If I were to ask you what Shangri-la is what would you say? Would you say a Utopia? Would you say a place for religious experiences, a place to gain understanding, or even enlightenment? Would you say a place to become one with one with nature, Mother Earth, or even better yet Father Universe? If so I would agree with you. It’s all that wrapped up into one, and unless you visit Shangri-la you cannot fully understand what it is.
Now if you are one of those people who are saying Shangri-la doesn’t exist. Why do you say this? Is it because it is not on the map? Is it because it is a made up land in ancient Buddhist tales, and in an early 1900’s novel? Then I will agree with you for those reasons.
But at the same time I will have to respectfully disagree. For Shangri-la does exist. Yes it is a place in ancient Buddhist tales, and in an early 1900’s novel, but that is not where you will find it. It will never be a fixed point on a map. It is a place that you can only find in a meditative state of mind. You must be lost in thought, thinking about everything and nothing at all, simultaneously.
Confusing I know, but that is the only way to find it. I am one of the few people on Earth who has found it. I know I sound arrogant when I say that, but it is the truth. And I would now like to share with you my journey Shangri-la.
Chapter One: From the Beginning
“What a distressing contrast between the radiant intelligence of a child and the feeble mentality of the average adult” - Sigmund Freud
As a child if you were to ask to describe myself, and my life in one word, I would have had a hard time choosing the perfect word. Even today I would have a hard time choosing. So I will throw some out and I will let you choose. Crazy, Intense, Hectic, Overwhelming, you decide.
Since I could crawl I have been on the move, I unlike most kids only crawled for a few weeks before I was up and walking. It was a little different in my house, since I was walking before I was thirteen months and had the coordination of a two year old; I was forced to do anything and everything a two year old was expected to do. I was toilet trained at fifteen months, and was reading by the age of three.
My parents say they were lucky to have me for a child. I would have to disagree. I would have to say I was the lucky one to have them for my parents. No lucky isn’t the best or anywhere near the right word to use for describing the situation. The word I believe best fits that would be blessed.
My parents Godly people they were, strict, they were that to. Most of you would find that to be a good thing, but not sure that was a good thing for me. The word a lot of people used to describe my parents was bible thumpers. I do not like that word. I might have agreed with those people at one point, but not so much now.
When I was five I started playing baseball. My parents let me because they thought it would be good for me to build character, friendships, responsibility, and most importantly for me to gain maturity. I guess they thought I was an immature child. Looking back I would have to agree with them. But those are the reasons they gave me. I don’t believe most of them. The reason they wanted me to play, well it was more like the forced me to play but let me think it was my own decision, was because of my brother. They wanted me to just like him.
My brother was the middle child of the family. He was distant. He never talked about his feelings. He loved sports. He was a truly manly man boy. And my parents wanted me to follow in his steps.
I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to play baseball. The sport I want to play was soccer. I had always loved it. And I still do. But my parents would not hear of it. They would only let me play baseball. I didn’t and still don’t understand why.
They held me back, when it came to sports. They wouldn’t let me move up as fast as I should. They didn’t want me to still the spotlight off of my brother. That made me mad but what could I do. Not much honestly so I had to form a plan.
If my parents wouldn’t let me play the sport I wanted I would embarrass them in the sport they wanted me to play. I began to suck, and suck bad. Within three games I was pulled out of baseball. I had done what I wanted. I got out of baseball.
The plan didn’t work like I thought it would. I thought if I had gotten out of baseball my parents would put me into a sport, I actually wanted to play. Like Soccer. Nope that didn’t happen.
They still wanted me in a sport, so to get back at me they put me in gymnastics. My guess was that they tried to embarrass me. By making me more like my sister a girly-girl boy. I guess.
Let me stop and explain my sister real fast. My sister nothing but A-honor roll student, she was best in her class. First place in everything she did and still does. When it came to a science fair project she didn’t just build an erupting volcano, like most kids. She came up with new inventions. Not stupid things, but stuff like, the pillow radio, and stuff like it. Her projects never stayed at the local level most the times it went to the tri-county, and even sometimes state level. The words people used to describe my sister hardly ever had any parallels to me. People used words like; outstanding, wonderful, amazing, and even perfect. I wish had had even one of those words said about me. But so is life.
Now I can see why they wanted me to be like my sister, but it wasn’t who I really wanted to be. But still I was put in gymnastics. My parents wanted to teach me a lesson. The lesson of don’t embarrass them. I wanted to still be in soccer, and I knew if I was bad in gymnastics it wouldn’t embarrass them, only me and they would keep me in. But if I did well I would one of the few boys who did well in gymnastics, and I would still be stuck in it, and not in soccer.
