His Tragedy Gives Me Hope

I know this guy.  A really wonderful guy.  He’s kind and compassionate.  I’ve never seen him angry.  Of course he is a vendor with whom I interact in a professional capacity, but I feel as though, I’ve known him and worked with him long enough that he’s more than just a vendor to me.  He is a friend and as a friend seeing him angry wouldn’t be completely unreasonable.  Yet it doesn’t happen. He’s always positive and upbeat.  He’s always encouraging and supportive.  He’s diplomatic and charismatic.  He’s always very peaceful and I really enjoy dealing with him.

You might wonder why this seems so incredible to me.  Why is it so noteworthy?  You see, my friend has every right and reason to be completely messed up.  No one could blame him if he was a miserable, unlikeable, pitiful excuse for a man.  He suffered greatly in his early days, both due to his environment and directly at his father’s hands.  And later when the world learned of his experience, no one could have faulted him for having been affected by it.

You see, my friend isn’t just any man.  He isn’t just any formerly abused child.  He’s the son of a psychopath.  My friend’s father was a very disturbed, evil man, who manipulated hundreds of people and is directly responsible for one of the most infamous and horrific mass murders of my lifetime.  My friend is the only living biological son of The Reverend Jim Jones and his wife Marceline.

With a name as generic as Jones, you’d never imagine that my friend could possibly be the son of such a sick individual.  I’m only aware of it because a former co-worker, big on over-sharing, told me about my friends history one day several years ago around this time.  Yesterday was anniversary of the massacre that took the lives of over nine hundred members of “The Peoples Temple.”  If you don’t know the story, You can find out a little bit here and here.  I’m not going to recount it in this forum.  The truth is, I wouldn’t have known anything about it if it weren’t for my mouthy co-worker, but as a person who is fascinated with disaster and destruction I couldn’t help but do some research afterward.  Like most people I’d heard the various catch phrases about “the Kool-Aid” (which it was not) but I didn’t know the story, and never before that day was it so personal.

Thirty years ago this week, the disaster took place.  The things I’ve read, and the television shows I’ve seen about the event are chilling to say the least.  I can only imagine what it must have been like in the days and weeks after the mass murder for my friend, (I can’t call what happened suicide.)  Knowing that he had survived this tragedy when so many innocent people died at his father’s proverbial hand, I can only imagine the survivor’s guilt that he must have suffered.  Likewise, I can only imagine the years of therapy it must have taken for him to become the man he is today.

In preparing to write this post today, I did a little internet search for information and I came upon a story about my friend and his appearance in, but disinterest in watching, a documentary type special, a couple years ago, about the Jonestown Massacre.  While I have read stories in the past about my friends life, I happened across this and was, nonetheless surprised:

The younger Jones concedes he went through hell and back trying to come to terms with his ordeal. “I’ve finally found a little peace.”

That peace wasn’t in place at Jonestown. “Then I was always enraged with my father, and I showed it openly,” he says.

“There were even times when we squared off in front of everybody at the Temple, with guns pointed at each others heads,” Jones says.

“But did I help anything? No, I really think I made it worse. I increased the fear and dread in the community. My rebellion was all about making him look wrong. There was little about standing up for the people in the community. I could no longer rationalize the sickness and the wrong of what he was doing, yet I rebelled from the safety of royalty.”

…with guns pointed at each others heads.”

It’s hard for me to imagine my friend holding a gun, let alone, pointing it someone’s head.  Especially at his own father’s head.  How tragic in it’s own right that such a thing should happen.  I’ve never discussed my friend’s father with him.  Part of me would very much like to.  I have many questions that go unanswered, but I just can’t help feeling like, perhaps he doesn’t want to talk about him.  Perhaps, he shares his story and does his interviews with news outlets out of some sense of obligation or responsibility but doesn’t desire to talk about it with people with whom he has a personal relationship.  I can imagine he’s got some incredible, exciting stories to tell.  If it weren’t such a tragic and disturbing true story, I would very much like to hear (or read) them.  But they’re surely not incredible, exciting stories to him.  They are the stuff of his tumultuous early years which is very likely better left buried.

Often, I have thought about what it must have been like for my friend, to grow up in such an environment.  I know, from reading my friends own writings on-line, that Jim Jones was a very disturbed and often violent father.  I know that he was addicted to drugs and carried on in a sexual manner, not appropriate for a father or a husband, and certainly not for a Pastor.  I know that my friend had a miserable childhood that included, among other things, multiple attempts at suicide by over-dosing on his father’s drugs.  I think about these things and I think, “Man!  What am I moping about?  My life was a walk in a park compared to that.”  And then I found this.

The other night, I watched the MSNBC special presentation, Witness to Jonestown.  I wish I could remember more specifics, but as I was watching this show and my mind was drifting on and off of what I was seeing and hearing, I was suddenly snapped back to the reality of the show when I heard a woman say, “You weren’t allowed to disagree.  You weren’t allowed to have a different opinion.”  I have expressed that very sentiment, almost word for word many times, in reference to growing up in Vengeful Mother‘s home.  And today I read the brief article “A cult is like abusive relationships…  You are trapped like a caged animal.”  The interview with Deborah Layton, a survivor of Jonestown, read, in a lot of ways, like a description of my own childhood as I was being raised by VM:

“…plays on people’s insecurities and gives them a sense of order in the world…

“You find a niche… where everything is black and white, where this way is good and the other way is bad.”

The logical consequence of this thinking, however, is that any deviation from the cult leader’s [Vengeful Mother‘s] thinking is automatically condemned. Members’ individuality is suppressed and subject to fear and suspicion…  “It’s an abusive relationship…you can’t extricate yourself without hurting yourself or your family. You are like a caged animal.”

There is a frightening and painful similarity between the way Vengeful Mother controlled me (and in many ways, still does) and how someone like Jim Jones controls the members of his Cult.

Come to think of it, my amazement at my friends ability to heal from his tragic early days also gives me hope for my own future.  Encouragement that I can and will find peace in my own life without the bonds of my previous existence holding me down, preventing me from finding a place in this world where I can fit in and be happy, healthy and whole.

Theraputic Mistery

Therapy was tough tonight.  There was a moment that kinda slipped by me until after it was all over.

Insightful Therapist and I briefly discussed, at the end of the session, the fact that I had been honest with the Match Support Specialist (MSS) at Big Brother’s and Big sisters, on Thursday, about the fact that I’m gay.  IT asked me if that felt significant to me, to have “come out” and been so honest with the Specialist about something that is so intensely difficult for me.  I said that it did not, because much to my surprise it wasn’t nearly as difficult for me as I thought it would be.

