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Heavy Is the Torch
A True Story
By Ella McBea, Adam Krause, Michael Ireland
Balboa PressCopyright © 2016 Ella McBea
All rights reserved.
The Fastest Date in the West
In early January 2004, I was sitting across from my friend Bobby in a diner when he walked by. I caught his eye, and he caught mine. Later, we exchanged another glance — his glance lingering a little longer than mine — and all I could think was, Where do I know that guy from?
Little did I know that this man I couldn't quite place in my mind would be the single most influential human being I would ever meet. See, what I didn't know then was that in that diner, at that very moment, I was being introduced to my soul mate; not just any soul mate (I have learned that we have many in our lifetimes) but my twin flame soul mate. The real meaning of "a twin flame" would elude me for over a decade — but its effects would permeate every inch of my life from that moment and for the rest of my life.
I never really thought I'd find my soul mate — not because I thought I wasn't worthy of one; I just didn't believe in them. Out of the billions of people on the planet, there's supposed to be just one person who is a better match for you than all of the rest? How silly. Needless to say, it was not a concept I took seriously or put any amount of thought into. As I accumulated more and more failed relationships well into my late twenties, the idea of being matched with a loving, lasting soul mate just sounded naive — and impractical.
Ironically, though, I was truly a hopeless romantic. It came with my particular territory of being an artist. I hated that I wore my heart on my sleeve for all to see. But my romantic difficulties provided inspirational fuel for my photographs and eventually my professional photography career.
And where but on my sleeve could I have worn my heart, anyway? I suppose I should be grateful to be someone courageous enough to display my sensitivities so freely. But most times, I ended being scorned or belittled by someone, God forbid, for liking them. How dare I! Anyway, yeah, the whole thing was like some karmic curse. So the notion of soul mates was for me akin to unicorns or talking plants. In other words — a fantastical delusion.
In light of all of this, to have a spiritual relationship become the bane of my existence was nothing short of being stuck on a perpetual magic carpet ride. Yet over time, with the slow and steady reveal of an esoteric spiritual truth, I grew to respect and even to covet that relationship. If you know anything about twin flames or twin souls, then you know that your twin flame is literally the other half of your soul. Now I'm not saying that's the quintessential definition, but in having researched and more importantly, found my own unmistakable truth about this admittedly fringe subject, it is a definition I have come to believe implicitly.
If you are spiritually advanced enough to be in the know about twin flame dynamics, then you may think I was extremely fortunate to have found this needle-in-a-haystack soul connection. Tragically though, neither my twin nor I possessed enough spiritual awareness to recognize this divinely blessed bond, and instead of a blissful, enlightening twin flame activation, a stubborn unrequited-ness plagued us from the very start. In learning that twin flames will be met with some of the hardest challenges, there was work to be done, and more than I ever could have imagined.
As time went on, I realized I had nothing tangible to work with. I was blind, deaf, and dumb to a destiny that would pester me until I was left with no choice but to wake up from my spiritually anorexic existence and transform every aspect of my life to fit this one person into a space that he did not in any way, shape, or form fit into. It was impossible — and little did I know, setting out on that journey would kill me. But with the help of unseen, benevolent forces from the cosmos, I would persevere, and I would be reborn as someone I never knew I could be.
This is my story. And it all started with Timothy Seas.
I met Timothy at a small, dark comedy club called The Cut Throat. I was acquainted with the lovely little venue through a friend of a friend, Nikki, a comedian and a fellow student in Timothy's comedy class. Nikki was wicked smart and as witty and sarcastic as they come, and like me, she was also a Scorpio, so we got along great while simultaneously getting on each other's nerves. Then one day, we just didn't talk anymore. Typical Scorpios. Even though it would be some time before our friendship would end, she did do me the single biggest favor ever. She would be the one to give my number to Timothy and tell him I wanted to meet him.
