EK

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                                        PURPLE HAZE

 

 

 

      I really didn't have any friends to speak of in Upland. I lived a lonely solitary life. There was a small group of people from my seminary class from church that I would hang out with between classes and at lunch, but there was no real strong bond between us. So…one day, my mother and Aunt Helen talked my cousin Jack into inviting me to hang out with him and his friends once and awhile. We started to hang out and slowly I was welcomed into his small circle of friends. We would mostly just hang out, listen to rock music and smoke pot. Over the years, I had met Jack's friends, but never socialized with them because it was common knowledge that they did drugs and partied, and being a good Mormon boy, I could not expose myself to that lifestyle. But now I was ready to let my hair down, so to speak and literally because I let my hair grow long.

     I started smoking cigarettes when I was about fifteen and the lure of marijuana was too much for me to resist. My mother was very liberal and I actually smoked pot for the first time in front of her. My mother never got into drugs or at least marijuana, but understood that it was something I was going to do with or without her approval. My father was unaware of my smoking and I didn't visit him for several years, so it was kind of out of his hands. My point of view was that if I was a homosexual, then that was a bigger sin than smoking and drugs combined. I was ready to explore my newfound freedom even though I was consumed by guilt.

     My mother told me that when Becky died, she left a locked jewelry box to be given to Corina. Before my mother gave it to Corina, she pried open the lock and discovered, among other things, a couple of marijuana cigarettes. She threw the joints away before she gave the jewelry box to Corina. Apparently, Becky had been stealing pot from my mom's boyfriend, Don. Corina later told me that she and Becky used to smoke pot together whenever they had the chance. With all the pills and shots that Becky received over the years, the marijuana must have had an exhilarating medicinal effect for her. It probably gave her a good well deserved buzz as well.

     Because of my religious upbringing, I had always looked down on drugs and the people who used them. But marijuana was different. It was an organic and natural plant, actually a weed. It wasn’t a chemical created in a lab like other drugs. It had always been intriguing to me and by the time I smoked pot for the first time, I had already read as much literature about it as I could. My aunt Helen and uncle Tom lived across the street from a public library, and I spent many hours there reading up on drugs and homosexuality. I wanted to know what I was getting into. Growing up in a Mormon household I was totally unprepared for the world out there. Mormons stick together, and for good reason. There are a lot of tempting things in this world and if you can surround yourself with people that share your beliefs it is easy to ignore and avoid these temptations and distractions. But it also gives you a false sense of reality about how the real world works, exists and lives. Coming from such a judgmental and disapproving background I was finding I knew nothing about how to survive and not a clue about how the real world revolved.

     I was very preoccupied with my own inner turmoil concerning my homosexual feelings at the time even though I never shared this kind of important information with anyone. No one. I had a huge crush on a boy at school named Robert but never pursued anything ever with anyone at school. I would rearrange my school schedule to get into classes with guys I thought were cute and I would go out of my way to see them at lunch and breaks but I never crossed the line and actually expressed my true feelings. There were a couple of guys that would receive anonymous letters from a secret admirer now and then but other than that I was not actively exploring my sexual yearnings. Having secret crushes was safe and I felt that as long as I didn’t actually have sex I wasn’t committing a sin, even though my sexual thoughts were constant, agonizing and so temptating. It was from a distance and allowed me the fantasy of exploring my feelings without actually committing the deed or sin. I was aware of how I walked and talked and didn’t want to become openly flamboyant and effeminate. I would see boys and men that were obviously gay because of the way they acted, talked and walked and saw the verbal ridicule bestowed upon them. I was not strong enough to show my true colors. I had too much guilt and religious repression to just drop all my defenses and be myself, to be who I really was. Brian.

     My mother was preoccupied with her life as well; she was still grieving for Becky and was juggling two boyfriends named Tom and Jerry at the time. I had become extremely bored with school. I wanted to drop out but knew at some point I wanted to go to college. I wanted to be an actor but the drama department at Upland high school was pathetic. I felt I needed to get out of school if I was ever going to learn anything. I ended up taking a high school equivalency exam during my senior year and now I had a lot of spare time on my hands. By now, Jack, Monty and Greg had quite school and we spent all day and night together for the next couple years. Hanging out, parting and just having the best times of our lives.

