I’ll balls it up and bail. I kissed her, then a few days later, moved in. She later told me she’d seen me walk in with the Jesus you mad bro shirt moreover I love this gay German and assumed I was his lover. Would’ve been better of me to realize a touch sooner that the German was in fact gay, and gay looking, and that people assumed I was too, due to my hanging with him. But I was young, and a doofus. Anyway, had I not asked her to dance, the life I came to live would not have come to pass. In the summer of 1176, Baldwin turned 15 and so attained his majority. He took the reins of government for himself and immediately undertook raids into Damascene territory probably to signal to both his subjects and his enemies that he was not invalid. He also brought his mother back to court and placed his maternal uncle, Joscelyn of Edessa, into the powerful position of Seneschal of Jerusalem. Tripoli appears to have been sidelined, but not in any way humiliated. There was, according to Piers D. Mitchell (“An Evaluation of the Leprosy of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem in the Context of the Medieval World,” in Bernard Hamilton’s The Leper King and His Heirs, Cambridge University Press, 2000), nothing inevitable about this deterioration. However, puberty itself can induce the deterioration as can untended wounds (that go unnoticed due to loss of feeling) which cause ulcers to break out. For this woman was a traveler of the old order, meaning she did everything the hard way, the cheap way, the local way no matter how basic, long or miserable the experience might turn out. I was not that guy. I was easing into cheap, having just come from a comfortable life in downtown Toronto. She got the sailing/taking-local boats-instead-of-flying notion into my head, the eating local food instead of pizza and burgers one and countless more from sleeping rough, to 80-hour bus rides, to learning immensities of patience, to tolerating people you’d prefer to kill, to learning the local language everywhere you go. She’d done it all herself and had learned how to make her money last, and how to make the travel and the destination the real experience (long before that became a cliche). And she was pervy. I had to respect her. Given his illness, however, and the certainty that he would not sire a successor, the most pressing business of the Kingdom was the marriage of Baldwin’s heir, his older sister Sibylla. In fact, Tripoli had already arranged a marriage for her with William de Montferrat, a man from a powerful north Italian family. Unfortunately, William died in the summer of 1177, leaving Sibylla pregnant at 17.
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