I had already seen him in three shows and even though he was just a student, in all three he was awful, completely eye-rolling ridiculous. Despite this embarrassing fact, I was completely captivated by him. Surprisingly, during the fourth show, without changing an inch of his set, he was wildly funny and charismatic. Everyone cheered him on.
Generally, I required more from a guy to keep my attention than a handsome face and an ability to make me laugh. Intelligence, ambition, and drive were staple requisites for me to take notice of someone, but this man was instantly enough, all on his mysterious own. I could no longer contain my interest — I told Nikki I had to meet him.
I heard from him about two or three days after she gave him my digits. When I answered the phone, I was met with an innocent curiosity, that I wonder who you are kind of initiation. The first thing I noticed about talking to him was how different he seemed from the persona he presented on the stage. He had a normal, no-frills, friendly, engaging telephone demeanor. He didn't try to be funny or to impress me; he was genuinely interested in getting to know me. A couple of hours into our conversation, he asked me to go see Hellboy. He was surprised when I said yes.
"Really? You'll see that movie? Okay, well, awesome." And just like that, we had a movie date. Just before hanging up he, sounding a little taken aback, said, "I actually feel really comfortable talking to you."
I responded, "Yeah, same here."
After we said good-bye, I went to bed, something new and exciting stirring inside of me. Looking forward to our movie date, I slept well.
Two days before our date, Timothy called several times from work to make sure we were still on. "Yep. Looking forward to it," I said each time.
"Great!" he'd say, then hang up. I found these exchanges endearing.
When the day arrived, I awoke excited and curious, trying to put my finger on what drew me so powerfully to this charming comedian. I had never felt such a draw to anyone in my life.
On my drive to Timothy's I got lost, so I called and he talked me through it. As I parked, still on the phone with him, I could see him making a beeline down the walkway, phone in hand, casually chatting with me as we were closing in on each another. Suddenly, when I saw the whites of his eyes, a shiver went through my whole body. Strangely and unexpectedly, I thought, He doesn't like me. An unexpected panic welled up inside me. To this day, that thought seems counterintuitive, especially since I was just meeting him in person for the first time. But my soul knew — the wheels of our troubled fate had begun to turn.
We stood about three feet apart, closed up our phones, and reached out for a casual hello hug. As we walked, I chatted nervously about getting lost, and he made an unnecessary apology about his bad directions. He was cordial, but there was a stiffness between us. I tried desperately to ignore my growing discomfort.
We arrived at a hundred-year-old, two-story house where Timothy lived with several housemates. We entered through the kitchen. Sergei, one of his housemates, was making dinner, chopping vegetables with a rather large knife. Sergei was Eastern European, and to say the least, he was a bit strange and a bit creepy. When Timothy introduced us, in lieu of a proper handshake or even a smile, Sergei wielded the knife in my direction.
"Whoa," Timothy exclaimed. "Okay, let's go up to my room."
I followed him quickly, my heart half in my throat.
Timothy had the master bedroom, complete with slanted ceiling. I sat on his bed, and he proudly showed me a photo of his family. In it he was tucked toward the back of a large group, holding his infant niece. At that moment, I began to understand that this goofy thespian had a tender, sensitive heart.
After listening to a few songs on the stereo, we headed out to the movie. With the crisp ocean breeze at our backs, we chit-chatted about this and that as we hurried along.
We shared a box of M&Ms while enjoying the movie, and we talked about it on the dark walk back to his place. He made tea, then went upstairs to change. He had plans, he said, with some comedy friends, to work on a routine.
Timothy walked me quickly to my car. Giving me a light hug, he said, "We'll talk soon?" He began to walk away.
I hid my crushing disappointment. "Yes, definitely!" I exclaimed to the back of his head.
I pretended it was fine that it was not even nine o'clock and that he was already seeing me home. Since I was already fielding intense emotions for him, his rejection felt like less of an "oh well, he's just not that into me" and more like the kiss of death; heartbreak with no point of return. These extreme feelings seemed excessive after just one two-hour meeting, and I felt terrified to feel so dominated by my emotions. I got in my car and started to drive away. As I watched him fade into the dark in my rearview, I started to cry.
