Can You Spare a Quarter?

by Tigerpaw
Copyright TigerPaw

Epilogue - A Continuing Life

The events that follow are a continuation of the life of Jamie written by myself. Names and places are suitably changed to keep me somewhat anonymous, even though I really am not. I wrote this because I wanted adults as well as kids to know your life does not end just because you were abused. It moves forward, you get to choose though how well and what you want to do with it. For me it is no longer about survival, it is a happy life, a new life, and always changing and full of new adventures every day. I'm not a great writer and have to thank Tigerpaw for his guidance and editing for me. This is condensed I did not want to do a day-to-day thing. It just sums up that even after living in a nightmare I came out the other end a winner.

A Continuing Life

I have finally grown up. Now looking back over the last seventeen years of my life, I am amazed I am still alive. The first thirteen were brutal, with the last two years also bringing on some serious changes in my life. Living on the streets had given me a new outlook and cynicism to my life. I questioned every move, learned to fear, and not trust anyone but my own self. Would that ever change? It did when I turned thirteen and made an escape with an adult and friends, who seemed to be able to help me out. While giving my trust, was, and is still hard to this day I finally was able to trust Graham, Jason, Frank, and Kathy, along with several others with all my heart. My life on the island had seen many changes over the next years. I have become stronger, more fit, and most of all more sure of myself. While there are still ups and downs, the ups outweigh the downs. So here is how it has gone over the last seventeen years.

I never left my new home and eventually Jason and I decided to share a room. Mostly the whole upstairs since as Graham got older it became harder for him to climb the stairs. During those early years Jason and I went on to finish secondary school. Not really able to keep up because my smarts lay elsewhere, and having missed almost thirteen years of school, I had to play a lot of catch up. As a result I more or less finished up where I was already at. On my own I also studied Karate and Jujitsu. Jason went on to university and studied for a degree in business. Finding a great job doing what he loved, working at a small chain of sports stores on the mainland.

For a few years Jason and I had grown apart trying to find our place in this world. Jason took to his job so well he advanced over the time we were apart. He is now a district manager. It took about eight years for us to come back together and realize we were meant to be together forever. So Jason, with my help sold his small home on the mainland and moved back to our humble place on the island. Our home is now once again filled with the sounds of all of us, the laughter and joy, some pain and sorrow.

As Graham, Frank, and Kathy have gotten older and do less we have picked up the slack. Between both of us working together, we managed to get on with a life of our own, as well as to be able to help at home. I took over Jason's old job on the island, as I seemed to have the knack for growing plants and doing landscaping. I have built some great new water features and managed to grow grass in areas where I was told it would never grow. Of course it took me several years to get it to grow but it finally did.

During the secondary school years Cindy had passed on so I got a beagle pup, and named her Princess. She was my pride and joy. I had to join a hunt club in order to handle and own guns. Frank was key in helping me with that, and even betting me I could not teach a beagle to point. When I graduated secondary school the owner of the club gave me a job helping out. Soon he took me under his wings and taught me gunsmithing. I had a real knack for it, and took to it like a salmon swimming upstream to spawn.

I was not quite as good in math, spelling, writing, and reading due to significant dyslexia but I am great at about anything else I put my mind to. I have overcome more challenges than most kids and even adults go through during life. Mostly in the first thirteen years, I had already out of necessity lived as an adult when on the streets. Later when at the gun club I worked with the owner and I got to know his kids. He had a young son named Caleb, who liked to play with Hunter Dan action figures and toys. Since I missed out on most of what should have been playing with other kids my age, I started to play with his son Caleb. Since there are not a lot of kids around I started playing with him on a regular basis. Even coming in on my days off just to sit in the lawn and pretend we were hunting the big elk and bear found on the mainland.

