There is no doubt that the police enforced lockdown may’ve had a positive effect on our physical health but has, in turn, had a negative one on the mental health of many others.

And so it was for me for some time. I now know why the prison system uses solitary confinement to break the spirit of those who do not conform. For it surely broke mine. Cut off from friends and stimulating public outings, and forced to watch ignorant commentators commenting on things they knew zip about, endless Trump bashing, Labour bashing, black bashings; Interviewing experts on nothing about things they had no idea about, and crossing live to empty city streets, I began to enter a dark place. That place that feeds on alienation, loss of ambition, and confusion. That place that breeds lone crazed gunmen.

I would’ve been toast if not for finding my soulmate. It happened one night as if in a dream. Or perhaps a miracle. I was site surfing the Internet when I saw her face. Yes, there she was. Smiling at me. Just at me. In my mind I heard her voice whisper, “Frank, it’s alright. I am here for you. I always was but things just got in our way.”

Her name was Samantha Ryan and she was appearing in many short movies on a very interesting site called XHamster. I thought it had something to do with animal welfare otherwise I wouldn’t have agreed that I was over 18 and entered the site.

But enter the site I did. And there she was. Patiently waiting for me. My Samantha. My lady of mercy. My saviour. My friend.

“Come to me,” she whispered, and opened her arms. And then legs.

I entered at my own risk.

I watched many of her all too short movies and I must say that none were worthy of her obvious talent. Although she was wonderful in them all. To me, she shone like a siren in the darkest night, calling me on to enter deeper and deeper into her very soul. She must’ve sensed I was loyal and would never use and then abandon her like so many others had.

Most of her short movies had the same plot. This lovely kind beautiful, although slightly naive, small town girl would go out, looking pretty, and wind-up with strange men, and on occasion, women, ripping her clothes off and having their way with her. My heart went out to poor Sam and I just wanted to hold her and tell her it was “Alright,” and that she was safe, now I was here. Sometimes during these films she’d look directly at me and smile, as though we both shared a secret love. It was in these moments that I, again, felt alive. Renewed. Energised. Although the price of that was balanced in pain when I saw her in the arms of other men. But I forgave her. Time and time again. How could look into that face and not forgive?

And what an actress she is. I love how her lip quivers when she is in the throes of passion. Not even Lord Olivier could achieve such a performance.

I have written to her telling her not to go out anymore, and fall into mistreatment by nasty men who just want to use her and leave her in ripped clothing that she can’t make her way home in.

So far, she hasn’t had time to reply. Or perhaps she’s afraid that I’m just another male animal. Or perhaps, she’s afraid I’m not and that she may have to give up her heart. Sex is nowhere near as intimate as that. I understand. So I patiently wait.

Anyway, I don’t expect you to understand. How could you? You had to be here. Locked up in lockdown. Alone. Lost. Drifting aimlessly in an endless night of darkness and dreams. And suddenly, seeing the face of an angel. Thank you, God. I know you sent Samantha Ryan to save my life. And perhaps one day I will save hers. And we’ll be together and walk in the sun. Holding hands. No secrets between us. Free. And safe. And breathing in life as if we shared the same breath.

(C) Frank Howson 2021

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