Chapter 9

Prayers For The Loveless

So, Jamie had me come over to the house today.

He was pretty upset about something. When he told me what it was…I’ll be honest, I had to take several moments to compose myself. I’m your typical emotional Gay guy, you know? I hear something like this and it breaks me up to complete pieces!

It doesn’t help that I actually met this poor boy on that day I tried to save him from Karl and Jason. Jimmy was the boy I was trying to save from those two walking battery and assault cases. I suppose this means they managed to continue their harassment of Jimmy beyond that gym class. This seems to have made my actions that day completely pointless in the end.

So Jimmy tried to commit suicide? How…terribly tragic! Also, how depressingly common these days.

Apparently, his last name is LaPlane. I don’t remember the LaPlane’s from our church so they must not have been members or went to different Masses. Not that I presume that Jimmy was Catholic, it is just that our parish seems to be the largest church in the area. Most people who attend church at all seem to go to Holy Family Church. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Our paths did cross and that just makes my feelings about the whole thing more personal.

What also makes this personal for me is that it reminds me of a hard time I was having where I nearly succumbed to that temptation.  Yes, I was tempted to commit suicide once. I’m afraid that it can be a near given that a gay guy, raised in a more conservative community, might want to find a way out at some point. When you are young, and you can’t seem to find any other way to escape, you start thinking about the ultimate way out.

I’ve been pretty vocal about how in-your-face I tend to be when it comes to the fact of my sexual orientation. That, I believe, was what saved me, ultimately. When confronted by bullies, well meaning but misguided church members, concerned parents, confused little brothers and sisters, religion, and unrequited desires – I found that I had to live my life despite them all! I was a very angry person for a few years. It was one of the main reasons I quit the church choir and church all-together! I just couldn’t take the condemnation, rumors, and blatant negativity toward me. At school, I built up my reputation as a hard-ass and did manage to get into my share of fights.  I had no desire, whatsoever, in participating in sports at school and that, as you know Brandon, immediately puts you on the outs as far as being popular as a guy at our High School! You become an automatic misfit. What’s weird is that as I picked up this ‘fuck you’ attitude, I got more attractive to certain guys on the football team! I ended up becoming a ‘dirty little secret’ for some of them. These guys became my ‘friends’ and I became their ‘mascot charity case’ for their inner circle – a ‘water boy’ as they liked to call me. I found it demeaning, but also a means to satisfy my growing sexual appetites. It also gave me some power since I could always hold it over them because of what they were doing with me at their homes. Such power is a double-edged sword, however. Using it can backfire spectacularly if you aren’t careful with it. Especially, when you start taking things a little too seriously.

In the 10th grade, I fell in love, you see. I let things get too serious.

Michael looked like Superman with the black hair, bright blue eyes, and rosy cheeks. He even had that little curl of hair on his forehead. His body was complete perfection, of course, being that he was a running back. He was neither a meat truss linebacker nor a nimble quarterback. He was big enough and broad enough through the shoulders and chest, but had some delicacy in his limbs so as not to look like a walking muscle-head. Also, his butt…well, that was a work of art!

He became a frequent ‘customer’ of mine. We’d often walk to his home together after practice. Sometimes, other members of the team would come, but on those days that we were alone…well, let’s just say, Michael really made an effort to walk home with me alone as much as possible! We did this through all of 10th grade and into the 11th. I watched Michael go from junior varsity to full star varsity player. I went to every one of his games. I began to live for our afternoons together! I guess, it never was that much to him and our afternoons together were always all too brief. I’d service him once or twice and then he’d send me home. He never did anything to satisfy me and we never went all the way, despite what he pushed for or what I might have ultimately wanted. It was always about him, but I didn’t really care at the time. He became a dream come true for me, in a lot of ways. I suppose that’s when things started getting too serious for me. I began neglecting my other ‘friends’ in favor of Michael and, I suppose in a weird way, they started getting jealous of the attention I was giving him. I think that’s when the rumors started…

Michael started to walk home with me less and less. It got to the point when he’d barely grunt at me in the hall when I said hello. I was being shunned, but I didn’t know why at the time. Well, things came to a head one day during gym class just before their practice. I was placed in that class, naturally, by special request of the team for ‘horseplay’. I decided, in my red-headed way, that I’d confront Michael in the locker room one day. I look back now and, with 20-20 hindsight, can see how foolish my behavior was, but at the time I’d gotten fed up with Michael and his attitude.

