Too many friends & in-loves?

“Holy crap! I’ve got way too many people who love me and care about me in my life!” is something I’ve never heard another living soul say.

Truth is, I don’t know, and have never known anyone who complained, at least within earshot, about having too many people who love them and care about them. Close friends, in-love folks.  I’ve never known a soul to fret over being overstocked on either front.

The bonds of friendship and in-love are the very veins through which love and friendship flow; they are also the veins through which loyalty flows.  

The absence of loyalty always poisons bonds between friends and in-love ones. 

I love my friends. How can I not? They’re my friends!

Someone once told me, “You know, you tell a lot of people you love them,” in a tone that led me to think the speaker believed my character trait might be something I should reconsider keeping, or, at least, tone it down a bit. 

Not a chance.

First of all, I can’t help it. And, if I could, I wouldn’t. I instinctively feel love and compassion for my fellow beings, until they give me reason not to. Even then, I mightstill care, I simply don’t act on it. T

There are rare instances when someone’s choices and behavior are so repellent and dangerous, I am unable to feel anything other than anger. Years ago I played in role in helping to put a man behind bars who had raped and sodomized a number of boys, grammar school ages. The brutality that man inflicted on those lives, and the lives of their loved ones, cannot be put into words. At least, I can’t do it.

But these folks, thankfully, are in the minority. 

There’s a man, in his fifties I would guess, who works as a checkout bagger at nearby supermarket. His name is Vincent. Vincent has neatly cut and combed gray hair and a full, well-shaped gray beard. He is small in frame and wears glasses with dark frames over a pair of the kindest eyes you can imagine. 

Always, Vincent is attentive to you, the customer, hopes your day is going well. Means it. Vincent glows with kindness. Now, when we chat, as I leave I’ll sometimes say, “Love you, brother,” and I mean it.

How can you not feel love for someone who brings kindness into the world?

Last year, or maybe it was the year before, I decided, on a whim, to go for a 18- to 20-mile walk on a really hot day, without enough water. I ran into trouble (duh, Peter) and had to call for help. 

The first responders in the ambulance were all about making sure I would be okay with every fiber of their being. These, men, in this case, who did not know me from Adam, were heart and soul committed to making sure I kept my life.

Of course I felt love for them, then and now.

One of the most heartbreaking, and, in a very real way, tragic realities, are the number of friendships and in-loves that implode because one or both could not, did not, or would not, or were incapable of recognizing and accepting the presence of some unhealthy behavior patterns they might be stuck in. Patterns they deserved to be free of!  

When a child gets raised, one way or another, getting the message that he or she is poor example of how he or she should be, and are supposed to me, that child’s self-image gets damaged. Moreover, what “supposed to be” might mean can be a whole other world of hurt for the child.

You don’t come out of these experiences without some unhealthy patterns in your repertoire. Chances are, these no unhealthy patterns were the very ones you had to use in order to survive your childhood. Absolutely. Fair enough. 

Nevertheless, you are responsible for getting free of them, now that they are toxic. Is this fair? Hell no. It’s not fair. It’s reality.

Here’s another reality. You deserve your freedom. And tell some folks you love them while you’re at it.

Marty & Sheila (a divertimento in the key of dialogue)

  • No, Sheila, it’s not that. I want to know for a couple a reasons.
  • More than a couple.
  • No doubt, no doubt. I just need to know if I am the only one in this experience. Think of it as an alignment thing. If I’m out here standing on a rock by myself, having this experience, okay. I’m not worried about me, per se, but it’d be helpful if I could understand how I got standing on this rock by myself. I’m in my sixties. The mind can go, you know. I’d like to try to keep mine in the front yard. If I’m not standing alone on the rock, or you’re in sight of it, how do you explain this?
  • We’re friends, close friends. What kind of rock is it? Is it a nice rock?

