Tempest in a teacup

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She’s no tempest in a teacup
She’s more storm in a shot glass
With winds that can toss
The very structure of you
Tears that fill the clouds
To overflow with rain
And needs that thunder
Across your sky
Give me the wind
Give me the rain
Give me the thunder
For my foundation is so deep
I will not crack or tumble
And the promise in the passing
Of the clouds in her eyes
Is the sunset
That you can only find
In her embrace

It’s just you

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They had been fighting lately. So many pressures of daily life crushing down upon them individually, that the tense time they spent together just seemed to add even more to the weight. There had been fights before, they got through them. But this time…it was different.

He’d lost his job, and with it, his identity as the head of the house. It had been months now and he’d had no luck even securing an interview. As the bills fell further and further behind, the tension just increased with each passing month until finally, they broke under the strain.

It had to happen, it seemed. She just wished it hadn’t happened in front of the children during dinner. The slamming hands of their father on the table shocked the children to tears and their mother screamed at them to go upstairs. As the kids huddled together upstairs, they listened to their parents say things to each other.

Terrible things.

A door slams, and silence. The oldest made his way to the stairs and could see his mother sitting on the sofa in the living room, her head in her hands. He stepped on a squeaky step and the tear-filled eyes of his mother sought him out in the dark. She ordered him to go back upstairs and get ready for bed.

The next day, after dropping the children off at school, she headed to work in quiet. Silently thinking about the night before, the bills, the things they said to each other. She was at a stop light when her phone chimed. An email from him. She looked around and pulled over into a parking lot next to the road.

I drove all night last night. I didn’t stop. I left the house last night so angry at you, I almost hit you. That’s why I left. I had promised you that I would never do that, never be like the others. I drove around trying to understand why I would even think that. And I couldn’t, until it dawned on me it wasn’t you I was mad at, it’s me. 

It came to me that I’ve failed you because when we were fighting, I saw it in your eyes. And for that instant, I hated that I had caused that look. I hated it because you’re the one person I cannot let down. Ever. 

And last night, I did. By leaving.

I need you to understand something. I left because that look of disappointment was more than I could stand. And understand this, too. It’s just you. It’ll always be just you. I ran and I’m sorry, but I can’t think of anything else right now except holding you. I’m at home.

All my love

She sat for a minute, the tears wetting her cheeks. She wiped her eyes and called work. She wasn’t feeling well and would see them tomorrow. As she pulled out of the parking lot, headed in the opposite direction from before, she heard the ringing of the home line and his voice quietly saying “Hello”.

At the sound of that quiet voice, she knew that he had coffee made and was waiting.

We’re not all winners, sorry

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The PTS (Participation Trophy Society) has begun rioting in the streets to protest the election of Donald Trump as President. This is exactly the behavior you see from small children whom are accustomed to getting their way. These people are unprepared for life in general and all the harshness that can happen. Are they thinking that if they yell and stomp their feet that the duly elected person will be run out of town on a rail and Hillary installed?

That’s not how it works, people. That’s not how any of this works.

She lost, he won. Get over it. That’s what you’d be saying to the other side had things gone Hillary’s way. That IS what was said when Obama won over Romney. “We won, you lost. Get over it.” Did the Republicans riot in the streets? Of course, we did…oh wait, we didn’t. Because we’re adults. In any contest, there is a winner and those that didn’t win, go home. That is life, my PTS friends. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you will find greater satisfaction in the journey, rather than the results.

I’m not sure why the Left place such a messianic quality on there candidates. Look to Obama’s pretentious “oceans reced[ing]” line and the mainstream media’s persistence in publishing picture after picture of him with the subliminal halos. Yes, the Republicans are quite capable of eating their own, but we never deify them. We cry, of course, when we suffer a loss, I fully understand that disappointment. But we don’t take to the streets, we don’t threaten to leave the country (as if that would be in any way, form or fashion, something that would make a damn bit of difference to anyone).

The silliest statement you can make is that one: “If {candidate} wins, I’m leaving the country!” Why? What exactly would that accomplish? We are one of the few countries that has such a peaceful regular transfer of power and you want to go where, exactly? And this is what you’re showing to the world right now. Not that we’re a nation of racists, sexists, and homophobes as some have said, but that we are a nation of embittered and entitled pouting babies. Thank you for emboldening the surging antipathy towards us from 8 long years of foreign policy filled with pandering, false appeasement, and ransom payments.

