Shattered Silence

Shattered Silence

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dear Andy

I started an open letter to my childhood
friend, but it's taken years to finish.
In my first blog post ever in September 2011, I talked about how my ideas for writing projects often come to me. I mentioned two creative works that I had begun a long time ago but never finished, and how I planned to post them if I was ever able to tap into the same creative fire that hatched them. One of those musings was a letter that I had begun to write to a childhood friend, which I also intended at the time to send to this long-lost pal of mine upon its completion. 

There was a night, long ago, when I got out of my bed to put into words the thoughts and feelings that were racing through my head. So much was left unsaid with this boy, with whom I had spent many happy times as a young man, and hadn’t seen in years; but I knew one way I could get a hold of him to send the letter. The creative fire that kindled the beginning pages (yes, pages) of that letter soon died out, and I was left not knowing how to finish it. 

Since that time, my blog has gained more readers, and I’ve discovered that just posting my life experiences and the feelings of my heart on the Internet bring me enough of the comfort that I sought in starting the letter in the first place. I’ve decided that right now I won’t send the letter to my boyhood friend—but I will post it here. Perhaps someday he will find it.

Please be aware that the letter that follows is extremely personal and very intimately detailed; However, I wouldn’t call it graphic. I will address the very roots of my homosexuality from childhood to my teen years and into adulthood, including how I felt and what my behaviors were during those years. Everyone has a different level of comfort that I can’t possibly try to cater to in order to ensure that no one will be offended by what I write. I encourage my readers to use discretion if they choose to read on, and would like to remind those who read that I am posting this letter more for myself than for anyone else as a way to cope with long-harbored feelings of guilt and regret. 

All names have been changed.

Dear Andy,

I don't know how to begin, other than "hello."
I don’t know how to begin, other than hello. It’s been years since I’ve seen or heard anything from you, but I imagine that’s how it goes much of the time, when people grow up, change, and move on with life. I guess I’m hoping that you remember who I am, though I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve forgotten.

I’m writing to share things that I’ve been harboring in my heart, soul, and mind for many years now concerning our friendship all those years ago. I tried to keep things simple, but I’m afraid the subject matter runs deeper than that. I admit that I’m terrified of you reading this, but as difficult as it may be for both of us, I hope you will read on as I try hard to keep typing.

I remember when I met you in the fall of 1997. I was just eleven years old. We had both just begun the sixth grade. We were in the same English class together. After a few social exchanges in class, you invited me over to your family’s house in the nearby farming community just outside our hometown. Your parents ordered pizza and we watched a basketball game on TV. I’ve never enjoyed sports, but I welcomed the chance to get to know you better. We became fast friends, didn’t we? I felt so at home with your family. Your mom and stepdad had the most wonderful appreciation for humor and were always laughing; and your little half-sister was just too cute for her own good. 

I have fond memories of the times I spent with
your family.
I remember having simple, humble family dinners at your house where you always blessed the food; that was something new to me. Even your sister knew how to pray, young as she was, and I envied that. I remember sleeping over on Saturday nights and going with all of you to church Sunday morning. Those were some of my first real exposure experiences with the Latter-day Saint faith. Some of my favorite times with your family were the several trips we took to Capital Reef National Park and Topaz Mountain. Those are experiences I really treasure—I still have all the photographs from those trips.

Early on in our relationship I’m sure you sensed I was a different sort of kid and friend. Almost from the start, I recognized that my personality was a bit more dominant than yours, and I began to take advantage of your gentle nature. In most of my other friendships, I was the one who played the doormat. But with you, for some reason, I jumped at the chance to be the dominant one in a friendship for once. I’m ashamed to say that it felt good to be the boss of our union. I was no doubt selfish and domineering at times, but you were humble and patient because we were friends.

Over time, as we became closer, to our happy twosome was added a third component—Jeff. He lived near to you and went to church with you, and we all went to school together. I remember the night we were in your attic-room in that old house your small family shared, discussing personal things with each other. For some reason that night, Jeff felt compelled to confess to both of us an incident of a sexual nature which occurred between he and one of his family members. I remember he was in therapy of some kind at the time because of it, and there were child service workers involved; it was a dark secret for him and his family. As Jeff confided in us, all still at such tender ages, something opened up inside of me which, until that time, had never seen the light of day.

