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Sometimes Lucas had suicidal thoughts. About twice a day, actually. He had them almost as far as he could remember. He was five years old when the first one happened. It was on a road trip. His favorite toy was a miniature of a VW Beetle and her sister tossed it out of the window on the highway. She laughed hysterically while he looked at the car being reduced to a single dot rolling on the tarmac.

            “Deborah, why did you do it?”

            “He was laughing at my shoes, ma!”

            “Lucas, why did you do it?”

            He said nothing, doing his best to keep his eyes dry. Father was listening to a football match on the radio. Mother asked Deborah to give her the shoe box, starting a conversation about fashion as if nothing happened. That VW was the world for him and all he wanted was to cease to exist.

            For the last three decades Lucas kept the habit of having lunch alone on the rooftop of the office. It was a mix of quality and ending-it-all time. He sat with his feet floating over the street fifty storeys below, opened the plastic box heated on the microwave and ate his rice with chicken and vegetables from last diner while facing his demons. Somehow he had the hope of being defeated and finally take the big dive.

            All demons were family, as everyone else’s. Family was a central of abuse and that kept him from trying to build one.

            “Sorry, kiddo. We can’t let them down. I promised grandma you would play at her bingo party.”

            “But I will be travelling with Kelly and her parents that week. This is settled for months.”

            “Kelly’s too skinny for you and her parents are presumptuous bastards,” retorted Father. “You’ll find a lot of starving granddaughters to screw at the bingo. I would be swimming on Claudia’s rack if I were you. Her boobs shiver like pudding each time you blow that trumpet.”

            Now and then, Lucas did some playing with his stomach filled up with rice. He wondered what it would be like to play on a free fall.

            “Take me with you, beetle boy,” demanded mother. “Take me to see your friends. Bring your trumpet and I will sing for them.”

            “I am not taking you, ma. I’m not losing friends anymore. Let me live.”

            “You’re in my house and I’m feeding you, Lucas. Is it too much to ask letting me have some fun with you? Where do you think your talent comes from? You’re not only taking me to the pub, you’re inviting me to the stage. That’s what you’ll do.”

            Let me live, recalled Lucas, playing trumpet with his eyes on the far distant street. His breath failed him. It usually did. He would think of playing better next time and would not throw himself out.

Saturday, October 2nd 2021

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Paradise and hell are in the same place. Quite frequently, paradise is an expectation and hell is the final result. The striking evidence of this is on the dynamics of couple relationships.

Hell takes the form of psychological war. Couples inflict upon each other severe violence right from the start.

The first aggression is the romantic narrative. Though ethic values are fundamental, most dos and do nots are absurd and doomed to failure. The denial of this absurdity and the commitment to fantasies makes aggression kicking in rather soon.

To avoid war, couples must understand without prejudice the basic elements that make them a couple in the first place. These elements are behaviors towards one another they must guaranty at all costs: 1) provide emotional support and safety; 2) provide sex. That’s it. More than this is selfishness.

Number 1) is prone to highly abused interpretations, so it’s best to make this clear: provision of emotional support and safety can never be made at the expense of one’s identity, character, personality, vocation and all other components that are unique to an individual. People are who they are and that must be respected. Demanding change or improvement is extreme violence.

There’s one fundamental rule in all kinds of human relations among adults: each person must do it’s best to become autonomous and independent, that is, to avoid being a burden. Most couples take the provision of emotional support and safety as the enthusiastic offer of services and availability. Worse, they take offense when the companion makes no offers or refuses to provide such services. This is pure manipulation, venom, psychological war with chemical weapons.

A couple is a consensual connection between two distinct individuals who commit to make each other happy. This happiness relies on emotional support and safety and on sex. Unrealistic and selfish demands make happiness impossible. This goal has no room for illusions about rights and duties. It’s up to each individual to evaluate realistically how much satisfaction can enjoy and provide when taking this commitment, instead of blaming the companion for what is missing.