The World I Know

by Bytor

Copyright© 2008 by Bytor

Drama Story: The path we follow is built upon our life experience. For Steve his life experience has been rough, family and friendships have come and gone leaving him wanting for something better.

Tags: Ma/Fa   Romantic  

The World I Know

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below.
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down.
'Cause it's the world I know.
It's the world I know.

December 12, 2003

"Fuck You! I don't need you to tell me what to do! We're not married! You don't own me! I make my own decisions!" he screamed at her.

The look in her eyes told him that he had gone too far, but he didn't care. He told her he was not going out with her and her stuck up friends. He made plans when she told him of the girls-night-out, and now all of a sudden they change their plans and invited all of their boy friends/husbands, and he is supposed to drop everything and go with them. No fucking way.

"I don't believe you! All I asked is if you could change your plans and go out with us. And you jump all over me. What's gotten in to you?"

"I'm not going!" he yelled back at her.

"Maybe I'll find someone else while I'm out!" she spat.

With a flip of his hand he said, "Go ahead. See if I care!"

Twirling around she screamed, "FINE!"

"FINE!" he yelled back as he lay back onto the coach.

December 13, 2003

He wavered, almost falling to his knees when Lieutenant Green informed him that Rachel was dead. Asleep on the coach since the fight, the banging on the door woke him. God, if it only was a dream he screamed to himself. Yeah they fought last night, but he still loves her. Loved her.

The call to her parents went as he thought, he would make the arraignments to send Rachel home and they would arrange for the wake and funeral. He hung up the phone and sat back into the coach. Tears came to his eyes as he began to go over the events to come over the next few days. He knew he couldn't survive; he needed something to get through them, that's when he called Jim.

December 15, 2003

He barely remembered packing, a suit for him, and a dress for her. Picking the dress started his pain all over again. It was all too much, too much for him to cope with, as he did another line of coke. The trip to Great Falls was a blur, meeting her Mother and brother at the airport was emotional, but reserved, maybe because they were in a public place. But their home was a different story as behind closed doors the grief was evident.

No one knew. Friends and well wishes stopped by as they gave their last respects to Rachel and offered their condolences to her parents, and to him, the fiancée. All the while he knew he should have been with her, he knew he could have saved her, or as he felt right now, he would have died with her. That would have been better than this.

December 12, 2004

It was a few hours after the sun went down, and quickly the temperature followed suit. He put on a light winter jacket and headed out; taking only a few steps told him he should have put on a different jacket, a heavier one as the cold cut through him, all the way to the bone. It was something that he wasn't prepared for when he left his makeshift room in his mom's basement, but it was necessary.

It was the one-year anniversary and so much has changed, after the funeral his boss cut him some slack, but after five months of coming in late or not at all, his boss had enough and let him go. The loss of his job wasn't bad, it was moving back home that hurt. At least he moved into the basement and not into his old room where he would have been under the watchful eye of his Mom and new step dad, a real tool.

He had walked just over a mile, halfway to his destination, when the snow started falling, lightly at first, but they were big snowflakes, the ones that make the scrunching sound when you first walk on it and the best packing for snowballs. It didn't matter as he trudged on, snow or no snow, cold or no cold, he had to get to Jim's.

He turned off the street and into an alley, halfway down he moved through an opened gate and made his way to the steps leading down to Jim's place, another basement home. He pulled his shaky hand from his pocket and knocked on the door. He looked back to the yard, the falling snow illuminated by a street light, was coming down harder than before. His trip home would be interesting.

He turned back to the door when it opened to a disheveled sleepy young woman who grunted at him.

"Uh, hey, uhm is Jim home?" he asked.

She rubbed her eyes, looked him up and down, nodded her head behind her, turned and walked away leaving the door open. He walked in closed the door and followed her through a very clean apartment, something you normally wouldn't associate with a full time college student.

He walked into what appeared to be the front room where he saw Jim sitting in front of a PC typing on a keyboard, "Hey Jim, you got some shit for me?"

Jim didn't want to look up, he knew the voice, and in fact he dreaded hearing. Shaking his head he said, "Dude, you need to lay off man, this shit will fuck you up."

Putting a smile on his face he said, "Jim. Jimmy! Come on man, it's me!"

Still typing, not looking up he replied, "Yeah I know. It's been a year, man. You need to put it behind you, and get on with your life."

"Listen, either give me what I want or I'll find it somewhere else."