     Greg had a sister named Kelly, who was best friends with my cousin Marlene. Kelly and Marlene moved into an apartment complex across the railroad tracks from where my mother and I lived. We started hanging out together all the time. Kelly and Marlene had a good friend named Ava, and along with Jack, Monty, Greg, David and I, we were nearly inseparable. We spent a lot of time partying; going to concerts and generally just had a lot of fun together. These are the same people that welcomed Becky and my mother to Upland with open arms when my parents divorced. I felt comfortable, appreciated and safe. After all the problems and troubles I had been going through for the last couple of years, it was nice to be able to live in a drug and alcohol induced haze and forget or at least ignore my pain. I know how that sounds but GOD…thank you for giving me these friends and allowing me the freedom to live out my life and survive.

     After everything I had gone through over the last several years it was like an Alice in Wonderland treat to have the freedom to find what I needed to numb my pain. I knew my life was not right in the eyes of God because of what I was taught at church but I knew in my heart that God was better than that. Despite the turmoil and tragedy my family had gone through I believe that God had been kind and generous with me by giving my dreams and prayers meaning and worth.

 

     Monty lived a few blocks away and we would all hang out in his guesthouse just about every day. We spent most of the day scraping up enough money to buy pot. Eventually the opportunity to try LSD came around and I was eager to try it. When I was a child I would rub my eyes until I would see colors and spin around in circles until I was dizzy so I felt that using LSD would be like taking the next step. I knew that LSD was a drug I was interested in experimenting with and read as much as I could about it at the library. LSD mimicked the way I looked at the world in an exaggerated and enhanced way and I found it to be very mind opening and liberating. It was like a roller coaster ride because once the drug took effect you were under its influence for at least eight hours, so once it started there was no getting off. The colors, the sounds, the hallucinations were so powerful and exhilarating that it made me feel like I was in a world of my own creation.  Over the next couple of years I would experiment with LSD about a dozen times.

     Two things had consumed my life at this point. My prayers were just as constant, aggressive, passionate and heartfelt as ever because I had started a dialogue with GOD and I wasn’t about to stop until I saw a sign that would explain everything. At the same time I began writing poetry and song lyrics on a daily basis. I was exploring my own ideas and thoughts and hopes and wishes and dreams.

     My father and Karen started to have children of their own. First there was Spencer, and then Noel was born. Karen had three other children, Nikki, Gary and Johnny and along with Mike and my dad they had a full household. I had stopped going to church by now and knew that if my father was aware of my lifestyle at the time he would not have approved. I never visited my father and Karen. My father had started a new life and didn't need me to disturb it with my adolescent rebellions. My dad would pay child support for me when he could afford it but he had a family of his own to take care of, so I started to take odd jobs to help my mom out with money.    

     One of my first jobs was working as a custodian in a molding factory. My boss was Jack Kelly. Jack was the father of my mother's illegitimate baby. They had kept in contact over the years and he was nice enough to offer me a job. Jack was a very attractive man and my mother was beautiful so I can only imagine what their daughter must have looked like. It was about this time when my mother bought a red Volkswagen bug. I had just gotten my driver’s license and my mom let me use the car whenever I wanted or needed.

     My mother and I were getting along pretty well but in reality we were a couple of wounded warriors and our lives quite simply would never be the same again. This was new territory. I was not prepared or trained for the real world. I was only teased at school, my parents divorced and my sister died. A lot of extremely worse shit happens to a majority of the world and I was slowly becoming aware of how blessed I was to have such a happy, loving, somewhat dysfunctional but genuine family to protect me from the horrors and reality of the world. I couldn’t even make fire let alone survive by myself in the wilderness. My mother and I both clung on to the hope that Becky’s spirit was alive and looking out for us. I never let on to my mother the extent of my prayers and what I was praying for and about and this wall I had built up to keep my inner most feelings secret kept my mother and I from being there for each other completely and in always the best way. We were both shell shocked, but my mother was stronger than I was and I trusted that she knew what she was doing. The only time my mother and I actually “clashed” was when I came home drunk one night and it took me a good minute to get the key in the door and when I finally opened the door she let me have it. She told me that if I ever came home in this condition while driving she would take the car keys from me. It must have been the alcohol but I responded, “I’ll just make a copy of the key and drive the fuckin car whenever I feel like it.”

