanted to believe Joe was telling him the truth when he said he loved him. Joe however in his furiously angry rage wanted to do nothing more than see to it that Kevin was left standing alone with no one; he really couldn't have cared less about the boy "Jeff." Needles to say when Jeff eventually called Joe to tell him that he'd rid himself of Kevin and the two of them could begin their life together; Joe then told him what he'd really done and why. He also told him that he'd never had any feelings for him other than hatred for cheating on him with his lover. He only wanted his revenge on them both. Jeff was so shattered by all of what both Kevin and Joe had done to him. Joe received a call from Kevin sobbing so profusely that he could barely understand him when he told him; that he'd gone to Jeff's apartment to pick up some of his belongings and found that poor, sweet, innocent, abused and neglected boy hanging from the ceiling in a noose he'd made from a bed sheet. As far as Joe was concerned, his only regret was that the two of them didn't go together. He had no sympathy for either of them, when Jeff truly deserved it; Kevin may have deserved it also. I told you; Joe was one sick bastard. Thomas was apparently not the most sane of individuals when he was hearing all of this myself; or he would have ran as fast as he could to get away from him instead of sticking around to hear anything more from him at all.

Joe began telling Thomas what he would expect from him as his lover if they made it that far. I don't know what else it could have been other than desperation to be with someone, which made Thomas stay and listen to any more from him; especially after he told him that he would kill him, if he ever found him cheating with anyone. Thomas was so lonely and desperate to be loved by someone. How little he really knew back then of what love really is. They then parted ways after Thomas had idiotically exchanged phone numbers with the poor psycho bastard. He had by then been going to S.L.A.A. for a year faithfully. It hadn't really helped him much in any way other than that he knew what his problem was and he'd had finally made some good friends through that program. The two that he spent the most time with were very addictive and co-dependent but; they were close friends.

Thomas had called Joe later that night and they talked for three hours on the phone. He had gotten so much education from the program about his addiction and what was appropriate for him to do and what wasn't that he had convinced himself that he was the model addict in recovery and he was going to do everything perfectly this time with this one! That attitude in itself should really have told him a few things about his readiness for a relationship: as should his willingness to get into one so rapidly with such a basket case as Joe! As convinced as he had made myself that he was such a great catch for him; it was pretty easy to convince him of the same, until Joe got to now him. Joe later came to realize that Tomas was never really anywhere near as bad as he later came to think him to be however; he wasn't what he'd expected he had.

Thomas had talked Joe into letting him come to his apartment that night and had told him that he didn't them to get too frisky right off the bat. He wanted them to date, take their time and get to know each other first. He got over to the area where he'd told him to meet him and they walked to his place.

Thomas went into Joes apartment only to see that for someone who had told him he drew a disability check each month his apartment looked like that of a rich man. His mouth dropped open and he was quite speechless for a moment; which didn't often happen to him. Joe looked at him shockingly trying to assess what was wrong. He looked at Thomas and laughingly said: "what"?

"I thought you told me you were on disability"?

"Yes, he said; and"?

"If you're on disability then you're either being kept by a rich sugar daddy or you've got some kind of a good paying under the table job somewhere."

"Why do you say that"?

"People on disability don't have apartments that make them appear to be filthy rich!"

"I don't know who you've known in the past on disability, he said but: I'm not them."

"You'll have to introduce me to this rich boyfriend of your some time."

"I told you I don't have a rich boyfriend"?


He than began playing another of his soon to be famous mind games with Thomas. He played it up good too; let me tell you what he did. He went out of his way to speak "oh so clearly and properly", to go on and on about the importance of education; Thomas wanted so bad to look at him and say edu who? He didn't dare do that though; he thought he'd been to Harvard or something.

Thomas had gotten so board with all of Joes rhetoric; he decided that the only way he was going to be able to shut him up was to try his hand at stuffing his big, loud mouth with something he'd not be able to easily resist having in it. He was reluctant at first to Thomas romantic wiles; he almost had to get him into his bedroom.

They eventually got there and unfortunately for Thomas he was snared from that moment on into a year and a half of "The wrath of Joe."

It started out as a seemingly normal beginning to what Thomas thought would be a pretty good thing for them. He stayed with him at his place at that point for two weeks strait. In the course of that time Joe did the cooking and cleaning. Thomas offered on several occasions to help; but Joe always told him he would do it. Thomas figured if he enjoyed it so much and didn't want any help; there was no need to continue making the offer. They made Woopi as often as they liked. Everything seemed really great, then it happened; they had their first domestic spat. Joe was really quite an idiot for someone so smart. After a couple of weeks went by of him expecting Thomas to help him with the dishes and other house work; he finally decided to tell him that he'd been expecting that. What Thomas couldn't understand was every time he'd make the offer, even after Joe told him that he wanted help; he would still tell him he would do it himself. What made even less sense to Thomas was he'd wind up making a big fuss over him not doing it anyway. "Go figure." Thomas had truly tired of unsuccessfully trying to do what Joe said he wanted, and he just stopped; because he was making no sense to him at all. Thomas never knew what the hell the psychotic fool wanted from him. Of course then he got pissed and told Thomas packs up all of his belongings and get the hell out.

Picture it January, Rhode Island, a blizzard had come in from the coast in Newport; 28 inches projected in the forecast after 12 had already fallen. If it was minus 1 it had to be 30 below if not colder with the wind chill factor. Thomas still did as the ass hole said. He got his shit together and headed for the door. Opening the door to leave, he noticed Joe was right behind him. He quickly closed the door to. While doing so he suddenly wrapped his mouth around Thomas neck and told him not to twitch or move a muscle. "If you do, he said; I'll rip your fucking throat out." Needles to say, Thomas didn't move until Joe felt confident that he wasn't leaving. Of course then the delusional fool wanted to have sex to make it up to Thomas. Thomas only went along with it at that point out of fear for his life. There had been many times after that, that Thomas had tried to get away from Joe. Escape however would not prove to be an easy feat. Joe was an extremely light sleeper. Every time Thomas would try to pack his things after Joe had gone to sleep, he'd always wake up wanting to know what Thomas was doing in the closet. Thomas was terrified that Joe would kill him the next time he suspected him of trying to leave, so he pretended to have gotten chilled in the night and was looking for something extra to wear to bed. Of course he then went back to bed and pretended everything was fine. This was only one of many frightful situations which would take place over the next year and a half while experiencing "The Wrath of Joe". Yet another is as follows.

