It was in Mr. Bell’s homeroom class. He was both my ninth grade science teacher and homeroom class.
The school was an old one, or an ill-equipped one at that. Built in the South, it lacked some modern features – like air-conditioning and modern desks. Instead we had those old inkwell ones – I would find them greeting me in high school as well – with decades old graffiti scratched into their marred surfaces. Your back and seat were the person’s desktop behind you; these heavy iron things with their intricate scrollwork were bolted to the floor – there was no disturbing them, as generations of students had learned. You sat there – that blank old inkwell hole staring up at you like a forlorn eye; the cryptic messages from the past (and present! as well) scrawled across the surface.
The teacher was black, he was a preacher – and he taught science, so I automatically trusted him. Science teachers were cool; they kept their head – that taught me something rational that never changed. After all: truth is what it is, and facts don’t change – that was something life had taught me good. Everything else is up for grabs; change is inevitable; I hate it and can’t fight it – we’ve ‘just moved’ into this new neighborhood; I’ve changed schools – this one’s a disaster, though not as bad as the last . . . I don’t know: each one is worse in it’s own way.
I had come into the first – the last one – in eighth grade. Fresh from Germany – gone for four years – I come home to find my neighborhood has gone, everyone has deserted me. Or rather, I deserted them – leaving at the crux and the apex of a long held decision; another disaster in the making that had affected my best friend (his father died. On or near Halloween. And it was the very worst Halloween in my entire life. But that’s another story; one that can only be told by the little one in me.)
Anyway, at this ‘new’ school they had assigned me (the one in eighth grade) – they put me in a remedial reading type of class – and an advanced algebra one. This to a kid who has just scored Junior college level reading and comprehension skills, plus an outstanding vocabulary (though why he keeps silent all of the time seems a bit of a mystery . . . and he can be found standing alone, staring at the school from the grounds . . . or jotting notes in the little notebook he held.)
Anyway, that kinda screwed me up, in a polite parlance of the saying.
Now in this new school I am facing a dilemma. And its a rather hard one. To paraphrase something a singer would sing some decade or so later: “What’s love got to do with it?” Or do with anything. Especially in regards to being happy. It doesn’t seem to succeed in getting happiness at all. All it yields is pain. That’s all it has ever yielded, all of my life. Over and over again. Starting with my ‘abuser’; the guy who would molest me – I loved him. And I loved another one while I was overseas – but I was too shy, having been burned too bad by the first one’s massive betrayal. I would have done anything for that guy, and I mean that quite literally. Anything. Gone to bed with him had he asked (but he didn’t) – and I was too afraid to try. But god! how I loved him. Closer than my mean and ‘we’re at war’ brother. And to this day he has affected me. He’s the reason I wear button up shirts – because of him. He taught me to wear them after I showed up in a ragged worn tee-shirt one too many times. I was a Southern boy, raised on the outskirts of town – quite literally right off a Southern road you might have heard of: Tobacco Road. Just a stone or two throws away. In the scrub and the sandhills on a small sandy hill lot – along with a lot of other kids in a little neighborhood we lived in . . .
But I ramble. I go on. I am avoiding building the machine.
There was a divorce in the air; a parental rumble; I knew it – I could smell it at home. And Dr. Bell was my science teacher – and a preacher! – he would know what to do . . . at least have some words to advise me . . .
But he didn’t. Instead he sent me to the gay counselor, who decided I was not to his liking nor taste (nor I to his) – end of line. I hated him for that. He frikkin’ bailed on me; one of his students – and one of his brightest – he recognized that in me – but just rolled me in with the rest . . . hands off approach, all of the time. By everyone I met . . .
And I had had it, I was done with this thing called love.
So I built this thing called the Machine.
And I ran with it for many a year; it protecting me on the outside and within. It was a good thing; tough and like metal; we fought many ‘wars’ with it – but sometimes things got in.
Armor gets rusty and love does it not good. Love is like a corrosive to armor, you know what I mean?
It eats little holes in it; lets the world in. And that’s a bad sort of thing.
I’d rather sit here in my darkness, feeling no pain.
ever again my friend.
(and here we will end . . . very sad, discomforted, and thinking this is a ‘part’ from which some of my suicidal thoughts (and sometimes impulses) come from . . . something I have to, once again, deal with on a daily basis. But that’s okay; just a suicidal idealation complex built around failing at something – of that I can be quite sure. And ‘we’ can heal this one in the end . . . given time, care, talking to ‘him’ and understanding . . . maybe we can even the score . . . giving him love when he had none – and making him understand it: It’s forever, my friend – “WE” are your love . . . if nothing and nobody else . . . and I think my wife can understand . . .)
It’s a problem.
Whutta bitch sometimes.
(signed: 13) (sighing . . . this is a tough thing, isn’t it guys . . . feeling resigned)