I learned at an early age from another boy my age
about the forbidden pleasures of the body.
Let me backtrack a little. As a very young child, perhaps five or six years-old, I was coerced by a same-aged boy in my neighborhood to do things that normal five and six year-olds should never be exposed to by anyone. He taught me how to enjoy the forbidden parts of another person’s body, and how to gain pleasure from these so-called “games” of “doctor” and “show-and-tell”—only of a more perverse nature. At first, he was the one who always initiated it, claiming that he would tattle to both our parents if I were ever to tell anyone about these sexual “playtimes.” But as time went on, I found that I enjoyed the intimate encounters this boy and I would have, and we’d attempt to recruit other boys into our “secret club” of forbidden games. When I could not receive the titillating experience with others, I learned very quickly how to cause the pleasurable feelings by myself when I was alone.

My addiction to sexual gratification, to my knowledge at the time, was unbeknownst to the rest of the world. In my childish mind I thought I had stumbled onto something magnificent that no other person could possibly know; I knew that manipulation of my body in certain ways, by myself or with other boys (for I preferred the latter), was a discovery yet to enjoyed by the rest of the world. If anything, I thought, it was some freak accident, perhaps only occurring in my body alone. Of course, this shows my truly young and na├»ve mind at the time this was all occurring. No child is ready for exposure to sex at such a critical age, and I was no different. 

Looking back now, I wonder if it was all a process, a chain of events. I wonder if the boy from whom I learned these behaviors had also learned them from someone else—another child perhaps, or an adult. I seem to recollect that the boy’s home life was a little rough, but I never saw or experienced any abuse in the boy’s home. Still, once the initial awkwardness of the abuse dissolved, the intrigue took hold of me. I had been damaged for the rest of my life, but all I really cared about then was finding opportunities to satisfy my blossoming urges. Only this time the tables were beginning to turn, and the coerced was becoming the coercer.

From that time on, my attractions to other boys
began to grow stronger and deeper.
That same boy who taught me the sexual behaviors went to our middle school during our sixth grade year, but moved shortly thereafter. I never saw him again, but I have never forgotten his name or his face, and they both still haunt me to some extent. He had awoken something inside of me that I never knew I inhabited. I still don’t know if my addiction to sensual things, particularly with other males, came innately with me and was born into life by the force of this boy, or if his perversions planted a seed within me that quickly took root and engulfed me. Perhaps I will never know. But the growth of sexual feelings towards other boys was firmly weaved into my person by that time, though my involvement with other boys eventually dwindled and became dormant for a few years. Then I met you.

On that night in your room when Jeff told us of his forbidden sexual experiences, something began to fester deep within me. I don’t recall precisely, but I believe I had already begun to convince you that experimentation with one another’s bodies was a natural thing—that it was all in good fun, just boys being boys. By the time Jeff’s confession came, you and I had already dabbled in behavior of a sexual nature with one another. I could play upon your natural curiosity for a while, but you were becoming increasingly uninterested in sexual experimentation, at least with me; it wouldn’t be until years later in our friendship that you began to flatly refuse my persistent advances. Before you, there had been a few experiences over the years with random male friends, but they were sparse. But at the time previously mentioned, as eleven year-old boys, my urges to be satisfied were being met in one way or another through you. 

I was plagued by feelings of guilt and shame
as I experimented sexually with you.
Somewhere in the trenches of my soul, mixed with the strange euphoria of the pleasure, I felt a razor-sharp pang of guilt, remorse, and despair for what I had been doing. You may remember that I was not raised to be active in any religion, though I came from a rich Mormon heritage. I knew absolutely nothing of the concepts of commandments or sin, or of homosexuality for that matter. Thinking about it now, I believe that perhaps my pain came from seeing the consequences that Jeff received for committing an act which, in my head, through some form of conscience, I knew to be wrong. I made the connection with his perversion and mine—all of mine. It wasn’t long until I sunk into deep depression.