Thomas was living in a sleeping room a few blocks from Joes place at the time of the Joes next episode. Thomas had gone to his place to wait for his food stamp check to arrive in the mail. The check eventually came and Thomas went to the bank to cash it. He then started back on his way to Joes place for the two of them to go shopping together, since he was spending the majority of his time at Joes place. While on his way back to Joes place, he met up with a bartender he used to know from Blynkies. His name was Chia. Chia asked him if he needed a ride. It was only a few blocks to Joes place, but Thomas hadn't seen Chia in such a long time (due to Joes insane issues of jealousy, suspicion and control) he just wanted to talk for a few minutes. He accepted Chia's offer and just decided that he'd keep it to himself. Joe would never find out anyway if he didn't tell him. After all he was just accepting a ride from a friend; so what if they had tried to date at one point but couldn't make their schedules fit. Thomas still was only accepting a ride and talking for a few minutes to someone who'd been very kind to him and he was very fond of.

Thomas had gotten so caught up in the conversation he and Chia were having, that he'd forgotten his food stamps in a book he'd been reading while waiting for them to arrive. So much for Joe not finding out that Chia had given him a ride home. Thomas had to tell him then; because he had to go and get them. Of course Joe had to come along after slapping him around for 10 or 15 minutes. By the time Joe had finished beating on him; Thomas temples, forehead and jaws were so sore that he was in terrible pain for two weeks. It was all the worse when he'd have to move his jaws while trying to eat.

Joe and Juan were two peas in a pod in many ways. The only good thing about Juan was that, even though he was often emotionally and mentally abusive; he never was physically. They were both however insane as a Southern Slave Owner where control and possessiveness were concerned. They were also both psychotically jealous of anyone Thomas tried to befriend or maintain those he'd made prior to meeting either of them. Neither one of them ever trusted him any farther than he could be thrown by them. They were both so horribly insecure and unfortunately; they wanted to stay that way. They felt it was easier and better for them, than putting any effort in to making themselves and their lovers happy by at least making some attempt to cure their psychosis. Of course the fact that they were both so deep in denial that they were less than perfect didn't help either of them toward any form of personal self transformation. They just didn't want to understand that Thomas was not all of their ex lovers whom they'd both made out to have been so horrible to them. To be quite honest about they and their concepts of reality to be so warped; he felt very confident in his view that the way they perceived themselves treated by their exes was probably just as warped as they were. Thomas made n astute observation in reference to them both.

"If they treated me the way they did; why wouldn't they have done the same to their exes?" If they had been treated inappropriately by them; they probably pushed them in to it." God knows there were times I wanted them both so dead! ; He told me. "The only reason I didn't do it myself was; because I couldn't figure out how to do it without making a mess!" "It would have been just my luck, Joe would have come back from the dead just for the fun of bitching at me for not keeping his apartment the way he would have!"

Joe was such a needy and co dependent man; it was really very sad. If he just hadn't been so psychotic and smothering of me; we may have been able to make it work for us. The only place I could ever go without him tagging along was work, after I'd finally found another job. Of course there was the incident where he called Thomas during a busy lunch rush, while he was working one day at "Cafā La France". He had gotten pissed off that day after Thomas had gone to work; because he'd found an outfit of clothes that Thomas had only worn once, after they were washed in the chest of drawers with the clothes that hadn't been worn yet. He told the manager Kristen (who was a Bronco Butch Bull Dyke from all four corners of Hell) that he had an emergency situation and he had to talk to him right then; it couldn't wait. Thomas came to the phone and Joe just wanted to bitch him out about those stupid fucking clothes. Once he was finally able to get the insane ass hole off of the phone, he then saw Kristen looking at him very coldly asking; "that was your emergency?" What the hell he could do, he said; but apologize and tell her that if he called again in the future to say that went home sick or something!" He just tried to explain to her; that he wasn't quite playing with a full deck of cards!"

I think Thomas said they'd been together by the time of the next occurrence for about a year. He had gone once again to pick up his food stamp check. The mail had run about three hours later than its usual time. He had assumed Joe would assume that the mail was late, as it was that day. He was already so disgusted with all of Joes "bull shit" antics for some time. He really didn't expect that Joe would be worried about him, and at that point; he cared little if at all if he was. Of course Joe never assumed any but the worst possible situations he could imagine. He jumped to the conclusion that I had taken the food stamps and ran off to the shelter in Woonsocket. When Thomas came in the door of the apartment Joe was scared, shaking and held Thomas tighter than he'd ever done before. All Thomas could do was try to comfort and reassure him that he loved him and he wasn't going anywhere.

Some time later things just seemed to continually take one turn after another for the worst where their relationship was concerned. Thomas didn't know until after he'd already become so addicted to that relationship that he couldn't seem to bring myself to get out of it, that Joe had all sorts of mental disabilities as well as having two artificial hips in his body. His doctors had him on so many different medications at the time when we were together and experimenting with so many dosages that his sexual performance had been badly compromised. Thomas knew he should have told him the truth about how he felt on that issue but instead he told him not to worry about it because it just wasn't important to him. The fact was however that it really was very important to him. When he became less than sexually excited at the idea of having sex with someone who couldn't get it up anymore, things just kept getting worse. He couldn't understand why Thomas had lost interest in him and Thomas didn't know how to tell him without destroying his ego (which was enormous) and really hurting his feelings at the same time. I should also mention that Joe being the abusive son of a bitch that he was; Thomas was afraid he might beat the shit out of him. Thomas was also truly afraid to be honest with him.

The time had come that Thomas had to put aside that fear and tell him the truth; because he was now coming to Thomas and asking him about it. So he told him and he was far better behaved about the whole thing than he'd anticipated that he would be. It did hurt him; it definitely bruised his ego pretty badly, but; he was honest with him about his part in the situation as well. He told Thomas that if he had been honest with him instead of trying to spare his feeling in the short term of the situation he could have asked his doctor to proscribe meds with a low risk of sexual side affects. They had gotten that taken care of but, unfortunately it was already too late for them to make the relationship work into something positive for them. Thomas was always scared of him because the fluctuating meds and dosages were making his behavior so unpredictable he never knew when he was going to beat on him. Although neither of them was willing to take the step of ending the relationship; they both knew it was already done.

They had little or no communication with each other most of the time. That was really difficult for both being that they spent all of their spare time together when Thomas was not working.

Thomas had been laid off from his job at Hasbro and was renting his sexual favors in the adult book stores in Downtown Providence. He had a recurring cist pop up in my mouth every other month it seemed and Joe kept telling me to go to work and try to make some money because they were low in this or that. Unfortunately Joe lanced that cist for him every time it came back and still had him going to work in a profession like the one he was in at the time knowing the risk we were both taking with themselves, as did Thomas; I can't blame it all on him; I didn't have to follow his lead and go into work. Unfortunately because I did follow his lead; we both wound up H.I.V. positive; Thomas told me.

