The Lucky One

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She sensed something was wrong that last night in the Midwestern city. He was drinking too much. They almost argued and everything felt filled with anxiety. He was distant.The intensity of their passion was more than it had ever been. She was almost afraid he was going to hurt her. He came close but bailed out at the last moment.

The next morning, she knew something was wrong. He handed her his prize baseball cap, commenting it had his DNA in it. He looked at her like he was trying to remember and forget, all at the same time. When they got to the airport, she turned around and he had vanished.

In the few days that were left, he sent messages to her that talked about trust. Over and over, he spoke of trust and long-term commitment. She believed him still. She had known him so long, but they had never connected on such a deep level before. She could relax about their relationship. He said it was for the long haul.

Then she got the note. The note using their special love words, supposedly from her, the other one. Telling her that he had come home, that it was over. He sent her one note, telling her the same thing. She believed that for weeks. He tried to be cruel. He sent her a message, ostensibly from the other one, telling her he forgave her. For what? Then she received several emails. They were supposed to be from the other one, but they weren’t. He gave himself away by using the first personal pronoun and two initials he always used to refer to himself.

It all fell into place. He had broken off the relationship himself and blamed the other one. He had been as cruel as possible while preaching words of love and commitment and trust.

She looked in the water. He wasn’t worth anything. Not her tears, not her heartache. She was the lucky one. Now if she could only make herself believe it.

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I Can See for Miles…..Farther!

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My name is Liz and I told my story here last fall in a story called I Can See for Miles. I didn’t use my name then because I was so humiliated and embarrassed. I can use my name now. Yes, I let someone humiliate me. Hurt me terribly. Embarrass me. Shatter my heart. It’s six months later now and I can tell a little more of my story. Some of it is so personal I can’t tell it all, but I can talk more about what happened to me. Maybe it will help someone else.

To put it simply, I got involved in a relationship with the wrong man. I didn’t know he was the wrong man. I had known him for more years than I want to think about and we had been involved on some level a number of times before last fall. It wasn’t a traditional relationship. Quite the opposite. But, it was a relationship that was important to me and I had every reason to think it was also important to him, including both his words and his actions. He was the love of my life……..I thought.

The truth of the matter is that I made a terrible mistake and a terrifically bad decision to get involved with this man – ever. From the first time many years ago. Why? Because he is a sociopath. Sociopaths are dangerous people and I found that out – in spades. He has some other issues besides the fact that he is a sociopath, but that is the issue most relevant to what happened to me with him. Normal people don’t do what he did. Not only men can be sociopaths. Women can be too. In my case, it was a man. Let me tell you what makes a sociopath who he is and why he is dangerous.

1. Sociopaths are charming and smooth. Dating a sociopath can be wonderful. They sweep you off your feet. Believe me, I was swept totally off my feet.

2. They have no regard for societal rules or norms. But, they are good at faking it. They are big time risk-takers.

3. They are also good at faking relationships. In fact, I did not ever, over many years, have an actual relationship with this man. It was fake. It was all fake. Sociopaths cannot have real relationships because they have no empathy. Perhaps that’s the reason this man had been married more than five times. The relationship was real to me because he was able to make it feel real to me, but it was never real. There was something about our relationship that he needed, that he gained.

4. Sociopaths are control freaks but you often don’t realize it because they are so good at it. I certainly didn’t realize it. He chooses to date or marry you because you meet a need, not because he loves you or even likes you.

5.  Sociopaths will treat you like a queen, until they are finished with you. You may have a thousand wonderful times with a sociopath. I certainly did. But, they will eventually throw you away like yesterday’s garbage. You will feel like yesterday’s garbage. 

6. In relationships, sociopaths are self-serving. A relationship to them is a means to an end. They want something – money, power, sex, amusement, something you can give them. When you quit being able to give it to them, they are gone.

7. A sociopath has three phases to his relationship. First is the assessment of the victim. Will she meet his needs. Second is when he is in the relationship and getting what he needs. He will fake love and romance but he feels nothing. Third is the abandonment stage. He leaves the other person when he has gotten what he wants. He has a desire to hurt that person and goes about the business of doing that.

