The Mystery Man

It’s my birthday! As my birthday is progressing, I have decided I’m going to talk about that which is my favorite to talk about. I’m gonna tell you all about the love of my life. This is a section of my autobiography. It is the third volume, and the thirteenth book of the autobiography titled Reality of the Unreal Mind. This section is called The King’s Concubine. It’s about the times when me and my wife almost got together spanning from the last day of eighth grade til six years later, when we actually did connect. So today we talk about the near-misses of love. This is the first post in this series. I will be releasing them all day.

Now we’re talking about my day, and I live on a 48-hour schedule. So a new one of these will be coming out every two hours and 45 minutes from now until 2 in the morning on the 24th, when I go to sleep.

I remember blood.

I was taking off clothes soaked in blood and had it on my arms, tissue on my hands, skin under my fingernails. I knew screams, screams from myself, none from them. I remember carrying a traumatized girl to a car and marching around the car.

A shower.

Clothing that didn’t fit me well. A walk down a cold road and the back of my hair freezing. It clicked and clinked like bells as the clumps of hair froze and tapped into each other.

A cop pulled up to me and I almost ran. I got in and he called me a Beautiful Monster.

I went by that moniker for a while, maybe a few years. Soon, I found my purpose. Soon, I was given a job.

I became the enforcer. I watched over us, and when things were getting out of hand, when Shadow got too violent, when his criminal activity grew too intense, it was me who stopped him. For a long time I had a master in this mind of mine. For a long time I was an enforcer. Soon, I became the Ronin.

So you can call me that, can call me Ronin.

I can tell you I was cold. I was a machine, nothing more. I got in the way often when Less would come out of her room like a bear from hibernation, angry and hungry for violence. I stood against her. I can tell you I was watching when Shadow pulled his Buck 110 and defended himself against Less when she pulled a butcher’s knife on him. I can tell you I was there when Shadow lost himself with Break. I am the reason Break survived. I can tell you I knew nothing of love, knew nothing of warmth. I was a violent enforcer until her.

We will call her the Concubine, for she was not our wife yet. But she was the only one we looked for. She was the balm to our raging mind and confused heart. There was a north for us, and the Concubine was it. There were a few encounters we shared in high school and out of it, a few times when we nearly came together. It is important you understand them in order to understand how well we fit in each other’s spaces on August 3rd 1997, when our life began and the two of us were one.

Because for years before then, our souls called out for each other. But the hammer strikes when the steel is hot. And we were not hot yet.

I first saw that Concubine the last day of eighth grade. Artist and Guardian, Servant and Shadow were friends with D at the time, and it had been arranged that after school we would go to his house for the night. There were promises of all-night DnD games and all sorts of things.

This was the night he tried to get Servant to eat peanut butter and syrup. He had a vat of peanut butter and squeezed syrup into it. Took a spoon and ate it by the mouthful. But we did not trust each other yet. D would not listen to the things I said, and I would not listen to him yet.

Each of us were trying to be friends without giving up who we were. It would be years before we embraced each other’s ways. Until then we had a small sense of rebellion when dealing with each other.

I would not try his syrup trick. He would not agree that the Dodge Dart was worth a shit. We were friends but holding on to what we were, afraid the other would change us too much.

Well, Artist is talking to D about the game he would run for him and we rounded the corner. D kept talking about a popular character he was afraid would be in the game. He didn’t want to see Chrome that night and was talking about what hell he would have to face if he did.

Artist was thinking about the ways Chrome would make life miserable for D when we came around the corner and I saw her for the first time.

She was short. She had not grown to her full height yet. Her hair was strange, like nothing I had ever seen before. When she turned to face me, I nearly stumbled. She stood in the hall near the office talking to one of the teachers, who I would find out was her uncle. She was staying after school to help him clean and pack his room, and I felt her.

I am not a man of words, but I do not wish to hand this story over. I would step back and let Artist tell you what I saw, or Adam, tell what I felt when I neared her, but this story is too dear to me to hand it off to another. You will have to struggle to understand by my fumbling language.

So many years after this one, I stood before the ocean. It seemed deceptive, lapping at my toes as if it was nothing to fear at all. I knew the ocean to be the most destructive force in the world. I stood watching its lie and shaking my head.

This was that, without the lie. This was that sort of power. I did not think she was attempting to be deceptive. She was just powerful, and maybe hadn’t realized it yet. She was cute at the time. I have seen pictures of her from that year in school, but I did not see a cute girl at that moment. What I saw is hard to describe.

Force. Maybe light, but not bright. Not blinding. Maybe a glow, but that seems too calm. It was as if I were standing before the power of a jet engine. Flame raged from her face, but it seemed like I was the only one who could stand before it, as if the jet engine’s power would melt anyone who tried to stand before it but me.

My soul blew back, like hair in the wind, and I felt alive. She turned to face the other direction, and I wanted to see that force again. So as we walked past her and D spoke of the horror of Chrome, I tapped her shoulder.

I did not speak. I could only lock eyes with her and feel the power of my soul blowing back. I did not speak, though she has spoken to me about this moment and she swears I said, “You have a cute face.”

I know I did not. And I had complete control of the body. But I don’t doubt that my soul said it to her, as if we could already speak to one another, and my mind and her soul expressed the sentiment.

She called me her Mystery Man and told her sisters about me. She knew D, so she described me, and her sisters named off every one of D’s friends. But D and I had not been friends long. So they did not know me.

The Concubine did not know if I was actually friends with D or if I was just a new kid she had not met yet, so she held on to a dream of coming to school and finding me in her grade the next year.

But that was not to be. She was a seventh grader going into eighth. She was not to see me until later that summer, and even then, it was not Ronin she saw. I will let Guardian tell that story. But I will say one more thing.

The moment I locked eyes with her, I gave her something. I had never felt a stare so powerful. Had never experienced a transfer of energy through the gaze of another person. I handed her a desire for future. She took it willingly.

If someone were to slip a piece of paper between our eyes during the breath of that stare, it would have burst into flames. It was a meeting of the eyes that I felt in the back of my head. It was a feeling of power and helplessness that I cannot fully capture with words.

I am not a writer. I am a Ronin. I am not a wordsmith. I carry a weapon, and I keep order. All I can say is, I had found her. I had seen a glimpse of the Concubine.

It would be over a decade before she would be the wife, but until then, she was a lover of my mind. The object of my desire that I could not find.

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