Joe blamed Thomas and Thomas rightfully blamed them both. Thomas had become bitter at the world while Joe just continued to become more angry and bitter toward him. In the end it caused some pretty serious problems. Thomas had become so pissed at Joe for blaming him 100% and accepting no part of the blame himself, that the majority of the time they didn't really enjoy each others company unless we were renting and watching movies. In one month Thomas said they must have rented over 100 movies to keep themselves entertained to a point that they wouldn't have to deal with the anger that would always pop up when they had to talk to each other about anything other than the movies they were watching.

It was maybe two or three months after he had bought the V.C.R. that Thomas had put in the Sound Of Music. They watched it and loved every minute. Thomas got up to take the movie out of the V.C.R and it was stuck inside and wouldn't come out for anything. Of course Basket Case Joe blamed the whole thing on Thomas. As idiotic as he sounded suggesting that Thomas must have pout the tape in backwards; he just let him throw his tantrum because he knew that to defend himself at that point as abusive as Joe could be could have been no less than sealing my own doom. He took it apart, took the back off of it; he did everything he could think of to do to get that tape out of the V.C.R. without damaging it, all to no avail. He fiddled with it until he got so angry and frustrated that he picked it up and threw it as hard as he could onto his kitchen linoleum. That was the end of their only means of enjoying one another's company; Thomas was more angry that they were going to have to start talking to each other again than he was about the tantrum and how afraid he was of him. "I know it was a pretty sick excuse for a relationship, Thomas told me; but neither of us knew how to give it up.

It came to the point that as hard as they both tried to keep it going they finally realized after Thomas unemployment benefits had been one month exhausted; they had no choice but to split up and for Thomas to go back to Louisville. They had a yard sale and sold some things, but gave away a lot of Thomas belongings because no one would buy them. Joe went with him to the Pawtucket Bus Station and saw him off in tears. Thomas on the other hand had very mixed emotions about that fateful day. Part of him was sorry to be leaving his side, while another part felt little more than relief. Little did Thomas know on his way home that Joe had helped him start a better life for himself. Thomas with yet another failed relationship under his belt but still; he felt relieved that he would be so far away that he couldn't hurt him anymore. Technically they were still together long distance for a few months after that until Joe came to visit him in Louisville for the second time and Thomas accidentally broke his arm when he kicked him backwards for trying to hit his dog Sasha. When Joe got back to Rhode Island and found out that his arm had been broken as a result of one powerful kick from Thomas right leg; he decided that it was over between them on his own. It really didn't bother Thomas in the least; he was glad that the ass hole had tried to hurt his dog and got his arm broken in the process. Now he would be forever free of his sick rain of terror in his life; forever free!

"Chapter Six"

"Not Yet Ready"

It was October of "93" and Thomas had been staying with his ex-lover Stuart and his "girlfriend" in an apartment in Woonsocket. The whole situation was an extremely stressful one to say the least. (I know; are there any other kinds that Thomas has in his life? I wonder the same thing a lot of the time myself.) At any rate, Stuart was a prissy assed, bleached blond flaming queen whom Thomas had had the misfortune of falling for a couple of years prior to all of what's coming in the story. He was only with Brenda because he wanted a break from his insane mother who drove him crazy because they were both couple of insane ILLITERATES who used their wiles to manipulate men into giving them whatever they needed. They were just too much alike to get along living with each other. Again that was the only reason he was with the idiotic bitch that he'd convinced he loved.

She had a little boy who was so adorable and sweet that Thomas just couldn't understand her neglect for him. When he saw her take her rent money and sell her food stamps to go out and buy an FM stereo with dual cassette deck along with a case of beer and MD2020,, when she should have bought food for her hungry child; he packed up his things and moved into the shelter in Woonsocket. While in transit from her apartment to the shelter he made a call to the C.P.S. Unfortunately they did nothing about it. That was what brought him to the shelter and eventually to an older man he met at a local park who could have been a good guy for him had he just been ready at the time for a good relationship with someone special. Thomas really wanted it ;but he was just so deep in his sex and relationship addiction that he couldn't do anything but screw him over. He bought cigarettes for him, opened his home up to him, cooked for him, took him out to dinner and bought him anything he wanted. He screwed around on him with guys from the shelter and later very frequently put him off after moving into the Y.M.C.A. in Downtown Providence screwing around in the steam room down stairs as well as in the bookstores. He just couldn't stop himself and he knew that he was out of control and headed for H.I.V. (which he eventually got anyway) if he didn't find some kind of no cost help from somewhere.

He spoke to my social worker at Travelers Aid and she did some research for me to help him find the help he needed. That was when he found out about S.R.A.A. sex and Relationship Addicts Anonymous. He had a lot of holes in his program at the time, in part because ;he didn't have an appropriate sponsor to guide him in the process. He was not really very willing to do what it was going to take for him to help himself either. He was really hoping for the friends that he made at the meeting, as well as for someone else from it to be his new lover. When the lover part didn't come into play he began making himself very available to guys outside of the program. That was when Joe came along and gave him the ultimatum two weeks after they met; that he had to either give up the meetings or give him up. He finally had a lover now and he wasn't going to give that up; so the meetings lost out and a year and a half of hell won. But we've already been through all of that.

Thomas knew that he wasn't what any one needed for a lover just a couple of months after he'd met his sweet older man named Everett. He had gone to Louisville to visit his family for Christmas and wrote Everett a letter when he came back to the "Y". He went to his apartment to visit with him for a while one evening and Everett made him dinner. He wanted so badly to tell him in person that they couldn't be together until he was able to get a handle on his addiction: but I just didn't have the balls to do it at that point in his life. He wished so many times that he had. They might still at least be friends now.

Thomas came back months later to talk to him and try to make some sort of amends for having treated him so inappropriately. He was surprisingly kind and hospitable to him. He didn't hold back how it all made him feel and that he took everything that he had in his apartment that reminded him of Thomas and threw it all in the dumpster. That made Thomas feel even worse about it all, but it was good for him to hear Everett tell him all of that; because he never took the cowards' way out of a relationship again. He didn't ever take the rout of a letter in the mail box any way.

Chapter Seven

"Back to the Drama Palace"

After Kendal had told Thomas he had to leave; because he wouldn't keep sponsoring someone who wouldn't get serious about his program; Thomas found himself living with his parents for a month until he could get back into "The Drama palace. "My blessed Lord and Lady; what a truly bleak time that was. That place was awful. Aesthetically it was quite pleasing, the ass holes he had to live there with on the other hand, were all alcoholics, drug addicts and ex convicts each with an extraordinary chip on their shoulders to go along with their pasts. The fact that these guys had issues and pasts that they were not proud of was not an issue for Thomas. The only problem he had with them was "the attitude." Granted Thomas didn't help things any with the one he gave back to them. He figured if they could act as if he weren't normal because he didn't have a drug, alcohol or criminal history; he could make them feel as if they were less than he; because they did. It was the wrong thing to do, I know; but that's what he did.