8. A sociopath is very good at determining his partner’s weaknesses and using them against her.

9. Can a sociopath love? In a word, no. They love themselves, power, and manipulation. They love in an unemotional, uncaring manner, but the partner does not know it. But, the true, complex emotion of love. Absolutely not.

10. Can you love a sociopath? On that, I am an expert and the answer is yes, absolutely. That’s because you aren’t loving the real person, but a persona. You are treated so well and so intensely, that you can love a sociopath very intensely.

I think what is so important to me about these ten points about sociopaths is that I did love this man who was a sociopath and wasted many, many years of my life loving him. The second thing is that I was hurt deeply when the relationship ended, before I figured out that I had been involved with a man who was a sociopath. Third and most important is that sociopaths have a desire to hurt their former partner and they very methodically go about doing it. That is what makes a sociopath dangerous.

So why is this post entitled, “I Can See for Miles….Farther?” I will never totally recover from the hurt from this relationship, but I have discovered a new relationship!  I have met a wonderful man who is good to me. I’m a different, eccentric kind of girl and our relationship isn’t traditional either, but it is good. In fact, it is very very good. I’m happy and fulfilled in this relationship. I never thought that would happen for me again.

 

 

 

Guitar Man

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She was only sixteen. Oh, all right. She wasn’t quite sixteen. Just fifteen and a half. She liked the way that boy looked when he played his guitar. He worked on her granddaddy’s farm. Just a field hand, working in the kitchen garden and in the corn. Sometimes working in the dairy with the milking machines. Her granddaddy said he’d make something of himself some day. All she knew was how much she liked to watch him play that guitar.

Jake would use his breaks from work to practice guitar playing. He was already good but she overheard him say he wanted to be better. That he wanted to be famous. She would hide and listen to his guitar playing. That boy could play that guitar and make her feel things she’d never felt before.

Then he was gone. They said he went to Nashville to find a band that needed someone like him. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t quite sixteen. She hopped on a bus with a suitcase and a few dollars, determined to find the boy. She thought she was in love. She went to find that guitar-playing boy that made her feel things she couldn’t forget.

Old Time Rock and Roll

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It was 1979. The good ole days of rock and roll. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll, to be exact. If she had known how good they had really been, she would have paid more attention. Enjoyed them even more than she had and she had enjoyed them a lot. If she had known what was coming. Oh, if she had only known what was coming. She was lucky. She was just at the right age to take advantage of those days of rock and roll. Graduated from college a few years earlier. Out on her own with a good job. Living in a city, big enough but not too big.

In a way that she can only appreciate now, those days were innocent. The first innocent days of rock and roll. People enjoying each other. Awesome music. Drugs, yes, but it seemed not many of her friends had addiction problems. Social drug use. A little weed. Some cocaine, but no one had heard of crack yet. LSD but not among her friends. That’s about it.

Anne was reminiscing. Now it was 2017, early in the year. Winter. She was sitting in a nightclub in a city far away from that city she’d loved so much. That city from 1979 where she’d made good friends, heard that awesome music, gotten her education. She was still that same girl in her head. Her body was telling her that maybe it wasn’t quite the same any more. Her heart. Oh, her heart. It had been light and fun-loving in 1979. Now, it had been stepped on once too often. It wasn’t light anymore. It was still fun-loving but ever so much more cautious. She hated that. All the years in between, and the experiences, had done that to her. Her poor judgment during those years had done that.

But, here she was. Back in a nightclub. She’d always loved bars and nightclubs. She’d felt at home in them. Free. Free to be herself and she didn’t feel like that in very many places. Some of her friends would never believe that as they thought bars were terrible places. Other friends, they agreed with her, secretly or not so secretly. Even if they didn’t agree with her, they knew this about her and understood.

The band playing at the end of the long bar was a heavy metal band. She liked a few metal bands. Not this one. They were making noise and not music. Maybe the noise would drown out some of the thoughts in her head. A good band would have better accomplished that as she would have enjoyed it, but this bar was close to her hotel.