The immediate cry from the Left the morning after was that all who voted against her must be sexist. I’m sure some were. But voting for a woman simply for being a woman, is just as sexist. Voting for or against the candidate on the basis of gender alone, is the definition of sexism. As would be using the race or sexual orientation of the candidate. I’m fairly sure there were votes cast on both sides based on her gender. I accept that.

But the vast majority of the country voted against her because they’re tired of the same old politicians making the same old tired arguments and promises they have no intention of keeping. The first presidential election I voted in was Bill Clinton’s first run in 1992. Until that election, I was very liberal (as my parents can testify) but since Clinton, I have fallen, for the most part, to the Right. Because of Clinton. Because of HillaryCare. Because I disagreed with what they stood for, not because of them personally.

And the scandals involving Hillary began before that and continued up until this very day. Yet, she still has droves of followers that ignore all the crap that comes with her and Bill, because of the Christ-like discipleship the Left engenders. A compliant media before, this election cycle, flat out helped her every chance they got. They gave her the questions before the debates, for God’s sake! This election finally exposed the media for what it truly is: a bought and paid for whore for the Left.

If you PTS folks want to leave the country now because your savior didn’t win, well, you know where the ports are. Go right ahead. Take your toys and go play somewhere else like the pitiable child you are, because the rest of us want to stay and do what we can to make the country, and by extension the world, a better place. Because that’s what adults do.

The Walking Dead and the 2nd Amendment

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I admit, I’m addicted to this show now. I hadn’t watched a single episode of it prior to last week following all the hubbub surrounding that season premiere episode. I watched several reaction videos on YouTube and was astonished at a) the brutality and b) the visceral reactions of the people. So I said, fine let’s check this out.

Dear Lord in heaven, I was pretty much hooked from episode 1. The constant barrage of emotions that you feel when watching this (I hesitate to call it a “show” because I think that sobriquet belittles the intensity) episodic force, rattles you from season to season as you become emotionally attached to characters only to watch them brutally killed in one form or another. If not killed, then maimed irreversibly.

Very few television shows have ever made me yell at the screen, or jump up and down applauding. This one does. You hate the bad guys, you love the good guys. You cry when loved ones are lost, as if you lost that one yourself. I mean, I have had several shows that I loved and never missed an episode, but this…mythology…has sucked me in completely. I want to stand beside Rick and help him. I want to know things about these people. What were they like before the zombiefication? I’ve never felt so invested in fiction before.

Over the last week, yes I said week, I have watched all 6 seasons of the show, and am now 2 episodes away from being caught up. I love these people. I hate their enemies. I admire what they stand for, and I really hate Negan.

But there’s an underlying theme in this show that I think may be overlooked at times. It has a very pro-gun stance. Anyone who knows me knows I am pro-gun, pro-2nd Amendment, and very anti-gun control. I believe that the freedom for us to bear arms guarantees us all the other freedoms. And watching this show, it hadn’t been that evident until they got to Alexandria, that the stance became more clear.

Prior to the core group making it to the “sanctuary” of Alexandria, they had been carrying their guns openly but with limited ammunition supplies, they used them sparingly. Also , Rick, being law enforcement before all the crap hit the fan, he stressed proper training for anyone he gave a gun to. No one just got a gun and ran with it unless they picked one up that had been dropped during the heat of a battle.

By the time they got to Alexandria, the group had been trained, had practiced, and had become a nice little tactical team of good shots. (Michonne’s mastery of her sword, however, is a thing of beauty.) Alexandria was being run by a former congressperson, Deanna, from Ohio. They have an armory there, where all weapons are stored unless you are on wall guard duty or decide to make a trip outside the walls of the city. When Rick’s group arrives, the first thing they demand of them is to surrender their weapons.

They do so begrudgingly but Rick warns Deanna, that he believes, no, he knows that’s not wise because there are evil things, both alive and dead, that want inside those walls and not being protected is a recipe for disaster. She of course, doesn’t listen. And, of course, the inevitable happens and no one but a few of Rick’s group are prepared. Attacks came, people died, and in the aftermath, the rule about not carrying was “repealed”. Rick trained the people to protect themselves. No one was just handed a gun and told, “Good luck.”