     Wrong thing to say to my mother and she lunged at me and grabbed me by the throat and knocked me down to the ground and I just knew she was going to kill me. We both realized we had acted irrationally but my mother’s intentions were noble and protective while I was just being an immature smart aleck drunk idiot. I never before or after ever spoke to my father with such direspect. Luckily, we had a lot of family living nearby and they were a great support system. I was surrounded by cousins, aunts and an uncle and grandparents and a mother that knew Becky for that last year of her life and spent so much more time with her than I did. They were all dealing with this in their own way and in return I was being enlightened about how special my sister really was and the impression she left in this world.

      On my seventeenth birthday my father called to congratulate me. We talked for awhile and then said goodbye. About an hour later he called again and told me he forgot to tell me earlier that Danita was killed in a motorcycle accident. Danita and her boyfriend were killed at the same intersection where a Volkswagen bug struck me while I was riding my bike, years earlier in Huntington Beach. I was in shock. I had not even thought about Danita or Corina for about a couple of years and now I would never see Danita in this lifetime again. Even though Danita didn't die on my birthday, it was so close and at the same intersection where I was hit by a car that it affected me very hard. I immediately called Corina and we talked for hours. Both of our lives had never been the same since Becky died.

             We used to be so close, and once we started talking all the happy and good times came back to us. Danita and Corina were as much a part of our family as Shirley Charley and Carol Begay were. Corina and I decided that we needed to stay in contact with each other and several months later I spent a week in Huntington Beach with Corina and her family. It was odd having a teenage boy visiting a teenage girl for a week, but we were brother and sister at heart.

             When I was a child I had a doll named, Beanie Boy. It was from a cartoon and puppet show called, Beenie Boy and Cecil. When you pulled a string on Beenie Boy he would say different phrases from the cartoon. Becky had a doll named, Mrs. Beasley. Mrs. Beasley was from a television show called, Family Affair. My mother had given Corina Becky's Mrs. Beasley doll after she died. Corina had the doll on her dresser. I picked up the doll and held it in my hands. I pulled the string and Mrs. Beasley said." You're getting to be such a big girl." I began to cry. I pulled the string again and the doll asked," If you had three wishes what would they be?" I began to cry uncontrollably. These simple phrases now had a haunting, bittersweet quality that reminded me of things I tried not to think about anymore. Becky did not grow up to be a big girl and she had three wishes before she died.

             Corina and I promised to keep in touch and eventually she came to Upland for a visit. My mother had not seen Corina since Becky's funeral, and my mother's face lit up when she saw Corina again. It was so odd that after being so close we could have become so estranged. But now we were being drawn together again and soon Corina would move to Upland and live with my mother and myself.

             Monty’s guest house in his backyard was basically our headquarters and hang out. David played guitar and Monty played drums. Monty didn't have a drum kit so his drums consisted of cardboard boxes, broken fans and anything that made a thud, clang or clink. We would just sit around smoking pot and cigarettes and not much else. One day we decided that I needed to find an instrument to play. My nickname was "spacey" and it seemed rather obvious that I should get a synthesizer. I would spend hours and hours making weird noises and not much else. My synthesizer was more a form of therapy than anything else.

             When I was a child I had studied music and played clarinet, violin and the piano but never took it seriously. At school or church whenever I found a piano or organ I would sit for hours and improvise my own style of music. When I got my synthesizer I spent almost every spare minute I had pulling levers and turning knobs and inventing unlimited original sounds. My synthesizer was called a Cat/Octave and was polyphonic so I could only play two notes at a time. But it had dozens of knobs and levers that you could manipulate to create any number of different sounds. At the same time I got my synthesizer David Bowie came out with two different albums called, Low and Heroes. These albums were groundbreaking and the main influence for me from these albums was the extensive use of synthesizers. These two albums from David Bowie influenced me greatly and helped me begin to develop my own style.