Jim stopped typing, "Ok man. I tried." He got up and walked over to a hutch, opened one of the drawers pulling a couple of vials out and turned back and said, "Here you go."

It was the last time they had a conversation that didn't end up in a shouting match, or a fight. The next time he came over, Jim told him he was cut off, that he wouldn't participate in killing his friend. The ensuing fight was over quick, ending with a threat to call the cops on Jim's sideline business.

December 12, 2007

The needle slid into the vein easily even though his hand shook with anticipation. He pushed the plunger and immediately felt the hot liquid flow into his vein. He sighed contentedly knowing that soon it would be all better. His hand slipped from the syringe, forgotten for the moment, it hung from the vein in his arm sickeningly.

People passed by not looking at the sad sight of a derelict shooting up in the middle of the night, human compassion was lost to him, but he didn't care. Compassion was the last thing on his mind, shooting up was paramount. He wanted to lose himself in the haze that would close around his mind and allow him to leave this existence for another; at least temporarily until reality was allowed to seep back in as the narcotic lost its potency.

In another life he had a name, in this existence he had none, and he had no life. When people did talk to him it was 'hey you get the fuck out of here' or 'move along or I'll call the cops'. It didn't matter because he didn't care. He gave up caring years ago.

He remembered the needle and pulled it out, placing it on the ground next to his other possessions, an old paper bag containing a lighter, a bent spoon, an empty bottle of some long forgotten liquor, and an old coat a couple of sizes too big. The coat, if that is what you would call it now, was the only hold over from his previous life that he was able to hold onto since his fall. Outside of his addiction the coat was the most important thing to him. When he is able to get enough money to feed his addiction the coat would provide him a link to the past that would, during the drug-induced haze, provide him with a means to relive the best part of his life.

But today was different; he sensed it as soon as the dug began to take affect. The drug he shot into his vein was different; it wasn't what he thought it was and for the first time in years panic seeped into his consciousness. Struggling to overcome the effects of the drug, he unsteadily rose to his feet, nearly falling over as he picked up the coat, but leaving the paper bag and its contents on the ground. They weren't important.

His head cleared briefly as he stumbled along lower Wacker Drive, unknowingly into the street. The underground lights seemed to dance around him, and the sounds of car horns barley penetrated his clouded senses as he walked into traffic. As he came to realize where he was, he turned to slowly head back to where he started, but midway in his turn he briefly saw headlights followed by squeal of tires. He was then twirling in the air, akin to skydiving, something he did long ago. And for an instant he was elated, the freedom from gravity made him feel like a bird, and he thanked whatever God there was for this feeling. And in that brief instant it ended to the sound of cracking bones and pain as he hit the ground, and deep in his mind before he lost consciousness he was glad it was over. No longer would he exist, now he could die.

The cloud that kept him from consciousness began to subside as the sound of a lone constant beep filled his ears. He sensed people working around him but knew not who or what they were doing. The clinking of metal on metal soon overtook the sound of the melodic beep and soon voices could be heard. "Where did this guy live, in an outhouse? Nurse, as soon as we get the bleeding under control and set the broken legs and arm, but BEFORE we put the cast on lets get him cleaned, I'm having trouble keeping my lunch down!"

"Yes Doctor. Believe me, there is no one on the floor who will want to get near him if we don't clean him up" replied a female voice.

From somewhere else in the room "I'll need to put him under, he's coming out of it."

The cloud crept over him as he once again drifted into another world.

His eyes opened to bright light, but it didn't affect his sight. As he became more aware of himself he was stunned to feel good, the long years of drug abuse did not seem to have taken their toll on him. From a lying position he propped himself up on his elbows with ease and looked around his new surroundings. The room was devoid of furnishings with the exception of the bed he was on and a bedside table and an empty chair next to the table. To his right was a window from floor to ceiling with see through drapes covering them. As he scanned the rest of the room he saw nothing but bare walls. But was truly shocking was the absence of a door.

"So how do you feel?"

The sound of the voice nearly caused him to jump out of the bed. Quickly looking back to his right he found the once empty chair no longer empty. Sitting there was a man in his 50's staring intently at him. He was wearing a brown tweed suit, had short white hair, a neatly trimmed beard, with cool gray eyes behind black round rim glasses.

"Uh, I guess I'm ok. Where am I? And who are you?" squinting his eyes to block out the light.

