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Early morning, a message rends his peace to shreds. His livelihood has been confiscated for the sake of favoritism; he's lost craft and family to the beast of social drama. I impose myself on his workplace again, to watch him hold together the fractures while I rage across the room.

I'm hurt and frustrated that people could possibly, remotely justify the savage destruction of such a magical creature. I sit, I seethe, and I vent; I break a pact of silence, and I find him outside during a smoke break, near tears. As so often over these days, I sit with him in silence until he wants to speak, and he reiterates the magnitude of the things that have been taken from him.

I want nothing like I want righteous indignant fury right now; I want to swing a knight's backhand for my charge, send someone amazed and toppling at the disproportional size of my rage to my frame. I want to look into the eyes of someone who didn't previously understand that they had sinned, and cast the fire and brimstone of my words directly into their black hearts.

I want my anger to cleanse them, redeem them to higher than subhuman status. I want to toss them down as wretches and lift them back up as unicorns.

My strike won't fall, though; I am not a warrior, I'm a medic, and I sit beside a bleeding unicorn who deserves every ounce of energy I possess. They don't deserve my wrath. My attention is better spent here. So my words flow like honey as I sit beside one that I love, slow and deliberate, as I listen to him recount how he's been taken from himself.

I'm a horrible monster.

Tonight, in the company of myself and the lady, he attempts to burn bridges, to convince us that he is irredeemably corrupt. He tosses at us pitiful examples of simple human insecurity, a perfect being fettered by imperfect circumstances, and neither of us falter in our dedication.

If I didn't know better, I would think you loved me.


Other messages shake him further. He is told, in no uncertain terms, that his family, his livelihood, and his true love are lost to him. On my final night for this visit, I watch him belt out Heart Shaped Box at his home bar and try to work up the resolve to sing for an audience, unprepared and highly shaken by residual, vicarious pain. I work up the persona, I dance to his singing, I wear war-paint, and instead of singing, I am led out the back door by him to lean into the rain, taste his lips, share his breath. We dance close until the lady ushers us away and leaves us to ourselves in his home, and he collapses into my arms, howling like a wounded animal while I stroke his hair and listen to his despair.

Why does this keep happening to me?
I haven't done anything wrong.
It isn't fair. And it's not just me -- it's everyone.
Nobody is supposed to see me like this.
I'm supposed to be strong.
Why? Why does this happen to me?

They tell him, every time, that it's terrible. They would never do such a thing. They would never hurt him, never harm him. I say very little, try to say words of substance, meaning, intent. I don't discourage his breakdown, and I feel at ease with his tears soaking into me. I listen, I breathe, and I accept his pain, his trust. My love is still secret, but self-evident, and sometimes I wonder if he deserves these words; so many words have been withheld from him: explanations, consolations. To hell with my insecurities; I can endure them for such a magical creature. Still, I withhold this knowledge, because he has much to deal with and doesn't need further confusion and ambivalence.

He sleeps, for a while, on the living room floor with his head on my chest, until I coax him to go to bed. We tangle in eachother's arms one more time, and he asks a question I'm not sure how to answer. This, and every time, for me. But that hardly matters.

I am scheduled to fly at 4, and my benefactor arrives to take me away at 11 or so. He will feed me sushi again, in the presence of his children; I will smile and continue to withhold my own silly, dramatic perspective. Before I part from the side of my charge, though, I tell him that I will return. Longer, next time. His embrace lingers and I feel little else from there to the airport, through security, to the plane; throughout delays, I think of little else but my desire to stay by his side and perform damage-control until he has healed.

Part of me would have turned from the gate, walked back to Mahopac from LaGuardia, waited for him on his front porch. The rest of me knows better: one week was promised, one week was spent. My charges at home miss me, and he needs the chance to do so as well. I am an expert on not overstaying my welcome, and to do so, one must leave when it isn't wished; one must suffer the illness of distance to appreciate presence.

Held over in Atlanta for several hours, I exchange sentiments of sorrow at this departure. I comedically complain about the wait.

I hope you've learned a valuable lesson.
What? Don't leave?
You would have kept me forever, huh?
Without hesitation.

I laugh and mutter words of ambivalence to my Goddess of Strife. Kind and generous Goddess, now cut it out.

OK. We'll work it out.

As I peer around the crowded airport, I see frustration, hilarity, pain, upset. Children wail for their beds, mothers are stunningly compassionate with everyone but fathers. The airport is composed of strife and misery. I am surrounded by unicorns, and I look around stunned by the chaotic splendor of human beauty. The pain of my own crucifixion is gone, and I can see magic again in every breath around me.

Once again, a self-proclaimed Beast bestows nothing but hospitality and absolute kindness, breaking the shackles of his visiting maiden in favor of a shiny new set that transform her to Beauty and which she wears with pride. I can see the unicorns around me, brilliant and blinding, and this lovely Beast is completely oblivious to the depth and importance of the gifts he's given me, because the ability to see unicorns is the ability to love. He's brought me back to myself, and gratitude will never cover what I owe him for that.


April 2012

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