It was a little difficult to say, but far less so than what I had anticipated.  The MSS asked me about my relationship with my family and in particular my parents.  Describing my relationship with Dead Beat Dad was easy.  I pretty much don’t have one.  I’d like to.  And I am sort of working on it, but for the most part it’s just too difficult.  Vengeful Mother on the other hand is a little more difficult to explain.  I just told the MSS that my relationship with VM is strained, that I wish it wasn’t and it’s a work in progress, but that VM is very emphatic about her Christian beliefs and that she and I have some conflicts of interest, namely that I’m gay and VM wouldn’t be OK with it if she knew.  I informed the MSS that my family is not yet aware of this.

What I was expressing to Insightful Therapist, though possibly not completely clearly, was that despite my expectations, it didn’t feel like such a big deal to tell the MSS that I’m gay.  IT was asking me if that felt like a significant experience to me and I said, “No.”  But what I was saying was, “No. It didn’t feel terribly significant to tell the MSS about my sexuality.”

As I was leaving the waiting area of Insightful Therapist‘s office, it suddenly dawned on me.  She wasn’t asking me if it felt significant to tell a virtual stranger about my sexuality.  She was asking me if it felt significant to me, that it didn’t feel significant to tell a virtual stranger about my sexuality.  My answer to that question is, “Yes!  That’s huge!”

There was a lot more to our session tonight.  I’d hate to suggest that I’ve got it all worked out and narrowed down to a handful of factors, just to be wrong, but it seems to me that I’ve stumbled upon something.  It’s my fear that’s holding me back.  I am, truthfully, and shamefully, terrified of taking any steps that might move me forward.

I’m terrified of going to AA meetings, or Coming Out Support Groups.  I felt sick to my stomach and like I might pass out when I was seriously considering the possibility of volunteering with the HRC.  It’s not that I don’t think I can do anything with them.  I know I can.  But there are people there.  People that I don’t know.  And when I began to imagine what might come next after filling out the volunteer form, I was in agony… sick to my stomach… light headed.  I felt like I might just faint, right here in my chair whilst I considered such an absurd thing.

I’ve had so many experiences of rejection by people in randomly public situations that I don’t really feel comfortable taking the risk any more.  It’s easy for Insightful Therapist to nod her head and say, “That must have been so painful.”  But it’s so much more than painful.  It’s debilitating to think of taking the risk again.  To consider putting myself out there for such treatment to be issued, because what IT doesn’t convey that she understands is that it will happen again.  Maybe not on such a grand scale.  Maybe not in such an oppressive manor, but it will happen again.  And it will happen every time I put myself out there.  For every person who will treat me with a modicum of respect, there will be fifteen who will treat me like so much dog doo on the sole of their shoe.  Like I’m something to be dealt with and forgotten about.  I just want to be welcomed, treated with respect and dignity and love, just for being who I am.  To be treated like I’m Somebody’s Somebody, but I can’t shake the fact that, no matter where I go or what I do, There will always seem to be a majority who does not like me.

Ding Dong

I’ve just come from the men’s room where I was poised to take care of some personal business.  If you’ve read my list of Random Facts then you know that I tend toward a bit of a stage fright issue, so you can imagine my predicament when I’m standing in front of the urinal, shmeckle in hand on the verge of release and I hear the toilet in the stall immediately behind me flush and almost at the same instant the stall door opened.  Despite my discomfort, I’m sure you’ll be very relieved to to know that I was, well…  very relieved.

So there I stand, unit in hand and my men’s room cohabiter at the sink when I hear a door bell.  Bear in mine I’m in the men’s room.  (Heh heh, “bare.”)  In an office building.  On the 23rd floor.  There should be no door bell’s ringing here.  The tile walls behind the urinals are surprisingly shiny, which is simultaneously amusing and unexpected.  It’s also a little disappointing, because despite their shine, you can’t really see anything good.  But I could see the world behind me in the shine.  I looked up to see a handsome young man, four inches shorter than myself, wearing jeans and a t-shirt and a fluorescent orange “The Company That Created The HMO construction services” vest.  He’s standing at the sink and scurrying to get his hands washed and rinsed so he can answer what I then realize is his ringing cell phone.

“I’ve never heard a door-bell in a bathroom before,” I said.

He laughed and told me that it’s the only way that it get’s his attention, otherwise it just rings and he doesn’t notice it.

As he was walking out of the restroom I was reminded of another incident that took place in that very same spot more than a year ago.  There I stood with my pants open, hose nozzle on full blast, if ya know what I mean, when out of the corner of my eye, I see the door open and a familiar figure walking in.  Vickie A. took six steps into the men’s room before she realized that the figure she saw before her, one that she too recognized, did not belong in her restroom.  I couldn’t help but laugh and having grown up in a house with Vengeful Mother and CPA Sister and only one bathroom, I wasn’t bothered by her presence.  There was, after all a wall between her eyes and my accoutrement.  Poor Vicki was so flummoxed that she just stood there for a minute looking at me and babbling about how it’s true what they say about how we stand while we’re doing our business, before she finally turned around and sprinted out the door.

She continued to work on the same floor as I do for another year after that.  I suppose a kind and benevolent person would have let her live this down.

Unfortunately for Vickie, I am neither kind, nor benevolent.

Shaking Things Up

I’ve never really claimed to be clairvoyant or to otherwise have ESPN, but from time to time things happen where I feel like I could predict the future.

Actually, I should take a step back.  When I was a child of roughly 11 years old we had an event at our family church.  There was a traveling minister that the pastor had brought in, and on the last night of his little conference, he asked for the parents to let him pray over their children before we were sent off to the children’s services for the evening.  I choose not to make a statement one way or the other about my beliefs of what this man had to offer.  It would be an entirely separate post unto itself.  But suffice it to say that I do not imagine that he was a complete quack, though perhaps took some things over board.

“I’d like for the children to line up here, in the front of the auditorium,” he said, “and I’ll hold my hand over them and pray for them.  If the Lord gives me a special message for or about any of them I’ll share that.”

We all went to the front of the church as asked and lined up for him to pray for us.  As I recall it, and we’ve already established that my memory is less than exact, he held his hand above our heads, one by one and praying for us alternately in tongues and in English.  There were six or eight children before me, two of whom were the pastors children, but nothing happened with any of them.  And then he came to me.  And he froze.  And he said, “The gift of prophesy.  God has given the gift of prophesy to this young man.”

Boy, was I excited at the prospect of being able to predict the future.  What a wonderful gift, i thought.  Naturally, Vengeful Mother was right there to shit on it.

“It’ll only happen if you stay in the church and honor God’s will.”  She might as well have said the rest of what she was thinking, “in the way that I see fit.