"All very good questions, about what one would expect. You can call me Zahn and I am glad you feel ok, I was worried about you. As to the where am I, well, to answer your question directly would probably not be the best course of action at this time. Why don't we start with something a little, easier to work through, shall we?"

He eyed Zahn wearily, "Well, that doesn't make much sense to me, Zahn. If you know the answer why not say it?"

Quickly he responded, "It is my belief, born from many, many years of experience, that the answers I would provide to you would one, divert your attention to what is before us, two cause you to believe I was mad in which case I would be unable to help you, and third, well I have found that the questions you ask are not relevant and are a poor starting point for what we need to do."

"How can they not be relevant?"

"When asked a direct question, you would expect one answer. The thought process is not part of the answer but it would be something one would go through to provide the one answer. Where you are is not relevant to where you are going. Think of this as the process of determining where you are going."

"How can it NOT be relevant, if I am going from one place to another, I would need to know the start and end point."

"Life, is a journey, from birth to death. What you do, how you live, identifies who you are, it reflects your essence. For many, this definition, this essence, doesn't vary, and if it does it is over many years. Some have a life changing event that shifts the path they were moving on, some changes are to the benefit of the person, some are not so and fall to a different path. You have had many, your Fathers death, the coldness of your mother, the incident with Gary McKenney, expulsion from school, the loss of your best friend, and the death of your fiancé. Each has changed your path, for the worse. We, you and I, are here to determine where you go when you are done here, so that-"

At each mention of the past incidents caused anger to build within him until he had enough and said, "What a crock of bullshit!"

Zahn stared at him a moment before saying, "I would ask that you refrain from cursing if you would be so kind."

"Sure. Fine. But what you said is still a crock of, cow droppings."

"You do not believe that those incidents changed you?" he asked skeptically.

Years of self-hatred and loathing came out as he yelled, "Yes! I mean No! Heck I don't know, maybe. All I know is life sucks. You get up every day and wish it would get better, but you know what, it fucking doesn't, and every night my dreams, the things you most want to come true, bring nothing, and all I have to look forward to is the same old shit, the only thing that changes is that it's different day! So, what the hell, you wipe of the shit off your boots and move on."

"And that is the way you want to live?" Zahn asked incredously.

"No Zahn, that's why I want to die!" he said mater of factly.

They talked, and with no way to track time they talked for what could have been hours, maybe even days. They talked of things that normally he would not, the death of his father when he was age four, of how he died on the job as an ironworker falling 20 stories. He never felt the loss of his father as he did now, the realization hitting him as a cold winters wind. Long lost memories of seeing other kids playing with their father, being scooped up in their arms to be carried from one place to another, or the simple act of a father teaching his son how to tie his shoe brought the conversation to a halt.

For so many years those memories were forgotten. No not forgotten, but buried deep within him. But why? Why would he do that? Why would he have memories of other kids and their fathers? He began sifting through the possibilities, looking for the one that would answer the question of these memories. But as he went through each possibility, another realization came forward, he barely remembered his Father. He had seen pictures of him and his parents, most if not all showed smiling happy faces, even his Mom who he always remembers as being cold.

Remembering the pictures seemed to unlock something within him as new memories came flooding back to him. The fun times he had with his Father, playing in the park, his Dad sitting down and playing with him and his toys, helping him make chocolate chip pancakes, his favorite breakfast, or the other thousands that he found.

He was smiling when he noticed Zahn sitting silently watching him. "You did this?" he asked.

"Yes and no. You were having, difficulties, remembering. What I did was to show you where they were locked away."

Shaking his head he asked Zahn, "I don't understand, why would I do that?"

Zahn shrugged his shoulders and said, "It is not for me to say. You must look within yourself to find the answer."

"But you know why."

Zahn looked at him, contemplating the answer before saying, "Yes."

"And you won't tell me."

"This is something you will need to uncover on your own. Well, I think this is as good to take a break and give you some time to contemplate what has been said."

With that Zahn was gone, and he was alone with the newfound memories of his Dad.

Again appearing out of no where, Zahn asked, "Did you have a good rest?"

Startled he responded, "Yes. Yes I did. Question Zahn, how long have I been here?"

Nodding as if to acknowledge a good question Zahn said, "Your perception of time is not relevant to where you are."

"What does that mean?"

"Time is outside of your existence."

Shaking his head in disbelief he said, "Come on Zahn, can't you give me a straight answer?"