So I was in an inevitable Catch 22. It took some thinking but I found a way out of gymnastics and hopefully into soccer. If I was good I was stuck, and if I was bad I was stuck. Either way I was going to make my parents happy. So if I wasn’t good I wouldn’t be their star gymnastic boy. But if I sucked they would be just as happy for they would be getting back at me for embarrassing them. But if I were neither and acted like I was enjoying the sport they chose for me they would take me out.
Sure enough less than two months later I was out of gymnastics. My parents expected automatic results, for to automatically be good at whatever we did. I didn’t do so bye-bye gymnastics.
I asked if they would let me try soccer, they said no. The reason they gave me was, I had embarrassed them in baseball in front of all their friends. And even worse I had embarrassed them by not being up to par, in gymnastics. And then they followed that up by making it sound even worse by saying I did it on purpose in front of friends and family.
Finally they put me in bowling, and told me if I messed up there I would be done with sports. So I found the right team and did end up enjoying it, while making my parents semi-proud. I ended up staying in bowling till I was in the fourth grade. That was where my life took a turn from the wonderful life of “Live, Laugh, Love” to the depressing life of “Tears of Sadness and Fears”.
Chapter Three: Ecstasy
Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves. -Virginia Satir
The abuse I suffer by the hand of my brother was still happening when I was in the seventh grade. That was when I ran into Chase. Chase was the new kid on the block. Not the area but on the actual block. He and I became best of friends instantly.
He was the coolness to my geekyness. We were exact opposites. He was tall, I was average. I had brown hair, he had blonde. He was athletic, I was poetic. I liked pop, he liked metal. Complete opposites.
He would come over every morning and we would spend the day together. Sometimes we stayed at my house sometimes at his. I had a Play Station 2 and he had an Xbox, and we both had a ton of games. I had tons of videos, so we stayed entertained for most of the time.
That School year was interesting to say the least. I honestly don’t think that anything like that year has happened since. There more confusion of emotions that school year than any three years of my life put together. At first I thought Chase and I were going to be good friends, be able to tell each other anything and we could for a while. But one night everything changed.
My parents had to go out of town for some reason or another and I was left home alone. Chase came over and we hung out for a while. We didn’t do much we just played games and watched movies. We did this for a while until his mom called my house. She told me to tell Chase to go home it was time for church, and since my parents were out of town I could join them.
I took them up on the offer. Chase and I left my house and walked across the street to his house. His mom was already in this car, waiting for us. Chase and I jumped in the back seat and off to church we were.
It was a Wednesday night, so chase and I went to the teen devotional room. I have always been a Church of Christ boy. I had never been to any other church. And this church was completely different. When I walked in there was something wrong but, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. As the night went on, the feeling grew. I tried to ignore it but it lingered in the back of my mind. After the separate devotionals the children, teens, and adults all met up in the main hall for a group devotional. The feeling subsided a little in the main hall, but it still remained.
After the services were over we headed back home. Chase’s mom told me I could stay the night since my parents would not be home till Thursday. I thanked her, and respectfully said no.
A few weeks passed and Chase and I kept to the same routine. Wake up wait till ten and then call to see if the other was busy, and if not, we would head over to either my house or his.
My parents decided that they wanted to go and see my sister’s new apartment in Tyler. They asked if I wanted to go and I said no not if they were just coming back the next day. They said ok and left me home alone again.
Wouldn’t you know it they would have to leave on a Wednesday. Chase came over around five and we hung out for an hour and a half or so when he pulled out a package of what looked like mints. I stared at them trying to see what kind they were when he offered me some.
I said sure and he gave me three. I popped them all and they dissolved after a few minutes. They were not minty, but they were not bad I enjoyed them. A few minutes later my head became light and I got a little dizzy. I didn’t think about it. It went away about fifteen minutes later, when the phone rang.
It was Chase’s mom. She told me to send Chase home it was time for them to go to church, and I wanted to I could join them. I said sure and hung up. Chase and I walked over to his house and once again jumped in the back seat.
We went our separate ways, Chase and I to the teen room and his mom to the adults. There only two seats left when we got there, Chase and I made a beeline to the chairs and grabbed them. When I sat down I started to feel cold. It was a cold room, and my skin wasn’t cold, it was more as my soul went cold.
The feeling that I got right then is a feeling I have only felt one other time in my life. It is hard to describe the feeling. Imagine your body and soul going numb, but with a massive headache. And I knew at that point God had left me. It was the darkest time of my life.