In one scene, Carol brings baby Judith to one of the residents’ houses for her to watch the child, and the resident says about her guns on her hip, “Let me go lock these up first.” A nice little plug for gun safes there. Responsible gun ownership there.

The discussion between Rick and Deanna about whether to have guns inside the walls or not is the classic pro- and anti-gun carry arguments. In the end, carrying saved many more lives than not. An armory does no one any good if you can’t get to it in the moment of attack. No matter how well it’s stocked, that’s just a fact.

I’m not saying that the show is some kind of subversive right-leaning plea for less gun restriction, I’m saying that when you strip away the fictional zombies, the only real evil that was left was how those who were left defenseless were slaughtered while Rick’s group, with their guns, survived and/or protected the others.

We don’t hand kids the keys to a car and say, “Good luck”, we train them, we teach them how to use them responsibly. It doesn’t always work, and you’re more likely to die in a car wreck than you are to be shot or accidentally shoot yourself, but we don’t think twice about the training and testing of new drivers. In fact, it’s expected. So just maybe if we put the same effort into training and testing individuals in the use of firearms, there might not be the level of fear in their presence, and then, maybe, with more of us able to fight evil people, we might be just that much safer.

Rick Grimes gets it.

We’re all {insert term}-ist here

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Short and sweet on this one.

Every time you say “Well, you’re not (a) {insert term}, so you’d never understand.”, you are guilty of doing exactly what you’re accusing the other person of. When you tell me I couldn’t possibly understand or empathize with a group of whatevers, you have just told me my opinion is less valid than someone else’s. Most likely, yours to be exact.

So, because I’m a man, I couldn’t possibly understand the plight of equal pay for equal work? Because I’m white, I couldn’t possibly understand institutionalized racism? Because I’m not disabled…well you get the idea.

Well, thank you for reducing my whole intellect down to my demographic data and telling me that because I’m not this thing or the other thing, my thoughts are worthless and should not be considered. Thank you. With my limited grasp of the world, I would never have understood that. So, yeah, thanks.

I got into an internet squabble one time in 2014 with a white racist. Except he was one of those self-loathing white racists. Now, I got nothing against white people, really I don’t.  But this guy…

Anyway, so we’re arguing, and there’s a whole group of us in this debate, and he quoted several well-known progressive liberal black activists (which is fine) and completely berated me when I quoted from conservative black activists. He had just spouted off that the liberal blacks’ views were the only valid ones and when I raised the question of the conservative black voices, he said no they don’t matter, or something to that effect.

I had to stop him at that point and ask why conservative blacks’ voices don’t matter to him but liberal ones, do. He didn’t really answer, so I stated that apparently, to him, only certain black voices matter, not all. (This was before the popularity of the Black Lives Matter group took off.) He agreed that, yes, some black voices do not matter. Because they aren’t his black voices. They don’t fit his worldview.

So, I told him he was racist.

You would have thought I said he was a serial murderer. He was definitely NOT racist, as was evidence by his nuanced grasp of racial schisms as they exist in modern times. So I asked again, why do only the voices that he agrees with matter, and not all black voices? If you pick and choose who matters and who doesn’t, aren’t you being guilty of that which you accuse others?

This is the inherent problem of Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter. Only one of those puts all on an equal level, the other raises one above all others. No, it doesn’t raise one to an equal line, it states THIS race matters, which implies that ONLY this race matters. But the vitriol expended when someone counters with All Lives Matter is mind-boggling.

Anyway, I digress.

The racist, self-loather and I had a mutual friend. God bless her, she defended that guy all the time when he said something hyperbolic or insidious, stating that he had had such a terrible life we should all understand where he’s coming from. I pointed out to her, publicly, that she was a white lawyer with an adopted African-American son, and that according to her dear friend here, should her son grow up to be a conservative, well, his little voice wouldn’t matter. The conversations ended soon thereafter and he was run off the social site of which we were all a part.

We are all racist.

We are all sexist.

We are all whatever.

We are also all human. So why don’t we act like it?