"Ok than you have been here for 10 minutes."

"That's impossible."

"Ok than, 5 years."

"Now you're being ridiculous."

"As I have said, time has no relevance here, you are outside of it. If you were to return to were you came from it would be as if no time had passed."

"How is that possible?"

Shrugging his shoulders Zahn said, "It just is."

"So there is no time here?"

"That is correct."


"Impossible? No. Difficult if you do not have a basis for understanding. Time, is a construct of life, and is defined by, and is a part of, each person. Some of you see it without understanding it, you frequently say 'I had the time of my life' or 'He was the life of the party'. Life and Time are linked together. The absence of time is the opposing force of life, which is death. This seems to be the easiest for you to understand when you say things as, 'When your time is up, it's up' or 'It was only a matter of time before he died'"

"So, where am I?"

"You are in a place that exists outside of time."

"So I am dead?"

"No, you are not dead. You have been pulled from your time to this, place."


"Because you are not ready to move on."

"That would mean that I am close to dying!"

"Much would depend on you."

"I don't understand how it would depend on me?"

"Everything you do, who you are, determines where you go. You are here to understand things about yourself, things that you see but do not understand, things you don't see, and things you do not acknowledge. How do you know where to go if you do not have all the information?"

"So, I make the determination?"

"Who is better qualified?"

"Just, doesn't make sense. I wouldn't know what to compare myself against? And what if I could just say I'm ready and be done with this."

"In the place you are now in, there are no hindrances to the truth that lies before you, you cannot but see things as they are. You also know more than you think, you have seen good people, bad people, and indifferent people, all moving through their lives, living the best way that they know how. People who are true to themselves or who have stood up for others or who have given of themselves or have put others before themselves, are a guide to you. Normal everyday people are apart of this group who have attained a level of awareness of the vagaries of life and truly care for those around them."

"You would have to be a freakin saint to be in any of those groups."

"Saint? No. We are straying, what you are to look for is within yourself, which is where every person needs to look."

"So, for all that I have done, I am not a bad person?"

"In the ultraistic view, you are lacking. But, many factors have contributed to your faults, most of which were not caused by you. I had mentioned before several incidents from your life that directly influenced the path you took, each of which whose circumstances were not under your control. The first we talked of, the death of your father when you were young, something you had nothing to do with. The coldness of your mother was again not your fault, she was who she was due to the sexual assaults by her Father from age twelve. No one knew about the abuse she suffered from her Father, she never told her Husband, she never told anyone, and most likely she never will. You didn't know that, did you?"

No, he didn't. Though he couldn't see his face he was sure shock was what appeared. What else was there that he didn't know?

"Your father, he loved her very much. He suspected that her home life was difficult, he asked her about it a few times but she never told him. She kept her relationship a secret from her Father but after a few months he found out about it. He confronted her and told her that she couldn't see him anymore. That lasted two weeks, when your Father asked her to run away with him. She left with him that day."

"Why did he do that to her?"

"Why did Gary McKenney abuse you? Circumstances. Both were bad, Gary's problems were the result of his mothers use of drugs and alcohol while she was pregnant, your Grand Father was the result of an abusive Mother. Gary's death was a blessing, forgive me for saying that, you were one of many that he molested. Your Grand Father still lives, but he is incarcerated for murder and won't be free until his death."

"And lastly, the death of your fiancé, the single event in your life that directly caused your downfall. Why is that?"

No answer from him was forthcoming.

"The other incidents, are easy to understand, to see. The last is shrouded in your inability to face what is before you."

"I ... I don't want to talk about it. Just send me on my way."

"That I cannot do, it is your choice to move on, not mine."

"Than I choose to leave!"

"Then go."

He stared at Zahn, waiting for something to happen, silently praying to move on, but it was not happening.

"You see, you cannot move on until you can understand what had happened with Rachel. And then can you move on."

"We are going to be here a long time because there is nothing you can do to make me talk about, what had happened."

"Well, I will leave you to your thoughts for now" and faded from sight.

He sat there stunned. What the hell just happened? He still had no answers, answers that mattered to him in any case. He can leave anytime he wants, but he can't leave now. He can only leave after he talks about Rachel, something that he has not done since the Funeral.

Screw it, my brain hurts he said to himself as he got up from the bed to check out the room. He looked around, examining the walls, which were as smooth as glass and as solid as concrete. He knocked on them, pushed on them, he even tried punching them which only caused him to scream in pain. The bed was a typical hospital bed, it appeared to be held in place as he was unable to move it.

