Jason Lawrence Bell
Search single story

03-10-19 Inner Wars


‘Didn’t I place those glasses on the night stand’. Henry was searching his memory as he walked into the bathroom to brush his teeth. As he looked in the mirror there were his glasses pushed back on the top of his head. ‘I’m glad no one else saw that silly goof’ thought Henry.

Henry was a proud single man who lived alone in his sprawling mansion outside the city. Business had been very good to Henry. He seemed to have a magic touch when he selected investments. But his love life was vacant. Even being rich couldn’t attract a mate that would stay longer than a month. Henry was what many called ‘a control freak’. He needed all things in his life to be in its proper place and to act in a proper manner. Of course, it was Henry who decided what was proper. Extreme order gave Henry great comfort but this also was the cause of his solitude.

Recently, Henry had been having desperate feelings of loneliness and craved companionship. The most consistent person in his life was his home assistant. She was Molly who came on week days to do house hold duties. She would do shopping, cleaning, organizing maintenance crews, anything the house required. She had been employed by Henry for three years. After many attempts to find a home assistant, Molly seemed to instinctively know what was needed.

Henry’s work friends were really work acquaintances who avoided Henry whenever possible. Today was special to Henry, it was his Birthday. He had reservations for one at his favorite restaurant and he took a limousine to treat himself. He had a special table that he always ordered. Henry was just finishing this meal when across the room he could see a crowd moving toward a banquet room. He recognized the people; it was his work staff with their spouses. They were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Henry knew they were all aware it was his birthday but he wasn’t invited.

Henry’s mood dropped and he immediately ordered a drink, a double Whiskey. In short order Henry downed 3 more drinks and left feeling rejected. The limousine driver had to help Henry to his door. Henry went straight to bed and passed out on the bed fully clothed. Some length of time later that night Henry was startled awake by loud talking in his room. Who were these people? Henry squinted to see who the voices were. Henry demanded, ‘Who the hell are you? This is my house. Get out of here!’ One of the voices replied ‘this is as much our house as yours. Watch your mouth, old drunk.’ This alerted Henry and he sat up and looked around the room.

There were three people positioned around the bed. In the chair sat a young boy who looked very afraid. He was shivering and looked like he could cry at any minute. Standing in the corner stood a large man with a stern face. His arms were crossed and he dressed in a military commander outfit. He was the one that spoke. The third person looked like a younger version of Henry. But different. His clothes were informal but comfortable, his face was friendly and approachable and he smiled at Henry.

Henry thought the friendly one would be the best to talked to. So, he directed his questions to him. ‘What is happening? Why are all of you here?’ The friendly one spoke ‘it is time we all surfaced and show you your inner war’. Henry shrugged ‘what inner war, I am fine.’ Henry thought the words but it was the commander who spoke them. The commander walked to the back of the boys chair and continued, ‘everything is in perfect control. The boy is safe and will never be hurt.’

Henry looked at the boy and thought ‘never be hurt, that boy is in obvious fear and pain’. Henry wanted to ask why he was so fearful, but the boy answered first. ‘Daddy don’t hit me, I will be good, I promise, I will always be good. Please don’t hit me’. Memories flooded Henry’s mind. The boy was him. He remembered his vicious authoritarian father who thought love was weakness. And Henry began to sob. So many times, his father shamed him with accusations of weak character and poor judgment. The friendly one tried to move over to the boy to comfort him but the commander blocked his path and ordered the friendly one to stand back, and said firmly, ‘I am his protector. I know what’s best. He is safe with my structure and protection.’

Through Henry’s tears he could see the commander was not a comforter but a wall builder who protected by force. The friendly one looked exasperated and sad that he couldn’t reach the boy. Henry stopped sobbing as he became aware who these people were. They were distinct parts of himself. This drama was so familiar to Henry, but now he saw it with clarity. Henry sat back and studied the group. After long deep thought Henry began to speak.

First, he addressed the commander. ‘Sir I so deeply respect your position as my protector. You work so hard and you’re a very important aspect of my being. But I would like to reevaluate what protection is needed. The boy needs to heal from past abuses. You have amazingly worked to ensure no further abuse has occurred, and now we need to allow healing.’

Henry could see the commander listening attentively. Henry was getting through and continued, ‘we need a healing specialist to help the boy with the healing process.’ Then Henry turned to the friendly one and said ‘I believe you understand what I mean by healing process and you could reach the boy in a way that is needed.’ The friendly one quickly answered, ‘oh yes that would be my pleasure. He is such as innocent, and he needs compassion and caring.’ The commander stated ‘yes a team of specialists to protect and. . .heal the boy.’

The commander stepped aside and allowed the friendly one to move over and hug the boy. Henry immediately felt different inside. It was a warmth and acceptance that were not familiar, but very welcome. Henry began to feel very tired and sleepy but before he closed his eyes, he noticed the commander. He was back in the corner but his body was half the size it was before.

When Henry finally awoke, he felt wonderful. He jumped up and went to the kitchen for his morning coffee. There was Molly with the coffee ready. Henry hadn’t realized how attractive Molly was. And for the first time Henry saw that she was one of the friendly ones. Henry stood there fascinated with Molly. Then a thought entered his mind. ‘As he had found his lost glasses on his head, possibly he had been searching for something that was already there.’ Peace***