Never good enough

Compensation can be a bitch

Written by BPD Guy

Published Jan. 25, 2019, 10:31 a.m.

I don’t know.

I don’t know what he was like. Nobody else did, either. He was an unreliable narrator, and most of what he told me about himself was a lie. Not all of it, though.

I knew him for ten years, but I don’t guess I’ll ever see him again. So at long last I’ll tell his story. It’s a story of greatness, or maybe illusion. It’s about a cursed man struggling against his fate. You could say it’s about a kind of beauty - a flame that lit the damned.

Maybe not, though. Maybe it’s a common tale of villainy and deceit. It could be a tribute. Could be an excoriation. Could be a lot of things.

During the years I knew him, KD was, himself, a lot of things.

We were colleagues. In our eight-person medical group, he was the director and I was the newest hire, just out of residency.

At the hospital, he was a star. Among the hundreds of doctors and countless other employees who roamed the halls, he was maybe the most known and one of the best liked. He was good-looking in an average, slightly rumpled way. He was a near-brilliant doctor, and that was widely acknowledged, but it’s not the reason people loved him.

He was very confident, very funny, zinging one-liners in all directions. When he spoke at a noisy meeting or told a story in a crowded room, other voices would drop away. When he walked into the nurses’ station with his lopsided grin, the nurses would light up with a kind of electrified eagerness. He resembled an overgrown frat boy - gregarious to the point of obnoxiousness and beyond. In fact, he had been his fraternity’s president in college. When he mentioned this in passing at some point, I thought, well of course you were.

Other men all liked him in a back-slapping, admiring way. He was Kentucky-bred, and in his free time he did what lots of men around here do: fishing trips, hunting trips, heading down to the cabin, taking the boat out on the lake. Sometimes he went fishing and hunting with other doctors, and sometimes with other friends or with his brothers - who he loved, and who he claimed were far smarter and more successful than he was. He also played darts like a champ. He drank bourbon when he wasn’t drinking beer. He was a man’s man. A regular guy. The idealized form of the regular guy, in fact, if that isn’t an oxymoron.

His jokes crossed lines of good taste, but he got away with it because he was KD. He was quick and witty, good at twisting innocent comments into double entendres about sex. Sex was a big topic with him. One day, introducing me to a gynecologist friend in the doctors’ lounge, he turned back to the man and said, “You know, I could never do what you guys do. It’s like working at a bakery when you’re diabetic and can’t eat the merchandise. All day long, ‘look at that pie that I better not taste’. I wouldn’t last ten minutes.” His boyish laugh rang out. Everyone in earshot laughed along with him. People didn’t get offended. The whole world was a joke to him, and he made everyone see the humor in things.

But it was among women that he shone the brightest. And of course a hospital is chock-full of women. When KD entered the nursing station, all the women smoothed their hair and turned a little bit in his direction - like a whole garden of flowers all angling toward the sun. “Hey, Christie!” he’d call, or Kelli or Amira or Steph, and whoever it was, they’d be at his elbow in an instant smiling with pleasure. He’d be talking about some patient with pneumonia or agitated delirium, and he’d be saying very smart things - but alongside the professional talk there was also a schoolboy charm, there was his flashing ragged grin, his joke, her laughter, his hand grazing her shoulder. Wow, you look great today. He passed out compliments and attention like party favors. He knew everyone’s name. He liked everyone. And everyone loved him.

Except me.

I couldn’t stand him.

I looked at him and saw what I used to see in plenty of frat boys: a king who enjoyed having fawning admirers. Who told jokes to make sure everyone clapped for him. I saw also how the nurses fell in line to adore him. He flirted with them for fun, but they liked him back for real. And he encouraged that. He couldn’t get enough of female admiration. Meanwhile he was married - to a beautiful ex-nurse, of course - but he wanted to be fluttered over and adored at every moment and by every woman. And all the silly women obliged - like concubines, I thought, primping and fluttering at the approach of the sultan.

Gradually I realized that maybe he did more than just flirt. There were rumors about affairs. One day his beautiful blond wife came to the hospital in a white rage - her stiletto heels striking flames against the floor with every stride, the way I heard it - demanding to see him, demanding to know who was the slut who’d been calling their home. This became the talk of the hospital, of course. And all the nurses took KD’s side when they told the story. Wow, what a jealous bitch that woman is. So controlling, so nuts. Poor KD!