For years after that I lived with the simultaneous thrill of possibly being able to “predict” the future, and the fear of not measuring up to God’s (Vengeful Mother‘s) expectations.  Eventually, I reached a point of not wanting the gift if I had to “be good enough” for it.  I wanted to be “good enough” just the way I was.  I found myself being unwilling, or afraid to experience this “gift of the spirit”.  And yet, in the back of my mind, I repeatedly heard this minister, “God has given the gift of prophesy to this young man.”  The minister didn’t mention any conditions.  Just “God has given….”

I’ve experienced a lot of instances where I felt like “I’ve been here before.” or “I’ve seen this before.”  Lot’s of people would tell you , “Oh that’s just deja vu.  It happens to everybody.  Here’s the biochemical explanation for that….”  But to me, it doesn’t just feel like “Oh it’s just deja vu.”  It feels like more than that.  It feels like more than just an after-image, or a synapse misfire.  It feels real.  It feels like something I already knew about. And, it’s happened a few times.

Nearly ten years ago, Vengeful Mother, told me about a car accident that the parents (married for over 50 years) of D-Lite‘s (Vengeful Mother‘s best friend’s) husband had been in.  They were both left in comas immediately following the accident.  The husband of the couple died of internal injuries a few hours after they’d been admitted to the hospital and the wife was still in a coma but had broken both of her legs and was really banged up, but was expected to live.

I asked Vengeful Mother, “What do you think will happen when she wakes up?”

“What do you mean?” VM asked me.

“Well,” I said, “I know that this is kind of mellow-dramatic, but I know it’s been known to happen where people in a situation like this are heartbroken over their loss and end up dying for no reason other than that.”

VM expressed that she couldn’t answer to that and we’d just have to wait and see.  Two days later, when I got to work, I got an e-mail from VM that said something along the lines of, “You have always been very spiritually attuned, even if we don’t really realize it until later on…  D-Lite‘s Mother-in-law woke up from her coma yesterday afternoon.  After they confirmed that she was relatively stable, they informed her of her husband’s death.  Shortly before midnight she went to sleep.  She never woke up.”  There was some mention of her not wanting to go on without her husband.

In that instance, I didn’t even realize I’d had that certain sensation, but I did, in fact, know that this would happen.  Over the years I have had hit and miss experiences to help me learn to trust that feeling.

Most recently was the morning I woke up having dreamed that my Grandfather had died and about the result of his death.  I hoped I’d be wrong and as the time wore on, I began to feel like maybe I was wrong, and then I got the call.  Fifteen hours after I woke up from my dream, I was informed that Papa had just died.  I had known it would happen.  I wanted to be wrong, but I knew it would happen and I wasn’t surprised when I was informed.

I woke up yesterday morning, with one of those feelings.  It’s been nearly 48 hours since I had the dream and things are looking up…

But, the night, before last, I dreamt, that at some point, during the day whilst I was away from my home, the Bay Area was rocked by a six point something earthquake.  In my dream the shaking lasted more than 30 seconds, which, for those who aren’t familiar, usually guarantees considerable damage.  For instance the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989 was a magnitude 6.9 and lasted only 15-20 seconds but did billions of dollars worth of damage.

Now I don’t say there WILL BE an earthquake of such significance anytime soon.  I certainly had no indication in the dream of what the date and time was.  I just know that I woke up from the dream feeling apprehensive and relieved, because while the earthquake was serious and real in my dream, here was a minimal amount of damage done…  At least in my own world.  I can’t actually speak for the Bay Area as a whole.

At any rate, I didn’t write this to be alarmist, I don’t expect anyone to believe it.  I’m not sure I believe it myself.  I said that over the years I’d learned to trust that feeling.  That may be an overstatement.  Over the years I’ve learned not to discount that feeling.  So. I hope I’m wrong, and I probably am, but in the meantime, every time I feel a shake, every time I hear an odd rumble, I’m looking up.  I’m checking fluid levels in bottles and glasses for vibration.  I’m checking my hanging Philodendron, “Phil,” for sway.  And I’m watching the surest barometer of all, Scared Kitty who will freeze in place, and then coming running for comfort and safety.  I check all these things to make sure I’m imagining it all.

Eventually, the feeling will subside.  I’ll lower my defenses…  And that ultimately, will be the point of no return, the point when the next big earthquake will hit.  Until then, I just wait for my premonition, to be proved.  It has to happen eventually, right?

Getting “In The Game”

I was a painfully lonely child.  Even while most kids with siblings have built in best friends, my sibs hardly wanted anything to do with me as a child.  I desperately needed for someone to love me and want me around.  Ex Con Older Brother and CPA Sis are only two years apart and always had more in common with each other than either had with me.  For reasons I may never be able to understand, I wasn’t really ever able to make friends with people my own age, and so I spent a lot of time after school and on the week-ends being alone.

“Mommy,” I used to say to Vengeful Mother, “I’m bored.”

“So find yourself something to do,” she would respond.  “It’s not my responsibility to entertain you.”  Even Vengeful Mother didn’t want to spend time with me.

I rarely ever considered the idea of having a little brother or sister.  I couldn’t remember when my parents were married and so for me to have a little brother or sister would require someone to have sex outside of marriage and, well, that of course was out of the question!  So while, from time to time, I wished for a built in best friend like my siblings had in each other, I never really seriously considered the desire.  So I was painfully lonely.

I used to overhear ECOB And CPA Sis talk about “The Game”, and I had no idea what they were talking about.  Finally one day I learned that they had an imaginary world, known simply as “The Game”, wherein they pretended to be other people, with other lives.  Generally older than they really were, with spouses and families and friends that didn’t really exist.  And I wanted in.  They, of course wouldn’t allow it, so as usual I was out in the cold to play my own game.  So, play my game I did.

richardsimmonsI used to have great fun playing my game.  As a very young child I was completely enamored with Wonder Woman, but of course I was a boy and I knew I was not permitted to want to be a girl.  (In truth, I didn’t really want to be a girl, I just didn’t have a lot of imagination.)  So I pretended I was Wonder Man.  (I never knew there really was a Wonder Man character.) I imagined I had the little red boots with the white stripe and the slight heel.  As to the rest of my costume, well, as I just said, I didn’t have much of an imagination but I had to “masculinize” Wonder Woman’s costume for myself…  So imagine, Richard Simmons… feeling very patriotic…  That’s pretty much what my imaginary Wonder Man costume looked like, complete with the golden lasso, bullet proof cuffs and boomerang crown naturally!  Of course if I’d known then, what I know now…  I might’ve imagined myself looking a little more like this:

wondermanI used to run around the yard outside our after school care ladies house kicking my heels into my butt cheeks (because that was how Wonder Woman ran so fast, dontchaknow) and making the ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch sound whenever I’d “jump great distances.”  This, by the way was the same sound I made while “performing great feats of strength”, when I pretended I was The Six Million Dollar Man.  ECOB and CPA Sis pretended not to know me.

