Men with PTSD

September 19, 2013

Arwyn,

A few nights ago our paths crossed and you hollered, “Oh, you’re still alive!” Is this your attempt to start righting your wrongs against me? Or is it just a continuation of your ugly mindfuks, that is: treating me like a joke for your own sadistic amusement? Here is the list of your offenses, in case you’ve forgotten (though I doubt it):

1. I was having a friendly conversation with a lesbian patron at Pilsner Inn some months back. Then you intervened with declaration: “Leave her alone!” For whatever ugly reason, it shows me you’re trying to turn people against me by making me look like a crazy goofball who shouldn’t be allowed in any gay bars.

2. You tell everyone you can that I’m your stalker, which causes fear and hatred against me, and bans me from enjoying any camaraderie I could have, in these bars. You’ve gotten me expelled from Pilsner Inn, Twin Peaks Tavern and The Mix. I’m sure you’ll commit same against me at any other bar you frequent, such as Moby Dick.

3. You shoved me really hard, causing me to almost fall flat on the concrete. I resisted and caught my balance at the last moment…which resulted in lower back injury and considerable pain for several weeks. Your so-called “apology” accused me of being half-responsible. Simply because I confronted you after you crudely brushed me off several times within two difficult weeks. Your excuse was “I was feeling bad.” News flash: I never attack my friends just because I feel bad. In fact, I /appreciate/ them even more, during my difficult passages. (But since I really /don’t/ have any friends, I am denied even /that/ comfort.)

4. You flicked a lit cigarette into my lap, cinders flew about and could have easily caught my shirt on fire. I reported your offense to Brian, the manager of Pilsner Inn, but they did not have a recording of the incident on their camera. If you saw me or anyone flick a lit cigarette at a patron, I’m sure you’d have /them/ kicked out, right? Shows me what a /hypocrite/ you are.

After reaching out to you for more than seven years and trying to be the best friend possible, your unexpectedly vulgar actions starting in January have caused me terrible grief that curses me every waking moment.

Had I the respite of friendship by one or more others, it would not be so terrible for me to bear. But that is not the case: I have no regular friends, but the rare visitor just passing through SF for a day or two or three. And thanks to you, I can no longer hang out at Pilsner Inn, The Mix (and so forth) where I /did/ get to befriend a nice person on occasion. In fact, there is a very nice person at the Mix who’s been so good to me…but now, I can’t see her any more. Thanks, again, to your bullshit slander.

IOW: you’ve effectively wiped out most any chance I had to ease my loneliness. It was your kindness over considerable years that inspired much gratitude and the composing of a novel in your honor (“Free Me From This Bond”). But you’ve done an excellent job of obliterating the nicest friendship I’ve ever known. Were I an advocate of the Black Arts, I’d congratulate you on a job well done.

You’ve successfully used vulgar slander to drive me out of what few places I had to (hopefully) find friendship. As well as put my life in harm’s way by causing bartenders and patrons alike to hate and fear me. You’ve turned the Castro into a dangerous place for me to even stroll around. Which causes me to believe you are out to cause me injury, even death. Which, I guess, is equivalent to a declaration of war. Perhaps I should “fight fire with fire” like so:

Enter these bars during non-anti-Zeke hours and spread slander against /you/. Tell folks that while you’re a very gregarious and fun-loving man on the surface, you’re actually a dangerous dealer of hard drugs. And the only reason you seem so nice is to maintain and expand your drug ring. And that anyone who actually gets close to you is in great danger. Which explains why the only “friends” you /do/ have are pointless airheads who lick your ass every chance they get.

That’s just an example of the damage I could achieve, that you would no longer have your “little spot in the Castro” (Twin Peaks Tavern), or any other local gay bar. After all, I have no “little spot” any more, thanks to your wicked gossip.