Anne thought of some of her old friends who she knew in 1979. So many of them were gone now. Some had fought in Vietnam and had died due to war-related ailments. She thought of Bobby. Some had kept right on partying through the years, never stopping to take care of themselves, and had died due to heart ailments. She thought of Jim. Some had settled down and married and had families and had stopped this foolishness. She smiled to herself as she thought about that. Some had mental illnesses and she thought, her heart breaking, about Paul. Some were like her. They had gone on and had been successful, either at home or with a career, but their hearts still belonged to 1979 and rock and roll.

Finally, the server approached her and seemed surprised when she ordered a shot of Dom Julio tequila with a glass of water. That pissed her off. She didn’t look that much like an old lady. She did look female, however, and the server went ahead to ask her if she wanted it chilled. That was a question they would only ask a girl. Anne snapped a quick, “Of course not,” at her and looked away.

Anne needed this bar and this shot of tequila tonight. She was at a writer’s conference to promote her new book. The conference was in New Orleans and Anne had almost told her publisher that she could not come to this city. She knew that he would put a great deal of pressure on her to come and there was no use fighting him about it. She had to come. It was an important conference if she wanted her book to be successful. It was her second novel. A writer’s second novel is important. It tells a publisher if the success of the first one was a fluke or the real deal. So, here she was in the city where she had spent so much time during her life. The city where the love of her life still lived.

She was staying at the conference hotel. The Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street. A hotel she and her love had stayed in more than once. She shook her head and about that time her tequila finally showed up. She shot it before the server could walk away and ordered another one. She had to get those thoughts out of her head as she had important business to attend to.

All the other conference participants were excited about touring New Orleans. There wasn’t nearly as much to see since Hurricane Katrina had almost wiped it out. Anne could tell a huge difference. Almost half the population was gone. She surely didn’t need or want to tour New Orleans. She could be the tour guide since she had been there so much. Touring it would just make her remember things she would rather not.

For the most part, the conference participants were younger. They barely remembered that epic hurricane, let alone realized what it had done to that city. She also knew that restaurants were still closing at a rapid rate as it continued to lose population. Even universities in the city were facing closure. A lot of what was left in the French Quarter  seemed to be the strange people, mimes, the voodoo shops, and such. She didn’t want to see this city that she loved dying a lingering death. She had decided to stick close to the conference hotel, participate in everything the conference had to offer, and pretend she was somewhere else. But, she had to sneak out, late at night, and take advantage of the bars and the music.

She was just thinking of going over to one of the good jazz bars she knew. She had heard that a big name in jazz was playing at Preservation Hall. Suddenly, a voice said, “Madame, may I join you?”

She looked up and to her right and a man was standing there smiling. He had jet black hair and sparkling blue eyes that also seemed to be smiling. At first glance, he was probably 15 years younger than her. She thought about it a second and knew she could always get up and leave. She shrugged her shoulders and motioned to the other chair at the table. Before he sat down, he stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Jon Beaufort.”

She shook his hand and introduced herself, “I’m Anne Darrow.”

He sat and said, “That is a good Scots name.”

“I believe yours is French.”

Jon replied, “Yes, I’m French.”

“I would ask you what a classy lady like you is doing in a nightclub by herself, but it would sound like a line.”

“Yes, it would,” Anne said, “but I will answer you. I’m attending a conference at the hotel next door and I came over here in hopes they had a good band.”

“I, too, am attending the conference at the Royal Sonesta,” exclaimed Jon. “So you are also a writer.”

Anne and Jon sat and talked about the books they had written and promoted for  a short while. While Anne had written two psychological thrillers, Jon wrote political thrillers. There was a lot they could talk about and learn from each other. Suddenly, Jon looked at Anne and mentioned that the band was loud and not at all good. He said, “Anne, I may be out of line, but would you like to go somewhere quieter and have dinner with me? We could finish our conversation.”

Anne had to think for a moment. It was just dinner and he was a conference participant, so why not, she thought. Then, so many reasons why not flashed through her mind. She smiled and reached into her purse, taking out a business card. She scribbled her phone number on the back. She handed it to Jon.

