Let’s do it again, shall we? There’s final pieces moving into place. We have to look at the aftermath of me losing everything in Guardian’s War. How I rebuilt myself, rebuilt a life, and hacked a path through the heart of darkness. This blog blast will be 19 posts long. It’ll take us from six o’clock in the morning on a Saturday to 10 o’clock at night on Sunday. We’ll see pain, hope, and utter madness. But on the other side, a new day dawns.
We can’t talk about the man I am, the man I was, or the way we crossed that distance without talking about Steven. He was my priest, my teacher, my coach and my father. He was never a friend, and I never saw him outside of his office, yet he walks with me every day. He was my therapist. He was the most important influence on my life that can be named besides Bekah, and he thought I was crazy the first time I met him. It is a moment he swears he will never forget and one we have talked about many times.
He was not the one I was referred to. I was admitted to a psych ward in Columbia for Bipolar and when I got out, they referred me to a female therapist here in Springfield. However, when I finally called to make the appointment the woman’s schedule was full for six months out, so they sent me to Steven.
I remember when he walked to the waiting room to get me, I summed him up real fast as powerful, capable, and smart, but he did not look kind. This man was kind to be sure but he was not there for that. This was a man on a mission. He walked like it, talked like it, and in every way carried himself as a man possessed. He called my name and I came to him. I looked at him and he said, “Right this way.” He motioned me forward but I waved him on.
He walked to his office and I followed. I wanted a better look at him, and Guardian wanted to see the man walk. See, Guardian can tell a lot from a man’s walk, can tell if this is just a big man or if this man is a fighter. His initial assessment would be proven correct later when Steven confessed to having been formally trained in a martial art. Guardian knew this man could kick ass if he needed to, even though his hair was silver and he was obviously past his prime.
The man walked into his office and Guardian followed. He did not close the door. Guardian was not sure if he was staying yet. He walked around the room looking at pictures, a water bird mid-flight, and a small plane sitting on a shelf. He had an odd fish, it looked like a child’s toy, on his desk. Guardian looked it over and guessed correctly that it was from a child patient Steven had once treated. Guardian looked at every nuance of the man’s office before his eye scanned the diploma on the wall and saw that it was from Florida.
“I have only one question to ask you that will determine whether I walk out of that door or close it,” Guardian said.
“Well, let’s hear it.”
“Do you call it the War of Northern Aggression, or the War of the Rebellion?” Guardian said. He had sat through all the history classes in college. He had spoken to a lot of Southerners. Had a real grasp on the fact that, to many, that war was never going to be over. He was not interested in that at all. A nation divided cannot stand in Guardian’s head. Ironic and tragic as it is, he firmly believed that. So, he turned to this man he had just met and stared him in the eye.
“I believe they called it the Civil War,” Steven said.
Guardian closed the door and shook Steven’s hand. It is to this day the most important moment in my entire life. Without a doubt I would neither be alive nor sane right now without this man. The two of us fought for seven years to make it right. Then I moved to Milwaukee. When I came back, I went to Steven for another seven years. I gave this man fourteen years of my life, my mind, and my horrors. He gave me back everything in my life.
When I was talked down to about my abuse, I came to him one day and asked him to tell me how bad it really was. A man I thought was a friend had said the day before that I was kinda whining. The not friend told me to suck it up. I came to Steven and asked him, how bad was it really? On a scale of one to ten, how bad was my abuse?
This was long before we discovered the alters, before the DID became a focus. I had no way of knowing how bad this really was.
Steven picked up my file, which at this point was over four inches thick, and he closed it and laid it on his desk. “One to ten is bullshit. I won’t play that game. I can tell you this.” He tapped his finger on the folder. “If I were to take this file to an FBI profiler and they spent the week reading it, when they were done, the first question they would ask is, ‘How many victims? How many victims has this serial killer killed?’
“Jesse, it is not that it is bad. It is that it is so bad that I don’t know how to quantify it. I have been doing this job for twenty years and I have never dealt with horror like this. You have taken my cherry on certain things. Been tortured in ways I didn’t know a human can withstand. It’s not that your abuse and your life was bad that has me in shock. It’s that you survived it without killing anyone.
“Every day that I walk into this office with you, I expect to hear about a time when you lost control and you killed someone. Every time. Don’t tell me there isn’t a murder in there. We have not found the bottom of that barrel. And I can tell you without a moment’s hesitation that if we find one, I can’t report it, and if they ever caught you for it, my testimony would get you off.”
We dug to the bottom of that barrel. We never found a murder. But I knew then that my life read like a serial killer. It stuck with me, how? How had I never killed anyone? How was I able to trust and to love? How was I able to make relationships and keep them?
When we found the alters, I had my answer. Assassin, Shadow, Jack, the dark ones had taken all that hate they had been given and embraced it, leaving the Child, Servant, Guardian and many others to purity and hope. I had monsters. They were my Sin Eaters. They were my darkness eaters. It is because of them that I am who I am. They made this life possible.
But here I go getting ahead of myself again.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.