‘With You As My Sweetheart’
Sometimes the obvious was the hardest thing to see. While everyone was on the same journey, not everyone was on the same spiritual path. Now if that wasn’t uniqueness I didn’t know what was, but that didn’t have to mean being alone either. As much as I enjoyed my privacy and alone time, I also liked being around people. Whether they liked being around me or not was another story! Still, after years of riding the merry-go-round of life alone, all I wanted was to love and be loved back.
In another dream, a friend gave me a money order for twenty-four thousand four hundred and seventy-nine dollars. At first I refused it. I was after all so undeserving, but later regretted it after a visit from the ‘postman.’ When I asked about it in a Reiki session I was told it was a metaphor: one dollar per lifetime. Pride aside, its simplistic message awed me. I now knew how long I’d been here. Now was my lifetime to take off my masks and heal. While I’d taken many off, others lurked in the depths of being.
When I finally took my last ‘student’ aside to talk with him he told me: ‘that’s how you do it, not in front of my friends.’ “I’m sorry. I’m still learning just like you,” I said, bowing my head. He smiled. Brushing aside his doped up drunkenness as if gently brushing hair away from his face, I bid audience with the beautiful young man beneath. “Here, I want you to have this,” I said, handing him a white bear necklace. “It’s for protection.” I felt nervous, but stood my ground nonetheless. He put it on. His so-called friends neared and called out: ‘he’s our bitch. We own him.’ I moved aside to let him see them for who they were. He didn’t like being put down. I smiled a loving smile then left. I’d done what I came to do. The rest was his to deal with.
Later when alone he said ‘Mike, you can’t tell me what to do.’ His directness took me by surprise. I wanted to ask him what he meant, but feared actually knowing. So, instead I became Mr. Agreeable. “I know what you mean. People thought they could manipulate me – especially when drugs were involved, but I showed them.” Still unsure of where his statement was coming from, I extended on it with, surprisingly, my counseling skills: “you’re right as long as you’re not harming yourself, me, others or the household. Even then, if I’m wrong I stand corrected and apologize and hope you forgive me.” He bowed his head, listening silently with love-filled eyes.
In a trance, I reached into my heart and spoke words of truth, my truth: “Do you remember when I tried to get you to take a shower when you first got here and you wouldn’t no matter how hard I tried? At first I thought you were doing it on purpose, but then I asked myself: what if he doesn’t know? Remember, I said neither I nor a team of top lawyers could make you do what you didn’t want to do – if that was your choice. I wasn’t out to get you or do anything you didn’t want to do, but you had to see that for yourself. And you did. You took a shower because you knew it was the right thing to do. And I had to see my own shit too.”
“Your energy was all outwards, but could only keep on going that way before crashing and burning. All I did was offer you a safe place for you to lay your head. You did the rest. I even tried putting your stuff by the door when you didn’t move in, but I was told very loudly by my own voices not to. It wasn’t the right thing to do. That’s why your stuff’s still in the bedroom with your birthday present. You can take it if and when you go.”
“I always admired your courage. It’s something I have, but tell myself I don’t at the same time. It’s messed up, I know. You, you just go for it. Me, I’m too scared of hurting others – I guess? You think I talk a lot now! It stops me from doing and saying a lot of things, trust me. I don’t know? How do you do it?” ‘I don’t know. I just do it. I don’t ask questions.’ “Aren’t you worried about hurting people?” ‘I don’t mean to hurt them – some of them anyway.’ “Wow. You know what? I do know what you mean. It was like when I asked you to leave after you’d done something I couldn’t handle. I knew exactly what I wanted. There was no doubt whatsoever. In all honesty even I was shaken by how easily I got my way. And you obeyed because it was undeniable truth. That’s how manifestation works, pure and simple.”
“D’you know how hard it was reaching you by not lying? Sure I’ve lied before and been lied too. It’s human nature, but not the only way to live and get things. I’ve been wrong, but that’s different than lying. I did the best I could with what I knew and had at the time. I never told you not to do drugs, drink or smoke, just to be careful doing them, that’s all. Besides, I’ve done more than my fair share, but I still tried and did a pretty damn good job if I do say so myself. I hated asking you to leave, but I was scared. I wanted to bring you back, I really did, but you’re strong and proud and I didn’t want to interfere in your process like I did before, remember? But I never lost sight of you.”
