By A.J. Llewellyn

I had a visit recently from my cousin whose husband John vanished 14 years ago, It was a heart-breaking, tragic case and it has often haunted me. When his skeletal remains were discovered a year after his disappearance deep in the Australian bush, I went to visit the site and to this day I wonder how and why he wound up in such a lonely, and to me, frightening place.

His widow, my lovely cousin, has gone on to live a productive life but I see that she is still pining for him. True love is like that. It never dies. True love is forever and love is stronger than death.

His passing has been shocking even to this day because we still don’t have answers. Why do some men vanish? What happens in their minds that they lose their way and we in turn, lose them?

I’ve thought about this a lot and it led to my writing Eivissa, my new M/M romance book which comes to eXtasy Books on April 15, which is a much lighter, brighter story. I set it in the sunny, spectacular Spanish island of Ibiza or, as the locals prefer, Eivissa. The story of a man washing up on Eivissa’s sunny shores in an amnesiac state has a much happier outcome than John’s story.

It is perhaps, one of the most emotional books I’ve written, because I feel his spirit as I tell a little of his tale. Men have a hard time committing their emotions to words. Men have a hard time admitting they need help.

In Australia, at the time of his vanishing, it was a shameful thing to admit to any kind of mental illness or emotional trouble that might require actual therapy. None of us know exactly what troubled John, a newlywed who shared a passion for reading, hiking in all forms of nature and surfing with his wife.

I see the questions still linger in her mind and I wish I could alleviate her pain. At least she found him and was able to lay him to rest. The terrible things she imagined might have been happening to him never did. According to the coroner, though no exact cause of death could be determined due to his advanced state of decomposition, his body was fully clothed. He was found lying face down and the front of his uniform was still clean and intact. He believes John died shortly after taking a train to the end of the line and walking into the bush. He had no food or water and the coroner believes John died of exposure.

I try not to think how long he sat there…how long did he wrestle with his demons before he succumbed?

Some men just leave us and we never find them again. Statistics show that is predominantly men who develop amnesia and wander around in a fugue state. My feelings about why this is the case are for the reasons I suggest.

Some of us need to learn to talk. Some of us need to ask for help. If you know someone who you think seems depressed or anxious, please, talk to him. Give him some time. You might just help him find an answer or two. Or at least give him hope.

Aloha oe,


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