We have come to believe that love is all things good, wonderful, and dear.
Isn’t it portrayed to us so, in all aspects of media?
That having love is all there is?
All there ever can be?
What you should most aspire to, and seek eagerly and willfully?
The truth is, love isn’t all good, wonderful, and dear.
It can precipitate murder, create depression, and be used against you.
I have some experience with love being used against me.
I was put in a foster home in my earlier years, around age seven.
It was there I learned a uglier face to love.
That in fact, love can be a liability, not a asset.
My twin brother, David and I were both put into the foster home due to the regular beatings by my father and mother.
I still remember the day they came for us.
No child sees this coming.
Children believe what they endure at the hands of their parents, is normal, to be expected.
Everyone goes through it, and one day freedom will come.
It is only later, when freedom is at hand, that we all realize what “normal” is.
When the sheriff pulled up with a social worker, my brother and I did what abused children do everywhere.
We clung to our parents in the hope that if we only but held on hard enough, we could stay.
As you know, this was not the case.
So we arrived, nearly feral children, into a new environment with utter strangers.
Young as we were, we did not know what to expect.
We found out.
The foster home we were placed in was tightly ruled by Rick and Martha, our foster parents.
They took in many children, and ruled with a iron fist.
We were led to believe at first that there were soft gloves on those iron fists.
Soon enough we found out this was not so.
Our first experience with love as a liability came when we were joking around with Rick in the living room.
He was teasing David and myself, and the subject turned to spankings.
Rick was teasing David, promising him a treat if he would ask Rick to spank me.
When David did not cave, he turned to me and proffered the same treat, if in return, he could spank David.
David and I both thought, in our innocence, that he was joking, and played along somewhat.
Until Rick demanded one of us make that choice.
Whichever twin chose not to be spanked would get the treat, and be made to watch the other twin endure the spanking.
I tried to volunteer myself for the spanking, as did my twin.
That was not allowed.
Not part of this game.
Imagine it if you will.
Six years old, faced with a unimaginable choice.
Save yourself, and you were faced with the pain, screaming, and betrayal by your other half, your twin.
If your twin chooses you, you endure the pain, scream, and feel betrayed by the only person you ever truly trusted.
In the end, Rick chose who he thought would be most affected.
Females are reputed to be the more empathic sex, and I believe to some extent, this is true.
He chose for me.
So it was I watched my twin get beaten.
It was small comfort as the blows and cries rang out, that I had not chosen this, that the choice had been taken out of my hands.
After that incident, David and I were separated.
Rick and Martha continued to use our love for one another against us.
Sometimes it would be David had made a mess, therefore I was allowed the privilege of standing in a corner from 7am-7pm.
Sometimes it was me having to choose if David got a meal to eat, or if I did.
At times, skating trips, bowling, and swimming were choices we had to deny ourselves, or our other half.
On one memorable occasion, after having had no food for some time, David gulped down his meager portion of soup.
He then vomited, as was to be expected after a forced fasting period.
It was commanded that I had to eat his vomit, or he had to eat it.
Neither did so.
We were soundly beaten, and limping, put in the corner for a ten hour stint.
One would logically think that we would have complained to the social worker who came to see how things were.
The same social worker who watched as we were ripped away from our parents, without one word of support?
Love cannot save you from hunger.
It cannot save you from beatings.
It cannot save you from the whims of others who are bigger and stronger than you, either.
Eventually, you cave.
There were times, I endured beatings knowing David had chosen me this time.
I did not blame him.
For there were times when I chose to eat knowing he would not.
David and I were eventually reunited, when my parents had completed their counseling and were ready to try again.
Our first conversation was one of apology and thanks.
Apology for the times we failed one another, and thanks for the times we did not.
They say there are some things no man can tear asunder.
I can tell you they are wrong.
It took one man and one woman to tear us asunder.
We were never the same.
We loved one another.
We would go on to fight on behalf of the other many times.
Our battles did not end with the foster home, I’m afraid.
But the trust that had existed.
The total faith.
Faith I can only describe as religious in nature.
He would always be there for me.
I would always be there for him.
That faith ceased to exist the day one ate, knowing the other would go hungry.
Love has conditions.
Love has limits.
Love is weakness.
For every person who describes love as faithful, everlasting, good and pure.
There are people like myself who know love can be used as the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.
My twin brother committed suicide when he was twenty five.
It was his heart he blew out with a shotgun.
It simply couldn’t take anymore.