‘Whipping post’

Her heart is a whipping post;
of which I willingly yielded.
A mountain of excuses made;
and false justifications fielded.

‘We’ exist only in the past now.
Her fond memories cease to be.
My emotional closet was opened;
then she tossed away the key.

The beast within escaped and
doesn’t want to be restrained.
Jealousy and primal instincts
are never simple to contain.

Hitched to a pulmonary pillory,
awaiting the sting of her lash.
In painful affairs of the heart,
happiness can end in a flash.

Posted in Controversial topics, Different Perspectives, Essays & Rants, Poetry, Recollections, Romance, Thought provoking, True Stories, True Stories, Essays & Rants, Uncategorized, Whimsical | Leave a comment

‘The main event’

The telephone began to ring but showed no number, identity or location. Then his cell phone also started buzzing insistently. It also showed no caller ID information. As if that wasn’t strange enough, the random television program playing in the background displayed a ringing telephone. The three devices continued to insist on immediate attention but the homeowner just ignored his two real phones and changed the TV channel. If they couldn’t be bothered to reveal who they were to the system, he couldn’t be bothered to hear their annoying sales speech.

Both continued to ring and buzz, way past normal human patience for the caller to wait for their call to be answered. It was a sure sign it was a robocall. Incredibly, the program on the new channel also displayed a ringing telephone! It was an old school wall unit from a 1970’s sitcom but it also rang continuously. The homeowner grinned at the amazing coincidence. No one was answering that one either. At some point he expected his iPhone to shut off and switch to voice mail but It didn’t. Finally he’d had enough. He reached for it and clicked the big red ‘X’.

He was about to get up and do the same for the home unit when his cell started to ring again. He turned down the TV volume and switched the channel. For a brief moment, it seemed like he’d managed to break the bizarrely redundant situation. The new channel displayed a large car race. He didn’t enjoy auto racing at all but it was a welcome change from the ringing insanity. Then the race went to commercial.

In an unknown metropolitan city, the commercial displayed one of those highly recognizable British phone booths. The unoccupied enclosure was the focus of the advertisement and even though the volume was all the way down, he knew that it was ringing. It was some sort of ‘sign’. For what, he had no idea but the freaky turn of events couldn’t be ignored any longer. He’d had enough of the jarring suspense. He answered the cell.

——————

All across the world, parallel events were ongoing. Many thought it was only happening to them. That’s a natural reaction to unexplained chaos but a quick check in with friends, relatives, and neighbors confirmed it was definitely happening everywhere. Some decided to answer. Many tried to ignore it for a while but eventually, every person said “hello?” (in their prospective languages). The initial response was as universally baffling, as it was anticlimactic.

First there was absolute quiet on the line. There was no electronic buzz or even the regular connection sound. Millions looked at their telephones to determine if the mysterious call had disconnected. It hadn’t. An unshakable feeling of anticipation lingered in the minds of the people for the unknown caller to speak. By that point, everyone holding their phones realized ‘the event’ was definitely of the utmost importance. No one even dared breathe, for fear of missing any part of the upcoming communication. At last it arrived.

“It is time for you to come home.”

The collective population of the entire Earth swallowed deeply in sync, trying to process the short but succinct message. They offered their highest level of focus to the unknown voice on the line. It was deeply resonant and highly familiar; as if it was the very personification of their own inner-conscience. It brought them a pure sense of overwhelming peace which wasn’t quantifiable. Even the previously avowed disbelievers knew it was a genuine, supernatural experience. It felt too ‘true’, to not be authentic.

The words themselves were simple and the implication was quite clear to most individuals. There wasn’t a lot of room for broad interpretation because that level of unparalleled, simultaneous global communication couldn’t be achieved by any person. Fax machines and emails also bore the same omnipotent message. Everything up until this point in our existence had apparently been an ‘opening act’. Just exactly what it would entail for the future was a spine-tingling mystery to be revealed later but it was finally time for ‘the main event.’

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‘We’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty’

It was the third time that day. Probably the tenth time for the week, and it was only Wednesday. He’d had enough. Actually far more than ‘enough’. Requesting to be added to their ‘do not call list’ was pointless. They would never comply and the aggravating interruptions would continue to pour in; day and night. The same frustration was shared by every person bombarded by their aggravating robocalls but there was one major difference. He was able to trace their originating location through his intensive cyber technology training; and trace he did.