It wasn't that he had displayed extreme insensitivity in ditching me; it was that I felt something unfamiliar, a painful ache for him, a mourning in the deepest part of me that I couldn't soothe. I didn't like feeling this out of control. Something about Timothy brought fresh, uncharted emotional experiences to the surface. As I lay down to go to sleep, a thought crossed my mind: I'm in trouble.
Tears streamed down my face. I began to drift off, leaving behind the unfair and cruel reality of the conscious world, slipping into what I could only hope would be a comforting dreamland, the wordshe doesn't like me circling around in my head like leaves stirred up from the wind gathering the force of a storm as strong as a hurricane.CHAPTER 2
After my heartbreaking date with Timothy, I maintained the hope that he would call, but as the days turned to weeks, I lost hope. However, I did not lose my courage. I decided to call him. I saw this as an addendum to my "leading a horse to water" theory. If a horse led to water won't drink, well, maybe it would prefer an apple ... or a carrot.
The thought of contacting Timothy after such a painful rejection sent a million butterflies rushing into my stomach. I told myself I would just say I understood he wasn't interested in me, that it was fine, but that I'd still like to be friends, even though being friends would be difficult for me. The truth was, I wanted to talk to him so badly that it physically hurt. I didn't care that I was making up a lame excuse.
I got his answering machine. With as much casual calm as I could muster, I left a message, hung up, and worked to catch my breath.
Days went by. Nothing. Now, logically, sanely, this would be the time one would and should stop. But something had obviously been lying dormant deep inside of me. It was fully awake now, and it was calling for him. It was a tiny, desperate little voice, and I imagined that if I turned it up, it would be screaming at the top of its lungs, larynx stretched to the max. I could feel its hunger clear down to my bones. It was as if there was an imaginary lasso, one end tied around me, the other around him, both ends pulling toward each other. I tried to hold a tight grip to anything solidly nailed down, but I was losing strength fast. I racked my brain — what about him was causing this overwhelming emotional hardship? It was illogical! I was captive in a mystery, and I couldn't escape.
On the surface, Timothy seemed like an average, cute, funny man. So what? This city was brimming with them, and he had done nothing to warrant the heart-wrenching despair I was now tethered to.
This new, irksome voice inside me was having a nervous breakdown. You could write him a letter. You could go see him at the comedy club. You could call him again! It was relentless, and I was powerless to its influence. I had no way to interpret my new feelings, so all of this muttering seemed like just a bunch of senseless mind chatter, rearing their ugly heads. But that little voice — it was in for the long haul.
Later that summer, as fate would have it, Nikki invited me to see another one of her comedy shows. My nerves were on edge. That nervousness was made worse when I arrived and discovered that it was Timothy's night to collect money and sell tickets. I walked up calmly and smiled, but when he saw me, his eyes got really big.
He stiffened, shuddered, and asked, "Who are you here to see?"
My smile faded, my heart cracked in half, and I answered quietly, "Nikki — I'm here to see Nikki."
He snapped out of his funk, shook his head, and exclaimed with a laugh, "Right! Nikki! I'm so stupid."
To be fair, it was routine for the door manager to ask ticket buyers who they were here to see, so he was just doing his job. But he very clearly displayed fear — if I had said I was there to see him, he would have run for the hills. Fortunately, I wasn't alone. Kim, my friend who had initially introduced me to Nikki, was with me, but even having a companion couldn't alleviate the hurt and embarrassment I desperately tried to hide.
I couldn't tell you how the show was; I didn't pay attention. The last thing I wanted to do was laugh, or worse, pretend to laugh at what was, mostly, pretty bad comedy. Nikki was the fourth act up, well before Timothy, and when her set was over, we left.
