Surprise! This series has been a work of fiction. Any resemblence to persons living or dead are purely coincidental. Names, characters, places and incidents are product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.
Oh, who am I trying to kid? This series has been a work of fiction, or at least a series of untruths and half-memories, but it had nothing to do with imagination. I spent an uncomfortable time trying to piece together the basics of the timeline, and even then I got things wrong. For example, I implied that Ms. R had been off work since I met her, but in fact she was working until Mr. S’s concert/conference fiasco. The narrative is littered with such mistakes. It is frightening that something that seemed so clear in my head is a jumbled mess.
This was, of course, my side of the story, which is hardly reliable. Mr. S would have his own version to tell, as would Ms. R. Among other things I conveniently whitewashed just how much of a controlling, abusive, manipulative jerk I was throughout this process. I found a cache of emails I had composed to Mr. S and Ms. R during this time, and I could not bear to look at them. They were too painful and cringewFinds a Homeorthy. I was (and am) such a fucking asshole. I honestly thought I could bully others into doing the right thing.
I also discovered that I have written out this story at least twice before, although I believe this is the first time I have published it publicly. I hope it will be the last.
I worry that I made Ms. R come across as the villain of this piece. That is very much not the case. Ms. R had a lot of her own issues to deal with, including chronic pain, and she was one of the most open-hearted people I have ever known. No, she did not want to stay married. No, she did not follow through with immigration. All of these decisions were wholly understandable.
I worry that I made Mr. S come across as the villain of this piece. Maybe that is not surprising; I still bear some resentments about how he behaved and how he treated people. But he also had many gifts to offer, and I have grown to understand that some of these events had to do more with his bipolar disorder as much as it had to do with Finds a Homehim.
Writing this brought up a lot of stuff for me. It reminded me that the experience had lasting effects.
I learned way more about mental illness than I ever wanted to. I learned about how terrifying it is to have a perception disorder. One can behave entirely rationally, but when one’s perceptions are messed up then from the outside it seems that you are acting crazy. As somebody who has been messed up in the head for a long time this should have come as no surprise, but mania really drove the point home for me.
I learned that caring for people hurts, so I have done my best not to repeat that mistake. This has consequences of its own, but overall it is for the best.
I learned that I will never stop being an abusive and controlling person.
I learned that I don’t deal with cigarette smoking that well. I had not known too many people who smoked before meeting Mr. S and Ms. R (hello class bubble) and I am not willing to tolerate it again.
I learned that I am both a stingy miser and that I don’t care about money once it is spent. I gave away a significant amount of money during those years, and even though I am poor now I don’t resent that spending.
I learned that the mental health industrial complex makes people sick. Being in hospital is like being in jail. I no longer trust that a professional would be any help in healing me. Professionals are not allowed to care for people; they are only allowed to service them.
Maybe that is all I have learned. Here are some epilogues.
Mr. S is still in Cleveburgh. We exchange emails occasionally. His health is not great but he is kicking along. It turns out that from his list of city requirements, access to the Catholic Worker was important, and maybe health care is too. On the other hand, he lives a fifteen minute walk away from the beach and has never been there, as far as I know.
I went to visit him once, several years ago. It was a bad visit. Mr. S did not really want me there. He spent most of the time obsessing over his cat. I think that cat keeps him alive. For the most part he ignored me, although he did take me to visit his Catholic Worker friends. He had warned me that if I made a pass at him I would be immediately asked to leave, so I guess he was worried about the intentions of my visit. He did not touch me once during the visit. He did not offer so much as a handshake.
I also discovered that Cleveburgh is pretty awful (sorry, Blobby). The city seems to seethe with racial tension. Everybody seems to be upset there. The signs on storefronts about not bringing in your guns were scary. Mind you, I visited in February, but I am not planning to go back.
I lost touch with Ms. R. Her email address stopped working and I never found a way to re-establish a connection. I hope she is well, and I hope she has somebody who loves her and treats her right.
Mr. S reads my real blog from time to time. I hope he never finds this one, and I hope Ms. R doesn’t either. They would recognise themselves quickly. I do not think they would appreciate me recounting their adventures here, but I do not know how angry they would be.
Believe you me: this series was no more fun for me to write than it was for you to read.