Interview with Joshua Abrams

Interview with Joshua Abrams

Note: This interview takes place during the time of Love’s Magic, but before its climactic ending.

Interviewer: Why did you want to become a psychologist.

Joshua: I suppose the main reason was so I could help others find healing from the emotional damage they’d suffered in their lives. As one who has acquired a bit of emotional baggage myself, I can relate to my patients and in helping them, I hope to, perhaps, find my own healing.

Interviewer: How would you describe your relationship with Colin Campbell?

Joshua: We’re friends and we work together, at least that’s how he sees it.

Interviewer: And how do you see it?

Joshua: I don’t know how anyone could be around Colin and not fall in love with him. Perhaps I see it that way because I have a weakness for men like him, and by that I mean men with whom I have no chance whatsoever of forming a real relationship.

At McCafferty’s, the boys who hang around the piano bar hoping to get a little time with him call him ‘The Magic Man’. And I suppose that says it as well as anything could. Once he casts his spell on you, you’re hooked forever. His kind of enchantment doesn’t go away. I’m not sure how anyone could resist him. And by that I don’t mean just gay men. I mean anyone. Male or female. Gay or straight. He has a magnetism that simply can’t be denied.

Interviewer: So you’re saying you’re in love with him.

Joshua: I guess I am saying that. Maybe I just want to think that he can’t be resisted because I couldn’t resist him. 😉

Interviewer: You seem to see more of him that most of the men he dates.

Joshua: Well, I think there are two reasons for that. 1.) We work together so stopping for a drink after work is easy and natural. And 2.) I’m a pretty good cook and Colin likes to eat, so it’s not hard for me to lure him to my apartment for dinner now and then.

But the fact that I get more time with him than some of the guys he sees socially doesn’t mean a thing. He makes it clear to me all the time that we’re not in ‘a relationship’, that we’re not ‘involved’ in any way.

Interviewer: That seems cruel.

Joshua: No, Colin is never cruel. When he speaks to me about the ‘status’ of our relationship he always does so with a great deal of kindness. He’s aware of how I feel about him, and he genuinely doesn’t want to hurt me. It’s very important to him to be honest with me so that I don’t get any erroneous ideas about where our relationship is heading. And I don’t.

Interviewer: Where do you think it’s heading?

Joshua: My assumption is that eventually I’ll back away and stop seeing him. In fact I’ve started to back away already.

Interviewer: Why?

Joshua: It’s inevitable that our relationship will end, at least our social/sexual relationship. Colin doesn’t form lasting relationships. Everything is short-term with him. He guards his independence with fierce determination, almost like he’s afraid to get too close to anyone.

And, frankly, I can’t go on seeing him on a purely sexually basis. I feel too strongly about him to minimize what we share by accepting it as being that one-dimensional. In a way, I respect him too much… respect how I feel about him too much settle for being his ‘fuck buddy’. The way I feel about Colin deserves more.

Interviewer: Isn’t it rather self-defeating to spend time with someone who obviously doesn’t return your feelings?

Joshua: I thought about it a lot even before we got together for the first time. Colin is a perfect fit for every single neurosis that plagues my mind and heart. He meshes seamlessly with the low sense of self-worth I received as a gift from my abusive father. I knew before we kissed for the first time that I’d fall for him and probably end up with a broken heart.

But you have to know Colin. You have to be around him to understand. He’s so incredibly magnetic. He crackles with energy and zest for life. He smiles, and the temperature in the room goes up ten degrees. He sings like an angel and dances like a sex-obsessed whirlwind. He is every kind of charismatic you can imagine. He’s FUN! He’s a prankster. He makes every moment you’re with him entertaining and enjoyable. How could I NOT drink from that cup when it was offered? How could I say ‘no’ to that experience even knowing it came with a painful emotional price tag? I guess the fact is I couldn’t.

Interviewer: Does Colin have emotional baggage?

Joshua: I’m sure he does. In fact, I feel strongly that everything in his life revolves around a core emotional experience that he has yet to deal with fully. I don’t know what it is and I dare not ask. The walls he’s built around that part of his life are not only high and thick, they are as sensitive to the touch as an aching tooth. If you get too close to that place inside him, he recoils as though he’s been shot, and literally snarls like a wounded animal. I’d give anything if he’d let me help him. Anything. But he protects that secret with a fierce resolve. No one gets close enough to see or understand it. Certainly I haven’t. I only know it dominates his life.

Interviewer: Your father was abusive?

Joshua: He was – and still is as far as I know – an alcoholic who was both physically and emotionally abusive to my mother and myself, which naturally enough led me to approach life from a fairly introverted perspective. Even after eight years of training as a psychologist which taught me all I’d ever need to know about the issues which arise from an abusive childhood, there’s still a little boy inside me who believes it was his fault that his father didn’t seem to love him. I know in my mind that this is an erroneous concept. None of it was my fault. But knowing and believing can be two different things. Your mind can lie to you.

My father used to lock me in a dark closet for hours on end. I’d just sit there alone and cry. So my fear of abandonment and betrayal is quite high. I suppose with Colin, the fact that I knew from the get-go where it was heading bypassed any sense of betrayal I might feel when it ends. It’s not a betrayal. It’s not abandonment. It’s just Colin being Colin… which he’s been totally honest about from the very beginning.

Interviewer: Where is your father now?

Joshua: When I was eight years old he broke my arm when I tried to stop him from beating on my mother. We both ended up in the hospital and she filed charges against him. When he discovered that there was a warrant out for his arrest he fled to Canada and as far as we know he’s still there. We never heard from him again.