There were two "gentlemen" and I use the term loosely, who frequently caused a lot of problematic issues for Thomas. Their names were Coco Puff and Cucumber Sex. We just called them Coco and Cucumber. Thomas didn't find out until it was too late that he couldn't trust either of them any farther than they could be thrown by him. Coco could never make up his mind if he wanted to be friends or not; he even went so far as to try to get Thomas evicted by concocting a wild untrue story about him having made unwanted sexual advances toward him. That was where Cucumber came into play. Cucumber didn't know Thomas from Adam, that didn't stop him from being swayed by Coco to lie for him and say that he had witnesses Thomas making his "advances." Orbit the house manager, had called a meeting of himself, some old gray haired female troll from The H.O.R. House which had taken over The Drama Palace and Mooney along with Livvie who were on the Drama Palace Board Staff. Thomas had no clue what the meeting was about until he was called into it. He was shocked. He knew it had to be some kind of lie that Coco had invented against him , but he had no clue why Cucumber had gotten involved. Thomas could tell by the way he was being questioned in reference to his sex addiction during the meeting with all of them, that they had already tried and convicted him without even giving him a chance. So, when they offered to let him speak in his defense; he didn't feel it was worth the effort. He had learned the hard way that anonymity exists for a very good reason. He was mandated to begin attending S.A.A. meetings three times a week. He did need to be there anyway, but resented being forced to go due to "Bull Shit" charges brought against him by a lying, crack using ex convict with eight different children by eight different women, who didn't pay child support and couldn't be trusted.

Thomas knew then that he had to do something about Cucumber. It would have done him no good at that point to say anything about him to try getting him out of the house; they would have known his motive behind it. When Cucumber began expressing an interest in Thomas as a friend Thomas took full advantage of the opportunity to pretend he was interested in a friendship with him, hoping it may prevent any further lies being inflicted upon him; at least by one ass hole anyway. Fortunately for Thomas ; the plan worked out well. It was only a matter of weeks before Cucumber had moved out of the house after being fired from his job because Coco came to his work place harassing the receptionist about talking to him concerning some money Cucumber owed him that he was deliberately avoiding paying back to him. He then went on to live with the friend of a fellow Thomas was trying to date at the time. He screwed that poor guy over bad. He had all of the utilities changed over into his name and told the rental office that Mark had moved out and he wanted to take over the lease. Once he'd done all of that it was just a matter of time before they were both evicted; because Cucumber wasn't paying any rent or utilities. He had even started dating some little teen age boy and bringing him to their apartment all of the time, when he had initially moved in with Mark to be his boyfriend. Cucumber was one of the most despicable excuses for a human being that Thomas and anyone else who'd ever been associated with him had ever known. He was a true user in every sense of the word. One good thing came out of the situation. Thomas boyfriend at the David had made certain that cucumber would never work for the temp agency that David was a supervisor for again.

The only real friends that Thomas had in that Safe Haven for Scum was Little Jessie and a very kind, sweet older gentleman by the name of Chuck. Everyone in that Hellish place thought that Jessie was retarded idiot. Thomas had thought so also until he finally started taking the time to get to know him. He was really one of the wisest men that Thomas had ever had the good fortune of having for a friend. The two of them would sit up many of long nights together just talking about how they felt about what was going on in the house and how they each felt about various issues in reference to life in general. Thomas received a lot of good advice from that sweet, little old black, fatherly role model. Thomas truly regretted not having gone to visit with Jessie after The Palace had put him in a nursing home. There were opportunities to do so with Rae the designated Elder Companion for The Drama Palace, after Thomas had moved out; and he didn't go. A couple of years later Thomas found himself attending a memorial service for the friend he'd basically abandoned until his death. Within a month afterward, one of the other guys he'd once lived with at the house had died as well; his name was Big Jessie. Soon thereafter he had been informed by Rae that his friend Gary he'd also lived with at the Palace would no longer take his H.I.V. drugs and was giving up to let himself die. So many people, one killer disease with no discrimination policy; Thomas was becoming very depressed about so many of his friends dieing. He was truly understanding how fortunate he was to have an undetectable viral load and a T Cell count that his meds had helped him get quite high. Still he had no choice but to realistically look at his own mortality; he knew the day was coming and he had no idea when; that he to would become so sick from illnesses brought on him by the A.I.D.S., that he to would give up on life and embrace the great transition into the realm of spirits.

Getting back to the period when he was living at the Drama Palace; his other treasured friend was chuck. Chuck also had some addiction issues(which type I won't go into) but, he was a truly wonderful fellow even so. Thomas said he could rarely remember Chuck ever having an adverse word to say to or about anyone; even when he was justified in doing so. There were many times that he would have been justified to do so, had he wanted to enough. Thomas and Chuck used to sit awake for hours at a time also, like he and Jessie, talking and sipping their coffee. Chuck had also offered some valuable advice to Thomas in reference to the hateful generalizations he would often make in reference to Cubans as a whole. Chuck told him frequently that it was really very unfair to make such statements in reference to an entire country of people based on a few bad apples that he'd know from that particular place. Thomas was still however so infuriated with Juan; he would not be convinced that any Cuban man could have any redeeming qualities at all. It was until Thomas had gone to work for Honey Bubbles, that he had come to realize through getting to know some very kind and loving Cuban men, who's wives had only the most wonderful things to say about them (as well as their treatment of him) that he finally saw that not all Cuban men were like those which he'd had the misfortune of knowing prior. He also eventually came to understand that those he'd known before were not unfortunate situations. They had taught him a lot about what he didn't want in a relationship and what was no longer willing to put up with out of anyone in the future. In that respect Juan was good for Thomas to have been through all of the Hell he went through with him. He had finally become willing with Kendal's help to see that he deserved much better than he'd ever allowed for himself in the past.

Chuck didn't really start seeming to have any real issues with anyone at The Palace that he'd tell anyone about except Thomas until near the end of the time that Thomas had left. Most of the issues chuck had with anyone he wouldn't talk to them about ;because didn't want problems with people he had to live with every day. That was understandable. Thomas understood completely with all of the Bull Shit" he was dealing with from Coco and Cucumber. There were often times when most of the residents of the Palace would not lift a finger out of sheer laziness to do any of their house chores. Thomas did admit to being one of them at times. He would just get so depressed having to deal with all of the unnecessary drama Coco and Cucumber had inflicted on him. He couldn't seem to motivate himself; the fact that he was still dealing with so much pain and anxiety over Juan didn't help matters any either. Thomas has always found it very difficult at best to motivate himself for much of anything; he's dealt with so much depression in his life. Nothing he's tried to use for combating that has ever seemed to help much for a prolonged period of time. Finding out about the H.I.V. just added to the problem.