The feeling was so bad it made me cry and break out into prayer. I ignored the devotional, and just prayed the whole time. I was praying for God to come back to me and save me, I was scared and I needed him. As soon as we were dismissed I ran into the main hall. And sat in the very last row, trying to make sure I could be the first one out when the service was over.
We went home and I went straight to my house with saying a word. I ran up to my room, shut the door and laid on my bed. A few minutes later everything started to go back to normal.
The next day Chase came over and asks what had happened the night before. I explained everything to him and he just started laughing. I looked at him in confusion. He pulled out the package of mints, and handed me one. I was about to put it in my mouth, when he told me to stop, and look at the mint.
I examined the mint and it didn’t look like one at all it looked more like a pill. I looked over at him and asked him what it was. He started laughing and he said Ecstasy.
My face became red and I had to stop myself from beating the crap out of him. It took a few minutes and finally I could talk calmly. I looked at him and told him to get out, I didn’t want to talk to him right then let alone even see him. He had ticked me off.
The rest of the school year went by uneventful with as little interaction with Chase as possible. Well that’s it was uneventful until the last day of school and I met Summer Bomar.
Chapter Four: The Hottest Loves has the Coldest End
We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. - Buddha
It was the last day of school of my seventh grade year, and the day was dragging by. We did really do anything it was pretty much spilt in to groups and stay with that group and follow the order of things.
I was in the cafeteria, and everyone was signing yearbooks. I had already got everyone I wanted to sign mine to sign it so I went over to the jukebox. I was looking trough to see if the school had updated it since I had used it last, when this girl comes up and says “Hey play voodoo by Godsmack.” I looked for it, put a quarter in and played it. She said thanks, for that was her favorite song. I told her it was one of my favorites to.
We went over to a table and talked for a while. I learned a lot about her. I promise she had to be the coolest person on campus. I got her to sign my year book, but when she signed it she told me not to open till after school. I said “Okay,” and we just continued talking.
We ended up spending the rest of the day together. I had more fun just hanging out with her than I had with anyone in my entire life up to that point. When the bell rang that told us it was last period and we all had to go back to class, Summer invited me to a gathering on the beach that night. I told her that I would have to ask my parents but I doubt that they would let me. She gave me a hug and told me to call her around noon the next day, and she walked away. I tried to stop her ask her for her number but she had already gone into a classroom.
I went into my teacher’s room and started to look in my year book to see what everyone had written. A lot of people put have H.A.G.S. (Have a great summer) and stuff like that. When I got to the back of my year book there in blue ink was a number with this message; “Hey, Sexy Hope you have a great Summer - - Summer (979-848-****)” I smiled and shut my year book and waited for the dismissal bell.
That night creped by, I woke up ever twenty or thirty minute and looked at the clock. I want it to be noon so bad. I found a girl I was interested in and wanted to talk to her.
Finally noon came around and I called her. She answered right away. We talked for over an hour. About how she was so happy that I called and how she wanted to talk to me and maybe meet up somewhere and hang. My parents made me get off the phone after awhile and say goodbye to Summer. Before I got off I told I would call around nine the next morning.
The rest of the day was boring; all I wanted to do was call Summer. My parents wouldn’t let me so I just watched TV. The next morning came around and sure enough I was on the phone with Summer at nine sharp. My parents made me get off around ten-fifteen. But I told her I would call her at the same time tomorrow. She and I talked all summer long for hours on end. There was no separating us.
Finally the end of summer vacation was at an end. We decided to make sure we met up with each other on the first day of school. We decided that the best place would be in the flower area of the eighth grade side of the school.
The day had come, the first day of school. I was so excited I was finally going to see Summer, after only talking to her on the phone for months I had really missed seeing her.
I waited and waited, and there was no sign of her. It was about two minutes before the bell would ring and let us into the halls when some came up behind me and gave me a big hug. I turned around to see Summer. I gave a hug back and told how happy I was that she showed. We talked and compared schedules. We were so happy we had one class together. Drama. It was the first year it was offered for an eighth graders, and she and I had it together. We had to say our temporary goodbyes and go to class.
When third period rolled around I was the first to the drama room. I waited and waited the class was filling up fast. As the tardy bell rang Summer walked into class. I patted the seat next to me and she came over and sat down.
I don’t think I would have had as much fun in that class if it hadn’t been for Summer. But the first week of the second six weeks Summer moved. She didn’t tell anyone she just moved. My heart hurt so bad it made me cry. I don’t know if I was in love with her or not but she was my best friend, and now she was gone.
The rest of that six week period went by slowly. It was hard for me to go to Drama for every time I walked into the room I would think of Summer.