Interviewer: What is it like to work with Colin? Isn’t it hard given how you feel about him?

Joshua: It’s not hard at all. It’s a joy. No one who hasn’t see Colin operate as a police officer really knows him. The guys at the bar who think he’s hot and crave time in bed with him don’t know him at all. He is nothing like the persona he flashes in those social environments. Nothing.

He’s absolutely one-hundred per-cent dedicated to helping the victims of violent crime. When he deals with these victims he is gentle and incredibly protective. He can be almost obsessive about putting the perpetrators of these crimes behind bars and takes it very personally when the victims won’t prosecute or when he is unable to make a case against the accused.

There’s something deeper going on inside him when it comes to these cases. I don’t know what it is yet, but the work he does is more personal to him than one might consider normal. Watching him… helping him with these cases is tremendously fulfilling. And, he needs me. I help him find perspective at times when his emotions get too involved. And that makes me feel good.

Interviewer: Colin is unquestionably an alpha male. Is it hard to keep your own personality intact when you’re around him? Doesn’t he tend to overpower you?

Joshua: I don’t let that happen. Firstly, I don’t see him that much outside of work. Not only because he wants it that way, but also because I want it that way. He loses interest quickly so I try to maintain a bit of distance so that he doesn’t become bored with me.

Secondly, I know Colin well enough to know that he wouldn’t waste even a half-second of his precious time on a man he couldn’t respect. If I let him ride rough-shod over me I’d lose his respect and I’d never see him again. He may end up ending our social relationship… or I will. But when we walk away from each other, I insist that it be from a position of respect. I don’t let him push me around. I don’t let him disregard my feelings and opinions. He doesn’t have to return my feelings and I know damn well he doesn’t. But I do insist that he respect them. And he does.

Interviewer: What’s he like when he’s angry? Does he get angry with you?

Joshua: He’s Irish. Of course he gets angry. But oddly enough the angrier Colin gets, the quieter he gets. Colin hates losing control. He keeps a tight rein on his feelings. So, no, I’ve never seen him explode with anger. He’s been annoyed with me a few times… mainly at those times when I show too much emotion or get too sentimental with him. But he never yells at me or become abusive. He simply takes me home and doesn’t call me for a week. I guess he figures that’s punishment enough.

Interviewer: Is it?

Joshua: It’s punishment, because I do like being with him. But I still see him at work so it’s not like he can cut me out of his life completely even when he’s annoyed with me. And I’ll say this… when he gets in those moods I say and do nothing. I don’t ask him what’s wrong. I don’t tell him I miss him. I say and do nothing. Moments like those are a test and I make damn sure I pass. Getting clingy with Colin is a sure-fire way to get yourself kicked to the curb.

Interviewer: What kind of lover is he?

Joshua: Just what you’d expect. He’s as good at that as he is at everything else he does. The times when we make love are the weirdest moments in our relationship in ways. He’s so accessible then. So emotionally available. It’s almost as though those moments make it hard for him to keep his emotional barriers in place.

Don’t get me wrong. He doesn’t get all lovey-dovey even when we make love. He’s still Colin and he still keeps his distance. But there’s something in his eyes when he looks at me then… an openness that I don’t see at any other time.

He knows it too. He knows I see it. He teeters on the brink of something at times like those. It’s as though he knows he’s on the thin edge of letting himself feel something that is normally barricaded behind a million layers of rock. And, naturally enough, that makes him angry. Not angry at me. Angry at himself. And… at those moments he always has to reiterate that we’re not – and never will be – in a real relationship. I’ve almost come to expect it. And I’ve learned not to let it bother me.

Interviewer: What will you do when it ends? Won’t it be hard to go on working with him?

Joshua: I’ll probably move back to Glencoe, Illinois when our relationship ends. I’m sick of working for Title IX anyway. It’s too restrictive. I have too many limitations put on what I can or can’t say to my patients. I need a more open environment. As far as Colin goes… it’ll be hard to leave Charlottesville knowing I’ll probably never see him again. I feel certain that when I go I’ll be taking a broken heart with me. But being with him has been worth it. It really has. He’s a rare and incredible man and I know he’s not someone I will ever get over or forget. I’m not sure how anyone could.

Interviewer: Pick a song that describes you and Colin.

Joshua: Could it be anything else?

Magic Man

Cold, late night so long ago
When I was not so strong you know
A pretty man came to me
I never seen eyes so blue
You know, I could not run away it seemed
We’d seen each other in a dream
Seemed like he knew me, he looked right through me, yeah

“Come on home, girl” he said with a smile
“you don’t have to love me yet, let’s get high awhile
But try to understand, try to understand
Try, try, try to understand, I’m a magic man”

Winter nights we sang in tune
Played inside the months of moon
“Never think of never..let this spell last forever”
Well, summer lover passed to fall
Tried to realize it all
Mama says she’s worried, growing up in a hurry

“Come on home, girl” Mama cried on the phone
“Too soon to lose my baby yet, my girl should be at home”
But try to understand, try to understand
Try, try, try to understand, he’s a magic man, Mama, ah
He’s a magic man

“Come on home, girl” he said with a smile
“I cast my spell of love on you, a woman from a child”
But try to understand, try to understand
Oh, oh, try, try, try to understand,
He’s a magic man, oh, he’s got the magic hands

Oh’s over top

“Come on home, girl” he said with a smile
“You don’t have to love me yet, let’s get high awhile”
But try to understand, try to understand
Try, try, try to understand, he’s a magic man, yeah, oh

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