That’s what made me angrier than anything. Plenty of the nurses had been through bad marriages and cheating boyfriends. But they had no criticism for KD. They had no problem pouring their scorn on another woman, a woman just like them, who probably had good reason to be furious. And down in my black and bitter heart I was thinking that if there were any justice in this world, he would get his comeuppance someday.

And then it happened. I came in one day to the news that he was gone. Fired. No warning, no goodbyes.

Apparently, he’d been under investigation by the state medical board for months. He had kept it all a secret. There had been a woman, a former patient, who had recently stepped forward to make claims about something he’d done to her years before. (They’d been having an ongoing affair since then. She had reported him only after the affair had finally turned ugly - a hell-hath-no-fury outcome that he must have dreaded all along.). The Board website spelled out the woman’s allegations and KD’s eventual confession in tabloid detail, as well as their judgment: license revoked.

He sent out a final email to all of us in the group. I read it a dozen times, because it tore at me. I am ashamed beyond words, it said. I deserve everything that’s happened to me. It ended with, I have never worked with finer people than you.

This sounded nothing like KD.

In the wake of his downfall, rumors were confirmed. He became the topic of open conversation; in fact he was pretty much all anyone talked about for weeks. It transpired that he’d had affairs with multiple women around the hospital. Many of his paramours were desperately in love with him. He had also had countless one-time flings with women. “Remember LaShonda who used to work nights on 5A?” one of the older nurses told me. “He took her into the Med Room one night. Bent her over the sink, did her right there, standing up. Black girls, white girls, even the ones you could catch a disease from just looking at. He did everyone.”

His wife threw him out. He was said to be a broken man, living with his parents, on the edge of suicide. I thought of him a lot, and the dark drama of his story gripped me strangely. I sent him a couple emails but he never answered.

I ran into him at the grocery store one day and was shocked by his haggard appearance. We made awkward small talk. He was buying nothing but a huge bag of cat food. “Hey, that’s not for you, is it?” I blurted out - one of those jokes that sounds edgily funny in your head and completely unforgivable out loud. Oh god, did I actually just say that? He smiled weakly, as if I hadn’t just been a complete asshole, or as if he had no right to expect better. He explained that he was picking it up for his mother.

That was the last time I saw him. The rumor later went around that he was now working at a home improvement store - someone had seen him there, restocking the shelves. I thought about him a lot. I am ashamed beyond words. And then some time passed, and I stopped thinking about him at all.

Chapter Two

And then, shockingly and out of the blue, he reappeared among us. Two years had passed. He had been reinstated by the Board. He had approached our current medical director to ask if we would take him back. I thought that was crazy. His name would damage our reputation, I maintained, and he might not fit in or be much accepted at the hospital now that he was drenched in scandal. We put the question to a vote. As it turned out, the only person who voted no was me.

He came back to us under a conditional license. The state medical board had imposed strict and humiliating terms. He was not allowed to be alone with female patients, which meant he had to hire a chaperone who would go into patients’ rooms with him. Also mandated were ongoing therapy sessions and attendance at twelve-step meetings. And of course, if there was any questionable behavior, the Board would not be forgiving.

I was sort of fascinated to meet the new man. I am ashamed beyond words, he had written. I thought of him with that bag of cat food and three-day stubble. I thought of him stocking shelves in aisle fifteen. I thought of how he must have pleaded before the Board for a second chance, while they rubbed his nose in what he’d done. How he had to sit in a circle with other men and say “I’m KD and I have a sex addiction.” And now, finally, he’d be walking back into our hospital facing everyone who knew of his disgrace. Like Jean Valjean, I thought, paroled but forced to show the damning yellow ticket-of-leave wherever he went.

I thought about these things. And about a week after his return, I called him up, and asked if he’d have lunch with me. He hesitated a bit, and said yes.

We got burgers at a local joint. I didn’t know what we were going to talk about. But he went straight to the elephant in the room. He had a new understanding of himself, he said. He’d been figuring things out in therapy. It amazed me, the depths that lurked inside the man I’d despised as a hollow lothario.

“I’m not really a sex addict,” he told me. “I’m a relationship addict. I’ve been depressed all my life, going back to high school - always knew I was no good. I was the loser of the family. My big brothers, they were the smart ones. But I could get women to like me, and that’s the one thing that ever made me feel okay about myself. I’d flirt, and they’d laugh and flirt back. And we’d get together - and for just an instant I’d be like ‘Okay, now I’m all right for a little while.’.