I had almost given up on trying making myself happy when I the best and worst thing in my life had happened. I met another girl.
Chapter Five: Our Destiny is written in Fortune Cookies
When I saw you I fell in love, you smiled because you knew. – William Shakespeare
It was December 12, 2003, when I met her, and I remember it clearly. It was a Saturday, and the band directors, were taking us up to the Houston Galleria, to do some Christmas shopping. We were on bus 185, and I was sitting seat 16. There was a bunch of us sitting talking about Nintendo Dolphin.
We were arguing about what it was a keyword word for. Half of us were saying it was an old key word, for the Gamecube. While the other half disagreed. We were in a heated debate, when this girl walked up and said “Both are right. It was the code name for the Gamecube, but it is also the code name for the next system. They use the same name for every new product they are working on.” She then sat behind me and the debate was over.
I looked at her put my hand out and introduced myself. She shook my hand and told me her name was Teresa. She and I talked for the rest of the trip to the Galleria. When we arrived we were told to pair up and once we had done that that we were told that we had two hours before we were to check-in. And we all went our separate ways.
I had originally wanted to pair up with my friend Sam, but I decided to go with Teresa. I told her I had never been to the Galleria, and that I had no idea what was here. She smiled and told me that she would show me around.
Walked around for a while just going into stores here and there, not really looking to buy anything but just to look. Finally she said that she wanted to go ice skating. I smiled and said okay but I wasn’t sure how good I would be since I never done it. She laughed and told me that she would help me.
We went down to the rink and I got us both a pair of skates and a locker for us to share. She thanked me and off we went. She told me to watch her as she did a quick lap. I did. What grace, she glided over the ice as if she were a bird in the sky. She came over and grabbed my hand to take me to the ice. We started off slowly. I fell many times on my first trip around the rink, the second not as much, and not at all the third.
Mannheim Steamroller’s Carol of the Bell’s came on and Teresa and held hands as we skated to the beat of the music. It was magical to say the least. We exited the ice as the song ended. I can’t say for her but for me that was the happiest moment of my life.
We were starting to get hungry, but we didn’t want to eat yet, so we walked around for a little longer and just talked. I thanked her for teaching how to ice skate. She nodded her head and I looked at my watch it was time to meet up with everyone, so we headed back to the rink.
There was a quick head count and then they offered to everyone who had bought something a chance to take their stuff out to the bus. A few took it the rest of us were told to meet up at three, in front of the rink.
Teresa and I were famished at that point so we walked over to the food court. There was Chili’s; McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell, Villa, and other name brand restaurants, as well lesser know ones.
I asked her what sounded good, and we walked up and down the chain of restaurants, till we got tired of walking and just sat down. She finally said “let’s do oriental food.” I smiled because there was a store about a hundred feet away.
We walked over and looked at their menu. They had my favorite orange chicken and I took a number one with orange chicken, while she had a number also with General Chao. As we walked over to the cash register, she noticed a jar of fortune cookies, and told me to get one. I did and I paid for both of our meals.
When we sat down at the table we agreed to say the cookie till the end. As we ate we had small talk, nothing important. We finished our meals and grabbed our fortune cookies. We both open and read our cookies. Neither one of could look up.
Finally she asked what mine said. I told her to go first. She said ok, and read “You have found true love today, with the person you just met.” I said that was crazy, for mine said “You have found true love today, and it is sitting across from you.” We stared at each other for a minute and smiled.
We ate our cookies and started walking again. We talked the whole time, making sure that we didn’t bring up what the cookies said. We walked in the entire mall many time not going into any store just talking. Soon it was three and we met up with everyone at the rink.
After the head count and everyone had been check back in we headed towards the bus. There were more than enough seats for everyone to have their own, and one for their stuff, but still Teresa and sat together. We ignored the conversations on the bus and just talked to each other.
Days passed and we grew closer and closer. Finally I asked her to the dance. She agreed and we went to the dance. That night I work up a lot of nerve. It was real hard for me to do it for I was a shy person, but I asked her out. I wasn’t expecting a yes more of a let’s be friends. I started to apologize for asking when she said…
Chapter Six: Goodbye is all she wrote.
When we two parted in silence and tears, half broken-hearted, to sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss; truly that hour foretold Sorrow to this. The dew of the morning Sank chill on my brow It felt like the warning Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken, and light is thy fame: I hear thy name spoken, and share in its shame. They name thee before me, a knell to mine ear; a shudder comes o'er me why wert thou so dear? They know not I knew thee, who knew thee too well: Long, long shall I rue thee too deeply to tell. In secret we met In silence I grieve That thy heart could forget, Thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee after long years, how should I greet thee? With silence and tears. – Lord Byron
It was February fourteenth, or as most people call it Valentine’s Day. Teresa and I had been together for right at two months, and I knew that she was the one for me.