He moved from the bed towards the window, still the only source of light in the room. Getting to it he moved the drapes to reveal a wall, made of the same material as the others, the only difference was the light emanating from it. Bored with the window, that's what he was calling it, he went to the walls he examined and did it all over again.

He did this ten times, examining the room, before he gave up and went back to the bed and lay down, he didn't know how much time had passed as he had nothing to track the time, he assumed is was three or four hours. He began to focus on the conversation with Zahn when he heard, "Feeling better?"

"No, not particularly."

"Would it help if we took a different approach?"

"As long as we don't talk about Rachel, sure."

"Well, that's not possible is it. But, we can lead up to it. Gary, that was a bad time for you. What was it about that incident that, caused the greatest harm?"

"Beside being molested?"

"Physical pain and injuries heal over time, so that is not what changed you."

"Maybe the stigma attached to being molested?"

"No one knew."

"No, Francis knew" he said sarcastically.

Disregarding the tone, Zahn continued, "Your best friend, how did he know?"

"Because he was as well."

"So, it wasn't the stigma was it."

"No, I guess not."

"What is left?"

"I don't know!"

"Okay, okay. What was Gary to you, before he molested you?"

"I don't know. He lived down the street from me, he was a few years older than I was."

"Did you play together?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Did he play with other kids?"

"I don't know."

"When you played together, was it always you and him?"

"Yeah. Just the two of us."

"So, what kind of friendship did you have with him?"

"I guess we were best friends."

"Did he molest you at the beginning?"

"No, it was maybe, three or four years later."

"How long before it stopped?"

"It lasted the summer."

"Did you think it was wrong?"

"No, not at first. Well, I was eight, what did I know of right from wrong when dealing with sex."

"So when did it change to wrong?"

"When he began forcing me. I guess not to long after we started I, sensed, that it wasn't right and wanted to stop. Gary than said he wouldn't play with me unless I did what he wanted. I had no other real friends, so I went along, though I didn't really want to. After a few weeks he began to get, rough, and that's when it went very wrong, and he molested me."

"Did you stop going by him?"

"Yeah. Never again."

"Did he ever bother you after?"

"Yeah. He wanted me to come over, he said we didn't have to do any of the things he wanted. He lied and did it to me again. After that, I never went back because I never could trust him."


"Yeah, trust."

"Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me."

"Was he the first person that you ever trusted who betrayed you?"

"Yeah, the first."

"What about your other friend?"

"After Gary, Francis and I began playing together. We kinda fell into each other, you know safety in numbers, the two of us against Gary."

"So you were close for..."

"Up until we were expelled."

"Your expulsion from school was not of your doing, but it led to a falling out with your best friend."

"Yeah, he turned me in, and then ran off to Military School."

"You think he was the person who turned you in? No, it wasn't him, and, most importantly, he never turned his back on you. He never mentioned wanting to go to military school, he wanted to say something, but he was afraid of what you would say. And the reason for going to St John's, and this is something that you should know, was to get away from his Dad. You are also unaware, that when his Dad got the call about the suspension, he enrolled him in St John's, packed him up, and after meeting the Principal drove him to St John's. You never saw him again, and never forgave him, never forgave him for something he didn't do."

This new revelation was too much for him, he got off the bed, turned away from Zahn, and walked to the window. He knew he was angry and despondent, but he could not feel his emotions getting away from him like they would in the past. He watched as he clenched his fists, feeling the strength within them but unable to release the anger, something normally anticipated. He turned back to Zahn "I am not, right, here. I am missing something within me. What aren't you telling me?"

"About what you are NOT feeling? I had mentioned that there are no hindrances to the truth and that you cannot but see things as they are, the reason for that is that your emotions are muted here."

"You took my emotions away?"

"No, they are muted so they do not interfere in what we are here to do."

He knew that he should be angry, he knew in different circumstances he would have pounded on Zahn, but right now he felt nothing. "This isn't right Zahn. I need my emotions, they are a part of who I am, and to put me through this without them is bullshit. How do I know that I am truly answering what your asking me if part of me is missing?"

"Your emotions will interfere with what we are trying to doing here. Your emotions are a part of who you are, but we are not here to find who you were, we are here to find who you can be. Looking at life changing events is the best way to do this, and it needs to be done without the hindrance of emotions. Emotions are not relevant to truth, truth is devoid of emotions."

