With the echo of the slamming door still in his head, the door that placed a resounding exclamation point on the end of his two year association with Trix, Rand put pen to paper and churned through a new, more complete, and this time “definitive” list of “must haves” for the next time he gets involved with someone.

The investment of time, energy and emotion in what was becoming a string of pale, strained and ultimately failed relationships was taking a toll. He was not so bold to think he played no role in these various ends. Quite the contrary. He felt mostly to blame, primarily for his lack of preparation and research.

The women were who they were. He firmly believed you could not change another person. You can only try to learn as much about them as possible. Then each person has to decide how much they are willing to bend to meet the needs, the eccentricities, the exotic familial circus acts, the spending habits, any potential health concerns, unique food cravings, beauty and personal maintenance rituals, sleep habits, income potential, radio station presets, awkward body ticks, recycling habits, need and desire to procreate, potential parenting skills, ability to perform simple home maintenance tasks, possibility of an aggressive religious focus following a near death experience and a whole litany of traits of the other. And, how much of what you see as your true self you want retain in the process.

As he wrote, the list grew.

There was a test section that included both multiple choice and true/false questions. He also added a short answer essay section for some of the deeper issues. Brief and succinct answers were preferred. Finally, he ended the whole thing with a question that would help turn the magnifying glass back on him. What do you expect from me?

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