July 1999

Hello once again. I was surprised that my article actually made the June issue considering it was submitted past the deadline. Thanks again Jeff! I also want to thank those people have e-mailed me since my column appeared on Oasis. Anyway, what's going on in my life right now? Not too much because I'm so busy studying and reviewing for my final exams that are scheduled for the third week of June that I barely have any time for John or myself. We manage to find some time on weekends so it's really not that bad. We just can't wait until the last day of school, the 24th. After that, the only thing John and I have to worry about is trying to find ways to keep ourselves from getting bored and that shouldn't be too hard. Picking up where I left off.

Odyssey: a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes in fortune.

One of the disadvantages of living in a small town where we used to live is the fact that news got around rather quickly. Almost everyone knew that my father had beaten me and returning to school after I recovered from my injuries was no walk in the park. The stares I received were agitating enough but the things some of my classmates whispered behind my back were totally uncalled for. "Punching-bag" among other names. How can anyone be so insensitive? I held my composure and kept my mouth shut when I easily could have turned around and smacked them on the kisser. But I wasn't about to let them get the best of me and besides, the last thing I wanted to do was to get expelled from school when I only had 5 months left to go.

Meanwhile, underneath all my anger lied pain and sadness that it drove even my closest friends away that an overwhelming sense of guilt soon followed. I was very short-tempered and the slightest things set me off that I almost destroyed my room on a few occasions. I became withdrawn and began losing interest on the activities I once enjoyed. I stayed in my room most of the time and only wandered outside when I became bored or when I needed to take a walk. I was so damn stubborn that even my mom was getting so frustrated that yelling at me was the only thing she could do. She knew I was hurting and yet she felt helpless because I was shutting everyone out, including her. I was a mess and had no idea how to deal with my problems.

I went to see a therapist every Thursday after school and it was the best thing that happened to me but I absolutely hated it in the beginning. I thought she was the one that needed help trying to get into my head and stuff. I was just there 'cause I had to be and I wasn't ready to share my feelings with anyone, even with my mom let alone a total stranger. To every question she asked, my answer was either yes, no or I don't know. I failed in every attempt to get her mad at me so I didn't have to return. Even making fun of her office furniture with matching colors designed to make her patients feel comfortable.

I gradually became more comfortable with my therapist over the next couple of months (yes, the furniture and colors got me!) and we started discussing other things besides my favorite food, television shows, movies or that type of nonsense. I found it easier to share my feelings with her though because I didn't have to worry what she thought of me and our conversations were strictly between us. The first thing I told her about that bothered me were the nightmares I was having about the beating. She assured me that it was "normal" for people to have nightmares about traumatic events in their lives and they were going to go away sometime or another. (I sure hope so cause I'm still having them to this day but less frequently.) I also told her I liked boys more than girls. Oops! She was surprised.

"You're still very young Kiernan so give it time but I am sure you're not the only one having that feeling."

I felt like an ass so I never brought up that topic again. Where she helped me out the most was dealing with my anger and finding less destructive ways to let it out. She also taught me how to share my feelings with other people I felt I could trust. That I shouldn't just talk about it to anyone unless I felt comfortable enough. My mother especially because our relationship changed ever since I began opening up to her and we became closer than ever.

I stayed with my aunt for 2 weeks in late May and early June while Mom went out of town to look for our new home and a new place for her to work. I missed her so much but I was so happy to see that she was trying to keep her promise. She called me everyday to let me know how she was doing. I couldn't wait until she got back and when she finally did, the smile on her face said it all. I ran out of the house and gave her a big hug and asked her how her little house hunt went.

"We're moving Kier"

To say that I was extremely happy would be an understatement. My mom described the house and the surrounding area but I didn't really pay attention to her. I just kept hearing those 3 magical words. We gathered my things after supper and went home.

A few days before we were about to move, I thanked my therapist for the things she helped me out on and I apologized to my closest friends, especially Lauren, my best friend where I used to live. She was the only one that had any sense of empathy, the rest were just plain nosy. She gave me the space that I needed but always let me know that she was there for me if I needed to talk. The rest of my friends probably thought I was still the biggest jerk even after I apologized but I don't blame them. I just told them that it was my fault and that I had nothing against them whatsoever. I wasn't asking for forgiveness but I couldn't leave without saying sorry for the way I acted.

John and the summer of '97

My eyes lit up when I saw our new home in a recently built development. A white two-story brick beauty on a dead-end street with a huge basement which I chose to be my bedroom. A park complete with a basketball court, baseball field, bicycle paths, and a little man-made lake was at the end of the street that I have grown to love. I remember the first time I set foot in our new house as if it just happened yesterday. I looked up into my mom's eyes while holding her hand. It's so difficult to describe how I felt but I was very happy, angry, frustrated and relieved at the same time that tears started welling in my eyes.