Anne said, “Jon, you seem very nice. Maybe I would like to get to know you better. Let’s see each other tomorrow at our book signings. Then, after the conference, if you want to call me some time, please do.”

Jon smiled and asked if he could walk her back to the hotel. He said goodbye at the elevator. Anne had no idea if she would see him the next day or not. She realized she didn’t really care and went on up to her room. She didn’t know him well enough to care. If he wanted to get to know her, he would have to make some effort. Anne felt proud of herself. It was about time.

Prompt 1966: thewritingreader.com

amwriting with The Writing Reader

Transcendent

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She was only 19 years old. He was her best friend’s neighbor who lived just down the road. He was also working with her dad on a civic project. They were good friends. Maybe not good enough. He was a professor at the local university and she was a student. His student in just one class. Just another student. He was a young professor, a new Assistant Professor. Only ten years older than she was. He was married with a beautiful little girl.

He was tall, blonde, incredibly handsome. She was mesmerized by him. In class, when he came to her house to see her dad, when she was at her best friend’s house and they watched him and giggled at the window. She had a little crush on him as student’s sometimes do on their professors. Everything he did had transcendent importance to her. She never dreamed anything would really happen between them. She was speechless and tongue-tied around him.

Then he started flirting with her a little. She thought she was imagining it. She flirted back, but she thought it was just a game. Back when she was 19, a lifetime ago, that wasn’t very old especially not in the environment in which she had grown up. She had only one real boyfriend and that had ended badly. She had grown up very sheltered. She hadn’t been allowed to stay out late or date many people. She was living at home while she attended college.

The flirting grew and he asked her to join him one night when he had to drive to another nearby town. Just to talk, he said. She was so incredibly flattered that she didn’t even think about the fact that it was probably wrong. The wrong thing to do. He was, after all, a married man. She rode with him that night.

Thirty-five years later, he had moved on to another university in another state. She had married, divorced, and married again. When he was in the vicinity, he still called her and asked her to take a ride with him. She still saw everything he said and did as transcendentally important. He had affected her in a way that lasted the rest of her life.

Mistaking Power for Love in Relationships

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Have you ever been in a relationship that feels more like a power struggle than a healthy love relationship? There is a lot of that out there. There is nothing at all healthy about such relationships.

A healthy love relationships is, first, one where the partners have mutual respect. That is at least as important as love. After mutual respect comes love, trust, shared values, and true caring for each other. As far as power is concerned, in a healthy relationship, the balance of power usually shifts back and forth between the two partners depending on their situation. It is never overwhelmingly held by one partner. If it is, that constitutes control. A relationship where one partner tries to wield control is not a true love relationship. It is a power struggle.

If a relationship is a power struggle, it cannot possibly be an enjoyable relationship. Love is not power. It is not giving up your power in a relationship to someone else so they will “love” you and stay with you. If your partner requires that, then your relationship is already over. It is just dying a slow death.

If you feel like you require the power in your relationship, you should examine your motives. Partners who require power in a relationship are basically insecure. If you only want the relationship if it is on your terms and you are hanging around to see if you can force the other person to see that your way is the right way, you might as well end the relationship now. This will never be a healthy relationship. You’re forcing your partner to be submissive to you and he/she will always resent that.  You may, quite simply, be with the wrong person.

If you require power in every relationship, then that is another issue. Unless you examine your motives, you will never have a healthy relationship. You need to learn to give and take power in a relationship as the situation demands.

Power usually involves control and manipulation. If you hold the power in a relationship, you usually use control and manipulative tactics to get what you want from your partner. Is this love? Of course not. If you are the partner being manipulated and the one without the power, run, don’t walk, out of the relationship. You may want to say something like, “But, I love him.” I say, “No, you don’t.” You just think you do because he has convinced you of it. It’s part of the power and control tactic. Find yourself a healthy relationship where there is a give and take situation concerning power.

Whether you are a person that requires power in a relationship or the partner who is submissive, don’t spend your life with the wrong person. Find someone you love and with whom you can have a healthy relationship without the issue of power.

A Rocky Relationship

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We drove out to Red Rock Canyon that day. I’ll never forget it. Life had not been good for us for awhile. We both loved that canyon, the beautiful scenery, the peace.