Do you realize I can’t even go to bars South of Market any more, either? Because one Hole in the Wall regular suddenly accused me of threatening to stab him in the gut some years back? His name I think is Willow (or Wooly), and he’s native American. Strange thing is that he’s always been friendly to me previous times I hanged out there. And the person who witnessed his false slander, Gerard (whom you know), did /nothing/ to reprimand him. In fact, not only are they still “friends”: Gerard has spread hatred against me among many /other/ patrons.

Willow’s accussation against me occurred at the Eagle Tavern. Thus, I now realize if I go there any more, I will eventually be driven out. So, between yourself and Willow, I have been villified with the ugliest slander that only serves to isolate me, and make me a victim of hatred by many.

And here, my original intent of returning to SOMA bars, was to help pave your return to the Hole in the Wall. Boy, do I feel stupid for caring so much.

My book will come out very soon…late October or November. My intent was for the novel to be a great joy and blessing for you, for me, and for LGBTs everywhere. That is how /inspiring/ you have been to me. But as things have turned out, the book has become a grief and a curse that will haunt me forever.

Don’t think for a moment I will present you with this book. If you want to read it, you’ll have to purchase it for yourself. Anyways, you are “Arwyn Miles,” and I will claim whenever asked, that this character is a composite of different dudes, and that this person named Arwyn is definitely /not/ one of them.

I have absolutely no faith you will actually make things up to me, at this sad point in time. For what is required to achieve such a renewal of friendship is most likely far more demanding than a jackass like you could ever pull off. You are neither man enough, nor the good person I thought you were…for a truly /decent/ fellow would /never/ commit the sins you have.

So you have a happy gay rest-of-your-life without me. Our paths will most likely cross several more times before I’m out of your life for good…which I’m sure will come as a great relief to you. So if our paths /do/ cross again two or more times from now: no need to address me, or acknowledge me in any way whatsoever. In fact, I wish you wouldn’t.

But realizing now what a creep you truly are, I don’t expect you to respect even /that/ wish of mine. Seeing as “mindfuk” is your finest talent.

I am such a fool for ever reaching out to you, it will be a grief I’ll take all the way to the grave.

Your once good friend,

Zeke

PS: I guess Jack Brody was right about you, God rest his soul! Oh, and has barkeep Frankie ever bothered to show you the letter I snail-mailed to her, some months back?


Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2013 22:56:59
Subject:
My Final Pitch
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

My path has crossed Arwyn’s three times since I mailed him my letter of reprimand. The first time, I looked up at him walking towards me as I stood outside my building. I just looked up as he strolled by. When he passed, he murmured, “I got your letter.”

This told me he admits I’m right, but is not quite ready to sincerely apologize. Were he not in agreement, he would’ve either ignored me or just snarled. So I called back:

“Thank you.”

He seemed to nod his head as he crossed the street, so I added:

“Take care.”

Upon crossing the street, he looked back to see me watching him from a distance.

The second time our paths crossed (about a week ago) I had traversed the street from Harvey Milk Plaza towards Twin Peaks Tavern. He was standing outside having his usual smoke. I walked past him and said, rather dejectedly: “Hey, Arwyn.”

He scowled and nodded his head with a grunt. A few more steps and I turned my head back to declare: “My book is out now.”

He scowled in return, with a confused look on his mug. So I walked another ten steps and paused for a few minutes about a half block down. He stood at his spot, never paying me any mind…or at least, acted that way. Then I continued my walk home. Hope and sadness mingled in this troubled heart.

The third time (three nights ago) I crossed in front of Twin Peaks, as Arwyn passed. It happened really quick, and neither acknowledged the other. When I reached HM Plaza, I gazed back but he had already vanished down either 17th or Market.

Now, just a few moments ago, I typed a letter and enclosed it in a packet with the hardcover version of “Free Me From This Bond.” (I had already sent him the paperback w/o signing it or enclosing a letter. This time though, I signed the following on the inside cover: “Arwyn, you are the /true/ author. Gene Catalano”.) I will mail it this Thursday. Here is what I said:

December 5, 2013

My Beloved Friend Arwyn,

I cannot cover up your offenses against me, but I can do this: be a good friend to you (even from a distance) and hope that you will finally make things up. I see no reason why you won’t, eventually, considering how very kind you’ve been to me many times over. And the great spirit I know you are will surely overcome any fears, ill will or resentment.