              I was still spending a lot of time at the library reading plays and books about homosexuality and drugs. One day at the library I noticed a message on the bathroom wall with a phone number. I called the number and ended up meeting Norman. On my first encounter with Norman I ended up chickening out and nothing happened. After a few weeks I called Norman again and this time I didn’t chicken out and I ended up having my first real sexual encounter. About a year later I called Norman again and this time he said he felt bad about what he was doing and didn’t want to be gay anymore. I could understand his feelings because every five minutes of my life I would pray and swear that I would never be this way again. I felt like I was in constant conflict with mother nature and that there was something deeply wrong about who I was and what I was doing in my life. But now I knew that I wasn’t the only one tormented with this ongoing struggle of finding my sexual identity.

             I was very lonely and had a lingering desire to meet someone. I gradually realized that trying to meet someone from a men’s bathroom was not very respectable or wise so I started to look for other ways and venues. One day I got a copy of the L.A. Free Press and in the back of it were ads for sexual encounters. I found one ad that was near where I lived in Upland. I arranged to meet with a man named Jeff at his house. I would go to Jeff’s house periodically and then one day I came over and met Jeff’s roommate named Bob. I found out that Jeff only liked young inexperienced boys and from now on I could have sex with Bob. I was never practically physically attracted to Jeff or Bob but I was a young, horny and confused teenager and this was an easy way to have no strings uncomplicated sex.

             I knew that Jeff and Bob had other young friends in the area and got them to arrange a few dates or rather hook ups for me. One day as I was driving past Jeff and Bob’s house I saw a cute guy riding his skateboard. I drove up to him and asked him if he knew Jeff and Bob. He said yes and then I gave him a ride home. His name was James.

             James sort of became my first boyfriend. James was living with a girl named, Becky Morgan and they had an open relationship. That is, she knew he was gay and there was nothing she could do about it. I would spend the night occasionally but Becky would be in her room crying and sobbing and slamming doors. It wasn’t a very pleasant situation but eventually Becky and I became friends. James became a very close friend and helped me to come to terms with being gay at a time when I had no guidance or counsel where my sexuality was concerned.

             I was obviously going through some major changes in my life and despite my experiences and experiments with sex and drugs I still continued to prayer diligently. The things I was doing did not come as freely or easily as I would hope and I was consumed with guilt. I was praying for guidance, reasons and answers and for signs. During this period of my life I had chronic déjà vu’s. Out of nowhere and all of a sudden I would have a feeling that I had done this before. My déjà vu’s would be about moments in time, smells and taste. They gave me a feeling that even though I wasn’t happy with my life or the things I was doing it was all part of a predestined plan and the déjà vu’s were confirming and reinforcing a reason and purpose for everything.

            I would say a prayer after I would masturbate and tell god that I would never do that again. Suffice it to say I prayed everyday if not more. I was making promises to God that I wasn’t keeping and that made me feel even guiltier and that would make me pray even more. I couldn’t believe that this was my life and this was who I had become. I was praying to God to forgive me for masturbating yet I had a natural urge to take care of business so to speak. I felt weak and not in control of my emotions or my desires. And at the same time I am pleading with God to show me a sign that would help explain things. I never lost focus of Becky and her lasting affect over me. I had this idea that she was up to something and I wanted to know what the hell was going on.

             I got a job working with my cousin Marlene at a Mexican fast food restaurant called Mi Taco. Marlene and I had become very close and we were spending a lot of time together. Almost every night I would be at Marlene’s house or at the guest house with Monty, Jack, David and Greg. We usually just hung out and listened to music and talked about this and that and smoked pot and drank beer and generally had a good time. Jack and Marlene were my cousins but now they were more than just family they were good friends. None of my friends or family had any idea of the conflicts I was going through. I had a secret life and a separate way of thinking and I knew I had to keep it that way. I was afraid of the humiliation, resentment, bigotry, hatred and ignorance that would be directed towards me and did not want to confront that then in my life. As far as anyone knew I was just the practical joker, funny guy that was fun to be around and made people laugh. What a great gig that is…J