If I recall correctly, I avoided you for a long time after that. I wouldn’t answer your phone calls or talk to you much at school. Maybe you didn’t notice it, but even the thought of being around you pulled harder at the chains of guilt that beset my soul, and I was terrified of what my most trusted confidant, my mother, would think of my newly-discovered sins. To this day I abhor the thought of shaming my mother in any way, and it was no different then. She was my god, for I knew not any other deity. It was to her that I confessed all my wrong doings, and to her that I knew I must confess in this new instance. And though it would be a few more years before I would put my feelings for the same sex and the title “gay” together, I was nonetheless becoming increasingly aware of my “unnatural” affection for other males.

The pain was too great for me; I had to confess
to my mother what you and I had done.
For weeks I suffered from extreme depression and paranoia. I worried constantly about what my mother would say if and when I told her what I had done with you—or rather, to you. This fear built up a reservoir of emotion inside of me which could not be contained. Exhausted emotionally at the end of every day, I lay in my bed at night and sobbed almost hysterically. Several times I came close to confessing to my mother, asking her several times, randomly, if she would still love me no matter what. But sheer terror would overcome me, and I would change my mind before saying anything incriminating. My mother, I remember, asked me on a few occasions what was wrong with me, lovingly assuring me that I could tell her about it. But through sobs and tears I could only say, “I can’t.” Eventually she gave up in frustration, not knowing how to help me; and the crying, for weeks, only continued.

Once, I tried to open up to my mom about what I was feeling by relaying to her that one of my friends was in trouble for doing naughty things with a member of his family. My mother had never met Jeff. I don’t recall what she said about it. Since that was the experience that caused all of the commotion, I wanted it to be the solution for ending it. I had hoped that she would note the flashing “HELP” beacon in my words, but she didn’t press it.

Then one night, as I lay in bed sobbing until my pillow was soaked with tears, I found the courage somehow to talk to my mom about the issue. The literal pain I was feeling because of my guilt was too much for me to continue on the way I was. I can scarcely remember any pain more severe that I have ever had to go through than I did at that time. It was past my bedtime, but the glow of the television in my mother’s room shined from her open bedroom door. I walked into the room, still crying but attempting to control myself, and went to the edge of her bed where she lay propped up on a pillow. If my memory serves me right, she said something like, “Are you ready to tell me?” I said, “Yes,” and through sobs I explained to her the things I had done with you that were of a sexual nature. 

Amidst my troubles with my sexuality
came my diagnoses of Tourettes.
I recall her asking trivially, “Is that it?” The pain and fear that had consumed me for weeks began to fade almost instantly, coupled with a flow of grateful tears. I told her again and again that I was sorry, and begged for her forgiveness, pleading for her to understand. Though my memory has faded some, I remember that she was ready with a long, tight hug, and the reassuring words that it would be all right, and that I shouldn’t feel badly anymore. There was nothing in the world more reassuring in that moment than to lay my head upon my mother’s bosom, my arms wrapped around her, and to sob with relief. However, there came with this joyous outcome the admonition not to engage in such behaviors anymore.

Around this same time, well into the school year, I had received even more insights to other issues that were significantly affecting my life. 1997 was the year I was diagnosed officially with Tourette syndrome, the neurological disorder which caused my strange vocalizations and bodily movements, called “tics.Obsessive compulsive disorder was also tagged on, and I learned why I felt the constant need to perform tasks repeatedly and perfectly. It was still all very new to me. But what I cared about the most was finally having a doctor put a name to the strange feeling like there was a little man inside my head who controlled all my actions. 