Yes, I still love you very much, and so admire what a unique, affectionate and astounding person you are. Please let me be very clear about my affections towards you: I am in no way sexually attracted to you, and wish for resuming a very warm and platonic friendship. Not that you aren’t terribly handsome and sexy; I just do not think we’d make great lovers. But great friends? Yes. (Nor do I have any erotic fantasies over you.)

It has been my experience that sometimes friends who become enemies for a time, turn out to grow really close, and turn into endearing friends forever, once the difficult hurdle has passed. That is my sincere hope. And once that happens (if it does), I won’t hold past misdeeds over your head, or make you feel in the least bit guilty. For that would be manipulative. I have no desire for vengeance. Nor do I have any wish to be regarded as your “sidekick.” We should be equal.

I do not believe you’d ever respect me, had I not confronted you for the ongoing BS you’ve dumped on me for many months (since January in fact). I find you a most remarkable man, among the finest on this planet. And I do apologize immensely for speaking such mean words to you, that is: “I’m glad your parents are dead.” But before that moment, you’ve been terribly wicked towards me, so my only option was to dish it back, for a while. I don’t think you’d ever respect me, had I not…had I been submissive to your unkind dogma. At least, this is the best I can figure out how to deal with your unprovoked attacks.

You left a message on my answering machine: “Hello Zeke. You’re a nice man and have always been good to me.” Yet only moments after you spoke those kind words, you shoved me really hard. This is heartbreak. I would not love you so much simply for your remarkable good looks (and you are indeed a blessing to the eyes). I knew for some time now, that you are a man who’s suffered tragedy…probably more than one. And that is the main reason I’ve persisted in reaching out to you over many years.The particulars of your traged(y)(ies) were not important to me, for I sensed that you really need a good friend in your life. And I have done the best I possibly can, to be that. Though like everyone else in the world, I am not perfect.

I’m very sorry (and grieved), if you perceive me as a pest, some dumb flake you’d prefer to no longer have in your difficult existence. I have been treated badly by most people in my life…starting with my family, and including how Randolph finally regarded me. But I do not take any of this personally, for I conclude that God has chosen for me a most trying path, that I may eventually become one of his very best soldiers. So if you decide to exclude me from your life forever, I have no choice but to accept that painful fate. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will never meet a man so beautiful, inspiring, witty and compassionate as yourself.

I told Randolph numerous times (in spite of his unexpected backstabbing) that I’d always be here for him, keep the same phone number, until we are back together again. So many years have passed since then, yet now I feel it is utterly important to tell you the same.

No matter how much time (years even), I am proud to be here for you, as a good friend and confidante. I am the hopelessly romantic type, and will never change. I know this because I have tried to change…but always failed. But if I must say goodbye (if that is what you truly want), I say “goodbye” now. But not a day has passed that I don’t pray for a return of our sparkling friendship. And not a day shall pass till the moment I die that I will not wish such.

This is not an easy world, not by any measure. I so much enjoyed bringing you gifts, and will miss the end of that, if such be my fate. So this is my final gift (the hardcover version of my book), after which you will no longer receive any more mail from me, nor visits to wherever you hang out. Unless you have a change of heart.

I wish you only the best in your life, and that (of course) God somehow, some way, liberates me from a miserable outcome. If not you, it shall be some other. Though I certainly hope not.

All my love and friendship,

Gene Catalano

My Gawd, he’s a ball buster!

– Zeke</FONT>


Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2013 19:51:16
Subject:
Men with PTSD
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

I learned much about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in my troubled relations with Randolph Taylor. It is also clear to me that Arwyn suffers same (as I do, myself, though not as severe as Randolph). One of the symptoms is fear of getting close to anyone, which triggers terror of losing them for whatever reason. So when you push the envelope, he will do something to drive you away.