I came up to him with a friendly ‘Hey!’ He came back with a pretty rude “What the hell do you want?” Let’s be honest, almost everyone knew what we’d been up to since a lot of the other guys had similar experiences with me that year. So, this attitude of Michael’s was unwarranted as far as I was concerned.

“I just, kinda, wonder what I did wrong, Mike. What I do?” I had intentionally started this conversation in front of everybody because I really wanted to put him on the spot. Unfortunately, it was more like backing a tiger into a corner. Things didn’t go well, let’s just say.

“Do? I dunno! What do I care what you do? Why don’t you go put some…clothes on, for Christ’s sake!” Did I mention I’d just come out of the shower with my towel strategically hung over my shoulders instead of around my hips, if you catch my drift? I agree, it was pretty obnoxious, but I’d just wanted this shit Out in the open…and I mean Out! I remember him looking a bit flustered and blushy as he tried to avert his eyes from my nudity.

Naturally, this got the other guys going, I suppose, in a way to get any spotlight off of them and back on to Michael in case he started calling out some of the other guys in there that liked to use me.

“Yeah, Dude! You’ve been neglecting your boyfriend and he’s calling your bitch-ass out! Hehehe! What did he do-o or NOT do to you lately to piss you off, Mikey?” This came from the peanut gallery.

“Cummon, Chan! Fuck him so he’ll looove you again! Ha Ha…” etc.

‘Mikey’ jumped up and pushed me so hard I fell on my keister and slid a few feet. I’ve always been fortunate I’ve had some decent padding back there, so I wasn’t hurt more than just my feelings.

“Get the fuck away from me, FAGGOT, or the next thing you’ll feel is my fist!” Michael growled at me with a hatred I’d never seen in a person before! What the hell had these assholes been talking about us behind my back?

The peanut gallery went silent and was actually backing out of the lockers and away from the two of us to get a good distance away for optimal viewing.

I don’t quite remember what happened next. Between the pain in my ass and the worse pain in my breaking heart, I think I went a little berzerk! I only remember pain in my face, in my stomach, and in my fists and then being yanked bodily off of Michael by the coach, kicking and growling like a wild animal! Apparently, we’d traded blows enough to draw blood.

I had a fat lip, a black eye, and a number of body bruises and he had a bruised jaw, bloody nose, and a bruised ear.

I was suspended for two weeks with the possibility for expulsion. I doubt Michael got anywhere near that harsh treatment being a jock and the ‘victim’ of my attack. There were thoughts of bringing up battery charges on me, but those fell through, thankfully.

My folks had had enough of my violence and, basically, grounded me for life.

None of that mattered to me though. Michael had done something far more terrible to me than the System or my parents could ever do. He’d broken my heart to pieces and, at the same time, made me feel ashamed of who and what I am. He had broken my sense of self and had called into question my worth as a human being.

I have to say, my folks didn’t handle my situation at all well. Their anger with me just pushed me into a very, very dark place. I began breaking my grounding and curfew and did, finally, get in trouble with the law for it. The police had to pick me up and bring me home on too many occasions and discussions came up about sending me to reform school or ‘Juvie’ to ‘wake me up’. That just pushed me beyond the dark place and directly into complete despair.

I think my Mom started to notice something was going very wrong when I stopped leaving my room altogether, even for meals. I’d stopped eating.

My Dad’s stubborn anger with me finally relented when Mom was shown the noose I’d been making out of bedsheets.