Additionally, I was happy that my teachers now had no choice but to give me “Satisfactory” marks for class citizenship and participation, whereas before the dreaded “Needs Improvement” riddled my report cards. Teachers who were just as puzzled as I was about why I couldn’t be quiet, sit still, or stop rearranging my environment, were relieved too, I think, that they could better help me reach my academic goals. I was consistently praised for my school work and told I had a bright mind, and having a new diagnosis gave me a way to harness my energy for my own academic success. Looking back on it all now, I can see why, in my mind, my feelings for boys and my behavior with you was all I could think about most times, and why I felt such a strong need to satisfy those urges—those obsessions—I had.

Confession didn't solve my problems; I became
increasingly disturbed by my attraction to males.
By this time our friendship was well-established. My pressures for sexual “experimentation” with you came often, though you didn’t give in as often as I would have liked. It was not experimentation to me—I had made up my mind that such pleasure was the highlight of life, and I knew that I enjoyed it more than anything else. Acting coy was my only defense at not looking strange in your eyes. I had to pretend that I was just as curious as you were—a little more zealous, obviously, but within the realm of normal boyhood friendship. Each time I would insist that if you would just give in this last time, I would never ask you again. But each rush of ecstasy only gave new life to the thrill of the behavior and paved the way for many broken promises on my part.

After coming to the realization that I had a serious problem, and following the anguish I experienced by harboring my secret, my confession to my mother was a welcome solution—so I thought. Though the night I emptied my festering soul at my mother’s bedside was, as I recall, the most comforting and peaceful sleep I had gotten in previous weeks, I awoke almost immediately to familiar pangs of something being amiss within me. Mere thoughts of you or Jeff were like a glass shard in my heart. You were both, as I could see, my ties to the problem that was becoming increasingly more alarming. Even as a child, I think I sensed that there was more to the issue of my sexual impulses than I had ever thought.

I continued to talk to my mother about it when I could. I couldn’t seem to admit to her, plainly, that I liked boys more than I should. I realized it was odd. Boys did not like other boys. Boys became men, and married women, and had children. But two boys could not have children. I knew enough about sex to know that. And if I could not grow up to marry and have children, what purpose would there be in my life? I can recall having these profound thoughts as early as eight years-old! But a boy of twelve now, the haze surrounding the issue of a boy liking other boys was dissipating, and I could see more clearly my identity—something ingrown, something unavoidable. I couldn’t rid myself of it any more than I could hack off one of my own limbs—not without further consequences, at least.

The psychiatrist asked me flatly if I was attracted to other
boys; I was terrified, so I lied and said "no."
On one occasion, during all this frightening introspection, I had an appointment to meet with the neurologist who diagnosed me with Tourettes just months before. I remember distinctively being in the car with my mother, driving to the doctor’s office in a neighboring town. She could tell I was still upset about what I had done with you. She suggested that I talk to the doctor about it, since he was, after all, a psychiatrist. She told me that he could probably assure me better that than she could that my adolescent sexual games were normal, in some respects, for boys and girls to attempt. The psychiatrist was brash and intimidating. I wasn’t too keen on spilling my guts in his office when I barely knew the man. But with my mother’s encouragement, I said, “Maybe.

After we took care of the updates with my symptoms, tics, and medications, my mom turned in the chair sitting next to me and gave me a look of, “Well?” I became nervous, and sheepish. I insisted that my mother leave the room if I was to tell this near-perfect-stranger with a medical degree about my sexual escapades with my best friend. My mother complied, though, and I was left alone with the doctor. It took me a long time to tell a condensed version of the story heretofore outlined. I remember glossing over the details in an effort to minimize my actions and pretend like I wasn’t really bothered by them as much as I actually was. I asked him if all of these things were normal. “Yes,” he said. Exploring your body and your feelings is nothing to be ashamed about. Involving others, though, at such a young age, was not the best idea. He had affirmed exactly what my mother had told me all along, but using words that made it clear that he had more schooling than my mother did. That was the only difference. 

The sexual experiences I initiated
with you were destroying our friendship.
I don’t recall how he phrased it, but his next question was whether or not I felt I had an attraction, or a liking, to boys more than I had to girls. I was terrified. “No,” I insisted. “I was just curious,” was the same old excuse. And like my mother, he didn’t press it. Of course, I hadn’t yet quite put a label on my liking of other males, but I still knew that I had lied to the doctor. I left his office stymied. There was a sense of relief at having a second witness that my behavior was nothing to be concerned about; but the feelings and emotions—the attractions that were swiftly multiplying within me, especially with puberty right around the corner—were no less unsettling to me.