Those who /do/ act violently cannot be dealt with on one’s own, thus you /must/ leave them. OTOH, a burst of mild violence with no sign of escalation or repeat, indicates a strong possibility he is not so foregone that remaining persistent will /not/ bring him around to a successful friendship.

But you must also have a long term past history to aid one in deciding whether or not to hang in there. In Arwyn’s case, he /has/ been a most compassionate friend who’s displayed great kindness many times over. This includes defending me against those who’d do me harm and wish to tear us apart.

Earlier this eve, I walked past Twin Peaks Tavern on my return from Howard’s Cafe. Didn’t see him inside, but as I crossed 17th, I suddenly heard an “urrgh” type of growl, twice, from behind. Turned my head to notice Arwyn had crossed my path to enter the tavern.

Obviously, he wanted me to notice his presence. Maybe I should have shrugged my shoulders or gestured a quick wave of the hand. Instead, I walked across the street, then paused to enjoy the dark gray clouds scudding over the hills in premonition of a gloomy, cold night. I love such weather.

His two “urrgh’s” projected a kindly tone, as if to say: “You are sure a pain in the butt, but I so appreciate your caring so much, and being here for me.”

I saw Arwyn from a distance, chatting things up in Twin Peaks as usual, stretching his arms and torso before plopping on the bar stool. I knew he saw me watching him with happiness, though gave no indication he did. So I looked once more upon the brooding sky, and breathed in relief. Realizing that my ordeal of many months is now coming to an end.

I also know he’s already received the paperback version of my book, which I had sent him six days hence. Three more days from now, I’ll snail-mail the hardcover w/special letter enclosed. And I feel a tad euphoric that I did the right thing regarding the loving contents of that missive.

Just you watch, El. Book 3 shall have a happy ending, and not one that I made up as in Book 2 (that was chapter 12: “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies”).

Does he deserve me? No, we deserve each other, for we each in our own way have demonstrated strong desire for friendship of the most sterling type. I /had/ to press his buttons…and he put me in a position where I had no choice (unless I wanted to drop him entirely, which I could /not/). We put each other through a sort-of ultimate test, albeit mostly subconscious. In the /least/ physically harmful way possible.

There is also my conjecture that Arwyn is totally conscious of his every act towards me: that he leads a secret organization which has been watching over me since at least 2005 (though I think much longer), and putting me through my paces. But I won’t go into that again, as I’ve already shared with you my deliberations on this matter more than twice.

I must admit: I am strongly attracted to men who’ve been deeply wounded…the soldier type. I seek a dude who will truly appreciate me on every level, and has a keen sense of loyalty. Naturally, such a type will be most difficult to befriend in the long run…and Arwyn has provided me with every possible challenge that I may be proven worthy of meritorious action in the line of fire.

It is therefore my belief that Arwyn may have /no/ PTSD, but is acting out a scenario that I may become The Hero Of My Own Destiny. No doubt about it: he is a brilliant game player of Life. And in all honesty: he truly is the author of “Free Me From This Bond,” and I, his recording secretary.

Change of topic:

Just watched a documentary about schizophrenia and marijuana, hosted by Dr. David Suzuki. The show is called “The Downside of High,” produced by the CBC series “The Nature of Things.” I downloaded it from Kickass Torrents (kap.ph).

Turns out that, while current varieties of pot can induce schizophrenia in a small percentage of young people…those varieties with higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD) actually have very effective anti-psychotic properties. Unfortunately, strains on the market have been raised that possess little or /no/ CBD.

Obviously, the solution is to make CBD-rich varieties available to consumers. The research (done in Holland, goddess bless ’em) shows /conclusively/ that minors aged 16 and under are four times more likely to trigger schizophrenia from use of marijuana (or THC, to be precise). Here is a site discussing CBD (dated 2012):

http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/f30/we-need-to-raise-awareness-for-cannabidiol-cbd-186505/

A poster included a list of all its benefits:

CBD works as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medication.
CBD works as an anti-psychotic (the medication used by Schizophrenics and Bipolar patients).
CBD works as an anti-depressant.
CBD works at increasing alertness and attention for sufferers of ADHD.
CBD works as an anticonvulsant (for Epilepsy patients).
CBD slows down cancer cell growth.