“But I’m done with all that.” He gave a brittle chuckle and looked away out the window. “Celibacy is my thing these days. Women, they’re like Kryptonite; I keep my distance. Now I just go to work, I go home, I go to my therapist. I help out at Clay’s football practice and drive my daughters around. That’s about it. I’m just a dad, mostly, and all I want is to be a good father to the kids.”

We ended up talking about other stuff, too. We both had stories about falling out of boats into freezing rivers that had come close to drowning us - him on a fishing trip in Idaho, me flipping a single scull on the frigid Scioto. He asked me about myself, and he was a great listener - different from most guys. He kept his eyes fixed on me whenever I spoke. He had been so open earlier that I felt like I could tell him anything. As we were walking out to our cars I said, “You know, I used to think you were kind of an ass.”

“Yeah, I could tell,” he grinned. “But I liked that about you. A woman with spirit.”

I thought of him after that lunch. It was his openness and his woundedness that hooked me. It was also the lure of his strange and complete transformation: the arrogant hero brought low, seeking atonement. This reminded me of some noble myth I couldn’t put my finger on: Achilles after he got Patroclus whacked, or Samson in defeat. Hercules doing penance by serving Queen Omphale, who had him sit at her feet and hold her knitting to learn humility.

At work, KD was now a quiet man - uncertain, or chastened by his downfall. He would turn to his chaperone meekly, asking her “Ready?” before entering the next patient’s room. (I wondered how the patients - octogenarians, mostly - would react if they were told the real reason she was present. And this is Anna. She’s here to make sure I don’t seduce you.). He was still pleasant and friendly to everyone. But he no longer held court at the nursing station or in the doctors’ lounge. He listened a lot and talked little.

I thought of him. A woman with spirit, he had called me.

It’s possible I changed my jogging route around that time. My new route took me down his street and past his house. It’s also possible that around that time, I started checking the work schedule to see when KD and I would have shifts together. Maybe I chose my clothes more carefully on those days. Maybe I even wore makeup and put on my best earrings. Those things may have happened. But if they did, I assure you they were purely coincidental.

And maybe when I came around a corner and saw him, in that gray t-shirt under that white coat, my heart beat too fast, and I was overly happy and young-feeling - sort of like an idiot schoolgirl. But I kept that to myself.

As weeks went by, he became more relaxed at work - more chatty and jokey like the old KD. I had assumed he’d get a cold shoulder from a lot of people, or that some colleagues would drop sly references to his past just for the enjoyment of making him do a little extra penance. But it wasn’t like that. A few doctors welcomed him back with wary politeness, but most were warm and some showed outright boisterous affection. “KD! Missed you, man. Welcome back! You been hunting yet this season?”

His old rakish grin returned and so did a bit of his old flirtiness. One day I heard him teasing Anna about her job. “Keep an eye on me in Room 253. She’s pretty cute when she remembers her dentures - and you know what a sexual predator I am.” Anna laughed, and everyone at the nurses’ station sighed with relief. His crime could now be dismissed as a bygone faux pas. He was just KD again, everyone’s lovable rogue. Poor KD, who had suffered and paid for his sins.

One night, a month or so after his return, I entered the doctors’ lounge for a coffee. It was late and the room lights were low, the place dim despite the glow of the computers. KD was at one of those computers. No one else was there. We talked a little medicine. It felt relaxed and informal - maybe because of the low lighting, how dark the sky was beyond the windows, and the way the lounge at that hour cradled a pocket of peace and quiet that made it stand apart from the clamor of the hospital. “So how are things lately?” I asked. “You still celibate these days?”

“As a monk.” And then, cocking his head, he added, “But, you know, I think about you sometimes.”

Just like that.

I rolled my eyes. “Uh huh. Sometimes. Like when?”

“Like now.” There was a half-smile, bashful. “So. What do you think? You wanna make out a little?”

I stood transfixed. I am not very confident with men - and while I was pretty sure he was saying what I wanted him to be saying, it was possible he actually meant something else - something ironic or self-deprecating. Something more like his drawl to Anna that day: You know what a sexual predator I am. He might be making fun of himself. Or worse, of me.

“Let’s do it,” he said. Eager now, almost breathless, like a kid proposing a venture we both knew our parents wouldn’t approve of. “Let’s make out.” It seemed like such a funny way to put it, like we were fifteen. And then he crossed the room to me.

And so, you know. Things happened.

