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      Down, Out and South


  Summer is the season for lovers. I'm convinced of it.  The long sultry nights, the parties and a casual atmosphere for people.  I was at the end of things. At least that's how I felt. It was a Tuesday morning and I had just lost my job.  I headed out to the community center with a plain house dress on, no money, no hope and no make up.I would have never guess I 'd meet someone I llked that day. I certainly did not like myself or my life.

  I had just started dating someone. Adam was a nice guy but I just wasn't that into him.  So  when I sat  outside with the smokers this short terrific guy with a painter's cap said in a southern drawl,"So I suppose you got yourself a big ole boyfrien?." Normally, I don't lie. But I did. Adam would just have to adjust.

  "No, I don't". It was a relationship started with a bold faced lie and believe me there were many lies to follow.

    We started dating and I found out he had chef training and loved to cook. I loved hearing about the south since I've lived most of my life in northern Minnesota.  I couldn't see any faults in him.  I felt radiant.  But I knew like a summer perennial  that our love would not last.  The painter man was the only man ever to smoke in my bed. "I AINT goin to burn the house down" and I just accepted this answser. 

 Life would have been sunny if he wasn't a terrible drunk and a drifter. Now, I'd like to add a serious disclaimer to this story.  Don't  take a drunk off the street into your home and enable him. It is not a good or safe idea.

     Painter guy lied, drank, threatened and messed up my apartment.  But I loved him so much.  I still do.  Everyday I pray for him. Whatever happened to him I don't know.  I miscarried his child.  "Everyone around me dies", he said.  His parents both died when he was a child. He was raised by the foster care system in North Carolina and his grandma Ruth.  I talked to grandma Ruth on the phone. She spoke like a well raised southern lady. She said,"Throw him out."  I thought that was harsh. 

 Painter guy had hit bottom."Never say my drinking is your fault", he would say.  He could cheer me up too.  He said I put on an act for people. "Look, I lost both parents as a child and I know what sad is.  You're faking it." I turned off my tear duct factory.  He caught on.

        I haven't seen him since 2006.  I miss him and I always will.


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