Same poster also noted:

It is my strong belief that pharmacological companies or the government knows that this missing link is the cure to all mental illness and they purposely keep it illegal so we continue to pay big money for dangerous synthetic drugs which cause dozens of side effects that we have to take even more dangerous synthetic drugs to control.

Perhaps at this point in time, some dispensaries now provide CBD-rich pot, that I may acquire through this or that connection. We’ll see, we’ll see!

– Zeke


Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2013 21:07:33
Subject:
So I sent the letter…
From: Zeke
To: Eleanor

Good news, El! The free wifi works splendidly from my humble abode: a robust 5 bars. Now, onto the gist of this mailing.

Arwyn is finally coming around, much to this little gay lamb’s fluttering heart. It happened just moments ago by Twin Peaks Tavern. Since our tragic clash in January, I’ve been lingering 3-4 days per week around Jane Warner Plaza which, as you know, immediately fronts TPT. Not just in hopes he’ll finally approach me to make amends…but also because I cannot bear him /ever/ vanishing from my troubled existence. I figure: if all I can now have is just a moment or two per week to enjoy his visage from afar, so be it. But more than that:

No way will I /ever/ let someone bully me and get away with it. Anyone who thinks they can drive me out of my own neighborhood, intimidate me and gossip awful words to get others to gang up, has got another thing comin’. So my stance was a mix of defending my rights, along with showing him how much his friendship means: that I would /not/ disappear from his world, nor act in vengeance.

For something very /strong/ in my spirit tells me to abide in faith…there is a little boy’s scared voice in Arwyn that begs me to do just this, that he truly values my patience and forbearing. It is therefore a test (I surmise) that he sorely /needs/ to put me through before he drops that shield.

About an hour ago (4:30 PM) I resume my usual post caddy-corner from TPT. Where I lean against a cement buttress 3 feet high. It’s actually part of a raised container that houses a sapling and some weedy grass. He steps out once, to enjoy a ciggie. And from 40 feet or so distant, glances at me now and then.

Oh come on Arwyn. (I beg in silence) Talk to me! (And I think further:) How can you really act so happy mingling among your associates with antics galore, after what you’ve done to me? I just don’t grasp that. Nor do I think I ever want to.

But Arwyn returns inside to schmooze with the bartender. 20 minutes later he departs and ambles down 17th towards Noe. I decide to continue my vigil, regardless. Sure enough, he comes back to Twin Peaks and kicks it with another drink. Few minutes later he dons his jacket and emerges in my direction.

Is he going to walk by me? (I wonder) Or is this the moment I’ve been waiting for, after so many patient weeks? Wait, he really /is/ coming up to me!

“Oh, he’s gonna talk to me!” I proclaim to Arwyn as he now stands just three feet distant.

“Just wanna let you know, I got your book,” states My Awesome Reptile. “A friend is now reading it, and he’s intrigued.” Then he sighs: “But I wish you used my real name.”

Of course (I think) Another Arwyn set-up months in the making!

“Arwyn, you didn’t give me permission to use your real name, I had no choice.”

“Yes I did. I signed that form and mailed it back.”

“No, that was permission to use your name in Book 2. It was too late by then for Book 1.”

As you well know by now, El, Arwyn can be a most vexatious imp at times. Remember that I asked permission to use his real name, that I’ll need his signature; and he said ‘no’? That was back in January, just several days before I confronted him and he shoved me almost to the ground.

I guess he wasn’t clear that the form he signed was for Book 2, not Book 1! Which indicates a certain level of stress that would cause one to misinterpret certain situations. Plus: some weeks before he signed for Book 2, I visited him at TPT where I told him his name in Book 1 will be Arwyn Miles. So he actually had /plenty/ of time to rectify the real-name issue. Jeez! Vexatious indeed!