Most of the guys brought teddy bears and candy for their girl friends. I was a little more romantic than that. I bought her flowers and candy. But I didn’t deliver give to her, I had them delivered. But to throw her off the idea that I was getting her flowers I gave her a bear that morning with a heart on it. I made sure that the flowers would be delivered in a class that we were both in so I choose fifth period.
When fifth period started we all took our seats in the band hall and class started. About half way through an office worker walked in with two dozen carnations. Every girl in the class wondered who they were for, secretly hoping that the flowers were for them. The officer worker went up to the teacher and whispered I have these for a Teresa Gaytan. The teacher pointed at her and the whole class turned and looked.
The office worker walked over and handed her the flowers. She started to blush and so the whole band hall was in an uproar. Everyone was wanting to know who sent her the flowers. The teacher finally told everyone to calm down and go back to their seats.
I looked over and smiled at Teresa and she smiled back. After band she came over and gave me a big hug and thanked me for the flowers. I wished a happy Valentine’s Day, and she said it was now the best one she had ever had. I walked her to class and then went to mine.
After that day I decided to give her something every week. And I did for the longest time. Well the next three weeks. Each week I gave a teddy bear, bigger and bigger every week.
On the third week I gave a teddy bear with a heart on it. She said “ohh it’s so cute,” and gave me hug. I thought everything was going fine. I walked her to class and we parted ways until fifth period.
At the beginning of fifth period she walked over and handed me the teddy bear and a note. I started to open the note but she grabbed my hand and told me not to open it till after band. I didn’t and I didn’t even think about the bear or note the rest of the period.
The period ended and she rushed out of the band hall, not even giving me time to put my instrument away, and walk her to class. It was at point that I began to wonder what the note said.
I put my instrument down next to my seat and grabbed the bear and note. I opened the note and it only had one word written on.
I stood there frozen in the spot where I stood. I couldn’t breathe. It was over me and Teresa were done. A thousand thoughts raced through my head. What had happened, why did it happen, what did I do? All at once those questions raced through my mind.
Ten minutes most have passed before the teacher came over and put her hand on my shoulder, and asked if I was ok. That shook me out of the trance I was in. I turned towards her and asked her what she said.
The teacher told the tardy bell had already rung and that I needed to go to class, she would put my stuff away. I walked out of the band hall as if I were a zombie. Numb to the core. Wanting to cry but not being able to. I walked into Mr. Doorsett’s classroom and handed him my tardy slip and took my seat. HE turned off the lights and started the overhead and began teaching.
Honestly I cannot tell you what the lesson that day was about. For as soon as the lights went out I put my head in my new band shirt I had just gotten, and cried. I was crying so hard I didn’t even notice Mr. Doorsett turn the lights back on. I only looked up when one of the students yelled Bruce is bleeding.
When I lifted my face it was covered in blood, as well was my shirt, my desk and the floor. Mr. Doorsett Told everyone to back away from me and for me not to move, and ran out of the room and grabbed the teacher next door.
When he returned with the other teacher and saw that I was still bleeding he started to call 911, but the other teacher told him to just take me down to the nurse. So he walked over to me and asked if I could walk to the nurse’s office.
I shook my head only to fall from being light headed. He quickly dialed the nurse’s number and told her run down to his room with a wheel chair. A few minutes later Ms. Jacobs was down at his room with me in the wheelchair. She told Mr. Doorsett to tell all of his students to not touch the blood, and to go into another teacher’s room, while the custodians cleaned up the mess. With that said she rushed me down to her office.
She looked me over and figured it was just a massive nose bleed. She told me to pinch the bridge of my nose till it stopped bleeding. It stopped after a few minutes, she told me to go into the bathroom and wash off my face and to change shirts. I did and was sent back to class the following period.
All changes even the most longed for have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. –Anatote France
I tried to talk to Teresa for a few months but she never seemed to want to talk to me. And to make things worse the abuse that I suffered at the hand of my brother was still going on and it didn’t stop till I was in tenth grade. But unfortunately it didn’t stop before it had scared me for life.
By the time it stopped I had made up my mind that I was not straight, any more. Teresa still had my heart and I thought that would never be attracted to another girl. But still I had to be happy with what I was.
It wasn’t an easy thing to be bisexual in Brazoria County. When I came out of the closet at school I was turned on by the majority of the ones I called my friends. On a good day I was just harassed. I hardly ever had a good day. Most day I was pushed into lockers and called names and isolated.
