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[06:37 pst 12/28/2017 CE, 1514471820 E]

The recent backend work has proven fruitful. Our markup remains valid throughout the most-used pages, and some of the older sections of the main content have been cleaned out and aligned to the master page. Other changes are minor, including the general information being amended slightly, and the master page footer seeing some alterations for maintaining legality as well as ease of access. The ASP.NET nod has become important to the owner and is a small add for recognition of what that framework has allowed this site to enjoy. The Clodmaster section is still being voted upon from both sides of the river. The staff would like to see it remain in place, but admin is still focused on a single-purpose site. We will keep trying.

With a new year approaching, we are bracing for impact. That time of the year is never happy around here and all we can do is sit and wait for the fallout. The third part of the 2017 archive has turned out to be the entire saga since October, so the indexing for those titles can stay pretty. Unfortunately, the next up is 2018, and the issues which seem to arise after the first day of the year can be difficult for all. We shall see what develops.


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The Transition and the Trial

Part Nine


"As the months burned away, I saw the Brunette less and less, and my apartment emptied out more and more. Most of the furniture remained, but many of the smaller everyday items were disappearing -- just as my diminishing hope for a secure future. And despite the renewed interest in writing and computer work, I did not feel as if my situation would improve. The year was approaching its end, and as my satisfaction with life headed downward, I decided to make my way down toward the market and into the bar two doors away. The only visits to that venue were more than a year earlier with the Brunette and it had since changed ownership. The look was very inviting and much more friendly than I had remembered. So, I strolled in on a Saturday night and took a seat.

The bartender was friendly and the music quite loud. The crowd seemed preoccupied with dancing and carrying on, so I made sure to remain in the rear of the room to avoid conversation. I did not stay long due to drinking most of the early evening. In fact, I was only there less than an hour. The previous many months in hibernation had placed me in a heightened state of awareness around others. Sitting in that room near so many people forced me into a defensive mental state and I knew that leaving without engaging anyone would be my best option. I closed out and said thank you, and out the door to my cave.

That first short excursion into a social atmosphere was very uncomfortable, and made the return to my apartment feel quite good. I wished to stay in there forever but knew that the financial situation was soon going to force me to do something different. I had some time before anything became dire, so in the coming days I looked around for other options. And one of them was work. I had no wish to be outside my much-needed comfort but the money was running out and something had to change.



298

Beauty with which I was unfamiliar



The woman stood outside the bar, cigarette in hand, looking as gorgeous as possible, and approaching a level which left me unable to remain at a distance. We spoke briefly, and ended up connecting at a later time. Once that took place, her eyes started to work their way into my damaged heart. More and more we connected as time went by. And the bar became our link of choice, if not my apartment. I could not help but be drawn to her, of course, because I was still dealing with the massive holes in myself which felt perpetually crippling. Spending time with someone so gorgeous and bright was both a good and bad idea, and unfortunately early on I continued to drown myself over all that had taken place and she was there to see the occasional drops. The entire time spent away from my cocoon and with her began to resemble a very peaceful place with which I had been unfamiliar for some time. We visited other bars in town, I met some of her friends, and we spent time in my home. Closer and closer we became over a very short period of time, and all the while my head proceeded to push me back toward the company of the Brunette. That was bad. Period. Many times I flip-flopped over where to be. I did so thinking of myself, but rarely thinking of what sort of effect my fucked up actions might have upon others. Day after day I was confused and extremely needy, and coupled with the haphazard (and sometimes quite sudden) feelings that I should leave the world behind and let everyone carry on without my problems became apparent to others. Suicide never really left my list of options. It simply went a step or two down the list before returning to the top.

My discomfort and random falls through the floor began to affect the Brunette again, just as they had driven a wedge between us so many times in the past. And the new person I was next to started to see it all, too. Many times my electronic conversations with the Brunette pushed my limits and the poor phone went flying in whatever direction seemed most damaging. We talked often and I gathered that she felt threatened by the presence of that younger woman. And all of that despite the fact that the Brunette and I were no longer considering ourselves in a romantic relationship. That only pressed me down further, and when the young one carried me home and to my senses, the guilt over being helped along pressed more. I could not win no matter my decisions nor actions. There seemed no solution to anything, and with the money going away my path to the knife was once again illuminated. The thought of that path became comforting, too. There was an exit which could help me and everyone else. And I mean help, in every sense of the word, because I still was not able to make a good decision to save my own fucking life. The back-and-forth between the young one and the Brunette was making me look like a terrible person, and it was affecting both of them badly. All of those facts continued to make my exit seem the best idea.