I used to love MacGyver.  I hadn’t taken any significant science classes at that point (and come to find out I’d suck big harry nuts at science) but I thought he was the shiz.  Plus, he was blond.  Something I always wanted to be but never was… Not naturally anyway.  He was attractive.  I could tell because CPA Sis and Vengeful Mother both really liked him.  I always got a happy feeling when I’d see him on the screen.  So at one point I wanted to be MacGyver.  (As a side bar:  With the resurgence of “old time” TV shows lately (Bionic Woman, Knight Rider, 90210) they should totally make a new MacGyver.  I’m thinking Ryan Reynolds or maybe that guy from Brittney Spears’ “Womanizer” video (shirtless at all times of course.) I’d do ‘im– er, watch him.)

I always liked The Facts of Life, and, go figure, Jo Polniaczek was my favorite girl.  I knew I was supposed to like girls and of the options, she was the least girlie, black or fat.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I always liked Jo, for real, but if I was supposed to like a girl, she was the one.  And at the time I thought I was sincere.

So for a while there, “in the game” I was MacGyver and I was married to Jo Polniaczek, living in Mrs. G’s house and sharing the household responsibilities with the other girls and their husbands (Yes.  The four of them all still lived in the house.)

For a brief period of time in 1988 I even pretended I was Mario Van Peebles, a la “Sonny Spoon” and I was married to Olympic Figure Skater Debi Thomas.  I know they say that “Once you go black, you never go back”, but this phase didn’t last very long and when it was over, it was all white guys from then on, for me.

Eventually, Ex Con Older Brother outgrew “The Game”, and CPA Sis wasn’t ready to call it quits, so suddenly, I was old enough to play.  I still remember, from time to time, whenever one of us would learn something new about someone, or find a new celebrity or character we liked, we’d change “The Game”.  At one point CPA Sis and I were both infatuated with MacGyver at the same time.

“In the game, I’m MacGyver,” I said.

“You can’t be.  I want to be married to him,” was her reply.

“Hmmm.  Ok.  Then….  I’m his twin brother GyMacver.”  I replied.  (I don’t think I really fucked with the name like that, but who knows.

On other occasions:

“In the game, MacGyver is sitting right here next to me with his arm around me helping me with my homework.”  Guess which of us said that.

The worst was when I was spending the night at my friends house (we’ll call him the Pickle) once and I thought it would be cool to let him in on the fun.  I told him about the game and that in the game I was MacGyver and I was married to The Bionic Woman, and then pretended to kiss her.  The Pickle and I were lying on the floor in his parents room playing a board game, (Life, I think) and when I finished kissing Jamie Sommers and looked back at him, he looked at me like I had three heads.  Fortunately, about three seconds later, he forgot all about my game.

He’d been playing with an electrical cord with his toes while we were playing the board game and suddenly his mother’s iron came crashing down on his head, point first.  As the blood gushed forth and down over his forehead, no longer was the stupidity of my imaginary game at hand, and never was it mentioned again!

There was a point in the late 80s where I also fantasized that I was Officer Tom Hansen as played by Johnny Depp.  This one worked particularly well, because I could go to my school and learn my lessons while pretending to be this cool, older, sexier guy that girls swooned over.  There’s one episode of 21 Jump Street that has always stood out for me.  Tom decided to become a Big Brother as in Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, but he was ultimately rejected.  It turned out that Doug Penhall had discouraged the BBBS from accepting Tom, for one reason or another…  Hey!  I was 12.  I can’t be expected to remember ALL of the details.

In late 1988 or early 1989, I had become enamored of the “Patch and Kayla” story on Days of our Lives (which I’d been introduced to by CPA Sis.)  I didn’t especially think much of Steve, but I thought Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) was awesome.  Since I had no imagination, I decided I wanted to be Steve so I could be with Kayla.  I knew CPA Sis wouldn’t be impressed with that so I didn’t tell her.  I continued to pretend I was pretending to be MacGyver because that was acceptable to her, but really I was pretending I was Patch.  (I guess this was the beginning of my career pretending to be something acceptable to my family.)  I remember the day in the late ’80s when I realized that something was not right.  CPA Sis was 16 or 17 years old and her heart hadn’t really seemed into it when I’d talk about “The Game.”  One day I said, “You don’t really want to play ‘The Game’ anymore, do you?”

“Not really,” she said.  “I’m kinda too old for it.”

And that was the end of “The Game”…  Or was it?

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I continued to play “The Game” alone, well into my 20s.  When Party of Five came out, I was head over heals for Scott Wolf/Bailey Salinger.  I wanted to be him.  God only knows why he was the preferred character for me.  I was certainly closer in age to Charlie Salinger, but it was all about Bailey.  I had a whole fantasy worked out.  I was Bailey Salinger, and (as was often the case in those days) I had an infant child which was the product of a one night stand with a girl I met at a party.  She had died during child birth (as they always did, ’cause who needs the girl around) and I was raising my child on my own (the only way I’d want to.)

When I moved to California, and had my first job with The Soul Crushing Telecom Company for whom Green M&M still works, I met a guy.  His name was Scott and he was beautiful.  I wanted him, but mostly I just wanted to be friends with him.  My fantasy  was that Scott and I (Bailey Salinger) were such good friends that we hung out together all of the time.

One day Scott didn’t come to work.  I found out that he had always wanted to ride his motor cycle to LA and back and so he took a Friday off to do this.  In my imagination, I came home from work to find him in my apartment.  He’d gotten halfway to LA and realized he wasn’t having any fun ’cause I wasn’t there, and he turned around and came back.  He couldn’t wait to tell me all this and how much he wanted to be with me.  That was the first night I allowed myself to unabashedly fantasize about having sex with a man.

To this day, when I’m feeling particularly lonely, or when I’ve got something on my mind that I need to hash out with someone, or when I’m horny and I need a boyfriend…  I find myself leaning toward “The Game.”  I’ve found it to be like an addiction.  I have a physical need for it.  Honestly!  Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m the only person in the house and that I can talk to myself all I want, I’m just talking to myself.  No one is going to answer me.  It’s not that I have to pretend I’ve got this whole alternate life going on anymore.  But sometimes I imagine both sides of the conversation/encounter and play it out.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong with this, it’s just that it’d be real easy for me to slip back into “The Game” if I let myself and I don’t want to do that.  I want real relationships.

So, yeah.  I was lonely a lot growing up, and despite my knowledge that getting a little brother would mean “unacceptable” behavior on my mother’s part I always wanted someone I could be close with.  I finally got my “little brother in 2000, when CPA Sis married Mr. Fixit who is three years my junior.  Unfortunately, my “little brother” was going to be living 1800 miles away (3000 miles now) and is nearly six inches taller than I.  Very funny God!  You’ve finally answered my prayers and my “little brother” is bigger than I.