After that, I understood the hold he used to have on all those other women. Now that I’d been drawn into his magnetic field, I felt it too. It wasn’t that the sex was some kind of ethereal mind-blowing experience. It was just him. The way he made me feel like a desired woman in the arms of someone who loved me.

Chapter Three

I wasn’t an idiot. He was a man who played games with women. He had once been famous for the games he played. And I - I was an average type. His wife had been beautiful. I supposed his various conquests had been mostly beautiful. I was all right in looks, and excellent in brains - and I wasn’t dumb enough to think he actually liked me in a way that mattered.

But the knowing of this didn’t stop my heart from pounding whenever he turned his come-hither charms in my direction. The heart is paced by the sino-atrial node, innervated by the vagus nerve and informed by a blushing tide of hormones. Sixty-five million years of mammalian evolution, and now all it took was a whispered word or the sight of a crooked smile to throw my whole system into chaos.

The only way I can explain it is, he was not like the rest of us. He wasn’t ordinary. I had met thousands of people in my life, dated a hundred guys before him. Even cared about a few of them. Even been married for ten years. And all those guys had their own virtues and quirks, but they were still men of flesh and blood. Not him. He was made of stuff that shimmered. He was larger than life with a gift for making everyone happy, putting a sparkle on ordinary things. And when he looked at me, when he touched me - me, of all people! - I was like Cinderella at the ball. He made me feel like I was the one with the shimmer that had drawn him. He made me brim over with that young-crush excitement I hadn’t felt since my acned years. I had completely forgotten how exciting life used to be, but now my crusted layers had moulted off, and in my delicate new skin, all my tender nerve endings sang at the thought of him.

Of course, since I was not an idiot, I didn’t let him know I felt these things. I kept up a careful front. We eschewed romance, using our call room for trysts, and never dating or even calling each other outside of work. He showed his affection in public, in front of anyone - complimenting me, and resting his hand on my back when we ate together in the lounge, and lighting up happily when we passed in the halls, like the sight of me delighted him.. But wasn’t that how he’d treated plenty of women before me? I played cold everywhere outside the call room. I refused to even acknowledge the shimmering hand on my back, and refused to take his compliments. He’d say, wow, that’s some dress. You look really great today. And I’d say brusquely, I look great every day.

Meanwhile I’d be concealing the malfunction in my sino-atrial node.

He texted me at two or three a.m. sometimes. I loved that. But it wasn’t to say, “I miss you.” It was just banter. He was a witty texter. He had a knack for bending every conversation around to the subject of his penis. The dick that launched a thousand sexts, I replied, trying to sound amused and unimpressed.

The whole time, I could see the danger I was in. I hadn’t yet heard any rumors that he was involved with anyone else, but it seemed painfully obvious (emphasis on the painfully) that, now that his vow of celibacy was broken, he was likely to go back to old habits. Soon he might be creeping around other call rooms and sexting other women on the nights he wasn’t creeping and sexting with me. And here I was, besotted like any fool, with just the thinnest veneer of self-respect keeping me from showing it.

Something else was bothering me. I didn’t like the way he had changed - or rather, reverted to type. There was no longer any sign of that broken and humbled hero I had been drawn to. Quite unlike Hercules - who had sought atonement at the feet of Queen Omphale for three full years - KD was pretty much back to his old brash ways after just three months. Once again, he was confident and adored by all and basking on center stage. The dark raw pain he had shown me that day over burgers - that supposedly had afflicted him since his teens - had healed up instantly in the glow of his returned popularity.

What he’d said that day had stirred me. He had shown me the cleft between his public persona and his secret anguish. He had made me suspect - dimly - that I too had a welded-on iron mask of sorts that covered wounds and fears. I was not so different from him. And I wanted to change like he had changed - to figure myself out and escape the mask, and start living fearlessly with my true self (whatever that was) unhidden. I had hoped he could show me how.

But obviously, the real KD was this one: the witty happy fraternity boy who everybody loved. Now that his life was back on track, there was no shred of angst or anguish in him.

I realized also that his hair-shirt performance had only been what all politicians and televangelists do when caught pants-down with their secretaries. I have sinned! I struggle with the devil within me! I’m an addict! I had a painful childhood! He’d told himself a sad-sack fiction about having inner demons, and that let him sidestep all genuine remorse.

And now he had come back from his lurid scandal, something no normal doctor could have survived, and had slickly become once more the golden boy getting handed a free pass.

I had always hated that golden-boy shit.