They originated from a small South Georgia town about an hour away. He pinpointed the exact street address and decided to pay them a little ‘visit’. The idea of ‘payback’ offered a great deal of satisfaction as the wheels of retaliation spun in his head. They had no idea what hell was coming. He smiled when he imagined how the perpetrators of this never-ending nuisance would react to a healthy spoonful of their own medicine. Revenge was a dish best served with distasteful irony; and up-close-and-personal.

He pulled up to the location and marveled at how nondescript and bland their telemarketing hub was. Few would’ve guessed that literally millions of incredibly annoying robocalls originated from that 1980’s brick ranch on the corner lot. There were a few unusual signs present for the highly observant but otherwise it would have passed as a regular suburban home. He parked a block away and then started setting up the stages of his devious little plan.

As a professional ‘skip tracer’ and former bounty hunter, Gary had been involved with more than his share of ‘legally questionable activities’. As a matter of fact, he’d crossed that line on countless occasions. He wasn’t concerned in the least with ‘legality’ anymore. Once he decided to get involved in ‘operation payback’, he was ‘all in’. His preliminary surveillance of the exterior revealed no active security. That was good news. Then he moved in for a closer look. Through the lightly-curtained windows he saw a handful of people involved with the ‘extended warranty’ scan.

Luckily he came prepared. In his transport bag were all the things he would need for the plan to be successful. Naturally it also required perfect timing and for ‘good luck’ to be on his side. If karma was real, he assumed there would be no issues or hiccups. He slipped in the back door and took cover. One of the phone spammers walked by, totally unaware of his stealthy presence. Gary let the man leave the kitchen. That wasn’t where he intended to finalize the operation. One by one, he cornered the hapless staff members and masterfully subdued them.

When each of them awoke from their unexpected ‘nap’, they were frightened to find themselves bound securely to office chairs. Far worse, they had their headsets duct-taped to their foreheads and their hands tethered to the armrests. Gary had orchestrated a loud, ‘audio-loop Armageddon’ of their infuriating robocalls, and provided them with no means of hanging up, or ‘opt out’. It was absolutely perfect. All they could do, was to sit there helplessly and listen to the grating loop repeat, over and over. The bewildered staff members wept and screamed for the deserved torture to stop but he wasn’t about to ease their suffering. In the back of their minds they all knew ‘reckoning day’ might arrive for their misdeeds but that made it no more bearable. It had been an abstract worry in the past. Now it was genuinely real and inescapable.

The powerful anesthesia used to subdue them made them groggy and lethargic. It was like waking up from a bad dream which wouldn’t end. It also stalled them from being able to work free from the duct tape. It served two parallel purposes. Once his plan was fully realized, Gary left them there to soak up the maximum amount of unpleasant ‘medicine’. He make an anonymous 911 call to free them once he was satisfied they‘d suffered enough. After all, he only targeted the worker bees. The ‘queen’ wasn’t there. He or she escaped justice; at lest temporarily.

The news was filled with nationwide reports of the compelling story; and thankfully the shadowy origins of the telemarketing organization was also exposed. Support for his highly illegal behavior was widespread and universal. Social media exploded with praise for his covert act. Gary almost wished he could take credit for it but that would only bring him trouble. The truth is, ‘operation payback’ only shuttered one cell of the massive telemarketing empire. There will be many others. Those annoying calls will still continue to come. Gary can’t do it all. The next time you receive one of them, try to be patient and then press 3 to wait for a live operator. As soon as you hear him or her on the line; say to them: “Operation payback phase two is about to commence!”

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‘Sometime in the future’

All of the memories I lived,
in my lifetime I amassed.

With every mold I broke,
another die was cast.

Sometime in the future,
I’ve already died and passed.

The true wealth of life is lost,
it was never meant to last.

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‘By the light of a dying fire’

Crackling flames shot up briefly into an intense inferno. Then after a few moments the fire would die down to a wisp of dwindling smoke. It was the alternating cycle of the process. All of the individuals in attendance watched the flickering blaze with tantalized interest. It was the sole reason for why they were there. The constantly fluctuating levels of fire fascinated them in an unnatural way but they remained silent. It was best to observe the dynamic ebb and flow without excess emotion or commentary.