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About a year ago, I grew very tired of being lonely and set about looking for ways to find and make new friends.  The ancestral version of this blog was part of that plan, but that didn’t come until later and when it did, it didn’t work out the way I had intended.  I decided that I could make an effort toward meeting people, and perhaps make myself feel a little bit better by finding some sort of volunteer work I could do.  I looked into Habitat for Humanity.  I really enjoy things that have tangible results to show and what better way to have tangible results than to build something, but their needs and my availability didn’t really seem to match up.

I found myself low on further ideas for additional opportunities so I did an internet search and came across a website called Volunteer Match and I found a number of listings for mentoring.  Nothing sounded familiar to me and I felt like that was too big of a deal to enter into lightly, but it reminded me of the episode of 21 Jump Street.  I remember watching that episode in silence while secretly being tremendously affected by it.  Of course part of it was, how could I not want Johnny Depp to pay attention to me?  But mostly it was just my secret longing for anyone to really care about and pay attention to me.  To make me the center of their universe, even if it was only for a few hours a week.  I was hurting while I watched it because I was thinking, I could really use someone like that in my life.  But I couldn’t ask for it.

And while I was remembering that it hit me.  I could be a Big Brother.  I could do for some kid or kids what no one ever did for me.  I could be a positive influence in their lives.  So I went to their website and I applied.  It wasn’t meant to be at that time.  There was an obstacle that I had to over come before I could be a Big Brother, but it was a blessing in disguise.  It gave me a year to think it over and make sure, was this really something I wanted to do?  Yes!  Am I really ready to handle this?  Fuck if I know, but I imagine it’s a little like parenthood.  You’re never ready, you just do it.

Today, I had my first interview with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Bay Area.  It was nerve racking, though not as much so as I thought it would be.  The match specialist was fabulous and made me feel very much at ease.  She seemed very non-judgmental and more than once expressed her appreciation of my candor.  It was actually easier than I thought it would be to tell her I’m gay, but I thought it was important to establish that up front.

Now begins the arduous wait while they go through their process.  Tomorrow, she’ll send her reference checks to CPA Sis, Green M&M, Eve and Douche Bag.  I would have just as soon not included him, but as I recall the application asks for your immediate supervisor as one of the references.  The good thing is that DB doesn’t do confrontation, so I can rest relatively assured that he’ll say good things about me and not hurt my chances.  I don’t know what he would possibly have based this statement on but when I told him I would be leaving early today for the interview he said, “That’s great!  You’d make a great Big Brother.”  While it’s nice to hear, I don’t feel particularly like that’s praise worth it’s salt coming from him.  Anyway, while they wait for the references to be sent back, they’ll run my background check.  The only thing they’ll find is the DUI I received on January 18, 2003 and they’re already aware of that.  (This is the obstacle from a year ago.)  They can’t officially match me with a “Little” until after it’s been five years, so I have a couple months to wait.  I was informed that being gay, it will take longer to match me, anyway.  Apparently, there are a lot of parent/guardians out there who are ignorant and fearful of homosexuality and have specified that they do not want their children paired up with a homosexual.  It’s unfortunate, as it’s the “Little” that they’re hurting, but it is their prerogative.  I can’t say I’m surprised by the likely delay, but it’s still sad to hear.  Meanwhile, if I’m accepted (God, I hope I’m accepted.  What would it say about me if I’m not ‘good enough’ to work with underprivileged children) they do offer some training for me to take which will help prepare me to be a “Big”.

I’ll be honest.  I’m terrified.  My stomach is in knots and my heart is in my throat, just writing about it.  But it is important to me.  I can’t wait to be able to have a positive impact on some boy’s life.  To teach him that there are people out there who want nothing more than his health, safety and happiness.  To teach him that no matter what shit he’s going through there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.  And, God forbid, if he’s been through some serious problems (i.e. molestation, physical abuse) to teach him that not everyone wants to treat him like that.  That there is good in the world and that he deserves to experience it.

I can hardly wait!

Seven Days? Really? Only Seven Days?

I can hardly believe it’s been only seven days.  Only seven days since one of the greatest history making moments in my life time, the election of our first “black” President.  I have to use the quotes.  It’s not that I don’t see the historic value of what happened.  It’s just that, to me, Barack Obama isn’t a “black” President.

Really, Barack Obama is 50% African, and 50% American.  (Hmmm.  I never thought of that before this moment.  I guess I can safely call him an “African American” without having the terminology grate against me.  I have a hard time calling black people “African American” because the vast majority of them have never set foot in Africa and neither have several generations of their ancestors.  And because the “politically correct” terminology changes from one day to the next and I don’t see how “black” can be offensive unless you’re just looking for an excuse to be offended.)  But from the moment the results were in and he was our new president I couldn’t help feeling like all the hoopla was a little bit of a farce.  This man is not “black

A day or two after the election, I saw something on the TV.  A handful of gang banging, pants sagging, puffy coat wearing, bandanna displaying, gold tooth flashing hoodlum type young black males, showing their exuberant enthusiasm that finally, “we will be represented.”  And all I could think was, “He doesn’t represent YOU!”  Barack Obama is an educated, well spoken, contemplative, sophisticated, only HALF Black man.  Something those boys on my TV screen will never have the capacity to understand.

I don’t mean to belittle his heritage.  That’s not my point at all.  But the reality is, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.  They’re usually based in some amount of reality.  And the reality is that Barack Obama is not a “stereotypical black man”.  I hope you don’t think that makes me racist, because it doesn’t.  But if you come away from this with the idea in your head that it does, well…  I think that’s something I can live with.

There’s no end in sight to the overblown propagandization of the monumental accomplishment that is the election of our first Black President and I am sincerely glad to have been a part of that accomplishment.  I really do see the greatness of that accomplishment and certainly would rather have it this way versus the alternative.  I am not sorry that Barack Obama is going to be our next President.  But by the same token, I am not a disciple of the Obama movement.  Certainly there were better options out there.  I still, to this day believe that Hillary was the right person for the job.  That she should have been our 44th President and that if a woman was going to hold that office in the next two decades it would be she.

