To Leave

And He does.

Not in the way I expected, not really at all, actually. My heart is still twisting and feral and gluttonous, starving within my body, but, there’s support.

I have two pastors, Geoff and Ashley, who I feel like will be there for me. I hope they will. And I meet them in their house, sit on their couch while their three year old watches Netflix in another room, and I confess, I divulge. And they don't recoil. They barely seem surprised. And I stagger through the story of my addiction, of sex, stutter out my beliefs and how I’m dying. How I’m shredding myself like pulled pork, pulling myself apart in greasy, fatty strands. And I can’t stop.

 

And Ashley says “that’s so shitty” over and over again and Geoff sits in stoic but somehow deeply compassionate silence, and I feel that same stunned warmth at the revelation that there even yet more incredible people in my life.

 

And they listen, and they disagree with me. With my beliefs.

They don’t give any details, “Not yet,” they say, and thank God, “This seems like something you need to work through for yourself.” But I say something (ignorant, I know, even as it comes out of my mouth) about the odds of me finding a gay Christian being statistically so unlikely it would count as enough of a miracle to change my mind anyway. And then Ashley says actually, there are a bunch.

And that sticks. It sticks and something in me cracks, even though I don’t really know it at the time.

 

And when I go home I call my parents, my Mom, and I tell her and Dad to start double checking, to go back through our beliefs and make sure, because maybe there’s a chance this isn’t just bad, maybe there’s a chance this could— I could— actually be a good thing.

Maybe I could actually be gay.

And for the first time, I feel a glimmer in heaven, a sense, a trickle of a thought, that maybe I’m actually finally doing something right, that asking this question—starting to ask it—is the right thing to do.

 

And God wins a few more days.

 

Ashley had told me to call her, anytime, if anything happened I couldn’t stand up against by myself.

On Thursday I found David’s facebook. It hadn’t taken much, 5 minutes of Googling, and there he was. Handsome and slick and immediately within reach. All I had to do was click “message”.

And there was nothing I wanted to do more.

 

I was convinced, had convinced myself, that he was the only one I could talk to, really talk to, about what I’d done and what I was feeling.

I had talked to so many people, but there was still so much left unsaid, so much still festering in the dark and in the quiet, so many unspoken details like splinters in my mouth.

 

I couldn’t tell Spencer that coconut oil doesn’t work as lube, couldn’t tell Jessica he asked me to spit in his mouth because I was “special”. Couldn't tell Ashley or Geoff that I kissed David’s shoulder as he was waking up, and I think I scared him. And that I definitely scared myself, because that little moment of intimacy was my favorite part of the whole encounter.

I couldn't tell any of this to my brusque, bro-y friend, to my innocent sister, to my pregnant, petite pastor. Couldn't vomit up all the filth and secrets I carried inside me in front of them, onto them. 

I could only tell it to someone else who was gay, I could only expect understanding from someone else who was queer. I could only tell him. 

 

I called Ashley, and she talked me down. For the night.

But those secrets, the details, the truly important pieces of the story, still burned inside me like a fever. And I couldn’t shake this need to get them out. It was eating me alive, these lusts, and these new secrets.

 

And God had three days left.

Because even with these new people, even with all of this new support and all of this love and strength behind me, it was still too much. I was still to broken, and splintered inside. I was still dying. 

And none of this was enough. 

 

Two more days—Ashley talked me down again, off a ledge overlooking David and Grindr and God knows what else, and then—it was Sunday. Day 7.

 

And the lust was still there. And the secrets, still biting and stinging and crawling inside of me like fire ants.

And it was all too much.

 

I went to a church, a Church of God, filled to the brim with old people and “folks”. I went inside, desperate beyond all belief for someone to meet me, for some drop of water, some breath of real air.

And I walked up to the altar, I took communion, held the juice and the little oyster cracker in desperate hands, and prayed and yearned.

And there was nothing.

I took communion, and I said goodbye.

 

And when I walked out, into the open air, it felt like the whole world was closing up and locking down around me, keys turning in a billion locks, the streets and avenues shutting down, only the alleyways left.

I still wasn’t free. Just alone.

But He was still there, hanging silent in the sky above me.

And I still felt empty. I tried to tell myself “Ok, go!” Now’s the time, get on Grindr, get a guy, get fucked!

I didn’t want a guy.

I wanted David.

But I’d burned that bridge. So all that was left was me.

 

And I didn’t want to be alone. I wasn’t quite as far out of the fold as I thought, and I think God knew it too.

He didn’t try and get me back. He didn’t woo, harangue or guilt. He just waited, and left the door open.

 

And then the next morning.

The urge was so strong, the need so powerful, to talk, to spill, to rid and shed myself of all these stacking secrets.

And in a weird, wild moment, I texted Sitara.

And I had someone to talk to.

 

And I vomited, and purged, each little detail and timeline and desire. In chunks and asides and swapped stories and a non-linear narrative. And I wandered back into the fold.

And God set to work.