While training my beagle to hunt Frank challenged me to a bet, he said "a beagle has a great nose, too bad they can't point." So with the bet in place, I found the books I needed to train what are known as versatile gun dogs. During this time I bred Princess with another beagle named Bucko. She had a litter of three pups, one I gave to a friend (I regret that decision now, it haunts me to this day. I would go into details but it is a story all of its own. I really do not want to revisit that spot), and one was given to the owner of Bucko instead of cash in exchange for breeding. I kept the third and named him Diamond who would become my star beagle. I started working right away with all the information I had learned on training both a scent hound and a versatile gun dog, and ended up with a beagle who was able to run rabbits as well as hunt and point game birds.

Over the next five years after secondary school I stuck it out working at the club and continued working my hounds. At the beginning of my sixth year I was no longer able to do the hard work at the club. I started to have more medical issues crop up that I already knew were in my future as a consequence of the problems earlier on. So I had to quit and rely on a disability allowance. The good part was because I had worked I had built up some credits with the federal government and this resulted in them also assisting me which was a huge help to me and my family. I also got another beagle pup at that time, a male, and I named him Smokey. He clearly had to be a mix because he was a great bird dog right from the start, not a pointer but a flusher. I remember one summer day we were out training and he flushed a duck, the duck flew low and we were sure he would catch it jumping almost high enough to grab the tail feathers. Both Jason and I had a huge laugh about it!

Life has been going good for me during this time. I seemed to excel at almost everything I tried outside of school work. Graham says I have a "gift" like an artist does, something you're just born with. I spent a lot of time with Frank working on cars and trucks, I could never pass the tests to become certified as a mechanic but I can pretty much fix every problem a car can have. I even rebuilt one of my first trucks, a 1985 Chevy pickup, which became my pride and joy. I have this thing about camouflage. I didn't like the colour of the truck so it got a new paint job and was all camouflaged. Heck to this day I think I have two pairs of jeans that are regular colour the rest is all camouflaged. So when I die and people come to pay their respects they won't see me ha ha.

Over the seventeen years since my life changed I became a beagle expert continually learning new skills. Teaching, training, and even doing some guided hunts. This was also during the time Jason was off to university as well as having a new life of his own. I pretty much became a loner, even after work, unless I was spending time with Caleb. I spent the rest of my time working with my dogs, as well as hunting and fishing. I think those are my two top priorities in life. Graham even helped me get a camper so I could travel a bit and be able to camp out and not sleep on the ground. I learned wilderness survival as well. I think I can safely say you could blindfold me and drop me anywhere in North America and I could find my way home - unless I decided I liked the spot then I might just build a cabin and stay!

During my secondary school years I played a lot on the web as well. This was back before Facebook and in the days of Geocities, I built my first web site there. Eventually we had cable to connect to the world with instead of dial-up modems. Things like AOL died, and new companies like Facebook came along. I still managed my page switching it to the local cable company's service. And have had it there now for fifteen years. Need I say what it is about? OK it is all about beagles. I even started a small Facebook page in 2012 to promote my web site. I started off with about thirty members and as word spread have grown to over twelve hundred and still growing. I have "likes" and followers from around the world which is kind of neat. I never really expected to be running a full-fledged beagle site with all the training and other information I have learned over the years. I still spend most of my time hunting, fishing and camping. Now that Jason and I are together again, he has become the biggest and best part of my life, and he is still working and has moved to up be a district manager in control of several of the stores in the sporting goods chain. We both really enjoy each other's company and love getting out as often as we can.

It took a few years to really get Graham out of his drone state and into feeling comfortable with being retired. Working at a company in a cube doing the same things over and over takes a toll on one. He now is enjoying the little things in life. Helping with the gardens, and working on his love of computers. It is funny but over the seventeen years I have been with him we have both had the same tastes in movies, music, and TV shows with some of our favourites like Monty Python's Flying Circus. It is also funny we can start talking and suddenly something will be said and soon we are acting out a Python sketch. We do have differences but we have a lot of similarities, more than I can count anyway. Graham had seen enough rough years to have all but give up on humanity until he saw one bright shining star, and that was me. His whole life now has changed for the better. Each day he smiles when he sees me. I sometimes wonder if I should put puppy training pads out for when he gets too excited when I come home after being away hunting or fishing (inside joke).