Marty’s knees (a romantice divertimento)

Marty knew it made no sense and couldn’t possibly be true. That it felt true was besides the point, (almost). Because oh man, were he to believe it, live it, and be wrong? That shit would knock him down. Like most, Marty was tired of getting up one way or another in life. I’ve donated enough to that cause. This is precisely what Marty thought when he realized some bizarre shit was going. Had to be. He’d fallen in love with Sheila and that couldn’t possibly be right. He’d known her for more than a decade for fuck’s sake. It wasn’t like her beauty — admittedly the kind known to buckle knees when first observed by even the most casual observer — was anything new to him. His rational side, what was left of it, understood this. But, there was a problem. You don’t know somebody for more than a decade for shit’s sake and suddenly, badabing-badaboom, you’re in love. It doesn’t work like that, or so he’d always thought, until now that is. Somehow and in some way she’d become an anomaly. What the fuck’s up with that? Had he missed something all these years? Did some part of his mind simply leave the area when he wasn’t looking, knocking his understanding of reality out of alignment? They need body shops for the mind, he thought, not for the first time.

And if all this wasn’t enough to make his head spin, a new Sheila reality was on the scene. She made his knees weak.

Relationship Jail Cells

Many years ago I wrote a script that went nowhere called It Was Your Heart I Wanted. The story was about a woman confronted with the possibility of entering a relationship but found herself fearfully hesitant because her last relationship had been such a brutal one. An all too common reason for hesitancy many have when facing the possibility of new love. And so, in a very real way, they are trapped in the jail cells of prior relationships. I called the piece It Was Your Heart I Wanted because I do believe most of us can say that and mean that when we enter into a relationship.

But there is another kind of relationship jail cell. The relationship we are are already in, we know are not happy, and yet we stay in them anyway. The love may be gone, if it was ever there, and the environment is toxic, but we stay. Blessedly, I am not in this situation and after nearly seven years of sobriety would disengage from a situation like this were I in one. But, believe me, I’ve been in toxic relationship jail cells before.

I know a few people who are in them now.

I know one extraordinary person who is an American History buff. I mean this is someone who really knows and loves American History. But their spouse stops them from any involvement with history clubs or other people who love history. I know another person who is in a relationship with someone they like but don’t love but figures the person is good to the kids so why not.

I level no harsh judgment towards anyone who is trapped by their history in a way that stops them from daring to love and daring to be loved. What I will say is this. All of us have the right to love and be loved, and no one’s history deserves so much say it stops them from experiencing the heart-and-soul wonder of a relationship that works gloriously, and believe me, there are relationships like this in the world. I know people who are in them.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll take the risk of loving and being loved. My history be damned. If the possibility of a deep-in-the-heart relationship is there, I don’t want to miss it, at least not because of my history.

Tell the Truth and Don’t Dribble

– She’s a kneebuckler, I’m sure of it.

– A what?

– Kneebuckler, you know kneebuckler?

– Not personally.

– No no. A kneebuckler is a woman so beautiful in who she is she buckles your needs. Retaining the ability to stand can be an issue.

– You mean it’s more than looks.

– Can be, of course.
– So meet her sitting down.

– That’s not all though.

– All what?

– That’s not all kneebucklers do to you.

– I don’t understand.

– When you meet someone you’re supposed to talk.

– That’s what they say.

– Who says?

– I don know, it’s an expression, that’s what they say, an expression.

– You’re supposed to talk –

– When you meet someone.

– Right. But if she’s a kneebuckler that can be difficult.

– Talking?

– Apparently you think I’m a kneebuckler because you’re not having an easy time talking yourself right now.

– I don’t think you’re a kneebuckler. Nobody’s think that.

– Then try concentrating on what I’m saying here.

– Okay.

– You meet a kneebuckler, retaining the ability to speak coherently is at risk.

– So what do you do?

– Try not to stare.

– That doesn’t make any sense, you have to look at her.

– I know I have look at her, but I don’t have to stare.

– Stare meaning…?

– Your eyes glaze over, you hope to God you’re not dribbling. And you try to remember to nod when she says something.

– What if she asks you a question?

– Tell the truth, always tell the truth.

– Tell the truth and don’t dribble.

– There ya go.

– Then maybe that’s the way you approach things like this.

– Tell the truth and don’t dribble.

– There ya go.
_________________________________________________________________________________