If it hadn’t been for the few people who stayed my friends, I don’t know what I would have done. It took awhile for the school to figure I wasn’t going to change because they wanted me to.
When I had finally had enough I decided to write something. I wrote an article for the school paper, entitled Homophobia Attacks Angleton High. The article was about three hundred words and was in the limit of length of words that an editorial could be. It was edited and everything about the story was true. When I turned the article in to the head of the newspaper he automatically told me “NO”, and when I asked why he said he would put a gay article in the paper.
I said ok and walked over to the principal’s office and reported discrimination of a student due to sexual orientation. The principal looked at me and asked me to explain. I did and he told me he agreed with the teacher ruling. I told him that if he didn’t publish the article I would call an attorney. He said to go ahead and try no attorney would represent a gay 17 year old who wants to sue a school district. I smiled and said I will see you in court. I walked out of his office and went outside.
I called the District Attorney and told them what was going on. They told me that they would call the school and take care of it. Sure enough the principal called me into his office the next day and told me if I censored the article it could run. I told him I wouldn’t, and walked out.
I went into the library and printed out fifty copies of the article and handed them out to people at lunch. The principal threatened to write me up and told if he did I would call the District Attorney again, and sue him personally and the school, for discrimination. He backed off and let me finish handing out the papers.
Even with that the harassment continued. I hated it but I figured if I was going to be harassed, it better be for standing up for the underdog and I did. I was harassed for the rest of the year and most of the next year. But by the time I was a senior the harassment had almost stopped for the bisexual and gay community in the school district.
I will not take all the credit for that but I will take what is due, and no more. I will not say the harassment stopped completely but it did slow down.
Chapter Eight: Just try it you’ll like it.
Drugs might be the road to nowhere, but at least they are the scenic route. – Unknown
Crying Shoulder, best friend, brother, you can take your pick; to me he was all of the above. I first met Luther when I was working at Fuddruckers. I had already been working there for while when he started. The second I saw him I knew something was wrong, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Although every bone in my body told me to stay away from him, I went up and introduced myself.
He hit it off quickly, and we were friends within a few days of working together. And best friends within a few weeks.
I learned that he was staying at the Pam Motel with his best friends; Josh, Justin, and John. I offered to take them to and from work whenever it was possible for me, because they had told me that their car was in the shop. Soon we were all friends.
It was around March 6th, 2008 when Luther told me that he had got the best news that they had gotten in a long time. Their application for the apartment they wanted had been accepted.
As soon as they got the acceptance call they texted me to run over to the Pam and pick them up, so they go and start moving in. Them not having a car had to be an inconvenient for them, but as a friend I didn’t mind helping them, by running out there and picking them up.
The second I was out of school I went by the bank and withdrew some money, so I could go and get them a nice house warming gift. After the bank I went by BigLots and bought them some stuff and had it delivered. I spent more than I should have but, they couldn’t afford much so I knew that whatever I got them they would enjoy.
After I bought their gifts, I went to pick them up. Halfway there I called them to let them know I was about five minutes away. They informed me that they would be outside waiting.
Sure enough when I got there they were waiting for me. Without waiting for me to even finish pulling into the parking space, they stormed my car. Once they were in they all started shouting direction. Once they were sure I knew where I was going one by one they all thanked me for helping them, each in their own way.
When I pulled up to the apartment complex, Luther and Justin got out and went into the office. They returned a few minutes later. Smiling ear to ear Luther said while holding up a key follow him he was in apartment 235.
Before they could open the door I stopped them and told them that I needed to tell them something, in voice so depressing that they all stopped in their tracks and turned around and faced me.
I told them that I had just received a text message and that they needed to follow me, and I turned and walked away. Without even thinking twice they all followed me out to my car.
Luther was the first o speak up, he asked “Bruce what’s wrong?” I looked down and took a deep breath. Then I looked back up at them and said “You will see in just a few seconds.”
They cocked their heads in confusion. Justin was about to say something when a truck pulled up behind them, and a guy shouted “Witch one of you guys is Bruce?”
I turned and said to the guy driving the truck “I’m Bruce” The guy got out of his truck and said what apartment is all this going to.
I turned to Luther and asked him what apartment they had gotten. They just stood there with their mouths agape. I laughed and said “Come on guys let’s get this stuff into your apartment.
Luther again was the first one to speak up, and he said “Is this for us?”
I Looked at him and told him that this stuff need to be taken to his apartment and I would explain when it was done being moved.
The guys went to the back of the truck and slowly started to unload the back of the truck and take it into their apartment.