But this is but one more example of why I believe he’s really playing a /game/ of challenges for me to overcome. Or a puzzle for me to solve. He is /not/ dumb, in fact he’s quite intelligent…and keenly aware of his surroundings at every moment. Therefore, chances are far less likely that stress is clouding his thoughts, than that his contrariness is born from intent.

“Oh,” he says after pause. “You could have used my first name.”

“No I couldn’t, not w/o your signed permission. That is the publisher’s demand, not mine.” After all, how many other people have “Arwyn” for a first name in this city? How many in this world, for that matter?

He waves his skinny arms in exasperation and hollers to me and the universe: “Okay! You now have my permission!”

“That won’t do!” I declare back as he drifts towards the far street corner. “I need your /signed/ permission, not spoken!”

Arwyn pauses then, to face me: “Okay, okay, I’ll mail you my written permission!” And gestures like he’s writing something on the left palm of his hand.

“No, that’s alright,” I correct, knowing that he might not do it properly. “I’ll send /you/ the form.”

He then turns about and walks toward the intersection at Castro & 17th, I guess to go home. Doesn’t give me a chance to say more. I wanted to tell him about Bound Together: how it was the /first/ book store I approached, and just 2 days later they called, said “We want to sell your novel!” I wanted to tell him about /all/ my recent pub’ing adventures, and how success seems imminent. But instead, before he got too distant, I blurted:

“Drop to your knees and blow me. That’s a command!”

Well, El, I came up with that idea yesterday, planning to evoke those silly words next time we crossed paths. The moment came, different than expected. But come it did.

He doesn’t react (either in alarm or humor) but turns once more in my direction. So I embellish:

“I want people to know it’s /you/ who gave me these adventures. That way you will be famous, and free to become a…” I hesitate a bit to recall the term. “…a, um, a professional party mixer for gay events.”

Arwyn says nothing, but remains facing me. There is respect. I finish my thought:

“That is my dream. Or, one of /many/ dreams I want to achieve with this book.”

Then he skedaddles away in a flash. I rush home to compose this latest Arwyn update, and send it off to Eleanor My Muse.

Next, I must compose a thoughtful letter to Arwyn, with two forms enclosed. One is (of course), permission to tell anyone who Arwyn Miles really is. The other goes like so:

I, Arwyn Miles, grant permission to Ezekiel Krahlin, to use my real name in his novel ‘Free Me From This Bond (the sequel).’ Even though I am not presented in the most favorable light, as I was in Book 1 (‘Free Me From This Bond’).

That second sentence will be highlighted in bold, to be sure Arwyn is /clear/ about the difference between the two forms. I will also assure him that he has no obligation to sign that second letter. In which event I will redact Book 2 as a /separate/ novel instead of part of a trilogy. And change the name Arwyn Miles to some other false name. Or whatever, I haven’t thought it through yet.

This is only fair, as he indicated that he thought he signed permission for Book 1, not Book 2. And since he plays my enemy in the sequel, I have to ask permission once more…to see if he is actually /willing/ to be writ in such a bad light. If he is, that is a strong indication he will make Book 3 end happily.

So, now I must compose my letter to Mr. Mischief. Which copy I will post to you ASAP, probably later tonight.

– Zeke


17 December 2013

Okay, Arwyn: please read this letter carefully and all the way through. Everything writ herein is very important.

Enclosed are two forms for you to sign. The first gives me permission to tell anyone in the world that Arwyn Miles is actually you.

The second gives me permission to use your real name in Book 2…the sequel to “Free Me From This Bond.” You already gave me your signed go-ahead, but now I realize you thought it was for Book 1. (Or at least, this is how you choose to play it, Mr. Frustration!)

Do you realize that Book 2 starts with your pushing me, and continues through the chapters with your unkind treatment? In other words, I don’t write about you in a good light, as I did in Book 1. I am assuming you’ve read these chapters, since I handed you all of them earlier this year.