I’m constantly reminded of the Saturday Night Live sketch from earlier this season with “Sarah Palin”, played by Tina Fey, and “Hillary Clinton”, played by a quite pregnant Amy Poehler.  The ladies were delivering a joint press conference (the “I can see Russia from my house.” sketch).  “Sarah” made a comment about knowing that “Hillary” agrees that it’s time for a woman in the White House, to which “Hillary” lost all composure and said, “Noooooo.  I didn’t want a woman in the White House!  I wanted ME in the White House.”  It was of course an extremely humorous moment but it also spoke volumes, in my opinion, to the status of this nation!  Are we ready for a woman in the White House?  I don’t know.  I’d like to think so, but I’m just not sure.  Were we ready for Hillary Clinton in the White House and more specifically in the Oval Office?  I say, without a doubt, yes.  Then again, the facts don’t seem to support my assertion so perhaps I’m wrong.  I know I was ready, but I may be alone.

It is equally hard, if not harder to believe that it’s been only one week since the devastating news that indeed, I have been stripped of a right that, honestly, up until earlier this year, I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.  The right to fall in love with the man of my dreams and fulfill that dream by marrying him, just like my sister was able to do with the man of her dreams.  Just like Unsvelt Girl Who Runs and TV Addicted Mom, and just like the vast majority of the rest of the world.

I still find the irony of the situation equal parts amazing and disgusting!  It seems as though Proposition 8 was approved, at least in part, because of the record number of Black voters that turned out for this election.  Let’s face it.  There’s a decent chance that Barack Obama would not have been elected if not for the record number of Black voters that turned out to vote in this election and yet, based on the polling data, these are the same voters that voted in favor of Proposition 8.  The reason given?  That they didn’t see the correlation between the discrimination that they face periodically and that their ancestors faced on a daily basis, and the discrimination that is now to be heaped upon me and thousands like me.

If you’ve read this blog much in the past you probably know that I am an “average white boy.”  (Although Green M&M says, “If you got a drop, your black, honey.”  Which I guess probably means that I, the original average white boy, am also black.  I got a little bit of everything in me going way back!  At one of her sisters parties a long time ago, I was referred to buy a drunk back guy as a “light skinded brother” so who knows.)  They don’t come much more average than I.  The thing that makes me not average, not part of the majority?  The thing that makes me a part of the minority set?  The fact that I’m gay.  Currently, gay individuals are still a minority.  We probably always will be.  But because this percentage of Black voters who were part of the exit polls couldn’t see how I was being discriminated against in the same way that they are, or that their parents or grandparents were, they voted to take away my rights and put me in that minority position.

There’s a youtube video from Kieth Olbermann:

that has made the rounds on the internet today, that I must say I’m quite impressed with.  But one of the things that struck me the most was this.  In his commentary, Olbermann says, that forty odd years ago Mr. and Mrs. Obama would not have been allowed to marry in 16 of the states of this great nation of which their son would grow up to hold the highest office.  Roughly a third of the country, just 40 years ago.  And the body they have to thank for that freedom is the California Supreme court and yet, seven days ago that same race of people made a major contribution toward stealing away those same rights from the likes of me.

It was not my intention for this post to be yet another political rant, for in truth I am a political know nothing. I’m just amazed to find that it has been ONLY seven days since this historic, but nonetheless tragic day took place.  It feels like an eternity to me.  I’ve been through so much in the seven days since.  And yet, really, I haven’t been through anything.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008, was a rough day for me already.  I was late for work, as usual, having overslept, as usual, and barely arriving at work in time for my 9:30 Tuesday Morning Torture Session, otherwise known as my departments staff meeting, as usual.  It wouldn’t be so bad by itself, it’s just that we have been having literally the same meeting for the last six years.  The agenda never changes.  Douche Bag is just as flippant and ignorant and oblivious as ever.  Country Dumbkin is just as late as ever, and just as disruptive as ever.  The agenda doesn’t change, and Unsvelt Girl who Runs (who at the rate she’s going will need a new moniker soon) and I continue to stare at the table and wait for the agonizing hour to end.  It always ruins our days and makes us want to jab our eyes out with our pens.

Deb, my therapist, had advised me, via voice mail, that there is a poling place near her office, and that I may need to allow myself a little extra travel and parking time (there is only street parking near her office) before our appointment.  So I had to leave work early to fight the traffic and the parking problems.  I am a Permanent Absentee Voter so I didn’t have to worry about fighting the lines at the polls, thank God!

I wish I could point out some particularly offensive events of that day.  I’m sure their were some, it’s just that there’s nothing out of the ordinary about it so I don’t remember anything in particular.

I went to my weekly therapy appointment where I asked what I felt was a simple question, “What good does it do me to know why I feel the way I do if it doesn’t make it stop happening?”  I didn’t like her answer, or anything else, much, about our visit.  I realize that happens sometimes and I’m not contemplating ending our relationship.  I’m just really tired of this stage of things and I’m ready to move on and I feel like I don’t know how to do that.  And sometimes I feel like she holds the key and just isn’t sharing.

After therapy I came home and turned on the TV.  I honestly felt like I already knew the outcome.  There was virtually know way Obama was not going to win and when I got home and turned on the tube it was already 207 electoral votes for Obama to 134 electoral votes for McCain and we were only minutes away from the West Coast Polls closing.  I was disappointed to find that no one was talking about Prop 8 yet.  I knew the out come of this one too.  I was just praying that, there but for the grace of God, I would be wrong.  And then the reports started coming in.  And Prop 8 was passing and I could feel my future slipping away.

But more than losing my future, I could feel my present slipping away.  I could feel all the confidence and certainty I had built up over the last two years dwindling.  I was being told by 52% of the voters of California that it was not OK for me to be the person I was born to be.  The person that God has made me.

A snippet of a song keeps going through my head, and while it doesn’t completely fit, the chorus and the sentiment of the singers does.  It’s from a scene in Rent when Maureen and Joanne are breaking up at their engagement party:

Take me for what I am
Who I was meant to be
And if you give a damn
Take me baby, or leave me.

So often I feel this way and want to scream this to so many people, especially in my family, but after last Tuesday, I felt like 52% of the state of California was saying back to me, “Yeah, thanks.  Given the option?  I think I’ll leave.”

I stayed home from work on Wednesday.  I did it in part because I stayed up way to late watching the returns and just hoping that by some miracle the numbers would turn around and we’d begin to see the “No”s climb before ultimately defeating the measure.  That, as you know, did not happen.  So I stayed home because I was up until the middle of the night praying for a miracle.  I also stayed home because I was, honestly and truly pouting.  I may be 33 yeas old, but I couldn’t help myself.  I stayed home to pout because I just couldn’t face anyone.  I couldn’t bare to pretend that I was fine and that all the shit that would absolutely be dished out on me at work didn’t matter.  I was hurt and depressed and I had to stay home and pout and cry and rage and generally be a sore loser.  Even now, as I think about it, I’m angry and I have tears that well up behind my eyes just begging to come out.  Because I feel impotent to make a change.  Unable to get through to anyone, and a thousand times less sure of myself and my orientation than I was on Monday, November 3, 2008.

