Author: pyrzm
see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Broken Warriors + Chapter 93
Late Transcript #1:TB-W

Transcript entry by: Dr. Thomas R. Batoosingh

Outpatient Services

Winner Memorial Veterans Hospital

L-2 ColonyNames censored for confidentiality.

Subject: T B-W.

Notes for Psychiatric Session #1

12/20/198

Subject has insisted on meeting in person, rather than by vid phone. My sense is that he means for this to be both our first and last session. Having known him through my association with DM and HY, I am still amazed that he would agree to therapy at all and my expectations for this session are low. In earlier encounters my impressions of T have been of someone very damaged by life, who has overcome great pain by sheer force of will. Unmistakable PTS, and yet the life bond he has established with his partner, the friendships he has maintained, the support he has lent to them, especially DM, and now, the creative endeavor he has masterminded force me to withhold all prejudgment of this complex young man.

Subject is punctual. Strong grip and rough palm noted when we shake hands, trademarks of his occupation. No signs of nail biting. Dressed casually, with touches of what I think of as dark artistic flair, sexual overtones: the trademark tight black pants-jeans today rather than leather he often favors--, dark blue silk shirt, long black leather coat, black leather western style boots with death's head's moths tooled into the leather. He wears a silver choker that looks like barbed wire and numerous bracelets made of black leather thongs and skull shaped beads. The overall effect is dark, but tasteful. Nothing about him suggests weakness or victim hood, nor does it exude any overt need to cause pain to others. "If I feel pain," this look seems to say, "it is because I choose it."

Chooses armchair facing the door, rather than couch, as is common with combat veterans. Initially sits at ease, long legs loosely crossed at the ankle in front of him, arms resting on the arms of the chair. He has very attractive hands, long fingers. Wears wedding ring on left hand. Simple, very masculine design. His own design, he informs me when he notices me looking at it. I have seen his show, and seen him often in the news. It will be interesting, to discover how much of this artistic soul that manifests so well visually reflects his true deeper nature.

We sit like this for a moment, sizing each other up. He is clearly waiting for me to speak first. My opinion shifts. The stillness and ease with which he sits, the steady way he holds my gaze, the dispassionate expression; this is dominance play. It comes very naturally to him, but perhaps as a form of self-defense. Or perhaps invitation? I respond by closing my notebook and sitting back in my chair.


I fear you've made a long flight for nothing, Mr. B.

It works. His facade is thin. I have caught him off guard. To his credit he covers his reaction well, but I see a hint of color in his face and a slight dilation of his one visible eye.


TBW: What do you mean?

You're clearly here against your will. I see no point in continuing the session. (I stand up for good measure and go to my desk, turning my back on him in dismissal. If he as is adept at reading nonverbal cues as I believe him to be, this will be the critical tipping point. As I hope, he does not move, but he shifts in his chair. Legs cross more tightly. Arms drop to lap, hands clasped. I suspect it takes a conscious effort on his part not to cross his arms on his chest.)

TBW: No. I-that is, it is difficult for me to do this, but it's not against my will.

You truly wish to seek therapy? I find that hard to believe.

TBW: (significant pause. Hands tighten in his lap. This is not easy for him.) I wish to explore the possibility.

Why?

TBW: I don't understand the question.

I still don't believe that you want to do this, or that it was your idea.

TBW: I admit, my friends have been pressuring me to see you for some time, but it was my decision to be here today.

Why are you here today, Mr. B? (The use of his single name is intentional and gets the desired reaction. He corrects me.)

TBW: My name is B-W now.

(I decide to keep up the challenging tone. It seems to be working, drawing him out.) I see. And that's an important distinction to you?

TBW: Of course!

It seems rather cumbersome, using hyphenated names like that. Why not just choose one or the other?

TBW: Q and I discussed that. At the time it seemed important that we both maintain our individual identities, but also join them. (He pauses and I see the hint of a smile) It's rather ironic, actually. TB isn't even my real name. I didn't have one at all for years.

Do you know your real name?

TBW: Yes. Triton Bloom. Awful, isn't it? Something James Joyce would come up with. Q had always known me as T, and after the war he asked me to keep it as my legal name. I liked it better, too, and so I did.

Why did you like that name better?

TBW: (laughs) Come now, doctor. Triton?

Is that the only reason? You hadn't been T very long. Only a year, I think?

TBW: That name let me be a Gundam pilot. The real TB was supposed to pilot Heavyarms, but he was an extremist, from an extremist family. He was killed and the scientist who headed the program on L-3 gave me the job and the name. It was the best thing that ever happened to me until then.

Until then. Something better came along afterwards?

TBW: Q. He's the best thing, and I wouldn't have met him if it hadn't been for all the rest.

Ah yes. You love him very much, don't you?

TBW: Yes. (T surprises me with a show of genuine emotion. He blushes and blinks. He is adept, however, at using that long fall of hair to hide behind and he does now.) Do you need to talk about that?

TBW: (shrugs) What is there to say? I've loved him since the first moment I saw him. He's the first person I ever let kiss me.

He was your first lover?

TBW: (lets out a very bitter laugh at that and looks up. He flips his hair back and the hardness and outright challenge in his eyes are a shock. The change was very swift. The barbwire necklace and death's head jewelry suddenly look very appropriate on this man.) You want to get right into it, do you? Did my friends coach you? Or have you just been doing some research on your own?

I only know that you appeared to be very sexually active after the war. I don't know anything before that. And if you are referring to my sessions with DM, the subject of your early sexual history never came up.

TBW: (openly distrustful now) Really? Well, let me bring you up to speed, then. I grew up with mercenaries. Men slept with men all around me, and most of them at least liked each other. Some love each other and formed lasting bonds. No one raped me or laid a hand on me.

(Just for an instant I see an almost fugue like blankness come into his eyes and suspect the root of some trauma in this period of his life.)

TBW: It was later on, when another bunch took me up-I was about fourteen or fifteen I guess, then they started breaking me in, but it was never rape, OK? They let me set the rules.

Rules?

TBW: Yeah, the rules. No kissing. No fucking.

I see. (I wonder if he realizes that these are the same rules I have heard from almost every prostitute I have worked with?)

TBW: And they-they-

They what, T?

TBW: (It takes him a moment to formulate an answer.) They looked after me. Gave me stuff-food, money, books, place to sleep. They let me work.

You were a skilled mechanic?

(Another moment of that blankness. Only it's not really blank at all, but a mix of love and pain that he clearly cannot stay with it at all and quickly circumvents it and changes the subject.)

TBW: The mercenaries trained me on suits as soon as I could lift a wrench. I earned my keep and I was good. They taught me everything, how to fix mecha, demolitions, how to pilot and fight, languages, how to read. It's all the schooling I had, before the Barton Foundation took me on, but it was good. They were-(another agonizingly fought moment of emotion follows.) They were good to me.

Were the second group of mercenaries, and the men of the Barton Foundation good to you?

TBW: It was different.

Because they expected you to interact with them sexually?

TBW: I suppose that was part of it. But I was just an employee to them, a mechanic. A pilot. I didn't mind. It was better that way.

It sounds lonely.

TBW: (shrugs)

May I ask you a few questions, T?

TBW: That's your job, right? Go for it.

Do you have trouble sleeping?

TBW: Sometimes.

Do you have nightmares?

TBW: Yes.

Frequently?

TBW: Yes.

Sexual dysfunction?

TBW: Impotence? (laughs) No.

Promiscuous sexual behavior.

TBW: Not lately.

But in the past?

TBW: Yes, I suppose some would see it that way.

But you don't?

TBW: What's wrong with liking sex?

Did you enjoy every sexual encounter? Where they all at your own choosing?

TBW: (Looks away. Shrugs. Does not answer.)

Flashbacks?

TBW: Occasionally.

What triggers them?

TBW: Noises, usually. Anything that sounds like an explosion or a gunshot.

Have you been violent during these flashbacks? Have you hurt anyone or yourself?

TBW: Not often, and not since right after the war. I hurt Q and D a few times, waking up from nightmares, and other people I was sleeping with. More recently I just get lost, you know? Forget where I am? Usually it has to do with thinking Q has been captured or hurt. (He pauses, and this time he smiles at something.) Actually a few weeks ago I came close to shooting someone.

This amuses you?

TBW: I didn't hurt them, and the circumstances are funny in retrospect.

Care to share?

TBW: No.

Very well. You had some rather serious flashbacks after the bombing of your home, didn't you?

TBW: Well, yes! Q was seriously hurt, and I was shot up with all kinds of drugs . . .

You were hurt quite seriously yourself, I believe.

TBW: I've had worse. I'm fine. He's still healing and sleeping on his stomach.

Very well. Q sustained more serious injuries. But while in the hospital you did have flashbacks, during which you broke an orderly's nose and a nurse's arm.

TBW: I did? No one told me. That's too bad.

According to the report I was given, you had to be sedated and restrained. Only your fellow Gundam pilots could calm you down. Who was with you during the near shooting incident you just mentioned?

TBW: Everyone. They all talked me down.

You said earlier that after the war you hurt some other people. Were your friends there to stop you?

TBW: Not always.

How badly did you hurt these people?

TBW: I-I don't remember all of it. I know I broke one guy's jaw. Some ribs on another, but that was a bar fight.

Trowa, you have a history of violence.

TBW: I wouldn't call it a---

Then you are in denial. And since I still sense great doubt and hesitation in you, T, I'm going to be very honest, and will leave it up to you whether you wish to continue seeing me after today. I've counseled hundreds of young men just like you. You are one of the lucky ones. You are suffering from serious and prolonged Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that manifests itself in violence toward yourself and others. You are fortunate in having a support system of friends, otherwise you might be far less well off than you are right now. Don't get me wrong; I can see that you are tremendously strong and talented. I believe you can have a long, happy, and productive life. But I think there is a shadow over you now from your past, and it goes far past your time as a Gundam pilot. I think we are dealing with abandonment issues, neglect, the abuse of being made to act as a child prostitute-

TBW: I was not a whore! (Less reaction that I would have anticipated. He looks more perplexed than insulted by my assertion.)

You said they paid you for sexual favors.

TBW: It wasn't like that.

Was it common practice? Did you barter with other men for sex, as well?

TBW: Uh-no-

Was there affection involved then? Your rules didn't make it sound like there was.

TBW: No, it wasn't about-Look, you wouldn't understand.

Because I didn't grow up in your world?

TBW: Exactly. What was normal for me might not make sense to you. But it does to me. It's not a problem. People make too big a deal about sex anyway.

If that's true, then why the rules?

TBW: Because-I don't know. I just knew I had to keep some things back for myself.

Intimate things. Things you wished to share only with someone you really cared for?

TBW: Right. Exactly.

And did it work out for you?

TBW: Yes. Yes it did. Look, doctor, I appreciate all you're saying, and you may be right about the violent tendencies. I probably should be more worried about that. But the sex stuff I'm OK with. I don't want to talk about that. I've got that covered. I'm not some sex addict. I don't cheat on Q. I can keep my pants zipped on my own, and I've had plenty of opportunities to do otherwise, believe me.

Then you would like to come back and talk about other things?

TBW: If you promise not to call me a whore again.

I wasn't calling you that, or judging you, I assure you.

TBW: Just don't go there. If there's one thing we don't have to waste any time over, it's my sex life. I'm fine with that.

Agreed. It's perfectly acceptable for there to be rules between us for these sessions, you know. They can change as you change, but it's important that you feel safe talking to me.

TBW: For the record, I don't, but since D and H vouch for you, then I guess I'll give you a chance. Just stay out of my bedroom. That's fine, and it's sacred. I don't discuss it with outsiders.

I understand. Rule number one: T's sex life is off limits.

TBW: I hope that won't make our sessions too boring for you.

I'm sure we'll find other things to talk about. Will you allow me to ask about your childhood? I'm far more interested in that.

(A long, uncomfortable pause, with very tense body language.)

TBW: I'll try.

That's all I ask. Do you have any questions?

TBW: Do you think I'm crazy?

No, not at all.

TBW: Thanks for that, I guess. You've seen our show, haven't you?

Yes, it's wonderful. I hope to see it again soon.

TBW: If you've seen the show, then you've seen part of my soul. A part I value. If fixing me is going to change that, then I can't do this.

Actually, T, that's a very common fear among creative people. No amount of therapy will change what has happened to you in your life. Isn't that what you really draw on?

TBW: We'll see. If I start losing my edge, it's over.

That is always up to you. It's not like anyone is having you committed here.

TBW: Good. Just so you understand.

I'll add it to the rules.

TBW: No fucking or kissing either, doctor. Just so you know where we stand.

I'll make a note.

---end of session transcript---

I must admit, I did not expect a second session with TBW, but he has scheduled another for next week, and again in person here, rather than by vidphone. I suspect that given his personality type, which is highly physical and sexualized, he feels more in control being in the same room with me, being able to read my body language, facial expressions, etc. directly rather than through a screen.

I'm not displeased by this. What a magnificent mix of strength and sorrow, awareness and self-deception this man is! I find myself oddly energized, just being in the same room with him. That, coupled with his exotic looks, makes me think that he must have been an instant star of any sex club he entered. The raw sexuality of the man rivals even D's, in part because he is more aware and in control of it, and perhaps also simply an accident of genetics or personality. He is, as DM would put it, "sex on legs" and uses it as a life skill. QWB can count himself lucky if promiscuity is truly not a part of his husband's PTS pathology.

I cannot help but think of T's magnificent circus, with all its sex and darkness. T is right to say that it is his soul on display. I recalled that closing admonition he gives the audience. I found a transcript of it on the show's website: "Wrap yourself around someone for what remains of this night, drink and fuck and laugh and share that life with them. After all, it's all we really have to give each other."

There is a gritty, gut-level wisdom in those words, and I read more affirmation than fatalism between the lines. It was certainly reflected in the remarkable pair of acts he performs, transitioning from what appears to be the death throes of war to the healing arms of his lover. What a tremendous catharsis, not only for the artist but for the audience, as well. He is a true artist. I only hope I have something to offer him in the way of peace with his past. There is something there, a corrosive experience that may well not have anything to do with sex at all. The question is, can he let go of it and maintain his sense of self?


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