I released Teardrop Road on June 23, 2021. I think it was a Thursday. It was pretty devastating to put it out in the world on the big stage. Having your secrets on a blog is one thing. The worldwide stage opens up doubts and fears that I expected but could never prepare myself for. However, this release is a win. It’s a win for me. It’s a win for my family. For mental health in general. And I hope if you’re in pain and you’re going through anything, any kind of abuse, any kind of loss, I hope this book can help you and that you can see it as a win. I’m celebrating the release of Teardrop with another blog blast. These are chapters of the second volume of Reality of the Unreal Mind, called Normal Street. I’m releasing a chapter from that book every two hours and fifteen minutes. This is the story of Hollow Man. This is the story of how I figured out love through a series of heartaches and confusing episodes. Because love is not easy to navigate for anyone, and it’s almost impossible for a shattered mind to prepare for their soulmate. Here is Hollow Man 20: Precious Part 3.
Shadow had the girl he wanted again in the back of Tony’s car one night during Christmas break my senior year of high school.
It was Precious. It had been Precious for him since the Mary thing broke to dust. Precious had flirted with him and laughed with him. She wanted him, he knew it. So, one day he just showed up at her house with Tony and picked her up. She went with him without question, and he had her again.
The two of them got in the backseat. Tony had a small car at this point. It was a compact I can’t name. Not fancy, but it was great. He took us to Rolla, to the super Walmart there, and I bought Mumble’s record player.
His was a joke and it was getting to where the man couldn’t listen to his vinyl anymore. He and I used to sit up late at night and listen to Bob Seger, Elton John and all the other things about music that Rose hated. It is, to this day, one of my only good memories with him and every time I hear Katmandu, I think of him sitting there, bobbing his head and jamming, singing quietly to himself as I belted it out.
Well, we went to Walmart and I dropped one hundred dollars on the only record player the place had. We threw it in the back of the car and then Tony, bless his heart, was once again the world’s most magnificent third wheel.
We drove for hours and Shadow made out with Precious in the backseat. They laughed and joked and whispered and promised and everything he could do back then with his favorite girl in the world. Because she was. She was his favorite. She laughed and beamed. She shined with everything she did. She was the brightest thing in his life, and made him, for just a little while, forget that he had lost his soul.
He had continually broken Mary. Every time, he vowed he would never return and every time, within a few days, he was back with her. He had no idea how it was happening. Could not answer that question. Would be walking away from her relieved and happy, then the next time he saw her, he would be holding her hand. He hated it. Hated himself and he wanted it all to go away desperately.
Precious was his answer. She was powerful enough she could shout Mary away. She was fearless enough that she could handle Shadow. And she was, in every way, amazing. He dropped her off and talked the entire way to his house about how awesome she was. How much he loved her and how he was done forever with Mary. He was cured. It was over.
He said goodbye, went back into his house, and he heard Rose say that Beaming had called. She was a friend. A drama girl, and she was one of Mary’s best friends. She lived right across the interstate from our house, and if you dared, and ran like the devil, you could beat the traffic and be at her house in minutes.
Guardian called her back and found out that Mary was spending the night. She knew they were broken up, but could he come over just to say hi.
He grabbed his coat and, with the smell of Precious all over him, Guardian ran. He sprinted across the highway, and within five minutes he was pounding on the door. It was opened and he stepped in. There, on the other side of the room, stood the only thing that mattered. There stood Mary. His sanity. His only hope.
They all hung out. They laughed and they joked, and Mary smiled at him and Guardian felt loved again. When it came time to leave, Mary got frantic and so did Guardian. They looked at Beaming and they looked at her brother, and instantly, without talking, hatched a plan.
Guardian knew the little brother enough to make it work, and he asked if he could spend the night. Rose said yes. She loved Beaming. Beaming was helping her with her algebra in Rose’s great attempt to graduate before me. Rose would do anything to make Beaming happy. So that night, we set up blankets as beds in the living room under the Christmas tree and we hung out.
The brother fell off to sleep pretty quick. Beaming went to sleep as well, and Guardian stayed up talking to his girl. They had set the beds up head-to-head and they leaned on their elbows and talked until they were one again.
He climbed into her blankets and they started kissing. It was home for him, the only thing about him that was right, and he had her back. He had his girl again.
All of his friends hated her. He did not care. All of her friends hated the two of them together. He did not care. Shadow hated them; her parents hated them. Everyone in the world was telling these two kids to stay away from each other. But Guardian was loved by her. She cared for him when no one else ever had. She needed him and he needed her.
Somewhere halfway through the night, she got up. She went into the bathroom and he heard her crying.
He knocked on the door and entered. He sat in the dark and she went off. She told him she hated him. Said that she wanted to get away from him, but she couldn’t. She knew she had a problem. She was addicted to the way he felt. The way he looked at her and the way he touched her. But only sometimes.
She told him there were times when he was cruel. Times when he snapped at her and said hateful things. She said she knew he had been with another girl tonight. She could smell her on him. And she hated him for it. She knew he would break her heart again and she knew it would be soon.
Then she begged him to stay. He wept and apologized. He told her over and over again that he was sorry. It was just happening. He did not know how to explain it. He just did these things that he never remembered, and he could never answer any of the questions his actions left behind. He told her that he loved her more than air, and he was right. He would have done anything to be hers forever. And he told her a few more times that he loved her.
Then they held each other and cried.
They went back into the living room and, under the lights of the tree, they made out some more. They almost had sex that night, right there in the floor, but in the last moment Guardian held out.
He didn’t sleep that night. He had to get up early because he had a meeting at Pizza Hut in the morning. He was walking to work, but it was not too long of a walk. He got as far as the road and he stopped. He looked at the trucks racing by and thought about the night he just had. And he thought about the phantom smell that she said he had on him and he wanted to die. Wanted to jump out into the highway and feel it all come to an end.
His life was out of control. He was out of control. And he had no idea why.
Guardian cried all the way to the meeting. When he got there, he laughed. He joked and he waited for time to go home. He had spent another night with the girl he loved. He knew it would crumble in his hands soon. He just didn’t know when.