After about thirty minutes everything was moved into their apartment. I looked at them and said, “Ok. Do you remember when we went to BigLots last week?” Knowing full well they did. “Well I remembered some of the stuff you all said you like and I got it for you. I knew that you didn’t have much so I thought I would help out.
Luther looked at me and said “Bruce, how? Why… I don’t understand.” I Looked at him and said “It’s easy. Do you have anything? No. So I got you what you needed.”
One by one they thanked me.
I told them that I had to be at work at five and asked them if they needed anything if not it was time to go back and I would help them get their stuff moved the following day.
Luther looked over and said with no enthusiasm “Justin and I have to be at work at Five-thirty, so we need to head back and get changed for work.” They looked around the apartment one last time and locked the door and headed out to my car.
Disappointed they all followed me to my car and slowly got in one by one. The ride was deathly silent, everyone was thinking about the next day. How everything was going to work, who was going to do what, and a thousand other questions racing through each of our minds, with only five people to answer them.
Once we go back to the Pam they all hopped out and ran in. A few seconds later Luther and Justin emerged and jumped back in my car. I drove them to work in silence trying to figure how I was going to make this work.
Before I even noticed it we were at Fuddruckers. They got out and told me that they would be ready around ten. I said ok and told them that I would be there waiting on them and drove off.
Work that night seemed to drag on forever. EL Chico’s was the slowest it had been in months. Absolutely the slowest I had ever seen a restaurant. That in a way was to my benefit for the managers let me go home early.
The time didn’t pass any faster once I was off. I went home and watched the clock slowly tick time away. Nothing good was on TV, so I grabbed a DVD out of my collection and through it in the player. I was about to fall asleep when Josh called me. He was wondering if I could help them move what little they had over to their apartment that night so they could get out of the Pam. I said yes and headed out.
I arrived at the Pam about fifteen minutes later and they had already got all their stuff out and were waiting on me. They quickly put it in and we were off.
I dropped of them and their stuff at their apartment and went back to Fuddruckers. When I arrived Justin and Luther were sitting outside waiting on me. I looked at the clock on the dash and it read nine-thirty. I guess they had gotten off early. They got in my car and I headed to their apartment.
When they notice I was heading to the apartment they asked where I was heading. I told them that Josh and John and I had already moved all their stuff to the apartment so I was taking them to their new place.
When I got there they told me to come on up and stay awhile. I told him my parents were going to Tyler again so I could stay were ever I wanted on Friday. I stayed for a while but ended up going home around eleven, but before I left I told them I would be there at nine to help them set up all their stuff and I’ll bring the tools they would need.
That night was the night that would last forever. Once I got home I went straight to bed. No matter how hard I tried I could not go to sleep that night. It was after three in the morning when I finally fell asleep.
The next day my alarm went off at seven-thirty. As much as I wanted to hit the snooze button I knew I needed to get up. Reluctantly I walked to the shower and got in. By the end of my shower I was wide awake.
I heard the clock in the living room strike eight-forty-five. I knew that I didn’t have much time before they would be expecting me. I went to McDonalds and ordered enough food to feed a small army.
When I arrived at the apartments to my surprise nobody was awake. I went and knocked again and went back to my car, and called Luther. He answered and told me that they were asleep, but to go ahead and come on up he just unlocked the door.
I went up and Luther met me in the living room. The smell of the food awoke the rest of them and they filed one by one into the living room. I passed out the food and soon everyone was wide awake and talking.
I told them the tools were out in the car if they wanted to get everything set up. Justin ran out to my car and picked them up and we started assembling everything.
Most of the day passed as we put everything together. We stopped for lunch around two-thirty. We went to Whataburger down the street. Once we were done we headed back to the apartment and finished putting everything together.
That night they wanted to have a party, and I was the first one they invited. I knew there was going to be drugs, and alcohol, but I thought I would be smart enough to pass.
The temptation for the drugs wasn’t bad but I couldn’t pass up the alcohol. I drank and drank and soon I was drunk. I was sitting around just talking to the guys and they were smoking. I had been smoking cigs for years but never pot.
Luther told them not let me smoke pot and went to bed. I continued talking and Josh passed the bowl to me and asked if I wanted to hit it. I said I had never done it before. Everyone laughed so I grabbed it and took a hit.
It was the best feeling I had ever felt. It was better than sex. The feeling of euphoria, it was and still is unexplainable. It was just the best; I had never felt so good in my life. The night went on I continued drinking and smoking, and soon I passed out.
I woke the next morning to Luther shaking me. He said I heard you tried pot last night. It kicked your butt didn’t it? Are you going to do it again?