In no way do I demand you give me permission to use your actual name in Book 2. But if you are okay with my portraying you in this way, that you don’t mind taking the flack as a “bad guy” (so to speak), go ahead and sign. And if you do, I will further verify your permission with a verbal assurance.

Book 3 continues with my disgrace and grief over your unexpected betrayal. But I still have at least five more chapters to go. Hopefully, it will end happily with a best-scenario resolution of our friendship. A friendship (I may add) more important to me than life itself.

Don’t you remember I asked you way back in January, for your signed permission to use your real name? And you denied that. You do have every right not to have your real name in a book, and I respect that. Some weeks later I told you at Twin Peaks Tavern, your name in that book will be Arwyn Miles. You did not ask me to use your real name then, either. So you had plenty of time to decide whether or not I use your birth-given moniker!

So I published the book with you as Arwyn Miles. What other choice did I have? You were belligerent, frustrating and non-communicative. And caused me grief in so many ways above and beyond this real-name issue. That started in mid-January and still pretty much continues. Though I’ve pulled out of the worst of my grief about three weeks ago…and your speaking with me this afternoon has also helped.

But I think there is something else going on here, beyond the apparent. You are a very intelligent and loving man, thus I don’t believe your abusive behavior was anything but a conscious intent which ultimate goal is compassionate. In other words, I believe you are testing me (or putting me through some sort of initiation) that has to do with this secret society I spoke of in Book 1. And that you’re their leader.

I also conclude that if I’m correct, you would start making things up to me once the book gets published…seeing as your temper tantrum took off right when I began the publication process. There are other signs in my recent life events that also suggest I’m on the right track. Such as the incident last year in March that triggered the inspiration to write my book in the first place. Which was:

After not seeing you for a long time (since your departure from Hole in the Wall), you suddenly show up in the Castro. I saw you across the street on 18th, and hollered “Arwyn, I love you!” By then I had crossed to your side. Instead of ignoring me (as you did so many times before then), you came right up to me, placed a loving hand on my shoulder and escorted me to the opposite corner; told me twice to go home. Well, just after that (and you departed) a young lady came up and praised my good works over many years for the gay community, without any credit or recognition. I’ve never seen her before, she just came out of the blue.

That had to be a setup Arwyn, which you most likely created. If not you, then it was a higher force that set me/us both up. Either you have a direct hand in these astounding “setups,” or it’s destiny’s hand. Actually, I believe it is both, and furthermore I’m pretty sure you are a conscious participant and even orchestrator, of these amazing scenarios that are shaping my reality.

For which I thank you immensely. And admire the raw power and compassion that you so elegantly manipulate towards highly favorable outcomes. I can only conclude (or at least hope) then, that your harshness towards me for almost an entire year, is part of the plan that for a reason I don’t yet grasp, will lead to my soul’s fulfillment. Which does include resuming our friendship even better than before. If it doesn’t I’ll weep copious tears every single friggin day of my life until I die. And which death I pray will come very soon, as such misery is unbearable to wake up to each and every day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

The burden I still bear for Randolph’s sake is an awesome weight on this poor man’s shoulders, that has continued w/o relief since 1985. (Though your sporadic kindness for almost 7 years has been such a blessing, I can’t begin to praise enough. And that is why your sudden attack and ongoing humiliation has wiped out what happiness I did know.) To bear another man’s difficult cross with no hope for respite (such as at least one good friend in my life), on top of Randolph’s, will wear me down into unceasing depression if not my final breath. And I’d certainly prefer the latter, than live each day, each waking minute, in utter misery.

These woeful challenges you’ve tossed at my feet: haven’t I proven to you beyond a shadow of doubt, that I would never retaliate in vengeance, but stand firmly in faith that you’ll come back to me as a friend? That you can trust me in every way?

