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Elizabeth

November 1998

The Story of Love - Thoughts about Matthew

"Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all prepared their boats and left the island. Love was the only one who stayed behind. You see, Love wanted to wait until the last possible moment before leaving.

The island was almost sunk, and Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?" Richness answered, "No, I can't. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you."

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, "Vanity, please help me!" "I can't help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, "Sadness, let me go with you." "Oh...Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!"

Happiness passed by Love too; Happiness did not hear the cry for help; for Happiness was so happy.

Suddenly, there was a voice, "Come Love, I will take you." It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that Love forgot to ask the elder's name.

When they arrived at dry land, the elder went on its way. Love, realizing how much it owed the elder asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who helped me?"

"It was Time," Knowledge answered. "Time?" asked Love, "But why did Time help me?" Knowledge smiled with deep Wisdom and answered, "Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is."

***

I write today, on the fifteenth with a heavy heart. I am still trying to comprehend the death of Matthew Shepard, and fear I never will. Although someone who've I've only ever met through one picture, a computer as well as a television screen and thousands of words or dialogue later, I feel he was as close to me as a brother.

I originally, set aside this story thinking I would write in addition a response about the love I have been fortunate to have. Now as I sit here, I don't even know what to think, the images of hate crimes still occupy my head. I think I've cried enough for my entire town, although I wasn't surprised when something this tragic went unmentioned in school.

However, my mother promised me that some good would come out of this and that his death would not be in vain. I saw that come true, the Monday morning Matthew died. I was so shaken by his death, that when I got to school I could do nothing but go to one of my teacher's and just began to cry. As I explained, I had just found out Matthew had died, she asked me why I felt so strongly for him. I quietly explained in two words, "I'm gay."

At this point in time, I was not out to anyone at school, with exception of three friends. It was also the first time I had told a teacher. This for me was huge; it was something I needed -- a trusted adult at school that would simply help me to feel safe, especially at a time when I feel so vulnerable. I know for a fact that if I was not upset about Matthew's death, that I would have never come out to an adult at school.

"Time only understands how great love is."

This phrase takes on so many new meanings now, the predominant one being that the only remedy to society's homophobia of the love two men or two women can share will be time and education. For all of us who have waited a seemingly endless amount of time to receive the love of another person, perhaps your parents, friends, teachers, co-workers, or your lover, once you can hold it in your hands saying this is mine is it so incomprehensible.

I know I'm bouncing around trying to make sense of everything, perhaps it will take me another month to work out my feelings. It seems that eloquence is eluding me, the pictures in my mind prevail over everything. I think I'm at a loss to describe what I see, and what's inside of me right now. My apologies.

If anyone feels like they understand what's going on, or wants to talk about life, love, or anything else on your mind, you can e-mail me at singforjoy@hotmail.com. Until month, lets hope for a little more love in this world.

In memoriam of Matthew Shepard (1977 - 1998)

Elizabeth


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