Prisoner of Love

I have been super busy ever since I came back to work.  But I don’t want to lose my followers (all 5 of you).  So I am going to post a story I wrote about the prison person mentioned a few entries back.   I have been wanting to flesh this story out and make it more interesting but never seem to find the time for that either.   So here is what I have written.  I hope you enjoy it.  It’s not as exciting as some comments have suggested but close.  I apologize for the length of this entry.

 Scene One:  Park Adventure

Okay, so you don’t meet the love of your life in a park restroom, right?  Well, as a young gay man in the late 70’s I found myself with few options.  We didn’t have internet then. What I knew about gay life came from stereotype characters on TV and in the movie.  I bought Hustler Magazine because they at least showed naked men and if mom found it there wouldn’t be that must to explain.  I wasn’t old enough to go to bars and riding my bike to the park was an escape.  

Going to the park everyday that summer, I noticed things.  Men were gathering in a certain area, having casual conversation and checking each other out.  Picnic tables near a restroom, which I soon discovered was the actual hub of the activity.  Most of these men were older and really kind of scary looking to me, but curiosity brought me back for several days watching from a safe distance.  I knew what was happening but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of it.

At some point my curiosity got the best of me.  I needed to go to the bathroom so I went inside.  I wasn’t there long before someone followed me and stood next to me at the urinal.  I could tell he was leering over at me.  I mustered up some courage and found myself staring over at him.  He was slowly stroking himself.  I got very nervous and excited at the same time. He leaned over and whispered, “Let’s go somewhere safer. Follow me.” He exited the restroom and I soon followed.

Once outside I looked around to see where he had gone.  I saw him up on the path getting ready to climb some stairs that lead  into a wooded area.  He turned and motioned for me to follow him.  I headed into the woods with him.  We got to a place were we were not visible from the road below.  ……..(sex scene here)………………. We sat and talked for a few minutes, about nothing really, he gave me his number and I rode my bike home. 

I was a little later than usual and my mother  let me know that she was worried about me.  I just told her I lost track of time and went back to my room and took a shower.  I felt dirty and I couldn’t seem to wash that feeling away.  I was confused by what had happened, even though I was in control of the situation, I really wasn’t.  Something primeval had taken over my thought processes.  I had done a bad thing.  I was evil and dirty and I couldn’t wash it away.   I got dressed  and began staring at the paper he had given me.  I couldn’t possibly call it, so I crumpled it up,  threw it in the trash and headed out to the dinner table. 

***

The paper was in the trash calling to me.   I lay on my bed listening to music trying to drown it out, but I couldn’t.  That urge, that primal need to be satisfied caused me to grab it up from the trash.   I stared at it for a long while, remembering our afternoon in the park.  I didn’t even remember his name but there it was on this paper, seven digits and a name, Dana.  Was this his real name?  Was this a real number?   I picked up the phone and started to dial.   I hung up before connecting.  What if someone picks up the extension?  I needed to wait and call from a pay phone.  So I put the number in my wallet.  Tomorrow I would go for another ride to the park.  Maybe he would return.

Sizzler!

I went back to the park, but he wasn’t there. I rode to a gas station and called the number from a pay booth. The voice that answered the phone didn’t sound right at first. I told him we met in the park the other day. His voice lit up. I could imagine him smiling on the other end and I am sure we sounded like giddy school girls and our conversation continued. Then he made the first move and invited me to lunch at the Sizzler. He worked across the street from it and would meet me there. Our conversation ended and I was excited and frightened. I was going to meet a man I had met and had sex with in the park. What kind of person was he or I for that matter? I wondered if he would even show up at the restaurant. I wondered if I would recognize him. I wondered if he would recognize me. I wondered what the hell kind of mess I was getting myself into.

The thoughts that went through my head were crazy. I can only partially remember the inner dialogue now. I believe the final rationalization that occurred was that he was different than those other men in the park, that I was different too. After all we had made a connection and we were going to meet in a public place again, a restaurant with people who were all there to have lunch not sex. It seemed innocent and safe enough.

The lunch was surprisingly comfortable. We recognized each other, order or meals and went to a booth and sat and talked. He worked at the government offices across the street. It was part-time. I told him about myself. I was in school to be a journalist. I worked part-time at a department store. The time went by quickly.

I learned a lot about him and yet I didn’t know anything. He was older than me, and he was so charming and handsome. He had blonde curly hair, green eyes, slightly shorter than me, about 5’ 7’’. He was in good shape and had dimples when he smiled. I was entranced by him. Beneath the surface there was something going on, something dangerous and exciting.

Fourteen

Fourteen counts of arson, that’s what the headline says.  What does it actually mean?  Many of the fires were simple destruction, a field burning or a fence set on fire.   Some of them involved structures, like a car port or a tool shed.  And some of them were worse, a drape lit with a lighter and left to burn.   One involves lives, an ex-lover left asleep on the couch in a burning apartment.  Of course, Dana had answers to all of this, and I believed him.  I wanted to believe him.

So what lies did he spin?  Well, the drapes were in his apartment. He had moved out and let the place unlocked.  Anyone could have gone up there and vandalized it.   The others he just denied.  When he was arrested he was not allowed to sleep.  They put him in a room and grilled him into a confession to all the fires.  The fire chief took him on a tour of the sites and Dana provided additional details that only the perpetrator would have known.  Dana said they feed him the details.  He confessed to get them to stop.  I wanted to believe this too, and when I looked into his eyes I saw a child asking me to forgive him and to help him.

