Submitted Date 07/07/2020

I remembered today. Those memories that I put aside. It was easier than dealing with the pain at the end. It all flooded back. All the joy, love, pain, and finally the tragedy that overshadowed all those memories. In that time we were fallen angels wanting to regain our wings.


I looked in the mirror and saw the aging person in it. My teeth lay in a cup on the sink. My hair streaked with gray. I am old now. As I looked closely in the mirror I saw remnants in the aging face of what I looked like in my youth. And I thought of you after forty years of forgetting.


I heard the angry shouts in the alley. I looked in to see the three boys. Your slender form laying on the ground. One of the bullies kicking you. I heard the usual ugly words. Accusations. Vile hatred of someone different from them. Intolerance and ignorance.


I noticed them because I heard them. They never noticed me. Never even heard me when I came at them. I hit one in the side of the head. It stunned him for the moment. The other I kicked in the knee, he fell clutching it.


The fat, ugly one who used the ugly words, I kicked him in the groin. He fell down clutching his jewels. He stood up, as did the others, I didn't have the advantage anymore. Someone shouted down the alley. Like the cowards they were. They fled.


I offered you my hand. Helped you up. Your face and body are bruised. You limped out of the alley with me. That was as far as I'd help you. This was your problem. It had nothing to do with me. I didn't want to be involved with you. You were different. I wanted to be the same.


I started to walk away. You pleaded with me. Wanted me to walk you to school. I didn't want to. People already called me gay. What would they

say if they saw me with you? Did it really matter? They would still call me gay if I walked with you or not.


You looked at me with those pretty blue eyes, bruised face, clothes torn and dirty. Hair messed. Yet, I could see the beauty there. I felt sorry for you. I walked you to school. Because I knew you wouldn't matter. No matter what happened. I was different and would never be the same.


We talked about how people judged us. How they hated us for being different. How I hated that people judged me as gay. You said you didn't hate them. That you felt sorry for them. That they judged you for being different. I said I wasn't gay, wasn't different,


"Maybe you are gay." You said to me. "It's okay, I'm gay, you know."

I shook my head. "No, I'm not gay." People just thought I was gay.

"Maybe you don't know you are gay." You said to me.

I laughed. "I would know if I was gay."


I didn't want to be gay. I didn't want to be different. I didn't want people to hate me for being gay or different in any way. I wanted people to leave me alone. I wanted to stop being considered different and be the same. To get away from ugly people and ugly words. I told you that.

"Is it so bad to be gay." You looked at me with those pretty blue eyes. I wondered if it would be so bad to be gay. I had never thought that I might want to be gay. Until I saw those pretty blue eyes in that cute face. With you, I didn't think about being the same, I didn't mind being different.


We walked to school each day. I stood up to the bullies who would harass us. You wanted me to ignore them or run away. I wouldn't do that, I would stand up to them. Make them respect me. Only it didn't work that way. They just kept hurling angry words. Continued to hate.

They hurled ugly words at us, people ignored them, teachers ignored them, they blamed us. As if we deserved it for being who we were. As if it were our fault we were not the same. As if it was wrong for us to be different. Like fallen angels who didn't deserve to fly.


You made friends, laughed it off, charmed them. I hated them. I challenged them. I demanded from them what they would never give. I wanted respect. Or to just be left alone. Only they would never leave us alone, they were all the same, we were different. They hated us for that.


One day you said to me: "Do you want to go to a place where you are accepted? Where no one starts a fight. Where you don't have to hear those ugly words." Where could that place be? Where could we go where we were the same and others were different.


You wanted me to run away with you. I thought. That you wanted to find a place where we would be accepted for who we were. "There is no such place." I said. We were the fallen angels. Our wings taken away. Where could we fly to. Where could we run away to?


"Ohh, there is." You smiled. You were always pretty. When you smiled you glowed. "You should come and see." Only that couldn't be true. We were not the same. We were different. There was no place we could go, no place we could be that we weren't different.

Your parents were out of town once a week. Leaving you to do as you pleased. Not knowing that you did exactly as you pleased. Your Father did business out of town, took your Mother with him. And you were able to truly be yourself. Without worrying how it made you different.


I came to your home. You opened the door. In full make-up. Hair done up. Dressed in clothes I never saw you wear at school. I wanted to turn and walk away. Yet, you looked stunning. It all brought out your full beauty in a way I never saw before.


In your bedroom you hid posters of Adam Ant, Boy George, and David Bowie among posters of Kiss, Sex Pistols, and other groups. Your parents thought gender fluid was the fad. Not knowing what way you flowed, what way you were different from a typical fad.


You went further than the androgynous look. You fully embraced that part of yourself that was a different gender than the one you were born. You asked me to come see you. To teach me how to let my gender flow, to be like you. To enjoy being different and in that way be the same.


You sat me down at a vanity desk in your room which you spray painted bright colors. You worked your magic on me. I looked in the mirror. I was shocked at the gender change. That wasn't all. I no longer felt like a fallen angel, but one with wings. I soared on my new wings.


You found clothes to fit me. Made up and dressed up with nowhere to go, we talked to each other. You told me of the club I could go to. Where I could be appreciated. I had to learn things. Before I could go. There was no fighting. No ugly words. We were all different. All the same.


You tried to teach me to dance. I didn't learn. I learned to fake it, while you laughed at me. Assuring me that I didn't need to know how to

dance, only how to fake it. You told me how the boys would want me to dance. I didn't want to dance with boys. You told me it wasn't so bad.


That night I shared your bed. Not as a lover, but as an intimate friend. Later, as moonlight shone through the window I looked at your face. How pretty. I loved you that moment. My special angel. Who gave me wings so I could soar with you to the heavens.


You woke up. Smiled at me. "What are you doing?"

"You looked so lovely asleep." I caress your face.

"You aren't my type, but thank you." You reached out and touched my cheek. It was electric.


Not your type. But you were mine. Would it be so bad to be gay? I knew now that I could love you. But, I wasn't your type. Your touch was electric for me. I wanted to be with you. Even if I wasn't your type. I could still fly on angel wings with you.


Another week. Without make-up. Dressed in drab jeans, shirts, and no jewelry. Tormented by the comments. The ugly words. The ugly, fat slob whose family jewels I bruised was the worst of them. A week where I had to put aside my angel wings. To become a fallen angel again.


Your parents took their usual trip. Did they know what you did when they were gone? Were they in denial? Or were they really clueless? Maybe they just didn't care? I always wondered. It didn't matter. It let me don my angel wings and fly again with you.


I came there thinking we would be alone. There was a man. His Italian heritage is obvious. He looks at me with amusement. "What is he doing here?" I see you are already made-up, dressed up. I felt betrayed in a way. I was waiting to fly with you and found him instead.

"That's my boyfriend." You go over and sit on the arm of the chair. You two kiss. I'm devastated. He was your type. I wasn't. "He's taking you to the place I told you about." Of course. Where all the different people were the same.

Despite my anxiety. You make me up, dress me up. I see a certain lust in your boyfriend's eyes. That worried me. He wasn't my type. You were his type, and I wasn't so different in that category. I didn't worry too much. He wouldn't do anything with you there. Would he?

Outside the city are the old factories. Farms. