see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Warriors + Chapter 93
entry by: Dr. Thomas R. Batoosingh
Winner Memorial Veterans Hospital
L-2 ColonyNames censored for confidentiality.
Subject: T B-W.
Notes for Psychiatric Session #1
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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.
May I ask you a few questions, T?
TBW: That's your job, right? Go for it.
Do you have trouble sleeping?
Do you have nightmares?
TBW: Impotence? (laughs)
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
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
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
This amuses you?
TBW: I didn't hurt them, and the circumstances are funny in retrospect.
Care to share?
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
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
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?
Was there affection involved then? Your rules didn't make it sound like
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
If that's true, then why the rules?
TBW: Because-I don't know. I just knew I had to keep some things back
Intimate things. Things you wished to share only with someone you really
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
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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