My descent to Hades came via a man who turned out to be a multiple life living secretly married and secretly bisexual psychopathic sex addict, who entered innocent peoples' lives on a regular basis with the intent to deceive and betray. An incubus in human form. To this day, the Lovely Libran sister calls him Beelzebub, a play upon his real name.
While that all sounds harshly alienating, the truth is he isn't pure evil. Many would disagree, but even as I laid wounded by him, it was clear that only someone so thoroughly broken themselves could go on to hurt others the way he did.
But somehow, this was the same man who left an entire family in another country under the belief that they would be joined again, the same man who undertook a completely different life with me as a single man, the same man who made me soup while I shivered ill in bed, the same man who days later went on a museum date with a stranger he'd taken up with from the internet, the same man who hired hookers of both sexes while being in at least three supposedly committed relationships. The list goes on.
He wasn't a paradox. He was a personality who never developed his soul and who now fruitlessly looked for it in the themes of his own life wounds. He did not have the ability to feel real sympathy for the hurt he caused, in essence missing the very thing that makes us all human. The natural moral instinct that distinguishes us from other life forms. The irony is we used to play around joking about Gollum, unaware of how analogous that character was to his own.
By the time I'd fled him, I was a different creature entirely. Frugen #1 is fond of saying that I was his one and only chance to possibly unite all parts of himself, and for once have access to a single fulfilled life. Why? Because it was with me that everything was revealed, with me that all the different lives he lived in Europe, in Asia, and here had finally converged and crumbled. Was I cursed? Why and how was it with me that it all came forth, secrets marching into the light? When so many others, including his wife, could have just as well found out?
To be simple, it was love. I'd loved him unreservedly, and I'd opened all those well shut doors by inviting parts of himself, long hidden to finally be seen. Of course, the relationship had its own significance in my life, it answered questions I didn't even know were there but that's a story for another day. The end result of all this was a different kind of damage I'd never encountered before.
In Justice, we aim for perpetrators to make reparations. Entire countries have apologized in recognition of the suffering they've caused in war, criminals go to jail, debts are repaid. In movies, we hope there's a happy ending to soothe the jagged edges of the journey thus far. But with the Sewer, the problem itself could not be the solution. It had put me beyond the sea of whatever most people would call normal, there would be no king's horses and no king's men to put me back together again. So I did the only thing I could think of at the time. I turned to Craigslist.
I found no point in shopping myself out as a project, call it pride, but I still didn't consider myself a fixer-upper. Instead, I relied on that old adage, the exact phrasing escapes me now, on how the best way to forget one's troubles is to help others. My motives weren't noble as all that, but I knew that in others, I would find mirrors. Shards that would allow me to see myself a bit more, and that in the act of giving, I would receive...something.
I didn't exactly know how it would work, but I looked for simple things. One, the person had to need help, the kind only I could have insight on. I would know it when I read it. Two, they had to be men. Normal men with slightly abnormal problems. For however briefly I knew them, they would be testament to the opposite of the Sewer. Regular, kind men, who couldn't fathom themselves out of a dilemma, at least for that moment. I could not un-know, or un-see everything I'd been through, but I could find new things to discover. I could be reminded that the world was more than what I knew it to be. I could never be like most other people, but I would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, have something to offer them if they ever fell into the same dark corner. I just needed proof.
So began my Random Acts of Craigslist Kindness. And this was how I met Slim Smith.