There may be a few of my readers who are wondering about how I got to write about Mike Oates, the main character of The Loveable Resident. Mike was modeled after a young doctor I met back in the late '80's. He worked in the same place I did. I was new and so he was as well - new in that he just started not long before I did. I was intrigued by him. He was, to me, the quintessential Midwesterner. Since I am from the Midwest, I was more inclined to trust him more than the others in the group I worked with. I started to study him and observe him without his knowing. I guess I was a naive in a world of crusty old people, young and old, who thought nothing of having a fling and then leaving the remains. I wanted to fall in love, yes, because I was pretty much full of inspiration that my life was going the right way, or so I thought. I was given a Fellowship to work at a big school in the East. I was living in a nice third floor walkup not far from work. I had my nice car that Dad gave me to drive around in New Haven and Hamden. And so I was ready for a relationship. I met this guy at work and I felt as though God was saying to me - This is he, the one you are going to marry.
Not so fast, though. So time went on, and one by one my delusions of getting serious with this guy fell like ninepins. I was devastated and felt rejected. Infatuation is not love when it is not reciprocated. So I had put my hopes on this man, whose presence made my day bright and whose absence clouded my day. I couldn't think of anyone else or anything else.
He was committed to something else and to someone else. I didn't have a confidante then and so I felt very much alone. I ended up not eating at all for days, and then I got hospitalized for weeks. It was unbearable and yet I figured he would still be there when I returned. I was mistaken. The day I got back perhaps the second day after, he told me he was getting married. I told him that I felt that his fiancée was a very lucky girl. He seemed taken aback by that and then that was all. We said our farewells and soon he was gone. I felt as though this was the worst day, knowing that I would always love him no matter what.
I had a suspicion, actually that he wasn't who he really was. I wondered if (in my very agile and imaginative mind) that he might be someone working for the FBI or something. He never let on but some things gave me clues and maybe I was just so totally deluded and didn't want to accept that this guy was not for me.
He is gone now, and I am still single. I tried to meet others and yet I ended up rejecting them - I compared them to this first guy and they all came up empty of what the first guy was. In other words, this one guy ruined every other man for me.
I'm sure that if things were to happen again I might have been more careful, and more cynical maybe. But I am a product of a family that had never had a touch of cynicism, was always deeply faithful to God, and took things at face value. I thought and thought about how thing might be different. But all it is is that it showed me that I was not meant for a life that I wanted to have when I went to work for that group. I was meant to write and to create stories. It's probably God's desire to have me experience the different parts of living that he kept me on this course of being a scientific researcher and then all the other non-creative jobs I have had. So that I could finally write about life.
Life Lessons - my first nonfiction book - is a product of this life I have. And The Loveable Resident is a hint of what happened with me and the man I fell in love with.