Eventually Chuck did begin speaking his mind about anyone and everything that he had any issues with to them, themselves including Thomas. The only issue he seemed to ever have with Thomas however was his individual neglect of the house duties assigned to him. He felt it was very unfair that everyone else, usually him; was often left picking up the slack for those who wouldn't do the duties assigned to them. Thomas knew he couldn't defend himself on this issue; because he frequently did neglect his chores. Near the end of the time he was there, he did begin performing his assigned tasks regularly. He became fearful, that he may be evicted if he did not. He just couldn't deal with the possibility of living full time with David, the fellow he was trying to fall in love with at the time.

David was a good man; don't get me wrong. Unfortunately he was also a lazy slob from Hell; who didn't give a shit about keeping an appropriately clean home. It didn't take Thomas more than a few weeks at the most to see that it was going nowhere fast. Still he tried for a few months to deal with being the made and butler but not getting any help with any of it. Granted he made a big mistake with David. He began allowing him to give him money every week for cigarettes. He didn't know that David was going to consider that a sort of payment for the house work that he was doing for him. He'd tried many times unsuccessfully to get David to see that there was just too much for him to it all alone. David never wavered to lift a finger to help him. He would cook every night; Thomas gave him credit for that, and an awesome cook he was. The biggest problems were the laundry and the tables in the dining room and living room. Every time that Thomas would get those tables looking nice and neat, David would come in behind him and flop the mail on them keeping them in a constant state of clutter and disarray. This was not at all an appropriate way to show his appreciation for all of the work that Thomas was doing for him. David also had a spare bed room that was half full to the ceiling with his dirty laundry. That alone was a never ending battle for Thomas to tackle. It literally never ended the entire time they were together. He eventually just had his fill of being David's slave for cigarette money.

When he moved into his new apartment on York Street; he rid himself of David as soon as possible. This is how it transpired.

After making up his mind that he would try to simply be friends with David; Thomas had unsuccessfully tried to let him down as easy as possible. David would not be let down easy or hard the first time around however. He accused Thomas of being a slut; because he had a sexual encounter with someone after telling him that he didn't feel that things were working out for him and David. He accused him of using him to have a place to retreat to; to get away from The Drama Palace as often as he could. He told him that it was his opinion; that Thomas was in his own right as despicable of an individual as was Cucumber. David just couldn't understand the concept that Thomas knew it wasn't going to work for them. As far as David was concerned Thomas was giving up to easy. He said; he felt it was just a little too easy for anyone to just give up after such a short time of being with someone. In David's opinion, Thomas was just not giving them the time they needed to work things out and grow toward each other. So Thomas after three hours of trying to convince David that they weren't right for each other and getting nowhere with it really fast; he got tired of talking to him and gave up trying. He gave David the impression that he would try it one more time for a little while and see how it went for them. He hated to admit that his intentions were truly opposite of that , but they were. He had no intention of trying to do anything but appease him temporarily, while he allowed myself some degree of freedom to be his own man; if you will.

He then approached David with the reality of them not being not being the appropriate individuals for one another. Of course the same conversation transpired all over again. Thomas was a smutty, user, who gave up on everything far too easily. Another three hour conversation transpired to the negative. It wasn't until Thomas told him that Juan was coming back to town and he was going to try his hand at being with him again; that he finally decided to give up on his futile attempt to convince him that they should stay together. None of what he was telling him was true of course; except that Juan was coming back to town. He was hoping that he had changed, but it didn't take very long of talking to him on the phone to find out that he was still just as ignorant and warped as he'd always been. That story is coming up next; it's really pretty sad. Thomas did have to admit however, that Juan taught him yet another valuable lesson about life, people and hoping too hard for what ones knows is virtually impossible.

It was before Juan came back to town that he'd called when David was present. David didn't really think anything of it, until Thomas told him that he was going to see if Juan was yet ready to give them another chance at a life together. Thomas was hoping that it would work out appropriately for that to happen for them; although he was very hurt and disappointed yet again to find that Juan hadn't changed in the least, he had at least become wise enough to not let himself expect it would transpire. Regretfully, the false hope that Thomas had allowed himself to invent was enough to cause great disappointment and pain.

When Juan came back to town he came to visit with Thomas at the Taco Hell near the U of L campus on Brook Street. He came baring gifts no less. He had brought back with him from Atlanta, a miniature, rainbow striped, bean bag kitten along with a couple of sexy pairs of underwear for Thomas. They were tiger striped no less. Thomas thought that surely the ass hole had realized his mistakes and wanted to give them another try. It was then that he began to expect better behavior from Juan than transpired over the course of that weekend. Juan had said he was going to call Thomas and that they could get together and visit with each other. Thomas waited all weekend by the phone, only to receive his call from Juan just hours before he was due back to Atlanta. Juan's "friends" whom he barely knew and had spent precious little time with when he and Thomas were together, were more important for him to spend his last remaining hours with in Louisville than Thomas was. Thomas knew at that point that Juan must have gotten angry because he didn't drop his job for him and go trapcing across Louisville with him when he came to see him at work. Thomas hoped at that point that he would never see or hear from Juan again. Thomas had been gone from "The Drama Palace" about a month or so by the time all of this had taken place.

He had waited unwillingly and impatiently for a year and a half after Joe and he had split up for good, before Juan came along. Only after having made an attempt at getting back together with Joe; in that he had proven himself to be a changed man. They had begun making plans for how they would manage it when Thomas met Juan. He was so lonely he'd all but forgotten about Joe, when he began seeing Juan. He should have gone with the one who'd proven himself, but he learned from that the hard way as he did everything else in life. It was a year after he and Juan had split up, and he'd left "The Drama Palace" before he met Honey Bubbles. They had their fair share of issues also, some Thomas came to realize were actually his own, while others he never became entirely clear as to weather they were his, Honey's or theirs together. Those can be some pretty hard calls to make. As of 11/20/02; he's still trying to decipher all of that. It's not an easy process, but he's trying to hold on to the one who is the best yet; even though there are and have been some very difficult things to deal with because Honey's views on certain topics of their relationship are so thoroughly ludicrous, not to mention inappropriate.

Chapter Eight

"Revenge So Sweet"

This chapter begins December 1990,to April 1991. Thomas had come back to Louisville to recuperate from the loss of his relationship with Stuart in Bath, New York. For five weeks he did just that. He cried a lot and wrote a great deal of lonely, depressing but hopeful poetry. It was hard for Thomas to deal with Stuart never being able to make up his mind if he wanted to be with him or the girls that his Bitch on Wheels mother would keep putting in their way. After the third time in three months being put off by Stuart for two weeks at a time for him to use and dump these girls; Thomas would take no more.