“While others put you and your friends down, I watched you fight for what you believed in. Of all the things I’ve seen alcoholic-addicts do, when I saw you put a pillow under your friend’s head when he was passed out. I was proud and honored to know you. Sure I felt jealous and wanted the same…” ‘But you don’t need a pillow…’ “I know, but are you telling me what I need and don’t need or asking?” He blushed and smiled a little. “No, you’re right. I don’t need exactly the same, but I need something otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Your company, love and understanding is just one kind of pillow. Your mission if you choose to take it is to figure out what pillow I need – if you love me like you say you do – or not. It’s up to you.”
“People don’t know what we’ve seen and the battles we’ve fought. Most are too busy watching TV or playing computer games. I’m not putting them down; it’s just not their journey. I don’t know, maybe we’re going through this to make sure they don’t? Some join armies to fight. Most are stripped of identity and individuality first and end up becoming just as bad as their enemies. I showed you another way, a loving way. I’m not asking for a medal and I don’t think you want one either. Besides, they’re too busy being pinned on people paid to do their jobs. Seeing you grow and get your shit together is medal enough. All I ask is you pay your lessons forward. If not to me then to others you meet on your journey.”
“You dared to listen. Tom did in the beginning, but stopped. He thought being a man was all about being big and tough or solid as he called it. But it takes way more than that. Yes, I loved him and wouldn’t have made it without his help, but I had to let him go. You’re more real and solid than him ‘cos you want to be. You’re funny, trustworthy, honest, patient and an incredible listener – things your friends told me. Until you see the brave beautiful hero I see you’re always going to give your power away trying to please others. I did it for over twenty years, but I ended up not pleasing myself too. I’d love to spend the rest of my life with you, even if you can’t with me. But at the rate your going you might not even outlive me. I hope not. You and your friends have so much beauty and potential. We’re all gifts from God – even those who hate us. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.”
“I learned so much from you and love being with you. You accepted me for who I am – my HIV, sexuality, stupidity and all. Even my so-called real friends can’t say that. I’ll still be here when you come back. Hell, who’d want me right? See I still have my own self-esteem issues to deal with, but that’s what makes me human! I know you think I’m strong and don’t need you, but I do. Not because of anything sexual, but because of your heart. That means so much more to me than anything else. You have an incredible heart. I showed you how much you deserve to be loved and how much joy you bring to my life by being there. You help ground me and keep me honest with my feelings and in return I help you with your issues not because I have to, but because I want to. Sometimes that’s enough.”
“Everything I did for you I’d do ten times over again because you’re worth it. What little I have I share with you. Yes, I’m scared I’ll never see you again, but I’m not going to manipulate or deceive you into staying either. That decision’s yours to make like it always has been – my little man without fear. I’d like to go with you, but you don’t really want me to go either. That’s alright! It’s your journey. I have to work on becoming more direct and assertive like my nephew said, and finish my book so I can feel proud and be more financially attractive to you and myself. Yeah I’m lonely, but I don’t want you to stay because of that. I want you to come back when you’re ready to contribute to the household as best you can. Just because we’re not together doesn’t mean I love you any less. In fact, I love you even more. Well maybe not more – you know what I’m trying to say. You’re always welcome back. You know that.” I humbly bowed my head and left.
He left the next morning and, while two voices told me to ‘go and get him’ and ‘talk to him’ I decided trust in myself. Tired of playing the go and get him game, I wanted someone to come and get me for once. Whereas I used to fear partings because of when my best friend had left and rejected my emotionality so many years ago, now was different. I felt proud because he was continuing his journey to manhood. Sure I wanted him to stay, but not at his personal expense
I found out he left a couple of weeks later and, while I send out a daily prayer for his safe return, it’s not based on fear like before. Who knows maybe – hopefully – he’ll return when he is ready? Besides, I wouldn’t have it any other way. He knows he needs to grow, learn, work and play so he can become more of a man. And if I did try and stop him, it’d probably do more damage than good. No, he’s where he needs to be just like I’m where I need to be. Besides, we both need to learn what it means to miss one another. Not to mention I couldn’t tell him what to do!
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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