A new spectator approached the fiery display to get a closer look. The others paid this new intrusion no undue attention. Each of them were there to follow the blaze, not to keep track of how many others were present. With each new burst of intensity, it roused the obsessed witnesses. Fires of this type would briefly surge into a roaring inferno, before subtly evolving into a smoldering pile of ash. The crowd grew restless for the end to finally arrive. It’s determined sparks of stubborn resistance just extended their impatient wait time. No flame couldn’t extinguish itself. It had to run it’s course and cease to be. The end had to be from natural causes.

“The passion is very strong in this one.”; one of the spectators remarked somberly.

“Yes. It’s definitely a sign.”; Agreed another.

There would be a significant battle to take possession of the fleeing human spirit; in the aftermath of it’s immanent demise. The soul-takers were the most animated when there was evidence of a strong life-force in an expiring soul. Those were the most desirable ones to seize and devour. Lustful tension and greedy anticipation mounted within them. They‘d witnessed the final stages of human life countless times before. The end was very close now. The radiating fire was almost out. At last, only a single flickering finger of flame remained of the dying soul. As with all of us, it eventually blew out and the morbid watchers of the life pounced.

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‘In heaven, everything is fine’

My time had finally arrived. It was anticlimactic to realize the eternal question had been answered. Yes, there is an afterlife and yes, I did encounter people I’d known in life. Many of which I was surprised to witness had made the resurrection cut. Were there no morality or ‘sin’ standards in heaven? It was almost disappointing to think that my own rebirth was apparently equal to people I thought would surely roast for their worldly misdeeds. It made ‘the club’ feel far less exclusive.

I received a number of sideways glances and peculiar looks when I arrived at the so-called ‘pearly gates’. I suppose the ne’er-do-wells had the same misgivings about me. I just shrugged at their unapologetic stinkeye and continued on. The powers-that-be obviously decided I was worthy of being there. I wasn’t about to dwell on their unimportant, negative opinions.

The whole experience was a little too new to me at first; for it to register. I saw long lost relatives. Good friends. Former lovers, and general acquaintances from long ago. It was every bit as emotional as you might think. Honestly, I never expected to see my grandparents and parents again. It all felt like a fantasy which miraculously came true. I was somehow experiencing a visceral, lucid dream.

A person who I considered to be ‘the love of my life’ was right up front, waiting to give me a big hug and kiss. It wasn’t ‘romantic’ though. There was a distinctive feeling in my mind that adult passion and carnal feelings were a pointless thing of the past. Instead it felt absolutely pure, just like a mother’s unconditional embrace. Then she whispered something in my ear which caught me fully by surprise.

“I’m sorry I doubted you, Dennis. It was wrong of me and I regretted it for the rest of my life. Please forgive me. At least we are together now.”

Tears welled up in my eyes. I had so many years of built-up resentment over the sudden dissolution of our relationship. I carried the anger and bitterness over her hasty decision to end things when she did. At the time, I couldn’t convince her that I was innocent; and that lingering frustration remained around my neck like a stone for the rest of my life. I wasn’t able to see how that pain haunted me (when I was still alive), and she couldn’t see it was undeserved scorn either.

Death offered both of us a level of clarity that life had been too cloudy to see. The important thing was, she finally understood I hadn’t betrayed her. The mutual forgiveness and reconciliation was liberating in a way that I could never describe here. It was also very special to me that of all the people I met in heaven (that day and since), she was the first. She felt the strongest need to unburden herself, and perhaps I needed to hear what she had to say. It was incredibly cathartic and beautiful.

Next I sought out my Mother and father in the crowd. I apologized for the many times I’d let them down. Both of them graciously minimized my former shortcomings and denied that I had ever brought them pain or parental grief. They in turn, wanted me to know that they were sorry for being impatient with me when I was a child. It was startled to see how heavily those long-forgotten events still weighed on them. Holding them again in my arms was indescribable. We were united together again, in a perfect world without end.

Waiting in this massive meeting room we’re coworkers, old friends, classmates, bullies, ex girlfriends. Ex wives, my elementary school teachers, store clerks, and every soul I’d encountered in my entire life. As a matter of fact, it was everyone that every single person had ever encountered. The purpose of ‘the reconciliation hall’ was to unburden yourself, or to make amends for your own personal wrongdoings. There was no fiery torment or punishment awaiting us. It was about sincere apology and spiritual rebirth. Every soul who ever lived met with all the people they had ever encountered; in order to repair damage and move forward.

Only by shedding those negative experiences and the emotional roadblocks could the resurrected hope to evolve into the next phase of our intertwined human existence. No one could move forward in that room until all of those ugly weights were lifted. Apologies, admissions, tears, laughter, smiles, and then the unbridled release of freedom. Time stood still in the reconciliation hall. At last, every single soul present had unburdened themselves and freed their earthly pain and the devastating bonds with the past.