———-

I wanted to tell you the good news when we talked today, but you walked away after such a brief exchange. As always, you are a most frustrating friend to know! Anywayz:

The first independent book store I approached with my novel phoned me two days later, said: “We want to sell your book!” That’s Bound Together on Haight near Buena Vista Park. I’ve also been emailing gay-friendly churches, organizations, radio and TV stations, etc. about my novel. Also: promoting my book via Twitter, Facebook and my WordPress blog.

So things look very favorable towards this novel becoming a bestseller! Though the loss of your friendship (hopefully temporary) is a dark shadow that clouds all my efforts, and infuses each of my waking days with grief. Your resumption of friendship is the ticket to my speeding ahead with far more energy than I presently have.

But my financial resources are drained. I need to purchase a ton more books in order to provide book stores with copies to sell. As well as hand them out to others, that I may increase my chances for success. After all, word of mouth remains the most important aspect of salesmanship! And my cause is a noble one, though I’m forced to play the salesman in this capitalist society.

So as usual, I’ll be out of moolah by the end of the month, and once more will spend a lonely, penniless Christmas and New Years. Not to mention Randolph’s birthday is Dec. 30th. But I have long ago wished for nothing more than to be alone in my thoughts with him during the holidays. Though this time around I have you, too, to think about in my solitary confinement. I would love to spend some quality time with you on these three days, if only for 20 minutes. But I guess my wishes will not be granted, and I must plod along this lonesome path for a while longer, or even perhaps for many more years until my passing.

Just know that on Christmas, on Randolph’s day of birth, and on New Year’s Day, I will think of you with kindness. That, at least, is solace. Though I don’t see why I must continue to be so outcast.

Can you get me back into the gay bars, good angel? After all, it is you who drove me out. There are several good folks in our local bars who are totally supportive of my novel. But now I can’t see them, nor turn other people on to my book. Like it or not, the gay bars are an important network for activism, and without them my efforts towards success are far more difficult than need be. Such lack of access to this network may even doom me to failure!

It may be too late to undo the damage done. But I think you owe me this: that you work very hard to win the hearts and appreciation of bartenders and patrons alike toward this poor-but-determined soul. You are not loved by everyone who works in these bars, or by some patrons (to put it mildly). Rectifying your wrongs against me may be a difficult and humiliating experience for you…but it’s nothing compared to what you’ve put me through. Though I believe that those you’ve offended will be greatly impressed by your humble confession of your wrongdoing, and as a result will go out of their way to support your new approach on life. As well as give me the respect I deserve after all these years of petty backstabbing, humiliation and rejection I’ve known from my gay brothers for more than three decades. It is you who can turn all this around, if you want.

As a matter of fact, I was overjoyed to realize you were now residing in my own neighborhood. The incredible kindness you began to show me was, I hoped, the mark of a new era in my life: that I would finally be welcome and respected in those same gay bars where I had always wound up being vilified through gossip and threats. I’ve never done anything to deserve such enmity, yet I accept this as but another challenge to sharpen my mettle as an activist (and simply as a human being out of whom God expects a lot. One heck of a lot).

Of course, your finally speaking to me with an element of goodwill has caused my heart to soar with great hope for renewal of a friendly association. So what’s going down good buddy? Are you just gonna give me a few crumbs of kindness to satisfy a sadistic streak? Or are you gonna move ahead, step by step, to ultimately be the hero I pray you truly are?

I really can’t go on like this, having my hopes nurtured only to have them dashed once more. Yanking my chain and all that. I have faith in you, in spite of this difficult passage. Absolute faith. And it brings me tremendous joy to know that I am here for you, always. I just abhor feeling any shame for your behavior, when you are such a bright light in my eyes. And always will be, even if you disappear.

Oh, before I end this letter: two great things happened to me today:

You approached me in a kind manner. And free wifi in the Castro was introduced! Now I no longer have to slave sluggishly with old-school dialup, but can expedite my online promotion with ease, from the comfort of my room.

Oh, yeah, my place is totally cleaned up now. Took care of that about two weeks after your visit.

Again: love and friendship forever!

– Gene

PS: Enclosed also are my three latest blog entries, which I think you’ll enjoy.

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