I met a girl by the side of the road

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I met a girl sitting beside the road, crying. I asked her what she was crying about and she looked at me with the most beautiful green eyes, but right now they were red from crying so much. “Boys lie.” I shook my head saying, “Not all boys.” She bowed her head back down and started crying again, “They all do to me.” I sat down next to her on the side of the road and thought for a minute.

Finally, I said, “I won’t lie to you. Ask me anything.” She sniffed and wiped her nose. “You’ll lie. All boys lie. You’ll tell me something to protect me, or to hurt me, or to keep me in my place. But you won’t tell me the truth.” I kicked at the dirt by the side of the road, “Nope. I’ll always tell you the truth.” The girl shook her head and sighed, “You’ll lie.” I poked her in the side a little. “C’mon, try me.” She giggled. It was a beautiful giggle. It was a sound made of spirit and things joyful.

“Okay. Do you love me?”, she eyed me warily. She smiled, thinking she’d caught me. I smiled back. “Yes.”, I said. The girl by the side of the road stopped and looked at me with a puzzled look. “How do you know you love me? You just met me.” I shrugged and said, “I just know.” She shook her head, slightly irritated, “But how do you know?” She stressed the “how” in her question, dragging it out of her lips. I shrugged again. “I just know. I knew the second I laid eyes on you.”, I said matter-of-factly.

The girl by the side of the road paced back and forth in front of me, thinking over my answers very carefully in her head. Then she stopped and looked at me. “I think you’re lying. All boys lie.” I took a step closer to the girl. “I’m not all boys.” She took a step forward, too, putting her hands on her hips, “You’re not?” I took another step forward towards the girl by the side of the road and I noticed something new about her. She had stopped crying and I saw all the little smile lines that had been hidden by the tears. I saw that she was beautiful in her imperfection, that if I were to hold them out, she would fit perfectly in my arms. “No. I’m not.”

The girl by the side of the road took another step towards me, now she was only inches from me. Something was happening to her. She was fading, disappearing in front of me. I began to see through her so I reached out. My hands went through the image of the girl but I felt nothing. She smiled at me, “Do you love me?” I looked in her eyes, “Yes.” The girl by the side of the road giggled, then said, “Will you love me for the rest of my life?”

“No.”

The girl’s smile dropped and she started to say something until I held up my hand. “I’ll love you for the rest of mine.”, I said quietly. The girl’s smile returned and just before she faded from sight, I heard her whisper.

“I believe you.”

So hard to love me, so damn easy to love you

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“I met her just before I shipped out. Eighteen years old and full of spit and piss I was.”

The old man was slumped in his wheelchair, his US Navy hat sitting awkwardly on his head. One of the last WWII vets left at the VA I was volunteering at. Once a month, I would come in on the weekend and sit with the veterans that we were told no longer had any family. His name was Joseph and had no one left, he said. So, on this weekend’s visit I sat with him. Our conversation started about me, ironically. He asked me if I had a girlfriend. And in a show of how up to date Joseph was, he added “Or boyfriend. If you swing that way, that is.”

I chuckled and said, “Ahh no. Neither one. I’m into the ladies though, for future reference.” He patted me on the hand and cracked this huge smile. “I like the ladies, too.” I asked him if he had been married and the light turned off in his eyes suddenly. He leaned forward in the wheelchair and locked his shaky fingers together in front of him.

“I had a girl once. Prettiest little thing you ever saw. She had a laugh that was contagious. And boobs.” I burst out laughing and he smiled. “Some things you never forget, you know?” “Indeed”, I replied. He leaned back and looked up, as if seeing her again.

“I met her just before I shipped out. Eighteen years old and full of spit and piss I was. I got mad at the drop of a hat in them days. But not with her, never with her. I loved that girl from the moment I laid eyes on her. She told me she loved me too. When we went out on the town, I tried to keep a hand on her all the time. You know, cause I wanted the other boys to know she belonged to me, right? Even with me there, she still got hit on. But she always turned ’em down. Cause she was with me. Damn, I loved knowing that. You know, one time we went to a picture show and she let me put my hand on her leg for the whole movie. Now, that may not mean much nowadays, but back then, hell, we might as well have been married.”

