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I know a man, Thomas who married a woman named Vivian. Since he got married, he is no longer the same. Thomas no longer smiles or laughs as much anymore and has become cynical and withdrawn. Compelled, I asked him once why he lives this way and his reply was “I’ve made my bed”.

I know Vivian, but not as well as I do Thomas. She’s lovely and seems pleasant enough which makes me wonder why marriage to her, has made Thomas become a shadow of his former self while she seems to be normal as ever.

Another man Peter, loves and adores his wife Betty and would move mountains to make her smile. Betty in return loves him too and they seem happy together and are the envy of many, married and single. The usual talk about them is, “Oh…have you seen Peter and Betty? Or why can’t you just be like Peter and Betty?

Larry, another man I know, is always happy and strives to make those around him just as happy. Always the first to say hello, even to strangers and he never has a negative word to say about anything or anyone. He has searched for love for many years, but love always eluded him, that is until last year. A chance meeting on the dairy isle of Kroger brought him in contact with Vivian.

Larry and Vivian saw each other and their eyes locked. Larry smiled and said hello and Vivian replied, “How are you?” Over the last year, they met every other day in the same Kroger store, at the coffee shop, had coffee and muffins while they asked how each others day has been.

Larry is in love and makes no apologies for it, he tells Vivian and she says she feels the same. The only problem is that Vivian is married to Thomas, the one marriage changed. “My husband has changed, I used to love him, actually I still do. But things have shifted so much I hardly know him anymore.”

Larry encouraged her to talk to Thomas, find out what’s eating him, “You never know what might come out of it.”

Vivian agreed and did to talk to Thomas that same night when she got home. Thomas was reluctant at first, but after much pleading and promises not to blame or judge him, he confessed that he was in love with another. “I love you still but I no longer want this life with you…it’s like living with my sister and I feel like I’m in hell playing husband and wife with you.”

Vivian laughed and threw her arms around Thomas in a big hug. “That’s all? Why the hell didn’t you say something?”

“You seemed so happy I didn’t want to break your heart,” was Thomas’ reply.

“So let’s get a divorce my dear, I too love another and want to spend my life with him.” Vivian responded cheerfully.

Now, Peter and Betty, the ones everyone wants to be like, are living in hell behind closed doors. Betty could be in the room crying, while Peter is on the phone laughing. A sinister silence usually engulfed their home, even though the muffled pain of Betty’s sorrow could be heard in sniffles and Peter’s laughter when listened to close enough, you would realize is mirthless and hollow. They have been this way for years because Betty could not conceive. Every medical effort had exhausted their savings and Betty still would not quit.

Peter in the past told her it was okay, “we’ll adopt my love. All we need is a baby to love.” Betty did not want this, she wanted her own baby, which became her obsession and gradually became the monster that devoured their union.

The phone became Peter’s companion; talking to anyone about anything was better, because Betty would rather lock herself in the room and cry, than talk with him.

One day while out in the park by his work place, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which was pretty much all he could afford to bring from home on the account of being broke and all. Available were two benches, an empty one and another occupied by a man. Starved of conversation and always on the prowl for one, Peter chose the occupied bench.

Hello’s were exchanged and soon talk ensued and boy did he talk. The man was thinking, who is this strange guy that won’t shut up! Still, out of politeness, he smiled and listened. They finally said goodbyes after introductions were made.

The man was Thomas. This was how it came to be, that Peter and Thomas became very good friends. Through the course of their friendship, Peter discovered that Thomas his new park bench friend was indeed in love; not with any other, but with life and himself. Routine and lack of vigor had slowly sapped life away while married to Vivian and he only wanted freedom to live as he chose. Peter was amazed because he was exactly like Thomas.

Peter told Thomas about Betty’s desire to have children. As fate would have it, Thomas is an expert in the field of In vitro fertilization. He offered to help them. Two years after their friendship bloomed, Betty became pregnant and to their joy and surprise, delivered twins; two beautiful baby boys. She named them after Thomas who had become happier after his divorce from Vivian. One baby got his first name Thomas, while the other was given his second name Samson.

Peter no longer needed his phone for companionship; it was no longer an escape. Betty became happier realizing her dream of being a mom, even though Peter divorced her shortly after having the twins. Becoming a mother was all Betty ever wanted and Peter was happy to have helped her achieve her dreams and also assist along the way with raising the children.

Peter moved in and shared a house with Thomas, and their friendship blossomed well into their eighties. Theirs was a wonderful and unique friendship which endured many a discrimination and threats simply because they were two men sharing a house.

Maintaining their dignity and not the type of men to break their resolve; they never once attempted to explain, deny or confirm peoples allegations or misconceptions. They simply maintained that ignorance was unacceptable and that their chosen lifestyle whatever people chose to call it, deserved to be respected. They were not gay or lovers.

They were happy being friends and living together as friends, neither of them having any romantic involvement with anyone else. They had a collage of friends that would make most people envious; straight, gay, transvestite, transsexuals and otherwise.

These two men were unique individuals who seemed to bring out the best in anyone they came in contact with. They were simply human beings who chose a life of celibacy and stood by their beliefs.

Together they brought so much happiness into many lives and those who knew them often have this amazing glow on their faces when they talk about them.

The mess we find ourselves in most times happens because often we do not open our mouths and talk. When fate pushed lives together, and encouragement fostered, courage gave voices, lives changed and people grew and evolved.

So let’s talk some more folks…it’s good to talk.

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