You and I went on to Junior High, and stayed close through eighth grade. We never did have lots of things in common, but we found ways to get past that, and I was usually willing to do the things that you enjoyed so that we could bond. You were my best friend, and I liked you the way you were. As much as it might be tempting for someone (especially you) to suggest, the reluctant access to your body was never the reason why I wanted you in my life. The times we spent together when sexual play was not at the forefront of my mind, I truly enjoyed your company. But the guilt that I always felt from my same-sex behaviors never fully dissipated. I slowly began to resent the feelings that I had, and all the triggers that were associated with them; and I am ashamed to admit that you were one of them. 

I associated my feelings of guilt and turmoil with you. You were the physical component of my addiction, the facilitator of my fantasies. I don’t think I blamed you, though, because I knew that I was the one who was in the wrong. I was abnormal, disgusting. I wished I could push you away and save both of us a lot of trouble. But I couldn’t because I cared about you. There were times that I didn’t want to be around you because I knew I couldn’t control my urges, and I may have even ignored you. But you would still call me on the phone and ask if we could hang out, and I would feel like perhaps I wasn’t hurting you as much as I thought I was. Maybe I thought that if you returned, I wasn’t hurting you. But that only led to a false sense of peace in my attractions and my behavior with you, and neither of those things stopped.

We stayed friends through it all, so I thought
maybe I wasn't hurting you after all.
I remember how I used pornography as a tool to entice you into sexual play. I had access to such dirty magazines through my older brother, who was not so skilled at hiding his collection of perverse print. I would share them with you, perhaps hoping to bring you down to my same level of carnal emotion and behavior. I think it helped me to feel better, not only about my attractions to males, but about my actions with you, if I could bring about a mutual appreciation for the pleasures of the eye and body; because up to this stage in our relationship, I was always the one who was more interested in sexual behavior than you. Once I had you hooked on erotica, it seemed easier to convince you to explore the facets of sexuality, and in a way even helped me maintain the “curious heterosexual” image I presented to you as justification for my actions.

Then you moved away. I don’t remember much about how I felt when your family packed up their humble home to go live in another state at the end of eighth grade. But I remember that we stayed in contact. You would call me long-distance on the phone every now and again. I remember that I often didn’t want to talk to you because of the feelings that were stirred up by hearing your voice. But we talked several times while you were gone, nevertheless.

You moved back to our hometown just in time to start tenth grade at our local high school. My memories from that time are vague. I remember that you were the first person at school to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. You laughed and said, “What an idiot,” referring to the pilot. Of course, it wasn’t long before we found out that it was no accident.

By high school, we were quickly drifting apart.
I remember when I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) during our junior year, when I was sixteen. You didn’t come to my baptism, but I recognized that you were by that time on a path that was leading you away from religion. I still give your family the credit for planting the seed of religion within me; those times at church with you gave me the encouragement to later join the LDS Church. The last time I remember spending alone time with you was around New Year 2003. I went and visited your family in their new home within the main city. But things weren’t the same. You and I were both different, and so were your parents. Your little sister was growing. The bond that we all had as friends—the bond that at times made me feel like your family—had deteriorated. 

Still, there was one thing that hadn’t changed. You still had some of the porn that I had secretly given to you, and I was crushed to see that I had hooked you to something that I resented being addicted to myself. I couldn’t convince you to do sexual things with me anymore, those days were over. But the pornography still captivated you, as it did me, and the feeling lingered with me from that time on that I had broken you—I had caused damage.