I was relieved. I just wanted to go home and wash the humiliation off, literally scrub it off with a wire brush. But alas, all that was there for me when I got home was that little voice, distraught, defeated. Timothy wasn't happy to see me. In fact, he was scared. He reacted like I was stalking him. I felt nauseous.
For the next few weeks, everything I did was a challenge. Waking up, brushing my teeth, interacting with people, working, being creative, eating, sleeping, watching TV, reading ... you name it, it was all hard. Timothy dominated my thoughts. The little voice was constantly begging for reunion, without a care as to how that would murder me emotionally. I would catch myself randomly crying or just stopped in my tracks. I was not enjoying this eternal stay in heartbreak hotel.
I longed for normal. No such luck. In fact, just three weeks after my embarrassing appearance at the Cut Throat, I found myself working in the neighborhood where he worked. I couldn't help it — I popped in to say a quick hello. I didn't see the harm, plus the pain of my not seeing him was reaching degrees of desperation.
As I opened the door to the brightly colored vegan bistro where Timothy had earned his living for two years, there he sat, twelve o'clock in my eye line upon a barstool, in street clothes. The look on his face was nothing short of the deer-in-headlights look he had given me at the comedy show. The familiar wave of disappointment washed through me. This was not a good idea, but it would be weird to turn and walk out. I was trapped; I had to talk to him. I faked a large smile and exclaimed that I was just in the neighborhood, working down the street, and thought I'd see if he was in. No big deal. What came out of my mouth next, I couldn't believe I said it.
"Since I'm here, would you like to have lunch with me before your shift?" I just blurted it out. What the hell was I saying? I hadn't planned on staying for lunch! Oh God, help me.
Timothy, not sure of how to get out of it, replied calmly, "Sure." To be fair, I trapped him. After all, anyone with common decency has a hard time rejecting someone to their face, on the spot.
Surviving the initial discomfort, we ate lunch and chatted. We carried on a pretty good conversation about history, one of his favorite subjects and I'm sure a comfortable, safe topic for him in an awkward situation. As I sat listening to him gab about the mysteries of Hitler's missing testicle (apparently he only had one), things felt almost normal. I savored every second, knowing it would come to an end. And soon, it did.
Excerpted from Heavy Is the Torch by Ella McBea, Adam Krause, Michael Ireland. Copyright © 2016 Ella McBea. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 The Fastest Date in the West, 1,
Chapter 2 The Cookbook, 6,
Chapter 3 Strictly Business, 14,
Chapter 4 The Lost City of Platonic Friendship, 20,
Chapter 5 Chance Meeting, 27,
Chapter 6 The Death Kiss, 32,
Chapter 7 The Kindness of Friends and Strangers, 39,
Chapter 8 Meltdown at the Not-So-Good-Luck Bar, 45,
Chapter 9 Sanctuary, 50,
Chapter 10 Frankenstein and Potheads, 55,
Chapter 11 Still Fate, 62,
Chapter 12 Doctors and Healers, 67,
Chapter 13 Bagged Salad and Scotch, 72,
Chapter 14 The Fire Between Us, 76,
Chapter 15 Never Enough, 81,
Chapter 16 God Has Answered, 90,
Chapter 17 The Rainforest, 99,
Chapter 18 The Sandwich Lady, 102,
Chapter 19 The Good Doctor, 108,
Chapter 20 Vivian's Plague, 114,
Chapter 21 Jana and Tyrin, 118,
Chapter 22 Dark Night of the Soul, 126,
Chapter 23 Options, 138,
Chapter 24 Scratches on my Hand, 145,
Chapter 25 The Book, 150,
Chapter 26 St. Anthony, 160,
Chapter 27 Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs, 165,
Chapter 28 Circling Back, 176,
Chapter 29 Man in the Magazine, 179,
Chapter 30 Straight from the Heart Chakra, 184,
Chapter 31 Bad JuJu, 188,
Chapter 32 Going Deeper, 192,
Chapter 33 A Full Cup, 198,
Chapter 34 The Twins, 204,