November 1998

My name is Rich, and I live now in the state of Georgia. I am 20 years old, and have a lot of tales that I can share and as a result of this sharing, there will be a lot of people who can relate to the things that I have seen, experienced, and dealt with. One of the things that I had wanted to do was tell my life story to other people who are gay, to let them know, that no matter how it seems to a lot of gay people, whether they be man or woman, there are some people who are gay who do not have a pleasant life. I, for one, did not have any kind of pleasant life whatsoever, and to this day, am still fighting an endless struggle against being gay.

I want other people to know, that no matter how alone they may feel at times in their lives, whether it may be only a moment, or a continuous thought that never ends, I may have very possibly been through the same situation, maybe a little altered, or a little less or more extreme, but nevertheless, the same situation no matter how you look at it. If there is even just one person who can relate to anything of what I am to say, then I will be satisfied. Until then, I hope to write to this magazine, and to keep writing, until someone can see that the same thing they have gone through, is the same thing that I have gone through, or am going through right now. This is my story:

My life used to be unmanageable, to the point of suicide. I always thought that I was the only other guy who looked at other guys instead of women. I thought that I was alone, completely shut off in my own horrid world, not knowing what would happen if people had found out the real me behind the plastered and painted face-mask.

I was born in Florida, and lived there for the first six months of my life, and shortly after, moved to Tennessee. I lived with my father, who, as it turned out, was a paranoid schizophrenic. Unknown to me at the time because of obvious reasons, my mother, my younger brother, who is four years younger than me, and myself, were in danger of this man. My father always seemed to take delight in beating me and my mother, and had thought that the entire world was after him. I don't remember being scared or nervous around him, I only remember very few things about him now.

One memory that has been burned into my mind for eternity now is when I was sitting on the counter next to the metallic sink, a metal basket hanging from the ceiling with Kit Kat candy bars in it, and my father and mother yelling at each other. I tried to tell them both that if they didn't quit fighting by the time that I counted to three, I would scream as loud as I could. They both kept on fighting as I began my countdown, as if they never heard me. I don't know if they did or not, but I was intent on making them stop fighting with each other.

I got to the number three, and screamed for what seemed like minutes, although it was probably only seconds, before they quit fighting, and I was now crying heavily at this sight, when my mother turned and looked at me, and picked me up. I can't quite remember what happened after that.

Another memory was when my father and my mother and I were going to a store in a more civilized area. We lived in Gainesboro, Tennessee, where there wasn't another house in sight for miles. My father turned to me and asked me if my mother was acting different toward me or saying things to me about him that would make me frightened of him. I told him that she wasn't, and then went on to ask him why. He had replied that she was taking some kind of medication which made her act funny.

There aren't too many memories, like I had mentioned earlier on, but the ones that I do have are more than proof to myself, that there is something wrong with my father. My mother had told me horrible stories of what he used to do to her, how he had raped her on their anniversary, and how he used to rip the phones out of the walls when my mother had threatened to call the local police. Seven years had passed of her living with my father, before she had realized that she needed to leave him, and move on with her life.

All this time, my father had been brainwashing my mother, to make her think that everything in the world that went wrong was her fault, and he almost had her believing it, too...almost...

When I turned the age of six, my mother had taken me, my brother, and I and left him. I can remember this day clearly, at least, part of it. My mother already had my brother in the car, who was sick at the time. All she needed to do was to get me in the car and then she could leave him forever. I had asked her were we were going, and she said that we were going shopping. Thinking nothing of it, I turned to my father, who was outside, and told him goodbye.

He asked where I was going, and in turn, I had told him that we were going shopping. I can remember my mother grabbing my wrist quite forcefully, yanking me off the ground as she told me to shut up and ran to the car, my wrist still in her hand. I looked out of the back window of the little Volkswagen Bug, and watching my father run behind the car, as if he was trying to chase us and take us back into the house. I knew at that time, we were coming back home, but was soon to find out otherwise. What I did not know, however, as I found out that we weren't going back home, was the fact that I would see him again.


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