Slowly the walls which contained us dissolved. After that, we were no longer confined by any physical or psychological parameters or limits. The next, great phase of humanity achieved an unparalleled milestone. We all moved forward as a single, unfettered, united entity. In heaven, everything is fine.

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‘Hindsight isn’t always 2020’

“Can you believe they wore paper masks back in 2020 to protect themselves from viruses? I don’t see how people dealt with that! It must’ve been batshit-crazy back then.”

“I’ve heard the whole thing was an urban legend. I mean, it sounds like it was made up. It’s too incredible to be real. I don’t believe it.”

The two youngsters continued to debate the validity of stories that almost every person in the world wore thin face-covering masks in the year 2020. The conversation was spirited but civil. Both parties were respectful despite a significant level of disagreement. The year in question was only 14 years earlier. It seems they could’ve settled the argument easily by asking an older individual (who was alive and cognizant at the time). Eventually that’s what they did.

“Hey Grandpa. I’ve heard that way back in 2020, people wore paper, or thinly-woven cloth masks on their faces. Is that true? Why did they do that? Was it to prevent catching a disease?”

The old man smiled in earnest at his grandchildren’s question. They said the darnedest things. His toothy grin was impossible to witness because a large ventilator covered his face. “Yes. That’s absolutely true. Back in 2020, people were concerned about a viral outbreak called ‘Covid’. Stores insisted all their customers wear a mask over their nose and mouth before entering their establishment.

“See, I told you it was real!”

The skeptic rolled his eyes in annoyance at the old man’s confirmation. It’s not that he doubted his word. It‘s just that he found it difficult to accept that an informed public would insist on mandatory PAPER face coverings. It was ludicrous in his eyes to think of that as a valid ‘virus prevention method’. Technically the year they were discussing wasn’t that long ago but the idea was beyond preposterous, now.

“Didn’t they know about ‘Rortia Vargas’ or the ‘Haitian Sepsis plague’?”; He asked incredulously. “Between the two of them and a few pandemics afterward, they killed almost a quarter of the world’s population!”

“No. Those extinction-level epidemics came in 2022 and 2023.”; The old man corrected. The dark education and history lesson he offered was almost too shocking for them to absorb. “We were a bunch of unsuspecting fools back then!”; He chuckled. “No one even wore protective body suits in public. It may seem silly for to you to hear this, but we believed paper masks were enough to save us. It was absolutely common for people to go outside and be completely exposed to the outdoors for hours! All while only wearing thin, minimal bathing garments and exposed their uncovered skin to the open air.”

The two youngsters looked at each other in startled amazement through impenetrable face shields. Neither could imagine a world without frequent sterilization routines and industrial-grade protective suits. They marveled at the appealing romance of a world where thick neoprene wasn’t the norm. The year 2020 must have been a magical time, they surmised.

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‘Held’

Just about everyone sleeps with their arms stretched across the mattress. It feels good to spread out but as a child, I was too afraid to do that. You see, I worried there was something utterly dreadful lurking underneath my bed. In the dark, I couldn’t see it, but I KNEW it was there, just the same. I feared this awful, uninvited creature might reach out and grab me and do unmentionable things. I would lie there awake in a petrified silence. My body drew up into a defensive ball, anticipating a feral attack. It felt safest to be constricted into a knot so no part of me was exposed. The unspeakable thing under my bed couldn’t grab my hand if I didn’t extend it past the edge, right? That was my naive reasoning.

Sometimes I could even smell it. Mama never could. She’d come racing into the room at the sound of my bloodcurdling shrieks but her search was always fruitless. The dreadful thing in the darkness was too clever. It knew how to hide very well from the reassuring promises of disbelieving adults. In all fairness, she didn’t try very hard to find it. She thought it was my imagination running away with me. Eventually Mama told me to stop being ‘silly’ and ‘go to sleep’. Over time my continuous state of agitation slowly tempered itself to that of morose acceptance. Adults were going to be no help. The creature underneath my bed was too stealthy to be seen by them. I was on my own.