His mind was a mixture of thoughts, the first was but a shadow of an emotion called anger. He tried to focus on it, to bring it forth, but it was not to happen. The other was, strangely enough, a calm reasoning which seemed to wash clear the muddled path that lied before him.

All at once the conflux of the two evaporated, leaving only the calm reasoning to take hold and forcing out the thoughts of anger that moments before he had wished to come forward. It was strange to him, for most of his life he had relied on brute force to guide him, to silence those that stood before him. But now, now he saw something, different as the red hot coals of anger were extinguished by calm cool reasoning, cast aside for once when confronted with a situation born of contention, anger, or fear had won out.

The anger gone, he looked to Zahn and said, "I understand. You are right about emotions, what I did in life is based upon them. I cannot think of anything of importance that I would, or wouldn't do, without them. And what would be done without emotions would be, empty."

He looked away from Zahn to hide the shame that he felt which he was sure that it was clearly visible, before continuing, "And that I would let my emotions get the best of me. Something that I am beginning to realize was pretty stupid."

He heard Zahn stand up and walk to him. He felt a hand upon his shoulder followed by Zahn softly saying, "Sometimes, people fall into what they know. Most do not even realize it, and those that do realize it, well, they just don't seem to care, even when someone has taken the time to point it out to them. Anger, hate, loathing, these emotions are not good or bad, they are what they are. But how each person uses them? That is what defines them as a person."

The next few hours, that's how he thought of it, was spent talking about people he knew, how he interacted with them. It was disconcerting that the people he remembered most were people that he bullied. For some reason names were not forthcoming, but faces, the faces were there. All laid bare before him, their faces not reflecting fear that he strove to put into them but of quite contentedness, as if the terror he had caused to each was melted away. All were there.

He never looked to Zahn, again the shame too much for him. Was he really that bad of a person? He finally looked to Zahn but he was gone. How long he sat talking to himself he knew not, but part of him felt, relieved. Reliving past events with this new insight was painful as he clearly saw now the cruelty with which he placed the pain he felt onto others.

"So, ready to continue?" asked Zahn as he once again appeared out of nowhere.

"Yeah, I suppose."

"Great. What happened between you and Rachel."

He sighed, he knew where this was going. "Rachel. You want to know what happened between Rachel and I. Man, I don't know if I can do this Zahn."

"Why not?"

"It's to ... painful."

"You do remember that your emotions are-"

He laughed, "You think it's all about emotions? You think memories are any less painful if you remove your emotions from the equation? If that were true than drugs would have been my answer!"

"You must separate what you feel from what you know." Zahn said pleadingly.

"It's not that easy!" he spat out.

"Of course not. If it was that easy you wouldn't be here. Your objectivity is needed more so now than before, everything you were, everything you now know to be the worse part of who you are, was forgotten until..."

"I ain't talking about it Zahn."

"You have to talk about it. You can't move forward without it."

He said nothing.

"Can you tell me how you meet?" Zahn asked.

He didn't want to do it. He knew what it would lead to. But there was something about Zahn, something that made talking to him easy. "I, ah, my team was sent to do a job at UIC, University of Illinois at Chicago, not to big, mostly interior work on a remodel, four weeks of work at the beginning of May. It was hot in the building, the heating and cooling guys had shutdown the A/C condensers and were breaking them down for replacement so there was no air flow in the building. Silvio, our supervisor, sent Sanchez and I to the Facilities building to get a few large fans to help cool us down. So we hoped in my pickup, got a few fans and, we were on the way back, stopped at a light when this little red car rear-ended us."

He chuckled as he continued, "I was pissed, the pickup was new, I had bought it eight months previously, and it was my FIRST new, vehicle, I had ever purchased. So I get out, all pissed off and yelling, when this little Asian chic like four foot ten, gets out of the car and starts yelling at me like it's my fault that she hit me. I was floored by the language she was using, f this f that, she even suggested my parents weren't married. Well I kinda lost it and started laughing at her, I mean here is this little Asian chick cursing up a storm trying to intimidate me, six foot one, two hundred ten pound, and in peak physical fitness. Well that pissed her off, she comes up to me and kicks me in the shin, and man it hurt like heck. In any case I stopped laughing and said that she reminds me of a female dog. And, uh, yeah, it got ugly. Bad choice of words I guess because she got all Jackie Chan on me, reminded me of this guy in High School. In any case, I was trying my best not to get killed when, thankfully, the passenger in the car started screaming her name to get her to stop."