(But maybe, looking back, I was just playing ‘sour grapes.’ Because if I had gotten proof that he really cared about me - if he had proven it in a way that overcame my self-protective skepticism - I would have hurled my heart down at his feet.).

Chapter Four

So I’m the one who ended it. Maybe I was smart. Maybe I was just too chickenshit to take even the smallest risk. It killed me to do it, because I knew I was slamming his door in my own face. It killed me, but only on the inside where he couldn’t see.

I had always played it cool and unimpressed in the face of his open affection, but now I froze him out completely. He must have wondered why I suddenly refused to meet him in the call room. But even though he looked crestfallen, I knew he wasn’t going to ask what had changed, and I wasn’t going to explain. I had always been sure I was the smitten one and he was the cold manipulator - but at the last moment, as I brought my happiness crashing down on my own head, I wondered if I was wrong. It occurred to me that an outside observer judging our relationship - observing his persistent compliments and smiles in the face of my chilly disdain - might see things exactly the opposite.

I ended it, and was stuck with my decision.

But I still checked the schedule for his name. I still angled to run into him in the halls, and catch his eye, and say something witty in the hope he’d say something sexy. So nothing had changed. I was still pining and crazy about him. Only now, I didn’t have him. Because I had wrecked everything. Because I was an idiot. It always came back to that.

Around the same time, I got a better job offer at the competing hospital, so I took it, which meant KD and I didn’t see each other anymore. But he still texted me sometimes in the night. And I was still thrilled like a schoolgirl every time he did. It was his usual sexy banter (Hard shift at the hosp last night. But you remember how very hard it gets) and I would volley back in kind.

There was a difference from before, though. In my texts I would match his flirty tone, but he didn’t stick with flirtation. He kept upping the ante. His follow-up texts would push into wish I were fucking u territory. If I tolerated that, he would try for more. Can I send u a pic of it? The X-rated lines were strangely impersonal, like he’d suddenly forgotten who I was. I’d brush him off in some light way (lol thx but already seen it) and wonder: was he going to text another woman now and try the same words on her? I wondered if maybe he did this every night, if maybe he had a list of phone numbers that he went through in rotation. Maybe he texted me not because I was me, but because my name had come around again to the top of the list.

A friend of mine - a nurse at another hospital - told me something odd. She was active on and had just had a date with a new guy. It was KD. They had figured out they both knew me. “And he acted like - like you guys had been involved, but you’d broken his heart. He was like, ‘Oh, yeah, Angeli. She was awesome. But she dropped me hard. She was just too good for a guy like me.’ “

I snorted. My pride kicked in, and I lifted my chin. “He’s playing games, doing some sad-puppy-dog act to get you interested. We weren’t involved, not the way you’re thinking. He didn’t care that I dropped him, and I most certainly didn’t break his heart.” I wasn’t about to admit how much I wanted his lies to be true.

I was mystified, though, by what she’d told me. What was KD doing on He was the last guy in the world to need a dating service. He had so many admirers at the hospital.

I still missed him. It had been magic and I had chosen the mundane and safe instead. Why had I done that? And sometimes I still went running in his neighborhood, and wished he would look out his window at the right moment and see me, and remember how I’d been amazing and too good for him. But of course he was probably not home. He helped coach his son’s football team, and he had his friends and his fishing trips and his golden-as-ever life. And he was dating. He was probably involved with someone new by now. probably someone as beautiful as his ex-wife. And he would eventually marry her, and keep right on flirting with people.

But actually, that didn’t happen.

What happened is that, about a week after one of his late-night texts (hey r u there?) - which I had slept through - I got a call at around ten in the morning from a nurse friend at my old hospital.

“Listen, I thought you should know. Something is going on over here. KD didn’t come to work today, And you know, we thought that wasn’t like him. So after a while, people got worried, and finally someone went over to his house to check on him. He’s dead, Ange. Shot himself in the head.”

In the wake of his death, secrets revealed themselves. He had again been sleeping with countless women in the hospital. Several were in love with him and believed he loved them back. One recent paramour was a married woman who eventually had confessed to her husband. The husband had been stalking KD. The man had friends in law enforcement, and these friends had paid an unofficial visit to KD’s home - to instruct him a little, man-to-man. And a week before his death, he had gone out to the hospital parking lot late one evening, and found his car with all its tires slashed.

His parents had been keeping his guns locked up in their house for a while. He had asked them to, because he didn’t trust himself with them. But after the tire-slashing, he asked his father to give him a gun back for protection.