              About the first week of January 1978, Monty, Greg and I decided to drive up to the mountains and hike around. We would usually go to the mountains and smoke pot and hike, climb and goof around. No one had any pot this time but we were going to enjoy ourselves anyway. After about an hour we got bored and it looked like it was going to rain, so we decided to leave. Greg wanted to drive home with me but for some reason I refused and left by myself. I was driving my mother's red Volkswagen bug and drove until I reached the finale incline on Mount Bawldy. For some bizarre unknown reason I pulled over to the side of the road, turned my radio off and waited until I saw Monty and Greg in my rear view mirror. I saw their car approach in my mirror and slowly pulled back onto the road. As I started going down the steep incline it began to rain and as I put my foot on the brake to slow down the car started to sway from side to side.

             Suddenly the car started to spin out of control and began tumbling down the road, side over side and end over end. I was not wearing a seatbelt and somehow I ended up, upside down, behind the driver’s seat. The Volkswagen bug had landed on its roof and the first thing I saw was a Monty and Greg’s foot running towards me. They pulled me out of the car and I immediately began running my hands all over my body looking for any injuries. There were none. I had a scratch or two but nothing serious. As soon as I realized I did not have any broken bones or blood, I began to conscientiously pass out.

             As I was lead away from the car by Monty and Greg, I got my first look at the car. It was squashed. A big red heap of twisted metal. The driver’s side where I was sitting was crushed so being thrown into the back seat saved my life. It truly was a miracle that I was still alive, let alone uninjured. I don’t remember saying this but Greg told me I said that my sister grabbed me and held and protected me during the crash. My mother was waiting for me at my aunt Helen and uncle Tom's house. I just knew I was going to be in so much trouble, but as soon as I saw my mom, I started to cry and we embraced. She made a joke about how I have bad luck with Volkswagen bugs and was just glad I was okay. I had always prayed a lot, but now I began to pray with all my heart. My life had been spared in a miraculous way and even though I was grateful beyond belief I still needed to know why. Now more than ever.

             I had no direction or hope in my life, but that never stopped me from praying. God was the only "person" I could talk to openly and honestly. Because of my obvious impurities and the lifestyle I was living, I stopped going to church all together. I did not feel comfortable living a lie and being an active member of the Mormon church and exploring my sexuality was not a good or welcome mix. Many of the things I was raised to resist and avoid, growing up as a Mormon, had now become a part of my life. And I believed God was the only one looking out for me. I was deeply troubled and confused about my sexuality. I felt guilty about smoking and doing drugs, but I didn't feel like I was a bad person. I didn't want to lie, cheat or steal. I didn't have any homicidal tendencies or any other criminal or evil aspirations. There was nothing about me that resembled evil in any way. I was a normal horny and confused teenage boy just trying to survive in a world that seemed unfair and doing the best I could under the circumstances I was given. God had to see that.

             I didn't know exactly what I was praying for. That is why I began praying for a sign. At first, my brother being born on my grandmother Morton's birthday was just a coincidence. Then when Becky died on my grandfather Lance's birthday, it seemed like there was some sort of pattern forming as if it was a piece of a supernatural galactic puzzle. I had always prayed for guidance and counsel and ever since Becky got sick, my prayers had gotten much more personal. I knew that I had no future in the Mormon religion, as well as most every other religion. Homosexuality was forbidden and an abomination before God. End of conversation. I loved my heavenly father with all the love that exists within me and would not do anything to purposely offend him. I didn't invent homosexuality and didn't understand why this was who I was. I never willingly chose to be gay. It was always, ever since I have memory apart of who I was and my denial and guilt only prove how much I struggled with something I had no control over. It would be equally impossible for me to change the color of my skin as it would be to change my sexual orientation.

             When I wasn't praying to God with all my heart to help me understand my homosexuality, I was praying for an answer to why Becky had to die. The more time that went by, the more I missed her. I couldn't understand why she would have to suffer for so long. Why did things happen this way instead another way or not at all? Why did my family break up? Why, why, why? There were so many questions and absolutely no answers or reasons that made sense. Perhaps I was a spoiled brat but even the most despicable person deserves a little respect and a chance at happiness. That's all I was asking for. I wasn’t just praying for myself because everyone in my family had lost something special and nobody’s life was ever going to be the same.

