Future tense

When I was about ten, when I would  ask my parents to go out to play after dinner, I would immediately say “Oh, I probably can’t. You probably won’t let me” After saying that a few times, Mom finally said “Ok, you can’t go out.” Whereupon I wailed “Why?” She answered “Because you doubted that I would let you go out in the first place.”

I have cleaned up my public behavior when it comes to future expectations, but I’m still tense when it comes to having good things come my way. My head creates scenarios of being kidnapped in Tunisia and being abandoned by my government. Or worse, being betrayed by Ash who’s really part of ISIS. I picture Scott getting blown up or otherwise killed in Japan and having to go through a grief process with THAT bishop.

There’s no way to say this nicely: I’m a real pessimist when it comes to having hope for a great future. Ash says that he can’t wait. He is genuinely worried when I tell him that I have a bruised foot. He goes into panic mode when I tell him of my involvement with Nathan.  He may seem like a confident, twenty-eight year old TKD instructor from Algeria who thrives on action/horror films. But he quickly becomes unglued when it comes to the thought that there is a rival for my affection. And pocketbook.

Truth be known, Ash has never asked me for money. I thought he was going to hit me up for cash when he bemoaned a story of a hefty telephone bill that seemed to have been run up by a scammer. But, he allowed that he’d pay it up and then he moved on in the conversation. Now that is a decent guy in today’s world.

Why do I think such dark thoughts for my best hoped for plans? I don’t think I deserve happiness. I suppose this is a left over from my role as the “lamb of god” who is the sacrificial victim to take away the shame of the parents who never could quite shrug off the guilt and queasiness that they got from their parents ad nauseam. Even though I’ve read books about happiness (the Dalai Lama’s book, Leo Buscaglia, other self-help books over the ages) I still live with a core of shame, fear and guilt that quietly and persistently feeds on my soul. And yes, a chorus of voices in an Irish brogue still go “Ah Danny..”  in my head.

Is it any wonder I’m an alcoholic? That I wrestle with bi-polar issues? That despite what I knew, I was irresponsible enough to get infected with HIV?

I am determined to see this adventure through. When people ask “where are you going?” I state directly “Tunisia.” This answer is usually met with clucks of admiration and support. And the more I answer with this firm assurance, the more hopeful I am. Yes, after seven years, I will meet Ash. Two men from different parts of the planet, linked together by this thing they call the internet, will come together in a physical place called Tunis, a launching site thousands of years ago for armies seeking to rule the known world.

Ensha’allah.

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