That was just as well. I feared what might happen if either of my parents had discovered it lurking there. I felt like I had carved out an unspoken truce with it. No, it seemed best to keep it to myself. Then only I would incur it’s wrath. Sometimes I heard it shift down there or growl faintly. The bed would creak or move slightly when I was lying still. It’s unseen body was uncomfortable hiding down there all the time. I thought to myself how cramped it had to be. I wondered why it would squeeze itself under my tiny bed, especially when the world was such a large place. There had to be a reason it was haunting my room.

The more I pondered possible explanations, the more sympathetic I became. The lurking thing under my bed probably felt safe hiding there because there were no judging eyes or the pain of scornful words. No one could attack it. Just like me lying above, it held itself into a ball for personal protection. In a powerful revelation that startled me, I realized that it was afraid too! Then I worried my secret roommate was cold so I pushed my blanket over the edge for it to use. At least a dozen times Mama came into the room the next morning to wake me and remarked how restless I must’ve been the night before. If she’d only known the truth! I didn’t tell her I did it to warm the sad little thing under my bed. She would’ve never understood.

Through courage I never expected to discover, I slowly forced my hand to the edge of the mattress! Over time I was able to extend it to the end until it dangled there, fully unprotected. It was a huge risk. What if I was dead wrong about my unofficial ‘roommate’? After a few nights of testing the waters, I felt it shift slightly beneath me. My body quaked in nervous anticipation. Would it bite me? I wanted to wet the bed in mortal anxiety and fear but I stayed the course. The cool night air on my exposed wrist gave me chill bumps. I felt it inch out from under the bed to inspect my dangling flesh ‘offering’. Words can’t describe the feeling which came next.

A light tickle grazed my open palm. I flinched in self preservation instinct. It recoiled as a reflex to that. Slowly I felt it touch me again. This time I forced my exposed hand to remain completely still in the darkness. It’s caress was thankfully gentle and modestly inquisitive. Playful almost. As if to definitively confirm what I’d known all along, there really was an unknown creature sharing my room!

It’s gnarled ‘paw’ was quite cool to the touch, with sharp nails and coarse knuckles. Despite that creepy realization, there was a gentle, caring soul hiding under my bed who possessed it. For the first time since I became aware of it’s clandestine existence, I smiled. It and I held ‘hands’ all night. From that point on, I wasn’t afraid and neither was it. Sometimes I crept out of bed and cuddled with it in the crawlspace. Occasionally I could even coax it out of it’s safe hiding place to share my warm bed above. We were playmates, buddies, and partners. Eventually it grew so close to me emotionally that it crawled inside my body.

Now I’m the thing that dwells under the bed.

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‘For it to all end in pain’

Birth, love, sex, and then death. Wash, lather, rinse, repeat. The four phases of our existence occur like peaks of a distant mountain. We spend our active lives climbing with determination to ascend the summit of each destination, but afterward there‘s nowhere to retreat but down to the hazy valley bellow. In brief moments of clarity we stop for a moment to ponder the puzzling purpose of our lives. Is it just to experience a merry-go-round of memories once, and then for it to all end in pain?

There’s no authority to answer that definitively. A number of groups feel they know the truth, but to accept their belief requires intangible ‘faith’. For the rest of us, we go through life with lingering doubts, a stubborn certainty there is nothing else; or at least a healthy dose of scientific skepticism that the afterlife isn’t likely. None of which is comforting. Is ‘this’ all for nothing? When we die, does every aspect of ourselves and our unique personality cease to be? It’s a depressing thought.

Perhaps the biggest aggravation is the gnawing feeling of uncertainty. It would be mildly comforting if we knew for sure what happens when we stop breathing, but this eternal mystery is a cosmic secret. Only those who pass through the final doorway, know the answer (and they aren’t talking). That silence leads many to assume the dead don’t answer because they can’t. Until we pass beyond the mysterious doors at the end of our journey, we‘ll have to wait to see if this is all there is.

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‘Touched’

Tall, with steely blue eyes and messianic features; he walks with a commanding presence. An aura of intense charisma surrounds him. His name and personal details aren’t important however. He doesn’t seek fame or fortune for his mysterious deeds. His sole mission is to heal others and take away their lingering pain. He possesses the true gift of love and wholesome empathy.

One day he walked up to a lady and stopped. She was startled that such a handsome gentleman would even notice her. She assumed he needed directions or assistance with some mundane matter, but the truth was far more complex. He asked her how she was doing. She studied his eyes. It was a sincere question. Her heart fluttered. She had self-image issues after a lifetime of eating disorders and disappointment in life. Her first instinct was to say she was ‘fine’. It wasn’t true, but it was the ‘polite thing to say’ when asked. People generally don’t care. It’s just an generic greeting.

