December 29, 2022

Back to Sanity – Soul Searching!

By aarondkey

“Is it so bad?” Timonthy asked. “I mean he still loves you. You know Johnathon has many good qualities but he’s never professed to be perfect before.”

Stolid and it was Stolid this time, whatever the veneer of his new character had added to him, stared at him blankly.

Timonthy felt uncomfortable. He knew that he had been shocked by Johnathon’s admission because he had always believed that Johnathon would act in an honourable way, so this was out of character. Remembering back to the time before Stolid, Johnathon had a habit of falling in love most erratically. Even then he had had the good sense to dispose of one love before a new one was taken up. That was just what one did, wasn’t it?

“I knew about it before he died,” Stolid said sadly. “The little bastard he was sleeping with used to write me letters to tell me about it. I didn’t completely believe him to begin with although it made me unhappy. I thought it was just someone I’d pissed off trying to stir up trouble but the longer it went on, the more I thought it might be true. Perhaps he was trying to make me give Johnathon up so he would be free to move in if he thought Johnathon owned our house. He would have been disappointed. That was my only comfort.”

“But it hurt way more than a logical mind would say it should. Nothing had any point to it at all, food tasted like ashes and I wanted to die. Sometimes I even dreamed that Johnathon would die, just so the uncertainty would be over. I was going to ask Johnathon what the truth was but then he got ill and he did die. It gave me no relief at all – just even more sorrow. I realised that I would have been happy to have lost him even to the bastard, or perhaps to have shared him forever just for him to still be alive.”

“I didn’t know about this,” Timonthy said. “I suppose you had enough to worry about without sharing it. But what’s made it all blow up now? There must have been a time you were happy to find out that he was not dead. You seemed happy with him when we first arrived.”

“I was ecstatic! Can you imagine losing a man you had loved for nearly thirty years and then to find out you hadn’t lost him after all? Especially when you were afraid that you might have killed him by wishing him dead although Rael says that was unlikely.

“To begin with everything was as good as it had ever been, better perhaps because Koa was young and fit and I felt healthier than I had for years.”

“So what happened?” Damon Ich took another sip of the tiny cup in front of him. He offered the teapot to Timonthy who shook his head and covered his own cup with his fingers as if afraid his refusal would be ignored.

“Then relief began to fade,” Damon Ich continued sadly, “and I remembered the pain. I even worried about my Johnathon, as I had begun to call him, who had died allowing Koa to take his place, who’d been disposed of with no mourning. And I wanted to mourn him. He had been a beautiful soul. My mind has been disturbed by too much sorrow. I’m not the same man I used to be. Just remembering being happy for years and years and hardly believing how little I appreciated it.”

Stolid looked lost. “I remember loving Johnathon and believing him to be the most perfect man alive, really believing that. Then the shock of not really knowing who he was at all left me unsure of anything: my own worth, what depths he could stoop to, was there any point to love at all if it all could end so badly?

“These big questions were always turning in my mind so that I was never able to be happy. Was he really happy to be with me, or was he just relieved to be alive again? Was he just waiting for a good moment to tell me that we were over? Perhaps that was all he had been waiting for, for years while he anticipated his own death and re-incarnation. Every time he was tired or grumpy I saw it as a sign that he was longing for the day that the whole charade was over. That made me inclined to be critical and defensive until I’m sure that he longed for that day even if he hadn’t before.”

Timonthy stayed silent. He didn’t know what else to say.

“It got steadily worse until yesterday when he suggested we went back home for a visit to our house on Earth and I flipped. So this was the end of the plan. I’d take him back to Earth, back to the bastard who’d stolen him from me and then I would be gently dropped. Tossing and turning, I stewed on it all night as he slept there as peaceful as a corpse. We argued this morning as I shared my fears. He denied that accusation but he admitted everything else with no explanation, nothing but an apology and now I don’t know what to do.”

“You know I never really understand how people always seemed to fall out of love over the years,” Stolid mused. “After the first flush of passion people seem either to learn to tolerate or perhaps even to hate their partners. Somehow I managed to love Johnathon more every year that we spent together…..”

Timonthy looked over to Gerard again. Was it his imagination but he seemed closer to leaning past a gravitational point of no return than he had been before? Could he imagine a future in which they achieved the same state of verbal and emotional constipation that had afflicted Stolid and Johnathon after so many years of apparent happiness? If he had been alone he would have held onto Gerard, unmoving as he was, just to tell him everything he wanted him to know without interruption, without embarrassment.

Stolid continued talking although Timonthy wished he’d shut up. He wasn’t an agony aunt though everyone treated him like one. “It was just some trick played by errant hormones but I liked it. The way that every close encounter was turned into a morsel of epiphany: how just the smell of him was a rich moment of delight. I had my just punishment. It’s not fair in this world of sorrows to be happy for so long? I’m like Rael, able to appreciate the depths of human sorrow as the victims line up daily in front of me. It was wrong for me to be immune.