Unfortunately, the young one was beginning to care for me, deeply, and the Brunette was becoming more understanding. Huh?



299

Thoughts from the darkness



As my necessary departure from the endless comfort of my apartment approached, the Brunette was spending less and less time with me as I chose more time with the young one. The bar became increasingly friendly, too. I ventured there nearly every night and remained until closing. I was a wreck inside -- still seriously considering ending myself -- but kept most of the problems away from others. I had no desire to draw that type of attention, nor did I wish to open to anyone other than the young one. She welcomed me sharing my feelings and the unknown people in the bar were just furniture. There was only so much I could do to keep my fucked up mind hidden away, but the necessity of staying within my head enabled me to falsify myself completely. Lesser of two fears.

As time moved along, the condition of my mind eased a bit due to the warm compassion of the young one. She wished me to be happy and comfortable, and the closer I came to leaving the cocoon the more she calculated how to help keep me in town. My options were few -- one of them being a destination far away to live with relatives (not a promising road). I went over the idea of leaving town and at no time was it appealing to me or the young one. She wished me to stay and be with her, and I simply wished to find a way to either sort everything out or walk into the goddamned ocean. Failing the latter, a place to live was fast becoming my highest priority. And the young one proceeded to ask a question which I was not expecting.

Yes, she invited me to share her home to both allow me to stabilize as well as assist her with living expenses. How could I resist? I could not.

Over the next month or so I began to get things in order for the move. I was happy to remain in town but nervous at the same time. I did not know the extent of her feelings for me, and being in the same place with her meant I would need to decide whether or not to return the affection. And the Brunette would be pushed away yet again. The combination of all the facts nearly sent me into yet another tailspin, and I did not wish to inflict myself on the young one any more than I already had. She had a huge heart and a very considerate nature which brought me to my knees time and time again. Thinking of having such a wondrous and open heart right next to me started to seem dreamy, so the move went forward.

Once there, the Brunette seemed relieved that I found a comfortable living situation but she also felt as if we were drifting apart at the same time. I could not help but feel for her due to all that had taken place, honestly. I had no wish to cause her any more difficulty. The young one understood all of it, too. She was warm and welcoming. I slid into her home and made myself available to her heart.

But not all was well by any stretch of the word.



300

...and even the blackness



Shortly after becoming more attached to both the young one and her home, I began to yearn for the exotic nature of the Brunette. And this took place after the young one expressed to me that she was feeling love. Ugh. I could not resist her gorgeous eyes and comforting warmth, but the Brunette maintained a draw I could not deny. Her playfulness and fantastic look combined with the fact that she knew me so deeply added up to my inability to stay away. We spent a bit if time together again and despite my knowing that the young one would be hurt by my actions I just did not resist. It was a short period of time within months of me moving in, and one which was destined to end badly. And regardless of my need for a place to live, I blinded myself for the millionth time and ran to the Brunette over and over. We went to a few restaurants together, spent time in her apartment, and all the while my head was worse off than in months. On one occasion, we sat upon her balcony -- which overlooked the alleyway behind the bar -- and I could see the young one outside the back door and looking up toward us. Jesus fucking Harold Christ that was one of the most damaging feelings ever. I knew full well that I was hurting her and the resulting drop within me was deep. The Brunette could see how torn I was over the situation and did her best to distance herself for a while. She knew of my nature, and that I would not react well to making such a tragic mistake.

Everything soon came to a head on one fateful evening at the bar, combined with far too much alcohol (for both of us). I had been with the Brunette at a local restaurant, and we then decided to venture to the bar for a bit of dancing and more drinks. We were already half in the bag so any decision was ill-fated. Lo and behold who else was there, but none other than the young one, looking both hurt and very angry. We stayed for a while and drank more, and at some point my mind began to fall and I felt the need to get out of there.