I couldn't escape the thought that I had
caused you harm; I had broken you.
Without a proper (or even an improper) outlet for my attractions to men, which by age sixteen I came to know indefinitely as homosexuality, I started having troubles in school. My obsessions with other boys that I was attracted to would turn into fantasies, and then translate into tics that were offensive to others—touching people too much to show my affection, or saying things that were inappropriate. Some boys and girls at our high school knew, I think, that I was vulnerable, and would encourage my odd behavior, which led to issues of sexual harassment that would eventually make me an enemy to many. Things balanced out eventually, as my mother and I met with school and district administrators to make arrangements for me to stay on the campus and receive my education, but without being a “harm” to others. Such a notion really struck a chord with me; because of my attractions and seemingly uncontrollable actions, I was a “harm” to others. I wondered just how true their accusations were.

I joined the exclusive school choir, and you started hanging around with a more rugged group. Those little things that were always different about us as individuals were being magnified as we grew older and were given more room to change and develop independently. I can think of a few times that I saw you in the hallway as I walked to the choir room, because you and your rough bunch of friends hung out nearby. I think we spoke a few times, but that was it. Things were awkward, at least for me. All that went through my head when we talked was that you were probably thinking about all the times I had coerced you to act out my fantasies with me. 

I think you did a good job of hiding away any thoughts of you and I together that you didn’t like, when for me all those bad memories were at the forefront of my mind. The images of those experiences would flash through my mind distractingly. The last mental photograph I have in my head is of you at graduation in 2004. As they got closer to reading your name, I watched attentively from the sidelines. Your name was read, and you stepped into the spotlight, made some sort of manly sign with your hand (that was so like you) and walked on to receive you diploma. I don’t remember ever seeing you again.

As the years and miles separated us,
I couldn't forget what I had done.
I heard about you over the years. My parents saw you at random places around town and told me about it. “Whatever happened between you and him? Are you still friends?” they’d ask. I always had an excuse. “We just grew apart. We’re different people now.” To them I probably didn’t seem to care. But really I just felt too terrible about how our friendship had turned out to show much outward emotion. It hurt to leave you behind, after all the good times we’d had; but the pain it caused me to think that I had been such a negative influence on you seemed only to be alleviated by keeping away and trying to forget you. 

After a while you disappeared, and I didn’t hear anything about you for years. I eventually heard from a mutual friend that you had moved to the Midwest and gotten married and had a few kids. In later years I heard that you got divorced, and remarried again. There were a few times I searched for you on websites like Facebook, thinking that I would try to make amends for my evil deeds of the past, but I had no luck finding you. It was almost to my relief because it allowed me to push away the guilty emotion of our past into the hidden areas of my mind. At the same time, though, it worsened the pain of my guilt not being able to find out if you were okay, wherever you were—because the fear in me had started to grow intensely that maybe my behavior and coercion had damaged your life more than I had ever considered. I had thoughts like, “What if his failed marriages are my fault?” “What if I awakened forbidden feelings within him as well, the way they were awoken within me by similar means?” “What if I turned him gay?” The thought of that was tormenting.

Just as it was with the boy from whom I learned the pleasures of the body at an early age, I had taught you as a boy to tap into habits and practices that you shouldn’t have known until much later, or not even at all—all because I had selfish desires that I wanted fulfilled, that I didn’t know how to manage on my own. Thinking psychologically, I can see many factors related to my behaviors, some that still plague me. The feelings I had for the same sex were very real, though their biological or psychological origins remain unknown to me. I had mental disorders that pressed me to obsess and repeat behaviors that gave me mental and physical gratification. Moreover, I didn’t have the moral compass that I have now, which has led me to higher and brighter paths, and helped me to see the error of my ways. These though, are not excuses for my behavior.

I regret everything I ever did that may have hurt
you or caused you harm.
I have read studies, books, and articles about those who are molested or abused at early ages, and what the effects of abuse can be on those individuals. For a long time I never considered myself to be the victim of abuse; in my head, only adults abused children. I’m not comfortable calling it molestation. I’m not sure that’s even what it was with me. But I have come to realize that the actions taken against me by a young boy who was in some way disturbed in his own thinking, have severely affected me for the rest of my life. And in turn, I repeated those offenses with another tender-aged boy who didn’t deserve it—you, Andy.