He took his Navy hat off and a shaky hand scratched the top of his head slowly.

“She was the light of my life. I would drop her off after a date and I couldn’t wait to see her again. I probably drove her crazy trying to get over to her place and see her. I mean I was hooked on this girl. Bad hooked.”

He put the hat back on his head.

“She wrote me while I was out at sea that she had met somebody else. Said she didn’t want to see me anymore. Kind of matter-of-fact like that. Didn’t say nothing else. I wrote her back that I wanted to see her on my next leave but she didn’t answer. Well, my next leave I went straight to her house from the boat. I had been gone 6 months, hadn’t heard from her in 3. I walked up the steps, shaking like a leaf. I’d been to war but I was scared of this little girl more than anything I’d seen out on that ocean. I think I was scared of rejection more than anything.”

I noticed he looked on the verge of tears. I thought to myself, how many years had it been since all of this happened? And it still affected him this way.

“I set my duffle down and knocked on that door. It was a boarding house for young ladies so the woman who ran the place answers the door. I ask for my girl and she called out to her. When I saw her coming down the front stairs, my stomach flipped. Six months since I last saw her and she hadn’t changed a bit, except for one thing. She was pregnant. Pretty far along from the look of it. I started doing the math in my head. I’d been gone 6 months and she looked to be about 8 months along. The problem, you see, was that she and I had never done ‘it’. And if she had two months before I left, then that could only mean one thing.”

His voice was shakier now and I held his ice water glass with a straw in it out to him. He sipped at it then continued on with his story.

“You shoulda seen the look on her face when she saw me. The lady who ran the boarding house said we could sit in the front room and talk. Fact, she kinda insisted on it. We sat there, kinda quiet at first, then she started telling me how sorry she was and all. That it wasn’t something she’d planned, it just kinda happened. I told her it was okay, I was a man of the world now. In truth, I didn’t know shit but I didn’t want her to know that. I don’t think she bought it anyway. I think she could see it in my eyes how hurt I was. I thought about showing her the ring I’d brought her but decided probably wasn’t a good idea, considering. I told her I hoped she was happy with him and she said he’d run off when he found out she was pregnant. I told her I was sorry to hear that but I still loved her and I didn’t care who’s kid it was, it was hers and that was all that mattered to me. She said, no, it was not my responsibility and that she would take care of it. We talked for a while longer. Even got her to laugh a little. But then I had to go.”

He just stopped talking and kept looking down at his hands, crossed in his lap in front of him. We sat in silence, the question burning in my brain. Finally, I had to ask him.

“So, what happened?”

His glistening eyes raised to meet mine.

“I never saw her again. We wrote each other every now and then for years after that but I never did see her again. She eventually found a guy and got married. We lost touch after that.”

I held his ice water out again.

“You married though, right?”

He smacked his lips from the ice water.

“No. I told ya she was the light of my life. Loved her more than you can know. But what’re you gonna do? You can’t make someone love you back. You throw your heart out there and you hope someone catches it but you just never know. One of my letters, years later, I told her that I never understood why it was so hard for her to love me, but so damn easy for me to love her. I never did figure that out. I think about that little girl every day.”

Then I saw the twinkle return to those gray eyes of his.

“And those boobs.”

We both laughed out loud and I looked at my watch. It was time for me to move on to another patient. I thanked him for sharing his story with me.

“Sure, son. You take care and get yourself a girlfriend.”

I patted him on the leg as I stood.

“Yes, sir.”

Later that afternoon, as I was driving back to my apartment, I thought about his story and the love he felt for her. He never found that again with anyone else. She must have been someone very special. Then I wondered if she knew how much she had meant to him. I felt a pain deep in my chest when I thought she might not have.

I hope she did. That kind of love doesn’t happen often.

The Gift

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All his life there was music. He sang along with his mother to country songs on the radio when he was little. He didn’t know the words but he raised his voice alongside hers because he loved her. It made her happy, and that made him happy as well. He sang mostly at his family’s church. The choir, being mostly older people, appreciated a younger member who could handle the tenor parts. Most of the men were of the bass persuasion and there are always too many sopranos.

As he grew, so did the quality of his voice. Even though his tastes had changed from country and church hymns to rock, his voice maintained that choirboy quality. People told him he had a “gift” and a “talent”. He just liked to sing.