I guess the gun started talking to him. Quietly, maybe, like an old friend. It must have seen him stumbling home exhausted from all those bedrooms and call-rooms and motel rooms. And it must have said with empathy, Oh come on now, KD. Don’t you know the next move? And I imagine KD and the gun spent some time conversing, just the two of them, with the kids asleep down the hall. And it was only a few days before they reached agreement.

Some time later, I was talking with one of his best friends. They had known each other since college. “He told me way back when, back in school, that he thought he’d be dead before he was forty. That he’d have killed himself by then. It’s just how he was, he said - there was something black in his mind that he could never rise free of.”

At the funeral, I sobbed through the whole service. I couldn’t seem to help it. You wouldn’t believe how many people were there. Everyone loved KD.

A woman doctor from our old medical group called me. We were all like survivors of a natural disaster during those first weeks, trying to make sense of things.

She hadn’t slept with him, she revealed, but he had tried and tried for it, flirting and teasing her, working to charm her. She was married. “I have never cheated on my husband,” she said. “But, my god, I wanted to. Every day, I wanted to. Not sleeping with KD was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

That struck me as the kind of tribute he would have loved.

Except that when I thought it over, I thought the opposite. That if he could hear her, he would put the gun back under his chin and keep pulling the trigger, bang! bang! bang! - smashing away every last piece of his face.

He’s been dead a few years now. Recently I had lunch with one of the old crowd - our former practice manager. She had been with the group since KD started it, had known him longer than anyone. She was twenty-five years older than him, a plain and kind and solid woman; the maternal type.

We talked about other things at first, of course. But the conversation drifted to him. Probably he was the unspoken reason we had stayed in touch through the years: we both needed someone else who would keep talking about him. We were like dogs nosing at his corpse and then running in circles, then going back to him, trying to figure out what had gone wrong.

I hadn’t known it when he was alive, but she and KD had been close. He used her as a confessor . He’d tell her some of his secrets, things he felt bad about or things he’d done that were coming around to haunt him. She would shake her head and scold him, dotingly. “He was like a son to me,” she said. “He’d tell me stories of the messes he was getting himself into, and I’d try to talk some sense into him. But that was KD. He made you love him even while he made you want to kill him. He couldn’t change.”

“He did, though,” I reminded her. “He did change. After he lost his license, when he was so devastated. He worked really hard to be a different man.” I go to work, I go home, I see my therapist, I just want to be a good father. “When he first came back to the hospital he was still in his celibate phase, and trying so hard. But he just couldn’t keep himself from going back to the quick fix. The hospital did it to him, maybe. Old patterns.”

This seemed the saddest thing to me - that he had been a changed man. He had remade himself from the ground up with the hope of doing right by everyone. But despite his saintly fervency and noble intentions, he had failed. Had destroyed homes and families, used and betrayed every woman he got near, destroyed his wife, left his kids a final memory of Dad with his head blown off, screwed over his colleagues, screwed with his patients. We were ordinary people, the rest of us - people cut from plain white paper, living in paper homes and a paper hospital. And here was KD, cursed to live among us with his hands of fire, like a disturbed younger brother to King Midas. He lit up everyone close to him so we were edged in his flame, and it was wonderful and beautiful - but in the end, he just couldn’t help burning down every damn thing he touched.

The old practice manager smiled. She’s nearing eighty. KD would be 52 or so if he were alive.

She said, “You know, he used to come to the office and talk to me. Even during those years when he didn’t have a license, he’d drop in and put his head down in his hands and tell me stories. And Angeli, I don’t know what kind of stories he was telling you - because he sure had lots of different ones for different occasions - but he had women going the whole time. There was never any ‘celibate phase’.”

That was KD.

To me he was a flaming passion that still burns hot in memory. And to him I guess I was just Girl #649. So you can see why I feel like an idiot.

When I think about what we each gave the other and what we each got, it makes me sad. I got him, and he was strange and magical and tormented and his illusions made me happy, and I’m glad to feel still scorched and mystified by him all these years later. Me, I’ve lived an ordinary life. If it weren’t for him, I’d have never seen the possibility of what an un-ordinary one could be.

That’s what I got from him. But what he got from me was one more accessible and forgettable naked body that didn’t change anything, and edged him one fraction closer to despair.

KD, man.

He was the most promiscuous man I’ve ever known.

I’m pretty sure I loved him.

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