Preface: As I  continue to record my life with Clare, I made promises that not everything was going to be pretty and soft, rather there are aspects of her life, my life, and our life nothing more than rough. This is one of those stories.

To strike. Infinitive, yes?

Struck. Conjugation, yes?

What’s funny about being struck? Being hit, synonym, yes?

Hitting a woman. I grew tired, wearied, infuriated, of my Hua making excuses for one specific woman-beater who “is a great guy except when he got drunk and beat me.”

The stories she shared of having to wear sunglasses inside and out to hide the wounds of being struck.

The stories of covering the wounds of being struck with her makeup artistry.

The excuse . . . “He’s a great guy except when he got drunk and beat me.”

There’s nothing funny about any of this.

Men are on this planet to protect their women and children. Declare me a moral antique, it is what I believe strongly and it is  what I feel even stronger. Anyone who violates this social contract is not a man.

I grew tired, wearied, infuriated that Clare made excuses constantly for this person-who-is-not-a-man.

Pain. The physical pain I never saw although there are many from her life who told me more than I ever wanted to know how she looked in the aftermath of a physical beating from this person-who-is-not-a-man. Pain. I saw plenty of the emotional and psychological pain left in Clare.  Always. From being struck by this person-who-is-not-a-man. If striking women happens only when this person-who-is-not-a-man drank, this-person-who-is-not-a-man had the choice not to drink. This person-who-is-not-a-man made the choice to drink.

Pain. I like having hobbies. Physical pain heals and fades. This is a hobby that interests me not. It’s the pain that doesn’t heal and fade that interests me greatly. And I keep my hobbies for a lifetime.

Ask anyone. You don’t hurt those I love. Clare was told this by Charee. Charee also shared with Clare that I never give up or give in.  Clare very much loved this quality of mine.

This is what Clare Clarissa Nina Castellano looks like unstruck. Happy. Kind.  Idealistic.  Joyful. Unscared. Free of pain.

Clare Clarissa Nina Castellano insisted I take a snap of her with this American flag while we wandered the historic district of Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. I’m so glad I did.

Gotta dig the aviators. Above and below