Man/Child

At that moment, I knew...
At that moment, I knew…

(Theme ‘The moment I knew I was no longer a child’ from ‘642 Things To Write About’ by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto)

It was in 1987, on a cloudy December day spent indoors, that he and I were playing in his room, upstairs. He was a few months older than I, but had all the command and authority of one much older. Suddenly, the game became more than a game, and I felt things I hadn’t known existed, in my thirteen years. I gave up my innocence and the world changed forever.

Still, I was a child.

A few weeks later, my father died.  I cried for a few minutes, then went for a long ride on my bike. I knew the world had changed, and crying wouldn’t change it for the better, that crying would never solve anything, and I resolved to never cry again.

Still, I was a child.

In 1991, the world changed again when she kissed me and was the first girl I did more than kiss. It was in the shadow of Oom Paul, on Church Square, the night before my 17th birthday.

Still, I was a child.

When I was 21 I fell in love, first with Tom, and then far more passionately, with drugs. The first night I took ecstacy, I watched, felt and heard the world change, and knew that I was walking a thin line between heaven and hell.

Still, I was a child.

Soon after, in a passion-free, drunken fumble that romantics call a ménage-à-trois, Tom’s friend raped me, and the world changed.

Still, I was a child.

In a hot tub, in Cape Town, the man I’d loved for years offered up his body, and sealed my emotional fate as we spent hours in carnal embrace. Dreams – and nightmares – do come true. That night, the world changed.

Still, I was a child.

When I was 37 and three quarters, I tried to kill myself, because I feared the world would never change again.

Still, I was a child.

Later, after the world changed, my mentor stepped away, and my demon came back: two very different men they were – one to admire and respect, the other to lust after, and to fear. That night, I sat in the bath and I cried; I cried for my mentor – what would he do, now that he wasn’t guiding me. I cried for my demon, who thought I still bowed down to him. Mostly, I cried for myself because I hadn’t wanted the world to change.

Was I still a child?

I sent my mentor a message, wishing him well, and offering him thanks; I let him go into the world, for I no longer needed him. I sent my demon a message, wishing him well, and offering him forgiveness, for I was as much his demon, as he was mine. I let him go into the world, for I no longer needed him.

Then I gave thanks, for I knew at that very moment, that I was no longer a child.

© Dave Luis 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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