Thomas met Stuart for the first time (although he hated admitting this to anyone) through a glory hole in the men's room at Union Station in Indianapolis. He had just recently gotten over a very disturbing time in his life with The Indianapolis Church of Christ. It was a disturbing period for him in that he'd fallen deeply in love with a beautiful young black man right at the same age as he whom the church had a fit over because they felt the two of them were taking unnecessary chances spending too much time together. They knew what was going to happen if they didn't intervene in the situation. They were probably right. God knows Thomas loved him enough to have done whatever it took eventually to get them both away from those people so that they could have been happy together. The sad thing about it all was that neither one of them were yet even thinking that way when those horrible people made them stop spending any unsupervised time together. They were both truly crushed by it.

At any rate I told you how Thomas and Stuart met. From that that point on come the rest of the story. Thomas was living with a friend of a friend whom he had been intimate with once before. They turned out to be only room mates, in that they were just too much alike to be lovers. They were almost unable a lot of the time to even live together. Mickey was an old pieces queen from back in the old days when Saber Tooth was at the top of the land mammal food chain. Anyway, Stuart and Thomas had come home one evening and heard Mickey downgrading them both. Granted everything he was saying was true but neither one of them had sense enough at the time to see that they were really the great unreasonable ones in that situation.

Stuart had left about a week later to go back to Bath without giving Thomas as much as a call to let him know why. Thomas was crushed again. Why he thought had Stuart done this to him? What did he do to make him want to leave him after they'd fallen in love? About a week later when Thomas had all but given up that he would ever hear from Stuart again; he got a call that made him the happiest he'd probably ever been in his life. (except for a situation which transpired later on) Stuart told him that his mother had gotten pregnant and had to go to the hospital thinking that she was miscarrying. Needless to say it was all just a cruel ploy to get her baby back home because she missed him. Let me tell you, the bitch was a sicko. Thomas had his doubts about living with that woman even as young and naive as he was, but he loved Stuart and he wanted to be with him. So he took the chance for love. Isn't that the way it is; you don't get what you want in life without taking some risks in it. Unfortunately Thomas had no idea that Stuart had such a hard time pleasing himself instead of his mother. One of the occasions when she came between them by strongly encouraging Stuart to dump Thomas for a girl; it didn't work out quite as she'd hoped. At least this time it happened; Thomas had his revenge on one of those girls.

Her name was Brenda, a short, fat, Rhode Island bitch was the first of the three. She had informed Thomas that before Stuart had gone to Indianapolis where they'd met; Stuart had proposed marriage to her. She accepted and was not about to give him up without a fight. Thomas had realized when Stuart had decided to take her back, just to please his mother. There was no point in trying to keep him if he didn't want them to be together. Thomas let him go hoping that he would eventually come to his senses. He eventually did and they experienced a couple of weeks of true bliss until the next one came around.

The second girls name was Anita. She was a really sweet young lady. Thomas liked her and felt sorry for her that she was trying to pursue someone like Stuart. Thomas had gotten to know Stuart quite well. He was only putting him off for these girls for a couple of weeks at a time like this to keep his Demon Queen Mother off his back about him being gay. He had no feelings for any of these girls other than genuine friendship; and Stuart knew it as well as Thomas did. He hurt them all terribly by not being honest with them. Thomas had tried to explain this to Stuart but unfortunately Stuarts brain was just too limited to understand or really care. He just wanted The Demon Queen off his back for a while.

Then along came Chris who was as much an addict as was Thomas. Thomas had actually been far less than addictive with Stuart being his first attempt at a real relationship. He was very much in love with Stuart. Thomas wasn't as sexually addictive in that one as he later came to see he was in reference to holding onto Stuart when he should have let him go the first time around. It wasn't until Chris came along that Thomas began to get addictive with sex. It wasn't Stuart however that he became addictive with; it was Chris. The last week that Thomas was in Bath; he had sex with Chris six nights out of the last seven he was there. She wasn't very smart; but she was some awesome sex.

Getting back to the sweet taste of revenge, Thomas got his on Brenda. It was a truly wonderful experience. It may have felt better for him than any sexual encounter he would ever have with anyone. Thomas had even once suggested that perhaps that may have been true. It was just so satisfying. Brenda had made two attempts at taking Stuart from Thomas. The second time around Thomas would not be reckoned with. Brenda was so incredibly načve, trusting and ignorant in so many ways Thomas saw the perfect opportunity to take advantage of her stupidity as he got his revenge at the same time.

Brenda was going to have her picture taken with her baby boy o eight months. She wanted to get her hair done before having the photos made. She stereotypically believed that all Gay men were simply born knowing how to do hair. Stuart wasn't home at the time so Thomas told her he'd been doing hair all his life and had never dissatisfied anyone with his performance. One of Stuart's cousins in law had continually tickled Brenda throughout the time that he was deliberately annihilating her head. This of course just made his story more believable when Thomas told her he'd done the best he could with Tim making her wiggle so much. Thomas had used a set of electric hair trimmers to shave several gaps out of the sides of Brenda's head after having shortened so much on the top of her head that her hair stood strait on end. That totally strait bitch looked like a Bronco Butch Bull Dyke From Hell, by the time Thomas had finished with her head.

She went to the bathroom to look at herself in the mirror and the screams of horror that came out her mouth were spine chilling.

"You Fuckin Mother Fucker; they heard her exclaim!" I'm gonna Fuckin kill you! "Tim, don't let me get my hands on him!" If I find something to get him with, I swear I'll kill his ass!"

She did come after Thomas but her own stupidity and gullibility made it easy for Thomas make her more upset with Tim for tickling her and making her move so much than she later came to be with Thomas. She really didn't know at that point who to blame because both scenarios seemed believable. She really couldn't figure out however if Thomas had purposely done this to her or if it had really been an accident and he had tried to fix it as best he could. She never knew for certain that Thomas really hated her and he had deliberately made her look so butch; she was having feminine lesbians come on to her everywhere she went in that sleepy little town. She wound up finding out by accident that one of her best friends she'd grown up thinking of as strait was a lesbian who'd always wanted her but couldn't tell her. When the girl thought she was coming out of the closet after having her hair done this way she had to have her. It almost turned into a stalking situation. Brenda became so uncomfortable with the girl she'd not only grown up with but came to bath with; she moved her short fat ass back to Rhode Island where she should have stayed to begin with. Thomas was so pleased with himself; he knew he would have a at least one story that he and everyone he would ever meet in the future could laugh about until their bellies ached with muscle cramps. Not surprisingly so, it would happen just that way every time he told this story to anyone. Oh God; what he did to that bitches head.

Stuart still couldn't make up his mind if he wanted to please his mother or himself. Thomas had decided it was time to give up, count his losses and go back to Louisville. It was then that he met up with Michael and another chapter in the continuing saga of "The Raven Flies Low" begins to unfold again.