I looked at him and said “You better believe it.” I then looked at him and said “I’m hungry who else is up?” He laughed and said everyone was and I was the last to get up. I said ok and told them lunch was on me.
Chapter Nine: To die to sleep no more.
To be, or not to be--that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep-- No more--and by a sleep to say we end The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep-- To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause. There's the respect That makes calamity of so long life. For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th' unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprise of great pitch and moment With this regard their currents turn awry And lose the name of action.- William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act 3/1
The drug train last longer than most people thought or could even guess. I didn’t want to get off the drugs they were a coping strategy for me. I know that it sounds crazy but they are what made the man I am today.
As a child I would have been told I had bipolar tendencies if my parents had just asked a doctor. I could have been any of them. They would have all agreed. I would have been warned never to do drugs. I would have been told that the use of drugs would have a chance of me going into a full bipolar state of mind.
If it weren’t for my parents I don’t know if I would have stopped. They told me if I smoked another joint, snorted another line, or even looked at another cigarette they would take back everything they had ever given me. I would be allowed to keep one shirt and a pair of pants. A pair of sock one pair of shoes and my boxers, other than that they were going to keep everything.
So I stopped. I didn’t want to man I loved the feeling I got when I was high but I could afford to live on my own financially or physically. The next many months were hell.
I went through withdraws that made me go insane. I craved the drugs. My parents knew it too. They watched as the pain of withdraw took over me. It made my body ache in way I had never thought possible. I wanted; no I needed to get high to stop the pain. I knew if I got high I would lose everything. If it was for me keeping that thought in my head I would not have made it.
Chapter Eleven: The end of my Journey
Forgive many things in others, nothing in yourself. –Anonymous
I walked out of Methodist hospital on August 3rd, 2009 a whole new person. The anger I once I had was gone I was a happy go lucky man. I want to thank everyone who helped me get to that point. There are no words I could say to every one of you that helped me.
The next few weeks went by with much enthusiasm, and joy in my life. There are not words that I can describe how much my life was better than it was before I went to the hospital.
The days were brighter the sky a deeper blue, I was the happiest person in Lake Jackson. I went day to day getting happier and happier. When my parents finally trusted me to be by myself I decided to go to the park around the corner.
As I walked there my cocker spaniel on his leash jogging along side me, my mind went blank and I started to listen to my surroundings. I was halfway to the park and I could hear that the park was full of people. It didn’t detour me any. I knew that if I went to the park I would find something.
The only thing was I didn’t know what I was looking for. I knew that when I got there and found it I would know it.
As I entered the park I looked around and saw that I had already seen that scene before, that somehow I had been there at that moment. I guess Déjà-Vu.
I walked around the park for awhile and soon became tired. The noise was extremely too loud for me but somehow I learned to deal with it quickly.
I went and sat down by the pond and told my dog to sit next to me and I looked out upon the pond.
It was at that moment that everything changed. As I looked out upon the water, every noise stopped. The sun reflection was barely hitting the water as it set.
Soon I could hear everything again. But it wasn’t like it was just a bunch of noise it was as if I could hear and understand everything going on in the park.
I sat there refusing to move even as it grew dark. I could tell without looking around the park was starting to empty. To make things weirder I knew how many people were in the park what they were doing how far away they were. I knew everything, no reason how but I just did. I started to think about what I was doing there and what I needed to do to get passed that point of life. When soon I lost track of everything again and began listening.
At that point I was able to hear the swings swing back and forth, the kids go down the slide the ducks swim across the water. I breathed deep and thought of nothing and I was able to hear more intensely.
I could hear the wind as it gently passed by. The kids giggle from across the pond. I could feel the world spin under me. I could even feel the heart beat of everything.
As I sat there and just listened I noticed that my heart and breathing became synced with everything around me. As I breathed in the rest of the world breathed in. As I exhaled the rest of the world exhaled. It was at that moment that I will always say changed my life forever.
I knew that I had been one with the universe and known true inner peace if even for a moment I had found true enlightenment. And while I was enlightened I figured that forgiveness was the key to my unhappiness. And that I had to forgive others to get passed that point in my life.
The rest of the evening went by uneventful I just sat there and listened as the night passed on. Once I knew it was getting late I decided to head home. I knew that I had found true happiness. I knew that I had found what would always be my Shangri-la.
I knew that Shy Pond would be the one place I could always go and find true happiness. It would be the place that I could go and find myself whenever I lost my way. I knew I would always have a place I could go and if I felt alone and I could know that no matter how much I felt alone I was always had somewhere to be, Me in my Shangri-La.