“I’m… not…happy.”; She answered truthfully. It felt good to be honest for a change. It seemed like he really wanted to know. What came next was more than she bargained for. He smiled and looked directly into her eyes. His smile widened. She followed suit. The man’s caring nature was contagious. Her heart began to beat faster. It was all she could do, to steady herself while their personal experience was taking place.

“I know.”; He said matter-of-factly. “Would you be uncomfortable if I touched you on the shoulder?”

It was an incredibly unusual request but she felt safe with him. Even relaxed. At that moment she didn’t doubt his motives at all or worry about his intentions. There was trust in his eyes. She consented. Then he reached over and lightly touched her on the shoulder, just as he requested. The moment the skin of his palm touched her upper arm, she felt an unimaginable energy source course through her body. It wasn’t painful or uncomfortable. In fact, it was like the most soothing, loving touch she had ever felt. Her eyes watered up. It was just as pure of a sensation as a mother caressing her newborn child.

The lady openly wept like a baby. It was a spiritual experience that she couldn’t begin to understand but it made her feel alive and at peace with the universe. It was amazing. Then he spoke to her. “I saw your pain from a great distance, and I know it’s source. You were touched inappropriately by your father as a child and the only remedy for such horrible abuse is to be touched with genuine love. You’ve erected a wall around yourself to subconsciously avoid any sort of attention. You’ve sabotaged every relationship you’ve ever had because you convinced yourself that you deserved the abuse. You didn’t. Before others can love you, you must learn to love yourself. I’m freeing you of this pain. Now you can love yourself and be open to accepting life. Goodbye my friend.”

The lady trembled in fear. The tall stranger already knew more about her than she realized about herself. She was finally free. It was like 200 pounds of self-loathing was cast off of her body from a simple touch of a stranger. He smiled at her again and was gone. The lady wiped away her fading tears and continued on her way as a new person, full of life and hope for the first time. The healing had only cost her a moment of trust and a touch from a gentle stranger on an earnest mission.

The tall stranger approached a young man crouched in an alley. It was a dangerous part of town and it wasn’t wise to travel in those places alone or unarmed. The young man in the alley was a lifelong criminal. The alley was his ‘turf’ and he waited for unsuspecting people to make the mistake of walking past him. The tall stranger acknowledged the other man’s presence before the ambush could take place. Instead of running away or avoiding the confrontation, the tall stranger walked directly up to the mugger’s hiding spot.

“Can I speak to you sir?”; He asked. It was so unusual for a potential mark to know what was about to transpire, that he stepped out from behind the dumpster to see what he wanted. It was a curious situation. At first the mugger adopted a defensive pose but the tall man’s lack of concern was genuinely disarming. In only a matter of seconds, both men stood face-to-face in neutral terms. “You grew up without a father figure or decent role models. Your brothers and their friends bullied you many times and pressured you into doing things that you aren’t proud of. You feel as if your life is cast in stone and you have no ability to leave that lifestyle behind but I’m here to tell you, that’s not true. You can be a better man. You can offer your own son a decent role model and pass on the positive affirmations. All you have to do, is embrace me and then walk away from this meaningless life.”

The tall man held out his arms to affect a full body hug. At first the young man in the alley was taken aback. It was the most outrageous thing he’d ever heard. Who was the guy to offer lifestyle advice? His first instinct was to curse the crazy man with fiery blue eyes asking him for a hug. It was bizarre, but the tall man possessed a calming demeanor and offered words of encouragement. It was strangely tempting.

As crazy as it seemed, he finally accepted. The moment the two souls embraced, the young man started shaking. It was the most powerful thing he’d ever felt. The hug was unconditional. It was warm and offered with pure motives. It presented him a chance of redemption and real change. He didn’t want to let go. It didn’t even occur to him that he was hugging a stranger in the alley. At that moment nothing else mattered. The stranger didn’t let go until all of his anger and hardness was gone. The stranger smiled and walked away. Another hurting person was healed.

The tall man continued his journey down the city streets. He touched every single soul he encountered, just as they needed to be. He saw into their eyes and drew out their buried pain and misery. Some he held by hand. Others he put his arm around their shoulder or cradled their head against his chest in intimate support. He knew just how to help each suffering person along his purposeful path. He is a healer with the greatest gift. The gift of unconditional love and the power of loving touch.

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