Chapter Nine

"My lover, My Teacher"

A couple of weeks after Thomas had returned from Bath, he'd found a job and began having sex again as frequently as possible in hopes that it would aid him in getting over the loss of his relationship with Stuart. It didn't of course. It did help him to keep his mind occupied in other areas, but it didn't do anything as far as helping him to in any way resolve any of the issues surrounding the circumstances he'd found himself in when with Stuart. He didn't know it back then but he'd been an addict since childhood. At this time in his life he didn't even know that sex and relationship addiction even existed. Therefore he couldn't know that for his own good; what he really needed at this time was a healthy dose of total abstinence from both sex and romantic intrigue of all types imaginable.

During this addictive process of sexually band aiding his addictive methods of dealing with his feelings; he'd contracted Gonorrhea. This was never something he had been proud to admit. Thomas was certain until he'd found out he had something curable ; that he'd gotten A.I.D.S. from someone. He was at the time too ignorant about it to know that it would have taken several months for that to show up in his blood. What he did have took less that two weeks for symptoms to develop. It could have taken years for symptoms of full blown A.I.D.S. to even become noticeable. Although he did feel rather dirty about having what he had; he was relieved to find it was not what he'd originally thought it to be. He did start using condoms after that until he got to Rhode Island.

It was shortly after Thomas had started working at Connections that he met Michael. Michael was not at all hard to get along with ;he just wound up having some very annoying habits that Thomas had much difficulty with. He was still willing to overlook them until later when he realized that Michael would never be reasonable in the ways he needed most to be.

Thomas had told Michael from the beginning that all he wanted from him was to share expenses and have a fuck buddy when they both wanted it. That was all he wanted; he was telling the truth. He didn't find out until later that Michael had, had other plans for the two of them from the beginning. Michael wanted them to be lovers. Thomas would not have minded that so much if Michael hadn't been so annoying. When they would go to the grocery store Michael wanted to sit and read comic books for two or three hours. Everywhere they went Michael thought he had to stop along the way and admire the rocks and stones everywhere they went. Thomas did eventually come to understand why, still it wasn't his idea of a really good time doing that. If he saw something that caught his eye and really kind of grabbed his attention he'd pick it up and go home. Michael wanted to stay for an hour or two.

It didn't help matters any that they had to live with a room mate that Thomas didn't really like too much. Thomas felt sorry for the guy; he was about three quarters blind and the poor guy was only 19 at the time; his family had nothing to do with him because he wasn't sighted. They wouldn't even come and get him to spend time with him for his birthday. It really was no wonder he had no manners and had such a big chip on his shoulders. It was really sad. His name was Dale.

It just compounded matters and made them worse when a short, fat, lazy, confused lesbian started coming around to visit. Her name was Charlene. Let me tell you people; she was something else to say the least. I've got references to vouch. The first time she came to our apartment when we were living at Frankfort and Clifton her and Michael were already talking about the possibility of her and us moving into a place together. I was all for the idea of sharing an apartment with her until I saw how she behaved without even living with us yet. She was a slob from hell and very emotionally needy. She made some coffee the first time she came over. That was no problem. I didn't have a problem with her until I saw her go into the kitchen to make her a cup and she spilled the creamer all over the counter and did the same with the sugar. What I got pissed about was the fact that she didn't even attempt to clean up her mess. Tomas told Michael about when he came home. "If that's the way she's going to be without her name even being on the lease, what do you think she's going to be like when it is?" I don't ever want that woman moving in with us ever! " We need to move into a place of our own together anyway and get accustomed to it being just you and me for a while and allow some time to just get used to each other before we move anyone in with us. " Unfortunately Michael wouldn't listen. They could have easily afforded it themselves. He let her move in anyway against Thomas wishes. He knew then that it was just a matter of time before she made him feel so cramped that he would have to leave.

She never went anywhere. She stayed home almost all of the time unless she could get someone to drive her around wherever she wanted to go. Most of the time she was too lazy to go anywhere by bus. It was always too hot, too cold or her feet hurt too bad to walk that far. (one block to the bus stop.) Thomas couldn't stand that sloppy fat bitch. She claimed she was so disabled. She was disabled alright; she was disabled in the head more than anywhere else. She thought for the longest time that Thomas had a problem with people with disabilities. She didn't know she was always wrong about that. That was never the issue between him and her. He was sure some of her problems were physical in all fairness; but he still believed her biggest problem was the fact that she was just too lazy to even attempt to lose all of her excess baggage. She just didn't want to work anymore and she knew that if she stayed fat like she was she would continue to be disabled and she wouldn't have to work. She could sit back on her fat ass and let Thomas and every bodies tax money pay her way through life. As if it wasn't bad enough that she never went anywhere Thomas couldn't do anything in his own bed room that required privacy without her walking right in unannounced and uninvited. When he started locking the door to keep her out of the room she'd start trying to make him feel guilty about it; because she was lonely after being in a room alone for less than five minutes. Thomas had no problem with her "disabilities" he just couldn't stand her. That was the whole and simple truth of the matter. Thomas just hated living with the bitch. He eventually wound up giving the two of them the three hundred dollars he'd saved to get an apartment for himself so that they could get into the house that they were looking at, just to get away from her. It was just a couple of months later that he went to R.I.

Getting back to the beginning of this unpleasant situation. About six weeks after Thomas had moved in with Dale and Michael he left to stay with a "friend" he'd met through Michael and Charlene. His name was Big Timmy. Big Timmy didn't want to help Tomas any; he was just a desperate old troll who wanted someone around to give him some whenever he wanted it. Thomas found out the hard way that when he stopped giving the "mercy sex" to Big Timmy; he wasn't going to let him stick around. He didn't want to go back to Michael; but he didn't feel he had any choice. The only other option was going to live his fanatical control freak mother, and now that he was away from her; he wasn't moving back unless there was no other option available. He knew that if he got back to Michael before some one else got to him; it would be a better situation that living with his parents again. At least he would have the freedom he desired to come and go as he pleased, and he had to admit he did have some feelings for Michael. Maybe they could build on that and make things work for them. If it hadn't been for Michael allowing Charlene to move in they would have probably stayed together till present day. It was really not a bad relationship between them until she came into their lives.

It didn't take more than a few months before Thomas had decided that was interested in his and Michaels relationship becoming monogamous. He just didn't feel all of the extra guys were needed anymore, and they were really just getting in the way of the fun that the two of them could be having with each other. Michael liked the relationship being open and all of the freedom that went along with it. Thomas couldn't deal with for very long; because there were no rules for other than not spending the night with anyone. Michael brought guys over any time he wanted to whether Thomas was home or not, whether he'd have access to them or not. That didn't work out well. That was another reason why Thomas eventually had to leave. There just wasn't enough respect for each other in that relationship. It could never last.