From the deepest caverns of my heart and soul, I regret every terrible, abusive, coercive, explicit action I have ever taken against you. I’m so sorry, Andy. I ask sincerely for your forgiveness and mercy, while at the same time not completely expecting you to give it. Not because your character is so flawed, my friend; but because my actions, I feel, are too diabolical for reprieve. If the memories of my abuse of you have haunted you the way my abuse has haunted me, my heart will be broken; yet I fear that this is so. 

As I forgive my abuser, I hope
you can forgive me as well.
I hate to think that I have caused you any pain or damage that has affected your ability to have a normal, happy life. I hate to think that I have given rise to any homosexual attractions within you that have caused turmoil in your life. I know that not all who are subjected to such abuse will develop a conflict of sexuality, but as that is what happened to me, such a thing happening to you as well is one of my most dreadful fears. Of course, I may never know the extent to which you have been affected, which is why I can only write this letter.

My conflict with homosexuality has been a downhill slope since that night with you and Jeff in your room, over fifteen years ago. The decline of that slope has pitched deeper and more dramatically at times, but only in the past handful of years has my experience with being same-gender attracted become less of a burden, and more of a refiner’s fire. Though my family relationships are strong and open, my Deity has changed from my earthly mother to my Heavenly Father, and also a Savior in Jesus Christ. I have not only prayed for your welfare, but have begged forgiveness from God for my appalling behavior all those years ago. I can’t help but feel sometimes that I may have to face eternal consequences for any damage I have done to you. However, if that is true, then perhaps that boy from my childhood will have similar judgments placed upon him. 

But in light of my faith in God and Jesus Christ, in my heart I no longer feel hatred towards that boy, my abuser. If I were to see him now, face to face, I would long to embrace him and talk with him. It’s true, I wonder where he is in this world, and if he is attracted to men, too. I wonder if he has experienced some of the same pain and trouble that I have. I wonder if he has had a good life, and if he has found peace for himself in whatever type of life he is living. I hope and pray that he has come to know his God and his Redeemer, and if he knows the peace that Deity provides to souls and hearts that are broken by things like sexual abuse. Truly, I forgive the one person who probably initiated my attractions to men—the attractions that have been such a blessing and a curse in my life.

Faith in God has given me hope that I can be
forgiven for my sins of the past.
So it is in my thoughts of you, Andy. If I were to see you now, I would embrace you, and I would shed bittersweet tears. I sincerely hope that you have found some kind of peace, comfort, and joy in your life, despite the harm brought against you by me. I don’t know how or even if your life has been affected by all that we did together. And unfortunately, I can only think of the worst-case scenario in all of this. I like to think that you have forgotten all about me completely, and that you have let our past together remain in the past. But something inside reminds me of the damage that was done to me, and how I could have passed it along to you. The hardest part in all of this is forgiving myself, which will not be easy. I still don’t think I have forgiven myself. But it is the stuff of my dreams to suppose that, after you read this letter, you will be willing to forgive me, at which time we can both put this all behind us.

I don’t like having to talk so much about myself to make everything as clear as I thought it needed to be. I really wanted you to understand everything just the way it happened, perhaps so you’d know that I was being sincere. At this point, I can only wish you the best, wherever you are, and hope that this letter has opened your eyes not only to the turmoil that caused some of my behavior, but of the true guilt I have harbored for the mistakes I made in our relationship. Again, Andy, I am truly sorry. I hope you can forgive me somehow.

You are someone I still think about, and still pray for. I never forget your birthday, and every year I send you good thoughts on your special day. I think about your sister, who is all grown up now, and your parents and how I miss them. I try to focus on the good times we had, and to forget about the bad times I instigated. But mostly, I remember the good friendship we had, despite all the bad that happened. We had some great times together, and my childhood was made happier because of the friend I had in you.

Andy, may God bless you in every endeavor you undertake, that you will be successful and happy. If fate be willing, may our paths cross again someday, under better circumstances. Until then, may the choicest blessings of the Lord be upon you.

     In sincere humility,

               ~ Wade

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