This month, I had the privilege to read Shadows: Once Choice a Future Makes. It’s one of the most thought-provoking novels I’ve read in a long, as it answers the questions many of us think in retrospect, but rarely at the moment of decision. What if I had made a different decision?
In Shadows, we follow Justin and Flip, the same man but two personalities/realities. One takes the high road, the other the low. What follows next is a deeply woven tale of actions and consequence, truth and lies.
Today, I’m going to share an interview with Flip, the “wild” side of Justin. Be warned, it’s not always pretty, but a true reflections of dark hearts. And don’t despair, tomorrow I’ll have an interview with Justin, and you’ll witness the wonder of God’s love and grace.
Without further ado, let’s begin. Flip couldn’t take time out of his life to be there today, but he did respond through email to my questions.
In Shadows, we first meet you at a conference. Going into that conference, did you have any preconceived notions about what would happen?
Honestly, I was totally clueless. I was focused on the honor and prestige of being recognized by my peers and asked to speak that I hardly paid attention to anything else. Once the big speech was over, I simply had to relax and let my mind release the tension that was built up. When Gerald approached me with his plan I was quite overwhelmed. I suppose I was still riding the high from my speech, but when he starting talking about my weaknesses, it was overwhelming. That’s why I ended up on the beach in the first place. Man! What a journey I was about to start.
We also learn you’re discontent in your marriage. Was there a single event you can pinpoint that on or was it gradual?
- Well, this is a little personal, but I’ll allow it. I honestly believe that we never really loved each other, even in the early years. I mean, she was a great friend and all, but I think I settled for someone that wasn’t right for me. Sure, we had good times, but I’m not sure we ever really loved each other. And, honestly, she was a little boring in the sack. She didn’t have any experience when we got married. Well, neither of us did, really. So, we were just vanilla ice cream. But, to answer your question: Her main focus was the family. She was all about taking the kids to practice, or school events, or youth group. She never really focused on me. Saturdays were my days to play golf with the guys and get some “me” time. She was always riding me about helping her out more, even though I always BBQ on the weekends to give her a break. All she had to do was make the potato salad and the BBQ sauce, set the table, and marinade the meat. I totally cooked everything and gave her the night off. She never really appreciated that I did that for her. Yes, now that I think about it, she never respected me that way I deserved. And I deserved to live in a relationship with respect. And with love, too. A loveless marriage doesn’t honor God. Right? So, it was the right thing to do to find true love, and that will help me honor and experience what God intended for me. And for her, too. I mean, she deserved to be happier, too. Right?
Had you not been unhappy in your marriage, do you think events at the conference would have had a different outcome?
You know? It’s so hard to look back and see it 20/20. I mean, Dahlia was such a babe! A total 11 on a scale of 1-10. I think any man would have done it. Seriously, a woman like that only comes around once in a lifetime—if you’re lucky! Most men never have a chance at a woman like her. So, if a man is having trouble with his wife, and can experience a Dahlia, then why not? I mean, come on! Look at her! I deserve the best, too. I know that now.
As each event unfolds, are you conscious of the spiral you are on? If so, do you ever think to yourself, this has to change?
I know that my wife was so intolerant of my one mistake. Honestly? If she would have just forgiven me and allowed me to try again, then none of this would have happened. How can it not spiral when she won’t let me start over? I still had needs, and she wasn’t going to meet them. I had to find someone else. And Mercedes was good choice. Well, until that went bad. I mean, who saw that coming? Right? I had no idea she was such a conniving wench. But, after that, it was just bad luck. She’s the one who got me where I wanted to do drugs. But, only to relieve the stress. I wasn’t doing them for fun. I honestly have no idea why things spiraled so quickly, except my wife kicked me out of my own house.
Toward the end of Shadows, a pretty traumatic event happens, and you’re actions are rather blasé. Were you hiding feeling of guilt or remorse, or had you become that cold?
Cold? That’s not fair! Connie, my wife, was the one who was cold. She closed the door and rejected me, even though I said I was sorry. To tell the truth, I was done with her. I mean, I didn’t want anything bad to happen to her, but, come on! She was asking for it, really. She was the one who hooked up with that jerk. She should have seen it coming. Well, that sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But, it’s true. If she would have accepted my apology, none of this would have happened. I know it sounds bad, but she can only blame herself for her action and the results.
If you could go back in time, what, if anything, would you change in your life?
I would go back and tell myself not to marry Connie. I’m sure that’s where everything went wrong. No! I want to change my answer! I would go back to the conference and tell myself not to let Dahlia go home without me. I’d make sure she and I had the rest of our lives together. After all, that was what true love looks like. It’s not about life long commitment and all that sharing nonsense people talk about. It’s about feeling good in that moment and making yourself happy. It’s about being true to yourself. That’s what love is. Loving yourself. Cause no one is gonna love you like you do.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Are we done, yet? That’s the end of the interview? Cool! I’d like to thank everyone for everything! And never stop keeping it real!
Tune in tomorrow for part 2- an interview with Justin.
Shadows can be purchased on Amazon here.