As for the ex-boyfriend and the apartment with him in it, I didn’t discover this charge until the day of the verdict.  It is probably the reason I believed all the rest.  I didn’t know about this situation.  (I need to verify this, I still have the newspaper with his picture on the front page.  I will revise this after I reread the article.)  I knew there was an ex-boyfriend.   Dana told me that he had a temper and was violent, to steer clear of him.  In the court room the man appeared with his mother and they painted a very different picture.   After this testimony Dana gave me an explanation, one that the public defender would be using, that this guy had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette.  Now it seems like a reasonable truth.  But when coupled with the whole story I  know it was a lie.

The Judgement

I sat there in the court room in disbelieve.   The district attorney had promise the judge would be lenient if he coped a plea.  The public defender talked him into accepting the offer and now the judge was handing down the maximum sentence.  What liars!  There I was holding his gold necklace staring at the teddy bear charm and crying uncontrollably.   Seven years for 3 counts of arson.  The other 11 counts were dropped.

Dana’s sister Beth was in the court room too, as were his parent.  His mother started praying as if we were in church pews and not a court of law.   I watched them take him away in handcuffs back to jail.  I wanted to reach out to him and hold him in my arms.  I wanted to protect him.  But it was not to be.  His accusers were in the court room too.  I hated them.   I didn’t really know them, but I hated them.  Why had they done this to him, to me, to us?

Beth came and took my hand leading me out of the court room.   She had to go back on duty.  She told me to call her later, she had something she needed to tell me.  I went out to my car and cried.  I am not sure how much time pasted.  Eventually, I got it together enough to drive home.  I half expected him to come out of the bedroom and tell me it was all a joke.  The apartment was empty.  I turned on the TV for some noise and fell asleep on the couch.

Sociopath

I met Beth at the courthouse where she worked as a bailiff.  It was lunch time and we had so much to discuss.    She handed me a copy of the psychiatric evaluation of Dana which included the results of the lie detector test.  She gave me a hug and told me to read it and I would begin to understand.

I don’t know how to explain this, but I totally trusted Dana.  I had no reason to other than the desire to believe him and make all the other horrible things I had heard go away.  I couldn’t or wouldn’t give up on him.   This report had some strong evidence to the contrary of what I believed was fact.  I didn’t want to believe this report.  I was either brain washed or blinded by emotions, probably a combination of the two.   I had always prided myself on being a rational human being.  But this was all too much for the rational mind.  I needed answers, but not necessarily the truth.  It must be what everyone goes through in love, but this was my first time.  Love is a lot of things but it is definitely not rational.

The report which I probably should not be holding has his name on the top of it and is all very official looking with court stamps and signatures.  Beyond these cover pages is the narrative written by the examiner.  The questions that were asked in the test are there.  Dana’s responses are there.  Simple questions like, “Where do you live?” and “What is your name?” all came back as lies.   I thought to myself good.   This test can’t prove anything because we know those answers aren’t lies.  I continued reading.  The conclusion by the doctor was that Dana was a chronic liar.  Not only that but the lies were pathological not just compulsive.  These were some big words to take in and painful to read.

A sociopath is basically what the doctor was calling him.  If you have never met a sociopath you probably have no understanding of how this works.   I didn’t either but I was learning fast.   A sociopath lies incessantly to get their way.  It is often goal-oriented.  Sociopaths are charming and charismatic.  They are also manipulative and self-centered.  I could believe the charming part but I didn’t want to believe I had been manipulated and deceived for his secret purposes.  I thought he loved me.

When I think of sociopaths I think of rapists and mass murders. Could I be involved with such a person?   He was not a rapist or a murder but he was an arsonist.  There are other blogs devoted to this subject.    I am not an expert and I think I was lucky, lucky he was found guilty and we were separated.  But this is about how it all started and how he continued to influence me even after he was in jail.  I am getting ahead of myself.  At this point I am only discovering the possibility; I am not convinced it is true.

So, just what had he lied about?  Was everything a lie?  I wasn’t ready to believe that yet.  In my next post I will go over the lies he told and what came out in court that he had allegedly done.  I need to collect myself now because this is still disturbing to me even 30 plus years later.  Yes, he was an arsonist.  But not in the typical, burn the place down for insurance kind of way.  He burned things because he liked to watch.  He was a voyeur, and given the way we met that isn’t so hard to believe is it?   Well it took me sometime to get to that conclusion.

3 Responses to “Prisoner of Love”

  1. wow
    what a tale
    if you can, tell us more.

  2. That was incredible!
    My conclusion is that he could love you. Why not! I mean, he could be all of those bad things and still love you at the same time.
    Yes, that is quite a story and much bigger than I thought it would be. I’m waiting to hear Part #2. m.

    • That’s a lovely thought. One that I hung onto for a long time. But I had to let that go and move on with my life. If I hadn’t I think I most certainly would have gone on a downward spiral of hoplessness and dispair. Even now I have trouble allowing myself to believe in him or any part of what we experienced together. Perhaps I am lying to myself, but it is the only rational thing to do.

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