Today, a bit about the lion.
I don’t know how he’s doing, where he is, or what he does now. I don’t know how he feels about any of what happened.
I assume he’s alive, but for the sake of this post, I write about him in past tense.
He was about 8.5 years older than me. I knew a few things about him before he arrived in Japan. I knew he was French, and that one of the secretaries in the lab he would be working thought he was handsome.
I didn’t think much about him when I met him, only that he somewhat resembled Mr. Bean (I never told him that, but later found out that I wasn’t the only one who though so – and he didn’t like it).
He was a postdoc when I knew him. He had a PhD in psychology, and one of his specializations was in neuroimaging and PTSD. His thesis research had involved women who had chronic abuse-related PTSD.
(It wasn’t until a lot later that I realized how ironic this was.)
He had wanted to study the potential differences of PTSD seen in men and women. Most of the research on PTSD focuses on the combat-related PTSD in young males, and often the research subjects are from the American military. What is PTSD like for those of a different gender? For those who experience a different type of trauma?
He’d come to Japan to study PTSD within the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. How were different age groups affected? How were men and women affected? Proximity to the disaster area? Severity of loss for individuals? It was questions like these that he wanted to answer.
For a variety of reasons, his research basically went nowhere in the 2 years he had worked on it. He returned home to France at the end of his contract. As far as I know, there’s still nothing that has come out of that lab or from him, relating to this topic.
He said he wanted to be a part of groundbreaking research, that working with the abused women had been awful and painful for him (and them), and he felt guilty about it. He had good intentions. He had connections, he had potential to bring about positive change, and increase knowledge in an important field of research. I don’t remember the exact words he used, but that was the idea.
He and I both wanted to do good – to help the disaster stricken area, and the people who had experienced it. He had a goal, a dream. He was smart, and always wanted to learn. He was playful and silly. He was strong. He loved France and French culture, but also Japanese culture. He was trying to become proficient in Japanese, and already had very good English. He had life experience that I didn’t. He had qualities and skills that I wanted in a partner. He had potential. We had potential.
What could go wrong?