I’m sitting in a faux leather chair with a reclining problem. I’m pretty sure it was the reason this chair was in a dumpster when Johnson and I found it. It is supposed to recline when you lean back and push the arms. Supposed to lean right back and flatten out. Well it doesn’t, but I can’t accept that, so I spend my afternoons shoving back with my arms and pushing back with my legs while this piece of furniture refuses to play by its own rules. I hate this chair but it will stay with me for another five years. It will become a very important object to me, but right then I was struggling with it when I get the call.
Answer the phone and its Aimes.
“Aimes? Is that you?” I haven’t talked to this girl in years. After her freshman year in college she kind of disappeared. There is a part of me that wants to say she went to college in Columbia at Mizzou, but don’t quote me on that.
“I live in Springfield now. I heard you were here and well, do you want to get together, maybe hang out sometime?” she said.
She was on the tail end of a relationship headed down different paths. I don’t know the details, I wouldn’t tell them to you if I did. It’s really none of your business to be honest. Aimes was just hit hard is all and she needed a friend. After everything with Bekah, I needed one, too.
Me and Bekah were together all the time but not dating. We went on dates but didn’t call them dates. We had sex but didn’t call it love making. We talked but had little to say to each other. She was constant and we were doing the best we could to get back to what it all had been. We struggled to find a place to land but so much had happened we were having trouble fitting all the pieces back together.
I needed a friend and Aimes was my oldest. We had met the first day of seventh grade. I had been sitting on the bus waiting to get back home, and she had come in and dropped into her seat. She was sweating and gasping, and she looked exhausted and traumatized. She looked exactly how I felt. The rest of the bus was empty but I sat beside her and asked her if she was okay. She said yes, but meant no, and I nodded and said me either.
It was that easy. It had always been that easy. Her and D abandoning me my sophomore year was not an issue any more. I had long ago made peace with that, and I was in desperate need of her.
She met me at my house, and we got in her car and drove. She had drama with her family and I let her just talk about that. She was furious and sad and scared and heartbroken, and I soaked it all up. I listened and I fumed with her, and I told her it was going to be okay. She had taken a job teaching English in Springfield but they were moving her out to a school for troubled kids and she was having problems adjusting to it. Work was a sore place for her and when she had enough, she just came for me. We would get in her car and drive, and I would be carried away by her familiarity and her love.
Me and Aimes had never been complicated. We had never harbored any feelings for each other beyond friendship. Had never crossed any boundaries that we had set up. She had always been a source of good in my life every day she had been in it and she began to heal me a little.
I remember our drives. Late at night. The road, the highway. Sections of the city that we hardly ever saw. She had an apartment but didn’t like to stay in it. I think I was there twice. Most of the time we would listen to music and talk.
We talked about Bekah but there was too much to say. It all came out garbled nonsense. I did not know about the alters and she could not help me very much. We talked about everything about Bekah except our breakup. Because at this point, I couldn’t really remember what had broken us up. I remembered a conversation with her parents that left me sore. I remember suffering as I lost her, but details were getting fuzzy.
It had been a horrible section of my life riddled with pain and isolation. It had been a horrible section of my life riddled with confusion and arguments. It had been a horrible section of my life, and my mind was already trying to cover up the details. All I knew was that I was to blame.
Now I think we can look at what has been written in this book so far and see that is not the case, but still it plagued me. I had broken it off. I had tried to move on. I had done all the breaking and the cutting, and Bekah had just followed behind me and wept. With the details getting confusing and alters beginning to forget what had really happened, I was walking around in a state of self-loathing and confusion.
I had no real goals, had no real direction. I had school. Johnson. Bekah and Aimes. And I was slowly growing numb. So long drives at night where she would tell me her problems and I would tell her mine. Neither of us had any answers. We never had. We had been in this situation before. Her heart broken, me lost, our last two years of high school had been like this, so we kept talking and we kept driving.
She came by my house one day with a smile on her face. She had been at a party out of town that weekend and had met someone. I’m not going to taint their love story by trying to patch that night together with my imagination and a spotty memory. I’m not sure who came on to who or if they just talked. I’m pretty sure that Muttons had not gotten drunk. I have no idea if Aimes had or not. All I know is that when she came to my house that Monday, she had a different look to her.
I had seen the look on her face when things had begun to kick off with D. Had seen the look on her face when she had talked of her recent heart break. But this was different. In her eye was a kind of hopeful confidence. It was as if she had been searching for a path through the woods for her entire life but had always ended up in the weeds and the brush, but this time the path she found was paved. This time the path she found ended somewhere she wanted to get to.
He was a teacher, a Christian, she said he was funny. She said smart. She told me he was cute and he had an odd last name. I gave him a nickname to be an ass, and she tolerated me as we drove around and she talked about him. There was a new kind of happiness about her. She had a way of glowing that I had never seen with her before.