             I didn't know what to do to help. So I did the only thing I knew how to do, pray. If God did not want me to die when my car crashed in the mountains, then what exactly was it that I was supposed to do with my life? Why was I alive and Becky was dead? Could something be done to help heal my wounds and restore my zest and lust for life? I had been stripped of everything that was dear to me and I was desperate for some answers. The only thing I knew for sure was that God wanted me alive for some reason.

             In April of 1978, Marlene and I went to Bakersfield to visit with some relatives. All of a sudden, we got a phone call that informed us that my grandfather Lance had just had a heart attack. In a matter of minutes, my aunt Marylyn and I were in a car on the way to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, my grandfather was very sick and barely conscience. My grandmother told us that they were watching the television show Dallas, when my grandfather began having chest pain. She said he had been complaining about all the sex on TV.

             I was able to sit with my grandfather and hold his hand. He had part of a finger missing and it only made him more unique to me. I loved my grandfather so much and over the last few years we had become extremely close. My grandparents lived just a few miles away from us and I would spend weekends with them frequently. He used to take me golfing and afterwards he would sometimes stop by a bar for a few drinks while I stayed in the car and listened to the radio. I am pretty sure that Becky had similar moments with him as I did. Now I understood what kind of a special bond the two of them had. My grandfather was proud and maybe a little confused about Becky dying on his birthday but I am sure he thought it was special. Then it occurred to all of us; the day’s date was April tenth, one day before Becky's birthday. Our family was gathered together at a hospital on the day before Becky’s birthday. This brought back so many recent memories that it bonded us together even more.

             Marlene, Jack and I had tickets to a concert that night for a band called the Outlaws. They had a classic rock song called, Green Grass and High Tides. We were all very into classic rock songs at the time like, Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, Free Bird by Lynnard Skynard, Dust in the wind by Kansas and so on. Reluctantly, we went to the concert and considering the circumstances; we had a good time. The next day was spent at the hospital and we all took turns keeping my grandfather company. Today was Becky’s birthday and I could feel her spirit. Being in a hospital brought back many sad memories for all of us and my grandfather's health was getting worse. Later that evening I went up to the chapel to say a prayer. It was my sister Becky’s birthday and I had a lot to pray about and be thankful for. As I was praying I looked up and saw that it was just past midnight. I thanked God for sparing my grandfather's life another day and even though he didn't die on my sister's birthday, at least it brought us all together to remember her and that was special enough.

             I was still in the chapel when I saw Marlene exit the elevator. I was crying, but told her I was okay. I told her I had been praying and thanked God for bringing us together on my sister's birthday. I told her that even though grandpa Lance didn't die on Becky's birthday, it was the thought of bringing us together that counts. Little did I know that my grandfather had died several minutes earlier before midnight and Marlene was looking for me so my mother could tell me herself. Poor Marlene, she just could not bring herself to tell me that grandpa Lance had indeed died on Becky's birthday because I kept going on and on about my prayer. Becky was born on April eleventh and died on March nineteenth. My grandfather Lance was born on March nineteenth and died on April eleventh.

             I was an emotional wreck. I was ecstatic, overjoyed, mournful, happy and sad. I had spent almost every waking hour for the last several years praying and asking God for a sign. I didn't know what kind of sign I was looking for but I could hardly ignore this and think it was just a mere coincidence. The incredible thing was that the special, symbolic nature of this sign seemed to not even involve me. I was just an observer of something rather remarkable. It was bigger and greater than anything I could have imagined. This single event helped heal my curiosity and ultimately, I never prayed for another sign again. God had indeed heard my prayers and these things would have happened with or without my prayers but because of my intense and passionate pleas I was prepared for something greater than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. I was a weak person, physically, mentally and spiritually, and at that time I needed a miracle or a sign and nothing less would suffice. It may seem arrogant and irreverent, but this need for answers and closure was the only thing that kept me alive. Just because, was not a good enough answer any more.