The rest of the work week was pretty average except I couldn’t get over my hurt and anger, perhaps I still haven’t.  And then Friday.

On Friday, while I was “working” (which probably amounted to writing my all about Eve post, Vengeful Mother popped up on my computer screen, via Instant Message and said, “Why don’t you come home for Thanksgiving.”  I was completely on the spot, caught off guard and utterly speechless.  I have no desire to go to VM‘s house or spend any one on one time with her ever again.  I love her but I can’t tolerate being with her and I’m just not ready, not strong enough, to stand on my own while being around her and experiencing the vitriol and judgement that she spews.  I had to say no, but how?  So I told her as little of the truth as I had to, in order to put it to an end.  “I can’t.  I don’t really have the money, other people in my office already have the time off, and I have a prior existing engagement.”  Fortunately, it was over at that.

But Friday was just a long, hard day and it culminated in my shameful humiliation on Craigslist and my disgust with myself on Saturday.  What I haven’t previously stated is that I was up until nearly 4:00 in the morning pursuing my demise and I had to get up on Saturday morning to go and spend the day with Green M&M to whom I would be loathe to say anything about my Craigslist extravaganza.

Yesterday, already feeling like I’d lived a lifetime (albeit a bad one) in the seven days past, I was on Facebook and saw something that I think is telling, and that upsets me.  Not long after I made the, in my opinion, monumental error of setting up a Facebook profile I located an old high school friend of mine who I haven’t seen since the summer after graduation and have had very limited interaction with.  I made the effort to reconnect with her this time around and have been feeling guilty because I have been procrastinating answering her “How have you been.  Hope everything is good.” e-mail because I don’t know what to tell her.  I don’t know how honest to be with her.  And then today I saw this, “RNJ is really tired of seeing the commercial advertising the TLC show on the so-called ‘pregnant man.’  That’s not a man, it’s a woman dressed up as a man. Nasty.”  That makes it seem pretty clear to me that I can’t talk to her about what’s real about me.  And I can’t help feeling just a little more rejected by the world around me.

Seven Days?  Really?  It’s only been seven days?

It’s All About Eve

My retarded clever gene has struck again.

I’ve tried three times to start this post in a clever way and nothing seems quite right, so I’m just going to be straight… eh’hem.  So to speak.

The love of my life is coming to town.  I’m totally stoked!  She’s bringing her boyfriend.  I could do without that.  Not that there’s anything wrong with him, he’s actually a really nice guy, but her having a boyfriend means she’s not pining away for me and I’m not loving that.  Her name is “Eve” (as in “All About… “).  OK, it’s not really, but I call her that here because she will be the first person to tell you that “it’s all about me”, and she won’t be kidding.  It would be annoying and a real turn-off except that part of what is all about her, is her genuine interest and care for the people in her life.  She has an amazing ability to turn that “it’s all about me” selfishness right on upside down into a selflessness that is completely unparalleled.  I also call her “Eve” here because, well, even though it is an actual real name (the only one you’ll find in my cast of characters, thus far) it is absolutely nothing like her real name which makes it sufficiently anonymous while still being slightly clever.  (Seriously folks, I need someone besides me to validate my cleverness.)

Now, if you’re a regular reader (and if you’re not, you should be!), I’m sure I can imagine what you’re probably saying to yourself right now.  “This dude is gay.  Why is he talking about a woman as the love of his life?”  And you’re probably right.  It’s a little bit odd.  But I guess you’d have to know us.

Eve has a far clearer picture of the real me, than anyone else in the world, I think.  I shudder at the thought that maybe she doesn’t know it all, and if she did, I’d finally succeed in driving her away.  Lord knows I’ve worked pretty damn hard at it over the years.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I met Eve around the middle of 1995, I think (may have been 96, I’m bad with this stuff.  But she’s not.)  I was working as an Assistant Manager at the Men’s Clothing Store that happened to carry a moniker deceptively similar to but has no affiliation with that of a former NFL Running Back but which has since gone out of business, when Eve transferred in from the Salt Lake City store.  She was a year younger than I which is to say, she moved to Tulsa, because she still lived with her mother and her mother moved to Tulsa for work so therefore Eve moved to Tulsa as well.  Eve was essentially placed in our store by the District Manager who didn’t ask the Store Manager for her opinion or an interview and therefor Eve was starting out on the losing end.

The fact is Eve had everything you want in a “sales girl” in a men’s clothing store you want to be viewed as “young and hip.”  (Just to remind you that I am gay, and just how much, it popped into my head and I started to type, “now Eve Peron, had every disadvantage, you’ll need if you’re gonna succeed.”) (and that’s an Evita reference for those who don’t know.) She was young (19), beautiful and very flirtatious.  Before her mother’s job brought them to Tulsa, Eve was the strongest seller in her store.  This is the reason there was no question whether she’d be brought onto our staff when the call came in.

Eve was instantly disliked by the Store Manager, Jodi (I’ll use her real name because we aren’t friends, I don’t know where she lives and I doubt she’ll ever see this) because Eve was “forced” upon us, and by the First Assistant Manager, Paul (I’ll use his real name for all the same reasons) because of no reason that I can identify.  It’s possible that Paul was just loyal to Jodi and that was all it took.  I don’t know.

Eve has an amazing memory.  Stunning even.  She remembers specific events, and specific things that were said that I have no recollection of whatsoever.  She consistently blows me away with the things she pulls out.  I on the other hand, can’t seem to remember jack shit!  I don’t really remember how I came to be friends with her.  In fact, I thought things were somewhat tense between us.  I remember more than one occasion when Eve drove me to my car at the end of our shifts.  It was the holidays and the lowly mall employees were relegated to parking in the middle of BFE so that the precious patrons wouldn’t have to walk very far.  On more than one occasion we had conversations about why she was having trouble with Jodi, and what Eve could do differently to win her over.  Eve tells me, however, that there was rumor and speculation about me having had feelings for her.  Looking back, I realize that’s probably true.

Jodi quit soon after Eve joined us and we got a new Manager named Becky (Oh. My. God.)  I remember that Becky and Eve usually worked the day shift together which did not make Eve very happy because there was far less business in the day time than there was any other time, but that’s how the schedule usually came together.  I remember walking into the store one late November afternoon and finding Eve standing in the front window, waste deep in a gold leme faux gift box.  Becky felt that Eve would be fairly artistic and that she should do the holiday window display.  I have two specific memories from this day and no idea what order they come in.