Peter wanted to walk and take some photos. I walked with him for a bit but then veered off on my own. I took some photos of my own, including one of Peter sitting on the rocks resting and thinking.

He got up, walked back to me and said, “Carolyn, you’re my girl. You’ve always been. Can’t we work this out? What can I do?”

“You can be the Peter I used to know. Before the affair. You decided to stay, but you aren’t really here.”

Peter said, “I can’t help it, Carolyn. It changed me. She changed me.”

“Go back to her. You’re not my Peter anymore.”

140 words

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #FFfAW

Killing Her Softly

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He had made the decision. The decision to break off the relationship with her. He was going to have this last little fling and then it was going to be over. He could swing it. He knew how to manage it and no one had to be the wiser. He had convinced her that his wife wore the pants in his family. That she controlled him and everything he did. It had taken an elaborate story but she had bought it. He knew her well enough to tell. She was a gentle soul and she loved him. She’d believe anything he told her. He’d convinced her that he loved her. Anyway, he knew he would not be able to have sex with her much longer. He was flirting with impotence. He wasn’t mature enough to realize she didn’t care about that. He did.

He didn’t want to take the chance of losing his marriage. Not because he loved his wife. But because his wife came from a wealthy family. They had the money to travel and play at whatever they wanted. He didn’t want to screw that up just for a meaningless affair. He just got involved in this affair for a thrill anyway. The thrill was going away so he had to get out of it. He laughed to himself. He got bored easily. He had to put her in her place so she wouldn’t tell anyone, like his wife. She wasn’t stupid, even though she was trusting. He had to make his story complicated so she wouldn’t figure it out.

What he didn’t know is that the girl already knew something was wrong between them. He was a heavy drinker and he had let some things slip when he got drunk. He was also bipolar. Sometimes, he thought he was thinking to himself, only he was thinking out loud and the girl heard him talking to himself. She was already suspicious before she left him at the airport that last time. He was in a manic period and was drinking more than usual so he could sleep. The mania was worse than the girl had ever seen. The mental illness had gotten worse since she had last seen him. She never could have guessed the lengths he would go to in order to get rid of her. She never would have guessed he would try to get rid of her at all. They had seen each other for 35 years, even if it had been off and on.

The man thought he had convinced the girl his wife was a mean bitch. A dictatorial, manipulative woman who controlled him completely. He’d told her that the wife was a computer hacker, that she would ruin her life if she found out about them. He’d forgotten that the girl had known him when he’d been with other women and that he’d never be with anyone like that. If anyone was controlling, it would be him. She knew he’d be sneaky about it.

The girl already knew he was a liar. Even during their current short relationship, he contradicted himself dozens of times. The mental illness kept him from realizing it as did the liquor. The girl remembered every single instance. He first said that he had paid one of his ex-wives off with $250,000. The next day, it became $500,000. Apparently, he didn’t think she had a memory either. She remembered it all. Her brain had not been pickled in liquor and ruined by uncontrolled bipolar disease.

That did not mean that the girl was prepared for what happened next. She had never known him to be cruel. Troubled, yes. A pathological liar, yes. Cruel, no. The years had indeed changed him.

It happened three days after they parted the last time. He was particularly sweet that day, professing his undying love. Over and over and over. Then, suddenly, the girl got a message supposedly from his wife saying that he had been found out and threatening her. It took her a little while to think the whole thing through. To realize that the message from his wife was really a message from him. His cowardly way out of the relationship. At first, she was shattered. It took weeks for her to think straight. She had trusted him in spite of herself. Psychopaths can be quite convincing because they believe their own lies.

He cut off her access to him all the while blaming his wife. At first, all she wanted was an explanation but she couldn’t get that. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle began to fall together for her. He thought he was very smart but he had made some fundamental mistakes. Gradually, she figured out each mistake he had made. She started to realize that his wife probably did not even know he had an affair. He had ended it before she found out but in the most horrible way, the cruelest way, possible. In his very sick bipolar mind, he had to play out an elaborate scenario and hurt the girl badly.