Anger turned to terror, then.

It was true, that night I was planning to hang myself. I’d had enough of everything. The heartbreak over Mike, the fight with my Gay identity, the feeling that the world had turned completely against me including people that professed to ‘love’ me – all of the usual angsty things a gay teen experiences in this world. I’d made the mistake of leaving my room for moment to use the bathroom which gave little Jamie an excuse to sneak in my room for whatever reason. Jamie brought the noose to Mom who showed it to my Pop.

From Pop I got, “What the fuck is THIS for?” He only cursed when he was beyond distraught.

“It’s for me. I’m Gay, Pop. I’m a problem. Time for me to go.” I ground out through stinging tears.

Needless to say, that splashed ice water in my parents’ faces. Whatever anger they had seemed to dissolve away into the kind of compassion only truly loving parents can have for a son who was really quite lost and almost lost for good!

I don’t ever want you thinking that this is the best way to come out to your Dad, Bran Bran! It took me two years of therapy to get myself back to some semblance of normal after that. I’d let my own self-doubts, peer abuse, and social pressures completely overwhelm me to make me suicidal. I also had to come to grips with the fact that I may have a mental issue called Depression which predisposes me to this kind of outrageous behavior! I think they call it Bipolar Depression, actually. Medicine has helped a lot, but what’s helped more is the acceptance that real love can bring. I, ultimately, didn’t trust my folks and put my trust in people I never should have.

So, there you are. My near-suicide story. A seriously messy and stupid chapter in my life that taught me a lot, but in a needlessly cruel way. Not the Jock’s cruelty to me, but my cruelty to my family for nearly leaving a wound that would never heal and might have taken my brother or sister with me by my terrible example.

My folks may not always approve of my choices, but they love me regardless, and they accept me on my own terms, just as I am, without condition. Eventually, I graduated High School and had minimal trouble after my experience with Michael. Hell, Michael and me made up and agreed to be true friends after that mess. He’d heard about my troubles and found that he wanted to be a part of my life in the only way he could allow himself. He’s a good friend to this day.

Since my near suicide attempt, I’ve learned to appreciate life as it comes and realize the value of my life and those of the people around me, especially those I care about.

This includes you, Brandon!

Don’t ever even consider suicide as an option! It really is a permanent solution to temporary problems thus, making of itself, the most terrible problem of all! You owe it to those you love and those you may come to love later to be there for them!

If you do make enemies, don’t give them the satisfaction of driving you off of this world, either! Live in spite of them!

In any case, I hope Jimmy gets the help he needs. Now you know, from my own personal experience, how important that is! Now that he’s survived this experience, maybe he can get that help. Oh, and for Heaven’s sake, Brandon, if you are blaming yourself for any of this, DON’T! I can figure that any interaction you may have had with this kid would have been completely positive. It’s not in your heart to be heartless! If anything, whatever kindness you may have rendered to Jimmy may have staved off this attempt for a while. But, you aren’t his Dad or personal guardian angel! It’s not your job to hover over a person like that trying to keep them from doing what they have, basically, already set their mind to. I know that not much would have steered me away from my attempt at the time. I was in too much pain! The fault for letting myself get to that place was in myself and possibly with my poor distracted parents who didn’t notice their oldest was seriously struggling. But, I can’t even blame them. I was good at hiding my feelings. They, probably, couldn’t have known until things had gone too far how bad off I was. If I’d only asked for help at the time, things would have come out ok in the end and without so much unnecessary angst and misery.

I don’t go to church like I used to for reasons I’ve mentioned already, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God or a higher power of some kind that can help in these kinds of situations. It never hurts to pray for someone like Jimmy! Maybe a good prayer is all he needs to drive those demons out of his mind and make him see reason.

So, keep a prayer for the ‘Loveless’. Jimmy’s wrong…he’s not unloved at all! Your anguish over him, Brandon, proves that!

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