Sacred Heart Catholic Church; 1990
When I stepped onto the parish hall that evening after the retreat on February 11, 1990, I didn’t know a prerequisite for sustaining a long-lasting relationship with the Lord would require sleeping with men. Throughout my teenage years I’d vacillate between church teaching and the growing feeling inside.
Steve, our youth coordinator was the first to greet everyone at the door. Steve was safe. He was squeaky clean. I would imagine his smile had its own soundtrack — nothing like a choir of angels — just the sound you’d hear when something is already so clean it makes a squeaking noise.
“I’m happy you decided to come back tonight Eddie.” His attention warmed the naive parts of me that were just starting to welcome in the devil. All I wanted to do was stand and admire him. Steve’s loving focus sent me back to a place that was becoming all too familiar. A place, that by the age of sixteen, would lead me to the confessional booth way too many times.
John had an intimidatingly spiritual presence about him; it was all-encompassing and without boundaries. He wielded it with no idea of his power. He was tall, well built without trying, and his young adult skin was as virginal as he was.
All the mother’s wanted him for their soon to be in season daughters. Young, eighteen-year-old girls who would be ripe for the picking. The same young girls who readied their clipboards and pens as they checked off the boxes which lead them to till death do us part.
I, on the other hand, was an awkward and lanky sixteen-year-old boy who resembled more of a budding baby giraffe rather than a young, tight-skinned masculine colt. Although my calf stage had long since passed, I stalled and held onto it for no other reason than that it was all I knew.