Memory #1:  I’m somewhere in the store, doing something store-like, and I hear a yelp.  I look toward the front of the store as Eve slowly turns around to face me, biting her bottom lip and a glisten of fought back tears in her eyes.  When she could speak again, after the bleeding had stopped she revealed to me that she had been holding a piece of our semi-industrial strength packing tape in between her lovely lips while arranging the tissue paper she was about to tape in place and when she literally yanked the tape out of her mouth, some of the flesh from her lip came with it.  It was one of those things that we knew we’d laugh at some day, but you should have seen her face in the moment.

Memory #2:  (I’m guessing this one comes first.)  Eve is in the window up to her eyeballs in paper and gift wrap and clothes and mannequins and I hear her say, “Oh sure!  Make the Jewish girl do the Christmas display!”

That year we decided to have a “Secret Santa” gift exchange in our store.  The rule was that we would not spend more than $10.00 and there was a sheet behind the register where we were supposed to put down ideas about what our Secret Santa could get us.  I remember very little about how the whole exchange went down but I remember that I had picked Eve‘s name.  Most of the staff went into the thing with limited (read: negative amounts of) gusto and most of the gifts amounted to $10.00 gift certificates (yes!  Certificates, not cards!) to Blockbuster, or a music store, or McDonald’s (actually some of those college kids really appreciated the McD’s certs) or a $10.00 bill stuck into an envelope.

By this time Eve and I had become friends and there was no tension that I can recall, so I really wanted to give her a good gift.  I didn’t care about the Secret Santa.  I didn’t care about the $10.00 limit.  I wanted to give my friend a good Christmas gift.  You see, gift giving is a major weak point of mine and I’m always disappointed by my own poor gift giving acumen.  But Eve had let something slip.  “James and the Giant Peach” was coming out in the movie theaters and she wanted to see it.  She mentioned one day that “James and the Giant Peach” had been her favorite book growing up.

It was one of my good days and I was paying attention.  I made a mental note and when I got the chance I went and found a pristine, hard cover copy of “James and the Giant Peach.”  Now, as I’m writing this I’m realizing, I may even have special ordered it.  You know, it’s funny!  To me, giving a book as a Christmas gift isn’t a big deal.  That has a lot to do with the fact that Dead Beat Dad‘s parents used to send us books from foreign countries, travel guides I think they were, all the time.  Every Birthday and every Christmas we could count on getting a book from the grand peeps.  And to tell the truth, it sucked!  So big deal, I thought, so I got you a book.  It’s only special ’cause it’s your favorite and I thought it’d be nice for you to have a pristine copy. But to hear Eve tell it, it was a big deal.  It seems like she’s told me it had to have been expensive.  Whatever was so special about it, it was certainly grist for the rumor mill.  I didn’t care.  I’d done something nice for my friend and she was grateful.

And then tragedy struck.  Eve decided to take up her Dead Beat Dad on an offer to come to Idaho where he lived and work in his office.  Two years earlier I had taken up my own Dead Beat Dad on a similar offer for many reasons. I couldn’t blame her for going.  I had already done the same thing.  But as I recall it (which is admittedly probably faulty) this is the moment that it hit me.  This woman matters to me. And I was about to lose her.  I was terribly sad she was going and didn’t really know how to tell her.  I wanted to ask her not to go, but I had nothing to offer her to make her stay.  So I said nothing.  And she went.  And we lost touch.  I was never very good at long distance relationships.  Even my relationships with my various family members have suffered from distance.  With one notable exception, I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing.  But I digress.

Eve left me and I was devastated.  But two years in Idaho was enough for her and she moved back to be with her mother, and Eve and I were back on…  So to speak.  There was no aspect of our relationship that pointed at romance.  Eve never expressed that kind of interest in me and I certainly didn’t have the cajones to try and make something happen, so there we were, smack dab in the middle of friend central.  A few years ago I asked her in an instant message conversation if there was any chance we would have ended up  together if I had not moved to California.  She told me “I don’t know.  It’s possible.  But I’ll tell you this much.  You wouldn’t have stayed a virgin for so long.”  (You should have seen the looks on my co-workers faces when the realized that boom they heard was me falling out of my chair.)

Something unusual happens when Eve drinks alcohol.  She gets very drunk, very fast, on very little.  And then a half hour or so later she’s perfectly sober.  No doubt a breathalyzer would disagree, but for all intents and purposes she’s good.  After she moved back to Oklahoma Eve met a guy and despite his name, he did not live in a giant peach, and despite his not living in a giant peach, I’m still going to call him “the Pitts”.  (Hey my clever gene is waking up.)  The Pitts was an ex-husband and a father of two children, and a carrier of a nasty little venereal disease, none of which did he bother to mention to Eve.  So on one particular evening when they were together and Eve‘s odd metabolism had done its worst, she convinced him they should have sex.  The Pitts, apparently resisted (only a little I’m sure) but she told him, “C’mon.  You know we’re gonna do it eventually, why wait?”  So they did.  Under protected.  If ya know what I mean.

The Pitts left her with two “gifts” that night.  Not long after that, he just left her.  When Eve knew she was pregnant, she told me about it.  I was a terrible friend, for I was still under the influence of Vengeful Mother and had not yet learned to form my own ideals and principles (yes, even in my early 20s).  Eve told me, “I don’t know if I can do this.  I’m not sure I can keep it.  I’m thinking of having an abortion.”  I don’t know what I said, or how I reacted, but I know something in me changed that night, at least for a time.  Abortion, I thought, how can she consider an abortion?  Abortion is wrong.  If she does that, she’ll be wrong.  I can’t be friends with someone who has an abortion! Far be it from me to just support my friend through whatever she may be going through without judging her actions.

We drifted again.  At the time that she told me this I was contemplating a change of my own.  I soon made my move to California, and while we talked some after that, we lost touch again.  The few times that we did talk after that I never asked, and she never said, what she’d decided about the baby.  It wasn’t until the following October that she made contact with me again and told me that she and her parents… and her son were coming to California the week of Thanksgiving to visit her grandparents and that if I wanted to we could get together while she was here.  It was at that moment that I realized just how much I missed her, how much she had meant to me and how I had just walked away from it. I’d like to think that I’d have felt this way regardless, but I admit that when I heard her say “my son” and I knew she had not had the abortion, my heart skipped with joy and relief.  I guess somehow that made her acceptable again.  I’m a terrible friend.

There is more to this story I haven’t the time to tell now, but suffice it to say, Eve is my dearest friend!  She means the world to me, and we have a relationship that defies explanation.  We hardly ever talk to each other, probably more my fault than hers, but when we do see each other, every year, the day after Thanksgiving, like clockwork, set your watch by it, for ten years running?  It’s like we never missed a day.  It’s awesome and I wouldn’t give it up for the world!  Vengeful Mother asked me to come “home” for Thanksgiving, the other day.  I told her, “No.  I have a prior engagement.”

The love of my life is coming to town, in 16 days.  I’m totally stoked.