Actually, he loved to sing.

Music was never far from him, it filled his mind. If the radio was on, even if it was a song he didn’t know, he sang along. Just to sing. Just to raise his voice as he always had. He never felt more….complete, than when a note was held just right.

He challenged himself constantly to improve but he didn’t take lessons. He bought cds of singers he liked and emulated them. He began to harmonize with them, testing how high he could push his range and still sound like that choirboy. Sometimes, he impressed even himself, but then the voice would crack, and he knew it was a one-time thing.

There were times in his life when he felt like God had blessed him and then there were times when he wished he didn’t have that particular blessing. Like God was keeping the things he wanted at bay so the voice would remain intact. He tried to destroy it a couple of times, by smoking, screaming, whatever means he could think of short of drinking acid. But the throat would always heal.

Always.

Like it had a purpose.

But damned if he knew what that purpose was. He tried to bargain with God.
“Take it. Give me what I want. You can have this gift back, I don’t want it, I want the other thing.”

God, in His wisdom, didn’t answer.

Years passed and he sang his heart out in his car to and from work. “What a waste”, he would think to himself if he had a good session of singing. He began to wonder what the hell was the gift for if it wasn’t going to make him famous or wealthy. It just seemed all so…pointless.

One day, he got the phone call he had been dreading for years.

As he entered the small room and saw his mother laying on the bed, he felt helpless. So helpless. What family had come was gathered around the room and watched him cross to the bed. The tears from his eyes flowed freely at the thought of this cornerstone of his life leaving him. She was in pain, he knew it. He could see it in her eyes. Her lips trembled with it.

He sat on the edge of her bed and gently took the hand that had raised him, punished him, and loved him throughout his life. Then he knew.

He knew why he had the gift.

Softly, he sang to his mother the old hymns in the choirboy voice that he had been blessed with. All his life had led to this one moment. He realized then, there are no mistakes, no meaningless things. Everything matters to someone.

So, he sang.

He sang every song he knew by heart to her. Her hand, frail but still strong, gripped his. And she smiled.

Then the pain was gone.

When she hurts

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When you know someone really well, and you know she’s in pain, how do you know what she needs to hear?  Sometimes, “it’ll be okay” just doesn’t sound…enough. The things that you love about her, all those little details…like the way she scrunches her nose, or can’t speak without her hands, that stuff…also include the things that make her cry. When you love someone, truly love someone, it’s hard to separate out the things that make her insecure from the things she knows she rocks.

So, when she hurts, you feel it digging away at you. You want it to stop, you don’t care how. If you have any illusions that she can’t take care of herself, ask a strong, independent woman if there’s anything you can do to help. The answer will be direct and terse.

Just another thing about her you love.

But when she hurts, all you want to do is take it away. You want to hold her and with those magical “it’ll be okay” words, you want it to just stop hurting. Because when she hurts, you hurt too. And you’d do anything, even take it upon yourself, to save her that pain.

Because you could take it so much better than her? Doubtful. That woman you love shoulders more pain than you can imagine, sometimes. Maybe the solution then is not to try to take the pain, she’s got that. She’ll handle that just fine with or without you, because she has been this whole time. No, maybe what you need to do…is give her a reason to smile. We all need that, when we hurt.

Random thoughts from a random mind

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I think most writers have this problem: Where to start? The tagline for this blog is “Random thoughts from a random mind” and that’s very true. Many of the things I’m going to put here will be disjointed, disconnected, and apropos of nothing.

But that’s okay.

We all have things we want to say, some things we need to say, and things we wish we could say. What I will put here, will be all of those things. I have found that I’m able to say things here that I can’t in person. One reason for that is that I’m fearless when I write, not so much if I’m facing a person that I need to say something that will cause pain.

Much of my life has been that way. I have genuine angst when facing someone, knowing that the conversation will not result in a happy ending for me. Or them. But as life would have it, as unfair as it is, things work out for the best. Pain and all, life works. Not saying that life doesn’t need a helping hand from time to time, but…

So, I will put my thoughts about many a different thing here. If there’s a theme that will become apparent, it’s that there is no theme to my writing. And so, with this post right here, let us begin.