Paris Times (N° 9) Crazy “O” in Provence (a story of fiction) by Matthew Carlson

“O” was short for Oliver, after the tree. But in french the sound “O” is also “eau” (water) , so a play of words too. O loved visual things, that’s why he had finally settled on graphic design after art school. It was also because it was the only thing he understood. It was a way to live out his emotions, because otherwise there wouldn’t be any expression of them.

Hard times had fallen on O, but he had no one to blame but himself. He had planted the seed of miscontent and made it his M.O. : his way of dealing with everything around him. It had to be conflictual. It was all that he knew. Or conflict with no words at all. The mask. He had learned that from his alcoholic Dad and evil Mother Jie-Jie. She had accidently killed her baby boy fetus just before getting pregnant with O. How could she have known that that giant vibrator would damage her unborn kid? True, she didn’t want to have it, the first one already had been too big! And then before she knew what happened, she got pregnant again. She tried to will it away but it was of no use. O was born during the summer and she felt stuck, sticky and hated being a Mom again.

O had made considerable progress the last few years living with Gelledge. They had bought a house together in a small village in Provence and though the inheritance that was promised from Gelledge’s family never arrived, they did the best they could with what they had. At least the inheritance from O’s deceased Dad had come through. Gelledge had pushed for O to invest together as the money was being spent without any consideration. O didn’t like to count his money, only spend it.They had named the place, Le Pin Pasteque (the watermelon pine tree) after a certain time and were rather good at organizing parties in their countryside ruin of a house. Gelledge had bought a wooden chalet and they put it up together. When O had had the first of his many Borderline Personality attacks, Gelledge had thrown himself into rennovating, adding on two large rooms in wood and getting tendinitus all over his body. He paid for it with over three years of physical therapy. O didn’t seem to notice.

O stood by most of the time, saying nothing and doing almost nothing. He was able to do gardening, since it fit into his conception of visual pleasure and though it would never be Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s beautiful garden, it was okay on some level. The rest of the house, he could do little. There wasn’t enough money, so why even try? Though he did get persuaded to do the kitchen counter with a sink in it. He even had a little fun doing it. But their arguments between the gay couple were often and there never seemed to be any solution. O had absolutely no idea of what a compromise was, being Borderline well, it could only be a black or white answer.

Of course through the early years, Gelledge had no idea he was dealing with someone suffering from BPD (boderline personality disorder) and questioned himself numerously over the years to make sure it wasn’t HIM that was crazy. Upon seeing on Google the profile of someone with BPD, he too a huge sigh of relief. His lover was written all over those pages!

When O had left their home after too much water under the bridge, he said he was going to stay with his Mother. Gelledge never knew if this was the truth as O always lied. Once even during one of his hospitalizations when Gelledge visited, one of his “tricks” was there. Surprise! The guy apparently came regularly to cut O’s hair. That of course was a final straw, but Gelledge was an accepting person and also considered O’s emotional state. He really believed that O could turn himself around and become someone better. And too, O had taken care of him with his HIV woes.

Fast forward into late 2014, O had completely lost it. One week before Gelledge was to leave for a summer job in England, his back gave out suddenly. Strange the timing…The day after Gelledge had left him the dogs for a few days so that they could re-acquaint themselves with him. They hadn’t had any contact for a couple of months.

Laying in the hospital, only morphine could calm the pain. And it felt great. Jie-Jie of course was there, she would take care of him….and the dogs. She was a parasite in life. She always longed for what she didn’t have and with that, would do her best to get what others’ had, no matter the cost. Her son O was born too soon after the accident and besides she never really wanted kids. It was just something you had to do back then. She would have much preferred to be with a woman, her husband wasn’t what she had wanted. But it became something practical.

She had never cared for her son’s lover. Something about him grated on her nerves. She could never figure out what it was, but she knew he had something that she didn’t. So holding on to Fipus and Freedom seemed to be a good choice, though she had said when offered a Jack Russel years before that she preferred French Bulldogs. When they rushed O into the hospital, she didn’t bother to telephone Gelledge though their relationship had been on it’s eleventh year. She didn’t feel like it.

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