Thomas never really did feel that he would be able to maintain that relationship once Charlene came into the scene. He wanted to make it work but Michael just wouldn't allow himself to see that Thomas could not stay with him as long as she was part of the package. Thomas liked to keep a neat tidy home and both he and Michael got so tired of always being the only ones to do any cleaning, that they would both get tired of not only cleaning up after each other which they didn't mind, but cleaning up after a fat, lazy bitch who never did anything but make messes all day and all night. Thomas just got so fed up with her he could take it no more.

His ex Stuart had come to visit with them a few times from Bath. It had been some time at this point since he'd been in contact with him. He called Stuart's mother and told her to have him call. That was when Thomas found out that Stuart living at the time with Brenda; the bitch who tried to steal Stuart away from him in Bath. You remember; the who's hair he deliberately destroyed. She wasn't to keen on the idea of keeping Stuart around because she knew that he was really gay and she wanted someone who was really going to want her. Thomas hated her anyway so he gave the impression that he wanted to be with her and would give up the guys. He had gotten to the point that he was really serious about it and would have just to be a daddy to her precious little three year old son. Unfortunately it just didn't work out. She was too stupid and stubborn. Everything had to be her way or no way and Thomas couldn't deal with that. He did at least get a long awaited piece of action at least one time from her. That was unfortunately as far as could go. It wasn't but just a couple of weeks after that, that he went to the shelter in Woonsocket; and the rest is now history.

Chapter 10

"Learning from Mistakes"

Thomas didn't always realize it, but everyone who came into his life came in when they did for specific purposes when they were supposed to. Stuart came into his life to show him that he would never be able to deal with excessive indecisiveness in anyone. Michael came along when he did to teach him about Wicca, shamanism and to open his mind and heart to the limitless possibilities within the universe. For that Thomas would be forever grateful. Joe came along when he did to teach him about how to give to another to show love and appreciation. He also came into his life to show him that no one is worth allowing ones self to be abused in any way. Although Joe was Hell on Wheels to live with; he forced him to grow up in many ways and stop looking at people and life through rose colored glasses. For those hard learned lessons Thomas would be forever grateful to him as well. Juan came along to become a hard core addictive relationship. Thomas loved Juan but he was more addicted to him than he loved him. That became quite evident even before Juan left, when Thomas began to see that he was often falling for all of the same blame being pushed off on him for everything when he knew it was Juan who was causing all of their problems. Juan taught him something very valuable still; that was that other than love, trust between to people is the most important factor in any kind of relationship. It doesn't matter how much you love someone; if you or they don't trust the other; there is no real relationship. There is only a sexual companion. Everett and Kevin taught him that if you're not yet ready for someone don't get involved. If you can't deal with their habits; leave them alone. He has learned a lot from Honey Bubbles to. The main thing he learned from him is how to accept another person for who he is. Thomas still has some way to go where learning about acceptance is concerned but; he's making more progress with that than Honey Bubbles is willing to see. That is really okay though. So long as Thomas can see it that is really what matters most to him.

Thomas still has a lot of work to do on his patience. He's never been very patient with anyone he loves in reference to letting them learn how to meet his needs appropriately in their own time. He winds up feeling as if they just don't care about him and what he needs from them as his lover. He needs to realize that this is not always the case. Some men are just not well versed in the art of meeting the needs of another person; that doesn't mean they don't love you, or that they just don't care about your feelings. They just don't know a lot about being with another person.

The main mistake that Thomas always tended to make trying make a success of a hopeless relationship, when he knew early on that it was just that; hopeless to even try. There are still many things that Thomas needs to learn, but that is main one. If you know you're never going to be happy with someone for one or many reasons; go on and wait for someone more appropriate for you.

Many people throughout time have spent their entire life pondering the meaning of life. What is the purpose of humanity in this universe? It wasn't until Juan came along as screwed up and insane as he was with jealousy, possessiveness and all his many control issues, not to mention his lack of trust for others, that Thomas came to realize from him that the purpose humanity is the same for every living, breathing human being. That purpose is simply to learn from our experiences in this life, to learn how to understand what we need to learn from them and then to allow ourselves to grow in an appropriately positive direction from the insight and understanding that we've gained from our experiences. It is then time to share the strength, hope, experience and understanding of what we've learned from life with other and encourage them to do the same. These are the reasons we are all here and there are no others. We all of course have different destinies in that we all must go about this in different ways due to the fact that all of us understand things in different ways and in different time frames. That is why many of us are not compatible for one another, because we don't understand certain issues at the same time in our lives. That doesn't make any of us bad people; it simply means that we all understand what we can, when we can and at just the time that we are supposed to. That being the case, some people are just better suited for one another to be friends rather than lovers or both friends and lovers at the same time. That's really all there ever was to the meaning of life and our purpose here. It really is pretty simple once you give it a little thought from the appropriate angle of understanding self and others.

Some people never learn much of anything for one reason or another. Sometime they convince themselves that they really just don't care about anything other than getting by in life and nothing that comes their way seems to be of much if any importance to them. Some people really do feel that way; maybe that is what they came here to learn, how to live a stress free life. Others are always concerned about everything and everybody not knowing when to cut the ties with certain individuals when it would be better for them if they did. Some people just grow so comfortable with having something to worry about that they couldn't live any kind of life at all without putting something or someone in their life to worry about. Many of us create our own problems in life just to have something to keep us busy and occupy our mind with something. That is when I think we need to get out of ourselves and just "get a life."

Life is often full of surprises also. It really is. Sometimes they are very pleasant and sometimes they are very painful to learn the best way to deal with. For instance, Thomas once knew someone who told him that he would never allow himself to have an ex sex offender for a lover. That same individual wound up being deceived by an ex sex offender who didn't tell him about his past until he knew that the fellow was already in love with him. The two of them are still together to this day. Fortunately the fellow who was deceived was thinking clearly enough when he was finally told about his lovers past to be forgiving and love him in spite of what he'd done. It didn't hurt matters any that his lover was adamant about never hurting another child again. That's what I mean by life just being full of surprises. The one thing that we often think we'd never do or allow is the very thing we wind up doing.

At any rate life is truly all about learning. We learn about ourselves, we learn about others. We learn to understand ourselves and others while growing in the process of learning and understanding self and others. We learn how to be critical and hopefully learn how to stop being so. If we are among the truly fortunate ones in life we learn to accept what is as it is because that's the way it's just supposed to be at the time, and stop worrying ourselves over things we can never change. The trick to that one is in the Serenity Prayer. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change. The courage to change the things that I can change and the wisdom to see the difference between the two.

So mote it be.

Contact the Rev. Patrick E. Ravenschild

The Raven