             I have had to give up so many hopes and dreams based on the conflict between my sexuality and my religion and my purpose in life. I have purposely and carelessly denied myself inner peace and happiness because religion and society has condemned my very existence. Perhaps I over reacted my entire life and obsessed about my sexual orientation more than anyone should be allowed to but I couldn’t help but think that Homosexuality was a thorn in God’s plan. I was not forced to think this way, but gradually developed my feelings based on observation and experience. Many Mormon homosexuals prefer suicide over living in a world that cannot accept, understand or tolerate their lifestyle. Since suicide has never been an option in my life, I had no choice but to find alternatives and a reason to live.

             I had always hoped that there would be a famous Mormon or some other well respected religious or political homosexual who could be a role model of some kind. But there was no one. I had nothing to go on and no one to look up to. I wasn't praying for a vision or a revelation, but an explanation. Why did I feel like I didn’t belong in God’s club just because I was gay? Who makes up these rules and who’s in charge of enforcing these rules and so on and so forth? If God was going to answer my prayers and give me the sign I had been praying for then I had better be prepared to be thankful, humble and sincerely grateful.

             I was so grateful for everything God had given me, both the good and the bad. Even though I screamed and yelled and freaked out almost every minute of my life the entire time I knew there was a reason for everything, and even though it was difficult at times, I never lost my faith in God. I believed he had heard my prayers and even if these things were not a sign from God, I knew something important was going on. It was not as if I had not been praying for something extraordinary. Plus, I was still innocent and naive enough, despite my imperfections, to believe that God could do something so unusual and out of the ordinary as reveal things in time as he saw fit. Whether we saw or noticed these things depended on where we were with life what we were open to. It seemed like so many mysteries in life were secret mysteries for a definite reason but with civilized evolution modern mankind was in need of some assistance and guidance not found in ancient texts and scriptures. Maybe all or many of the mysteries of life would be known and revealed in time through archeological, scientific, and celestial discoveries or prophesies and revelations. Perhaps I had too much love or misguided faith in God but I never gave up hope that he knew what he was doing whether I or anyone else agreed or believed it.

              As far as I was concerned, despite the fact that I was immoral, evil, corrupt, an abomination, earthly and human, God answered my prayers and gave me a sign that I never could have imagined. More than anything it made me sure that God was real and no matter what I loved him beyond anything imaginable and he knew it.

             After my grandfather died, Marlene, Jack and I left the hospital and Jack drove us home. The drive home was somewhat magical because just as the car engine started, the song, "Come Sail Away" by Styx came on the radio. We drove in silence listening to the poignant and meaningful lyrics, " A gathering of angels appeared above our heads/ They sang to us this song of hope and this is what they said/ Come sail away..." The timing was perfect because just as we pulled into the driveway the song ended. It was almost like we had our own spiritual DJ.

             As I have mentioned before, I did not share my inner thoughts with anyone. I had never talked about my prayers with anyone including my family or friends. How could I tell anybody that I had been praying for a sign from God for so long, and now I was praying with even more enthusiasm because of recent events. I wasn’t praying for a new bike or a new car I was praying about the mysteries of life and death and homosexuality just to begin with. Would anyone believe me or would they think I was crazy or would they just say it was all just a special coincidence. If I shared my inner secrets and feelings with anyone I ran the risk of having something I considered special and spiritual, demeaned and ridiculed. Would I be tolerated, rebuked or embraced? Initially, what I got out of all this was that God must not hate or despise me as much as my religion thinks or believes or else he wouldn't have allowed so many subliminal overtones to lead me on.

             I was so overcome with emotions, ranging from grief to ecstasy that I could not attend my grandfather's funeral. I had written a poem on New Years Eve that I asked my mother to read for me at the funeral. " I look at those who give, I look at those who take. I look at life, an amazing thing: I look at life's mistakes..." I had been writing poetry and song lyrics since before Becky got sick, and by now I was writing every day. Since I didn't share my innermost desires and secrets with anyone, I used prayer and writing as an outlet to keep me from exploding inside. I began signing my lyrics with an insignia that consisted of three circles in descending size and a star. This was to indicate that I came from the third planet from the sun.        

 

 

 

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