One day he came to town and I rushed off to meet him. He was adorable, in a very manly way. I am not trying to say he looked childish, but there was a quality about him that made him cute. To be honest, I don’t think it was him at all. I think Aimes made him cute. He made her even more gorgeous than she already was. When they were together, they were beautiful. He seemed new to her but old and comfortable at the same time. I liked him quite a bit until he started to be an ass.
The first day I met him he started talking shit about Dungeons and Dragons. He laughed at me for playing. Told me he and his friends made fun of DnD guys all the time. Said it was an inane game for losers. He looked me right in the face and said this.
When I tried to defend the game that had given me a life, he laughed at me and said that when the new Dungeons and Dragons movie had come out, he had gone with his buddies just to make fun of it. He laughed at me, said that he and his friends played an enlightened form of role-playing. He told me he played a game based off Lord of the Rings. Said it was the only fantasy world worth playing in.
I told him I had created my own. He laughed it off.
Now I want to be clear. I have no issue with this man at all. I love him as a husband for my friend. I think we can all see they ended up getting married. He is great to her, great for her. Family drama with her turned into family nightmare and he was there through the entire mess. He gave her a path to faith. He supported her in a new profession. Muttons has in every way been everything I could ever have wanted for Aimes.
I do however have a platform here and I am an artist. We are quick to anger, so I will take the time to say all this against him. He was a dick about Dungeons and Dragons when I met him. There. I have burned him. Had to do it Muttons. On with the story now.
I had reservations about him, but I never spoke them out loud. His comments about the game that had given me a life made him brash, and my opinion of him was tainted because of it. This next part washed all that away though.
One day I get a call from the hospital that Aimes has been in a car accident. She is at the hospital and wants to see me. I immediately called D, and he came to pick me up. We raced to see her, both of us frantic, for they had given no details of her condition over the phone.
We got there and were shown to her and she was plugged into things and had drugs coursing through her. She was pretty bruised but otherwise intact. There was nothing sticking out that needed to be poked back in, and there was nothing ripped off that needed to be stapled back on. We sat with her and talked to her for a long time. When she got tired, we went to the cafeteria, got food and sat in the waiting room until she was up to seeing us again.
I was not leaving. She was too dear to me, and I was too bound to her to ever leave her side when this had been her fate. She was going to sleep for as long as she was going to sleep, and when she woke up, I was going to be there. D and I settled in for a long wait and were a few hours in when Muttons busted in.
He was frantic. Absolutely frantic. He rushed to the counter and gripped it like it was a raft and he was a castaway. He begged for any information they could give him about Aimes, and I rushed to him and turned him around.
“She is going to be fine, brother. Take a breath, she will be alright,” I said.
He grabbed my arms and stared me in the eyes and he said, “I have to see her! I have to! You gotta tell them to let me in!”
“She is sleeping right now, Muttons. We need to let her sleep.”
“Just let me into the room. I will sit silently at her bed. I just have to see her and know she is alright. Will you tell them to let me in?”
And that is when I knew. That is when I knew Muttons and Aimes were meant to be.
I talked to the nurse and we went back to Aimes’s room. She was just about unconscious when he walked in and she lit up as she faded into sleep. He thanked me, dropped into a chair and took her hand. I could see them then. Fifty years from then, an old couple holding hands and mumbling to each other. She would be patting his hand while his rested on her lap.
They were love. They were pure. They always would be.
It was there, with D pulling me out of her room, where it became obvious to me that Aimes had found her Bekah.
I had a second chance with mine. I needed to try to make that work.
Aimes and Mutton got married in 2001 I think. She begged me to come to the wedding. Said that with the family drama she really needed me there. She said she wanted D there as well. I thought that was odd since they had once been a couple but I agreed to it.
A few days before the wedding my life broke wide open with the discovery of the alters. I didn’t make it to the wedding. I missed the most dazzling moment of her life.
In my mind I tell myself she has never forgiven me for it. It’s probably not true but it stayed with me. In 2003 it would bite me pretty hard.
Siren had taken me to St. Louis for a weekend trip. By this time, I was spending a lot of time taking trips with Bekah, and Siren wanted a turn to make me feel special and to bond with me. She paid for everything, and one day we went shopping. We were in a poster store looking at posters when I looked at the couple next to me and saw Aimes and Muttons. They were looking at posters and had yet to look up. I stared at her for a long time. My oldest friend. A tie to who I truly was and had been. A base of sanity and hope for me. There she stood, I had only to clear my throat and I would have her back.
I needed her so badly. My life was about crushing therapy and confusion. I needed to talk to someone who knew me about the alters and if she had ever seen a sign of them. I needed her hug and the little pat she would give to my back as she gave it.
But I felt as if I had burned a bridge by missing her wedding. So, I turned and took two steps to the aisle behind me. I started to look at posters on that side of the room and I let her walk away without ever knowing I was that close.
But I saw him with her. The way he leaned in when he talked to her just so he could be closer to her. I saw the way he looked at her and I heard her laughing at the crazy things he said. I saw her with her Bekah.
It gave me hope in 2003.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.