[oasis] [columns]

Simon Thibault

December 1996

"I gotta have my suffering
so that i can have my cross"

-Tori Amos


So many people, and I can't touch any of them. Not one. Not without fear that I will get punched in the face, or worse.

I live in a small rural community where I go to university and, believe it or not, I am the only openly gay student on campus. You see, the student population is tiny, less than 1000 (much less) and everyone knows everyone. And everyone knows that I am gay, and I'm fine with that. But there is no one else who is out. And so I go to the campus bar, and look, and wink to my straight male friends, who don't care, but deep down, I just want to lie in their beds, with their arms about me. I think about this for hours when I come home afterwards, and I know it will never happen.

To make it worse, I live three hours away from the nearest gay bar. Three hours by car, five by bus, and I am a poor student-- no money to go to the bar.

I sit for hours in this computer lab, writing to friends, netizens, or myself. I write on this screen, and almost only on it, my headphones blaring music (usually Tori Amos, or something wickedly moving).

I write, for if I didn't I would go insane. Maybe I am. Maybe I use this computer, this screen, these blips of cyber-reality to purge myself of all these demons I feel burning inside me. Maybe. But I have to, for I have heard them speak to me, and I am tired of their voices. Silence is a wonderful thing.

You see, I can't talk to anyone here. My best friend moved away. To France. How do you like that? But I'm happy, for she is finding out so many things about herself there, while I am on my own trip. It took me here, to you, writing this column. My trip has taken me to places I never dreamed of, and I hope to take you there too. Maybe you're already there, and I'll meet you on the way. Or maybe you were lost, and waiting for someone to show you the way. I know I'm waiting. I am utterly alone. And no, that is not self-pity. It is fact. But I have my writing. My music. My muse. My photos. Me. They are all of me, and me, as are these words. Welcome to my world.

My parents know that I am gay, and are fine with it, but they worry. My sister was so worried when I went to visit her and went out to the gay quarter by myself. I'm a big boy. Or so I think. They don't read what I write, or at least, not the stuff that makes me cringe sometimes. It has to be said. It has been said.

I will say more.

[About the Author]

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