When Emmett wakes up without a smile on his face, I know it’s not going to be one of his good days. And don’t get me wrong, he has more good days than bad. But when that PTSD flares up, it’s best to give him a wide berth. I mean, he’d never hurt me or anyone else, but when people have seen things like he’s seen, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they occasionally be allowed to retreat into their own head. Honestly, I do it all the time.
I can never know what he went through out on the battlefield. Not really. And I’ve got my own “dark passenger,” the memory of what happened in that alley so many years ago.
I’m angry that the world is the way it is. And I can’t just turn it off like a switch. I can’t just become desensitized and pretend it doesn’t matter. The only way I’ve been able to deal with it is to convince myself I’m doing my part to make a difference. Doing my part to save the world one person at a time.
So, yes, my nightly patrols are an outlet for me. But it’s not about the violence. As Captain Dudley Smith so succinctly put it, sometimes, violence is just “a necessary adjunct of the job.”
It’s something Dr. Temperance Jones has helped me realize about myself. I’ve mentioned her book “The Superhero Complex” on the blog before, and she devoted an entire sidebar to yours truly. Her theory is that I take all the pent-up anger I have from what happened to my parents and let it out by slapping crooks around on the streets of Los Angeles. And she’s not wrong: for someone whose heart bleeds as much as mine does, I sure use my fists to solve problems a whole lot of the time.
Believe it or not, there’s a lot Emmett and I don’t talk about. But don’t make the mistake of assuming we don’t have a healthy, supportive relationship. He is unequivocally my rock, and I like to believe I’m his. He knows I’m there for him whatever’s happening, but most of the time he just chooses not to burden me with the things that wake him up in the middle of the night. Not that I’d consider it a burden, that’s actually kind of a bad choice of words. But I know the feeling, because it goes both ways.
I guess we each have enough problems of our own, at some point we just made a conscious decision to not bring that home with us. When we’re together, nothing that happens in the rest of the world matters. When I’m with him, I don’t want to talk about what’s bothering me. I don’t want to associate him with that at all. When I see him, I just want to be reminded of how lucky I am, and how happy I ought to be. And he does remind me of that… every time he walks in the door.