A dance of shame was something that seemed an integral part of his being. He learned very early on that he couldn’t trust people-especially guys. And that was always the real irony of his life. He couldn’t resist flirting with boys, being with boys, sexing with boys, and he was always reassured that boys wouldn’t reciprocate and they would betray somehow. And if that wasn’t the case, somehow he would twist himself into a position that the guys who didn’t fit his mold, would have no choice but to help him play out his self-deprecating scenario.

When he was in the 5th grade, he started having sex with older boys. They were mostly in high school and willingly messed around. They would also talk about him and make fun of him when they weren’t too busy using him for other things. He knew this to be his truth and he carried this with him as he moved forward. And he was always moving and always ready to move again.

He had lived with shame for as long as he could remember. And he was sure he couldn’t remember anything prior to that because it was too terrifying to want to recall. It felt normal for him to be the object of someone’s derision. And looking back, it seems he played the each session of his life with this template of shame.

He found that being high relieved a lot of the pressure of his life’s ballet and so he was high often. This practice also led him through some labyrinths that emptied out onto the same familiar place. And a pounding head and a dehydrated soul simply underlined and set in bold the shame which shadowed his every move.

He met a boy in 1977 and sort of fell in love. The guy was a bartender named Peter who worked in a place called Cheeks. He was a go-go boy in that same place and worked the early shift. He and Peter partied together at first and then they shifted to playing house and playing racquetball when the closed the bar at 4am. They moved in together and shared an apartment with 2 nurses named Liz and Maryann. The couple of years that he and Peter were together seemed very happy times. Glimpses of a future were designed and the drumbeats of his past kept getting fainter.

Peter had worked at a restaurant and then gone out with some guys for a birthday celebration after the shift and he stayed home. He was headed out to buy cigarettes very late at night. As he headed back to his apartment, he noticed a car parked on his street with two lovers in it. It seemed quite sweet and romantic until he realized that the sweater that one lover was wearing was the very same sweater that Peter had worn that night. He felt capsized by this surprise. He walked around to the driver’s side and knocked on the window. The culprit looked up and our hero wished the driver a happy birthday.

The very common nature of this episode only echoed the thoughts once buried In his head. He was now sure that it would never be any different for him. And what followed was his determined, directed and very decadent dancing with himself. It was symphonic. Completely shameful and completely without care, he silently vowed to not open his heart again. Dancing would be enough.

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