"That's when I saw Rachel, she was terrified at what her friend was doing and screaming her name to stop her. Well it worked, she stopped and Rachel came over and got between us and very calmly told her friend to go sit in the car and she would work it out."

"I looked over to Sanchez and found him staring at Asian chick as she made her way back to her car. When she got in and sat down he said to me, 'Don't worry, I won't say a thing. Heck no one would ever believe me. You need help with this one?' he asked as Rachel walked up to me.

"I laughed and said no and told him to go sit in the truck."

"I guess she was somewhat nervous, maybe scared, of me. I don't know why, the Asian chick would have hoped out of the car and kicked my posterior before I could do anything. Anyway, she apologized for her friend's behavior and then, it got strange, I heard every word she said, I just didn't follow along with what she was saying. It was her voice. It pulled me in. Something, soft and caring. It wasn't like an angel singing or anything like that, it was, real, it was-. Even now, after having time to look back on it, I, I still can't describe it. It wasn't love, not that I would know what that is, but the more she spoke, the more I wanted to know her, to be with her."

Zahn put his hand on his shoulder and said with conviction, "You do know what love is, everyone does. You just can't see it. Or, maybe you do see it but don't want to acknowledge it because than you would have to account for your actions."

"So, you met. What happened after that?"

"She took pity, on a strong young man that almost got his tuckas kicked by a short hot Asian chick, and accepted an invitation to for dinner. That floored me. I mean I was dirty, grimy, and stinky and she agreed to go out with me. We went on a couple of dates until she went home to Great Falls Montana for summer break, she was a student at DePaul University."

"From June to August, we talked a few times, not much or for a long time. That summer my best buds would rag on me for not tappin every piece of booty I could get my hands on. Now, I wasn't a saint, I had my share, but it wasn't anywhere near what I was doing before I met Rachel."

"In any case, when she came back we picked up where we ended off in May. After a month we started seeing each other exclusively. Things worked out well starting in October as we got into a, schedule I guess you would call it. We would go out to dinner on Wednesday, and starting on Friday, after I got off work, we would get together, unless she had tests or the end of a semester, the weekends were ours."

"The weekends were the best. To just hang out, or head to a Museum, or walk around downtown along the Lake. I was making a decent buck, I finished my apprenticeship in the union so I was making scale, plus I was getting five or ten hours a week at time and half for overtime. My expenses were small, I had a little apartment, a small truck payment, that's it. Compared to the other guys, I was doing pretty well. Even if I was paying for everything when we went out, it still wasn't that much."

"Sounds like things were going well?"

"Yeah, they were great. Most of the relationships I had never lasted more than a month."

"Why was that?"

"I don't know. The girls I dated were, trashy. Not that I was much better than they were, I think we used each other. But Rachel wasn't like that, she was a person of, quality. I was surprised that she went out on more than a few dates with me, I thought she would dump me before the third date."

"Were you Intimate?"

"Yeah, but not right away. Neither of us were virgins, we both had lovers, but we, took it slow. Or I should say I took it slow, I was afraid that she would dump me for being a pervert or something. She actually initiated it. October 14, 2001. As I said, I've had sex before, but when I was with Rachel it was something more profound, more meaningful, and more fulfilling. I think that was the first time that I, cared for someone."

"Did it change your relationship?"

"Yes. No. No, it didn't change our relationship, it made it stronger. The intimacy was the last part of the puzzle, it made the bond between us stronger. I look back on this and can honestly say that was the moment that I knew she was the one for me."

"Why that moment?"

"I never believed that a person like her would allow a person like me to share her passion. It was then that I thought, maybe, it was real, that she did care for me, and that there was someone that could love me."

"So, you had it pretty good. Were there any rough spots?"

"Yeah. Christmas. I, uh, hadn't talked to my Mom since, well, lets just say it's been a while. Rachel is big on family, she is the oldest of six. Six! I can't imagine what that's like. Anyway, she is family oriented, like big time. So, it's getting close to Christmas break and she was getting ready to go back home, and she asks about my family. I didn't tell her about, things, so now I had to. She listened to my story, and at the end she says, and this really got me going, that I should, or better yet, WE should pay my Mom a visit."

"I take it that you weren't crazy about that idea," Asked Zahn.

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