While there have been rocky roads in my life one of the hardest are the occasional parole hearings for the people who were sent to prison. When these come up I am always sent a letter. I can either go in person for these or send a letter back. Knowing how much this has always bothered me, Graham with the help of Matty finally got it put to rest. I don't know any of the details all I know is they are buried so deep that the next time they see the light of day it will be from their coffins. Thank whoever for that one!

I still have my moments, although they are getting fewer and further in between, but every now and then the monsters still break out and then all hell breaks loose. To be honest I still have occasions where I wet the bed, wake up dripping in sweat, screaming at the top of my lungs. I have even run away in my sleep to be found miles down the road. A few times in just my underwear even. Once I came close to walking out the door in just my birthday suit, now that would have been em-bare-assing (pun intended)! So for my safety we have installed bells on the doors so late at night when everyone is asleep if I open the door the bells will ring. Luckily it has not happening in a while.

I continue to move forward with my life. Spring of 2014 my nightmares skipped me. But I think that was because a major storm came through and destroyed one room on the second floor of our home. Between my work repairing it and the insurance company, I managed to convert a crappy little junk room into a nice den that Jason and I use often. I even have my toys (yes you heard right) to play with in there. I also keep my guitars as well in the same room. Oh another thing I picked up while learning my new life was the guitar. I became great at it, even though I cannot read a lick of music due to my dyslexia. I also still have my moments where I am all of thirteen years old - I will set up all my Hunter Dan toys and play for hours at a time. I love to read now and am a great reader. I have read a lot of great books over the last few years something I never thought I would get into.

Hunting is probably the number one thing in my life at this point, spending close to five months in and out of the woods each fall and winter. I have gotten plenty of game over the years, this past season 2014/15 was a very good year. Unfortunately, in the spring of this year I noticed Diamond was starting to go downhill. I had planned on retiring him but kept taking him since I knew deep in my heart his time was soon to come. In the early morning hours of April 28, 2015 he took his last breath in my arms in front of the fireplace. He almost made it to the age of sixteen just shy a month and a half. He is buried in the yard next to Princess who died five years earlier. During the fall of 2014 I got a new pup his name is Jake, by four months of age he ran and caught his first rabbit. He has been a joy to have, yet I still have a couple holes in my heart from the loss of Princess and Diamond.

I have even started a new hobby, since my time on the streets I learned how to juggle, and was always good at it. So recently, thanks to a movie I saw, I started to play with poi (no not the Hawaiian food). It is a form of juggling but with strings attached, I use a few styles from LED to fire poi. If you want to see what it is check out YouTube, just enter "poi." You might even find me in a video there (grin).

My worst time was December of 2014. I think due to all the turmoil of the spring it all just came out and I fell back a few hundred steps curling into my shell and having a rough go of it. From around Thanksgiving time to Christmas I started having horrid nightmares, to the point I was wetting the bed nightly. Thanks to some help from Graham we found some good underwear and stuff for adults that was a lot better than buying adult diapers, thank goodness for that. With the nightmares in full swing the past crept back in and I started another old habit I had broken, I began to cut again. I had hoped it would take away the pain but it did not. I even left some bruises on Jason this time around. Finally after a lot of counselling, we got through it all. I'm pleased to say that 2015 has been a great year so far. Barring the loss of Diamond. I am enjoying life to the fullest.

I have come a long way from the scared little boy sitting and begging for coins to get something to eat. To being what I hope is a kind gentle man who has a love for life instead of a wish for death. This is the rest of my story as it now goes on into the future. I now look forward to waking up the next day and seeing what adventures I have in store for myself and for the love of my life Jason. I spend a lot of time with Graham, Kathy, and Frank as well. Even though they do not get out and do much because of age, they are still loved by both Jason and myself, and always will be there when we need them; hopefully for many years to come.

So that is it, I know this isn't written like a great novel, but it is what I have done in those years between the epilogue and now.

Now my life goes on what will happen tomorrow is an unknown but it will be a good day.

I would say the end but really this is a "Neverending Story" ...

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