I have a super power. It has protected me my whole life. The strange thing is, it has protected me FROM my whole life.
My whole life has been a life of hiding myself from people. I was afraid that if people knew everything about me, no one would ever love me.
Love is the one thing that I have yearned for....for nearly 66 years. The only true love I have received was from my Mother. She was the kindest woman I have ever known.
I have met a couple of women that I wanted to marry. I loved them very much. The first said she loved me but had sex with another guy when I went out of town on a speaking engagement.
The other woman demanded to know more about me than I was comfortable telling her. She didn't understand that I couldn't tell her. She didn't know how much pain it would cause me.
Rather than tell her my painful past, I left.
Everytime I met people, they were unaware that it wasn't Bob Long they were meeting. They met the Sunshine Man.
The Sunshine Man was a suit of armor that I created. I slipped it on every time I left the house. It was invulnerable to the slings and arrows of which Hamlet speaks.
Their verbal barbs failed to pierce the armor for the Sunshine Man wasn't a living breathing human. He took all the negative critics and laughed at them.
He took their insults and returned a joke on them.
The Sunshine Man had no weaknesses. But, that was because he wasn't real. They never realised that, though. They thought he was me.
After 50 or more years of wearing armor, I grew weary. I sought solace with a wonderful young woman. She listened patiently as I told her some of my darkest secrets.
She didn't understand some of them, but that was alright. I didn't either.
As I opened up, I began sharing some of my lesser pains. I began to feel better about my prospects for a happier life. My armor was showing it's chinks.
A misdirected arrow wounded me. It was called friendly fire. My armor was in need of repair.
I'm recovering from my wound. It wasn't much more than a flesh wound. I've been hurt much worse before. I'll be okay.
My armor, my Sunshine Man, may have sustained more extensive damage than I previously thought. I'll repair him, though. I always have.
In a few days, I'll gird my loins within the home that I have known for half a century and begin my quest anew.
I'll be friendly, funny, compassionate and caring. I may not share my pain again, though. The Sunshine Man is getting old and rusty. But, maybe, he'll last for what few years I have left.
He's never let me down before.
For all that the Sunshine Man is not, he's the only true friend that I have been able to rely on in my life.
Just a few more years and someone will bury him. After he buries me.