Looking back, the girl shook her head. All he had to do was tell her that the affair was not working for him. He knew that she would never want someone who didn’t want her. She would have just left and he would never have heard from her again. It would have been so much simpler. He even needed the thrill of hurting her. In the process, he probably caused her to never be able to trust again. Cruel and psychopathic people do not care about those things. They care only about themselves.*

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #fiction

*This is an excerpt from a larger body of work.

Waiting

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There was so much between us during that year. No one, but us, will ever know. He left from this very dock. He went to the mainland from this spot. The night before, he told me not to worry, that he would never be out of my life. I trust him. It doesn’t matter what anyone says. Just because someone has a relationship with someone else doesn’t mean they are sick. How cruel could that be? How silly does that sound? That only means they are trying to keep us apart.

It seems like I’m waiting wherever I am. Work. School. Home. I know he will figure it out. I know he’ll come back for me.

So I’ll wait. Right here on this dilapidated dock where he can find me. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #romance #flashfiction #fiction

*This post sponsored by FFfAW.

Thanks, Priceless Joy!

 

 

Excerpt from The Lost Romance – The Affair

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They weren’t young anymore. She still had lofty goals for both her personal and professional life. He…..well…..not so much. Rebecca was never content. She may have been 64 years old but she worked as hard as she did when she was 34. Patrick was retired and he did a little work but was more interested in traveling and having fun. Rebecca liked those thing too, but she needed time to work at her writing. Her personal life with Patrick was of crucial importance to her. First on her list. She also had a full life outside of Patrick. Patrick had a life outside their relationship as well. It made things difficult.

When they were together, none of those things mattered very much. They took advantage of every moment as there weren’t many moments. No one seemed to understand that what they had together didn’t threaten anyone else. It was their’s and their’s alone. Some mysterious something they had never been able to find with anyone else. God knows they had tried. Rebecca alone had spent her life trying to find what she had with Patrick with other men. It never worked. It was never there. It was very frustrating.

Rebecca thought to herself, looking at Patrick across the room, that she guessed this is what love was. That mysterious something that you had with one person and didn’t have with anyone else. When she looked at him, she knew. She had always known, that he was the one, the love of her life. But it had never worked out between them. They had been in each other’s ives in some way, even if only off and on, for 35 years. In all those years, either she was married, he was married, or they both were married. Yet, they wanted to be together. How could that be?

Patrick was on the phone as Rebecca was thinking about this. She was watching him, with great love in her heart. Sometimes, she wished fervently that she didn’t feel like this. That she could just walk away. She had tried. Over and over, down through the years, she had tried. She always missed him so much, she went back again and again. How could she not go back to the love of her life?

It may sound foolish to say that, at 64 years old, Rebecca was still searching, still going back to the love of her life. Rebecca had never felt her age. She was young at heart and been fortunate to keep her physical health. She didn’t feel much different than the day she had met Patrick all those years ago. Looking at him, she remembered that day clearly. She had walked into his office and fallen in love. What a day that was!

Patrick was a few years older than Rebecca and was struggling with some health problems. Rebecca wondered if, for Patrick’s sake, it really was time to walk away. If Patrica had still been married to the mother of his children, the answer would have been yes. She was a good person. But a woman had broken up Patrick’s marriage a number of years ago. She was a controlling, manipulative woman who thought she knew what was best for Patrick and did not much care for Patrick’s input into the matter. Patrick seemed frightened of her for some reason and that was never good. There was something wrong there with that marriage and Rebecca wa worried for Patrick’s sake. This woman seemed to feel the need to judge and criticize Patrick as a method of control. Rebecca was quite concerned. How could she abandon Patrick under those circumstances?

Patrick ended his phone call, walked over to her, and put his arms around her. She felt so warm and safe in his arms. She always had though they saw each other so infrequently. They didn’t feel the need for conversation at that moment. They just felt the need for each other. They dissolved into each other and neither of them had any concept of time until two hours had passed. Patrick made her feel totally fulfilled in every way. Any thoughts of giving him up flew out of her head as she lay beside him. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #romance

*Excerpt from the upcoming novel The Lost Romance