I'm amazed how much he starts telling me about stuff
in his life when he starts talking. It wouldn't be
horribly much for anyone else, but for him, he who
never talks about himself, it's amazing.
I like the idea that he talks to me. I really do. That
means he trusts me. And really, if I have his trust
and affection, what more do I need? Some things took
me too long to figure out, though my undermind was
almost there all along. I knew I was fine with things
as they are after one of the Mr. Shallow incidents,
but it took me a while to get my words wrapped around
why I was fine with things.
Love, to me, is the artistic combination of affection
and trust, and occasionally lust. Add in loyalty, and
you have it. Hooray, love.
I told him about a lot of the
functioning-of-Loony-brain updates that he'd missed.
How, most days, the fragmentation's barely notable
now, and that's barely notable to the internal
monitor. Among co-workers, among strangers, I pass as
a singleton. I told him about the history, briefly,
the root causes and how the thing that made everything
go haywire was treated.
Slowly but surely.
Back a few years ago, my inimitable friend Mr. Shallow
kissed me, then proceeded to deny his clearly
physically obvious attraction to me (mostly because I
did not fit his ideal of attractive, and also because
being involved with me did not fit his image -- like I
said, shallow). I relayed grouchiness over this
episode to Darkside, who said something cryptic that
managed to convey to me something-or-other that turned
on a Clue Bulb.
The thing that had been bothering me about my
friendship with Darkside was that I have a very, very,
very well-developed sense of when someone digs me. He
was setting off my "he digs me" sense in almost every
way but verbal. What he was saying and what he was
doing did not match up. What he was saying and what I
was underhearing did not match up. I trust Darkside to
not lie to me. But I was faced with a choice that
could have quite literally destroyed my mind: either
take Darkside's word and deny my senses, or accept
that the one person I trust to never lie to me was
telling me something that was not true.
To accept that my senses were playing me false -- I've
seen what has happened to people who have been
convinced of that, and it's very much not pretty.
Think utter disconnect from reality. To accept that
Darkside was lying to me on this would undermine every
single thing he'd done to rebuild my sanity and
stability, and he did a whole lot there.
I think he did a lot more than most people who have
heard me talk about him casually credit him for. All
he did was listen and tell me the things that common
sense should have been telling me. That's all. He only
listened calmly, listened calmly when I was in
hysterics, and didn't become hysterical himself. He
listened far past both of our bedtimes. He managed to
get me to chill out and listen. I don't know how many
of you have dealt with someone who's normally very
controlled and rational going hysterical and
irrational. I don't know how many of you have ever
managed to successfully talk sense to someone who's
not only hysterical but determined not to listen. I've
done, or attempted to do, both. I would figuratively
say it takes the patience of a saint, but then I have
to ask where saints get their patience, and if they
get their patience by shifting up and out and into
that confessional/counseling headspace where nothing
can bother you, then I'd say that it takes the literal
patience of a saint. It takes something beyond that to
be there for someone in their extremity, and then be
for them as a friend after that. They have to really
trust you all the time, and not be afraid that you'll
take what they've said while they were not in their
right minds and use it against them later. You have to
not do that. They may want to avoid you because you'll
remind them of when they lost control. Being clergy is
a difficult social dance. The fact that I ever wanted
to see him again says a lot for him.
Something about what Darkside said about the situation
with Mr. Shallow, though, made me realize that yes, in
an ideal world, Darkside could very well return my
love in kind as well as in trade (friendship). It
became apparent that there were any number of
obstacles standing in the way of this becoming
manifest. I don't trust Darkside to be entirely honest
about his emotions to himself, or to realize that he
has inconvenient emotions when there is some
overriding reason for him to not realize that he's
feeling something. The identity of some of these
obstacles also became apparent.
After that, I stopped freaking out over the
discrepancy, because it really wasn't a discrepancy
I'm not Illyan. When someone close to me behaves in a
way that doesn't make sense with what my senses are
reporting to me, I can't handle it well until the
thing's resolved. This one resolved well. And even
though I'm still in romantic limbo, that's something I
can handle admirably. That's a choice I've chosen to
make, rather than my senses warring with each other
and unable to reach a balance. I can deal with a
choice, even if it's a choice that others don't
understand (as they don't have my priorities). I can't
deal with the inability to make a choice because I
can't tell which of my senses has played me false.