"Kiernan.....please don't"

Mom woke me up early the following morning to go shopping for new furniture. It was fun being able to pick out my own bedroom set and helping her choose stuff for the rest of the house. We were indeed starting over and why not begin by filling the new house with stuff we both picked out. We ate lunch then spent the rest of the day driving around the neighborhood and walking around in the park down the street. She showed me where the Junior High School building was, the local Mickey D's and every place a 13-year-old needs to know when mom is not around. Everything is within walking distance or a short bicycle ride.

The next morning while waiting for the new furniture to arrive, I grabbed my skateboard, two sticks of candles and went outside.

"Hey, you must be the new family that moved in that house." someone said from across the street as I was waxing the curb.

I turned around and saw my future boyfriend, a cute boy with his hair pony-tailed behind his cap with a little girl in tow.

"I'm "John" and your name is?"

"Kiernan" I told him. I pointed at the little girl and asked who she was.

"My sister" he replied then told "Jen" to go back home.

I invited John inside to meet my mom, offered him a drink and talked for a few minutes. John suggested that it would be a good idea for my mom and I to go to his house and meet his parents. We crossed the street where they live and he introduced his mom, dad and sister to the new family in town. While my mom chitchatted with John's parents, he invited me his room to get changed. He stripped to his underwear and this is really embarrassing.... I popped a chubby while he was walking around looking for clothes to wear. I just felt really weird that he didn't care being half-naked and that I was there watching him. We went to his garage to get his board and skated in front of our house until the furniture delivery studs arrived.

I've found a new friend and that summer basically just flew. John and I spent countless hours playing baseball but we used a tennis ball instead of a real one. We marked the home run "fence" with a little flag and I remember him sending one yard a couple times off my best pitch. He high-stepped around the bases letting me know how good he was so his next time up, I let him know how good my control and velocity was by drilling him in the back. We both have a passion for skateboarding though, a sport where we can both express our creativeness. Besides having a lot of fun trying new tricks, skating helps me get my mind off things. He showed me all the skate spots that summer and for once I began enjoying the activities I lost interest in. My mom meanwhile loved the new place she's working at. The commute however, is a whole different story but things couldn't have started any better for the both of us.

John even invited me to his family's annual camping trip near the ocean. I thought it was really cool. I grew up in a landlocked state so everything was new to me. They have a big camper and parked it on the beach and the water was a mere 100 yards away or so. We built sandcastles but none of them were very good so we made a sexy woman with huge breasts out of sand instead. John's dad thought it was funny and took our picture lying down next to our "girlfriend." John even tried to teach me how to body-board but after one attempt, I gave it up. A monstrous wake about 10 feet from the shore destroyed me as I was paddling to the beach and sent tons of sand down my shorts and into my ears and mouth. I crawled out of the water swearing and spitting sand, I wasn't too happy about that but John thought it was hilarious.

The nights were spent sitting in front of the campfire roasting marshmallows while sharing stories. John's face looked so cute lit up by the fire and I made sure he wouldn't notice me looking at him every 10 seconds. The best part of the trip though was playing around with him. Staying up late in our tent, swimming in the ocean, flying kites, playing catch with a frisbee, joining other teens playing beach-volleyball or just lying on the sand without our shirts on and getting a tan. I loved looking at his body, his cute legs and butt. "Aah, you're killing me!" I kept saying in my head. I loved everything about him, his looks, his personality and his sarcastic sense of humor. I was getting so mad 'cause I couldn't let him know I had a huge crush on him.

After the trip, I told my mom all about it and showed her the photos we took of the place. She was very happy for me. She told me to ask John if he wanted to come along with us for a weekend excursion to an amusement park the following weekend. I guess as a way for saying thanks for the camping trip. The place was 2 hours away by car. We had a great time going on the rides. Even my mom went on a few roller coasters but she drew the line on the ones that flips and twists. What sticks out in my mind the most though about that day was how John and I walked around with an arm on each other's shoulder. How nobody seemed to care but then again, we were only 13 and we were the best of buds. Doing that now will definitely attract stares!

Before I knew it, summer came and went and it was time to start the 8th grade. I easily made new friends but I was glad nobody knew anything about my past so it was possible for me to have somewhat of a normal school year. They knew I went to see a therapist once a week after school but never really cared why I went but to those that did, I just told them that I had to because my parents split up and it bothered me. Meanwhile, John and I became the best of friends and we were inseparable. We always went out of our way to see each other every passing time between classes to catch up on the latest news. (A lot happens in 42 minutes believe it or not!) We usually skated after school with a bunch of our friends or played silly little games like manhunt or kill the guy with the ball. (Don't ask) It was an uneventful school year to say the least but I was getting attracted to John even more especially after those times when we compared our penises or masturbated together under the sheets whenever we had sleepovers.

8th grade though was my chance to thank my mom in my own way. It took a lot of hard work and determination but it paid off. My grades were good enough to make the honor roll every grading quarter. That was the least I could do for all the trouble she went through to keep her promise.

Feel free to e-mail me with comments or questions at sk80dyssey@aol.com

Have a safe summer everyone,


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