Cut to a little while later and I wound up part way home lying on my back on the side of the highway and physically hurt. I had attempted to get across the massive k-rails and failed to make it all the way to the other side of the lanes. I do remember a vehicle stopped not far from my position, and as I saw the lights I was able to get to my feet and locate my poor phone in the gravel. From there I continued to walk a few miles back to the new home and found the young one awaiting my arrival -- none too happy to say the least. Fuck. I did it again... made a decision and carried out actions which alienated not one but two individuals -- both of whom cared for me. What the fuck was wrong with me? Everything.

The young one proceeded to care for me over the next few days, all the while remaining cold and at arm's length. She fed me and attended my injuries despite my lack of sense. Unbelievable? Yes. Heartwarming? Fuck yes. Did I deserve such behavior? Fuck no. I was an idiot yet again, and living with someone who was honest, open, understanding, and loved me regardless of my haphazard and hurtful actions. She was unreal, and I was a fucking hole.



301

Helga is a reminder



That portion of time and the resulting difficulty I had caused soon forced me to reconsider my position in life. I was able to push forward with some effort, find work, and begin to show the young one much more respect and appreciation. The alternative would have been quite bad. Over time things smoothed out with her somewhat, and I had less and less contact with the Brunette -- a situation which seemed to benefit both. The decision to maintain some distance was one of the best of my recent years. In fact, to this day I cannot believe that I took a position to help anyone other than myself or Michelle. At the time that was just not the way I generally handled other people's feelings. Oy.

Months into living in yet another residence, a new cave began to take shape. The computer found its home in the office and the powerful setup enjoyed much more real estate. [And thus this site was expanded and improved greatly.] The young one understood the importance of having our own separate activities and time alone. She enjoyed her free time at home just as I. Time and time again we went into our own little worlds and left the other alone. That greatly helped me to reflect upon things and explore my own needs and desires through writing. The release cannot be overstated. I ended up thoroughly connected to the new office and enough space to be myself. My financial condition was still not good due to so many reckless and uncaring maneuvers for such a long period, but she helped that as well -- I knew in my heart that if I practiced being a considerate and caring individual I had nothing to fear.

And 'our' home began to feel as if I had been there years. Everything was comfortable, save for those deep discussions in which my past reared its head and drove me into the bottle more deeply than was healthy. Those were, of course, in fairly short supply, and the young one knew of the damage I had caused and did her best to be understanding and unbiased. She felt love for me which helped constantly. Day in and day out I tried to return that love and be as open to her feelings as I was able. After the short-lived yet heavenly relationship with Michelle, I simply could not offer anything except appreciation and openness to such a wonderful person. The young one showed me just how much she could set aside in order to be with me, and I had to keep such things in mind as often as possible.

Slowly but surely things stabilized and a routine began to form with regard to our lives becoming so attached to each other. Daily work, dinner together, and caring for the house took up most of our time, and the garage which was never really touched upon started to resemble a shop in support of my hobbies. The laundry area was reconfigured for ease of use, and the comfort of the house plus everyday life set in nicely. Things were good between us and our social nature brought us back to the bar often. Friends whom I met through the bar and through the young one embraced us as a couple and we were accepted graciously.

Eventually I received a message from the Brunette informing me that she was moving out of state, and the relief to both the young one and myself was positive enough to help our relationship reach a level of which we had hoped.

Our lives went onward and upward, and into a place of utter coziness and mutual love. We had become a couple, intertwined and happy, and looking forward to all of the things in life which were so much better shared.



302

Michelle's never-ending thrall



And then a trial like I had never imagined. Difficulty, heartache, discomfort, and uncertainty took over both our lives and at a time when such an event did not seem possible. The culmination of my obsession grappled me and took my sense away yet again. A work of art had happened along allowing me to finally explore all that was pushed aside for years. All of the words and disconcerting writings were tossed on their sides and the reality that a subject could come along and help my dream slammed me to the walls and enabled yet more fucked up decision-making. And I ran toward her like the wind. I shoved my life and livelihood aside to be near her. I ignored all that had been ingrained and learned so that she could help me fulfill the most deviant and dangerous of desires... she wanted to help... she allowed me anything... she opened all of herself to me and my needs...

she...

Her...

The Raven."



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Random Quote:

"Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day,
in all the thousand small uncaring ways."
-- Stephen Vincent Benét


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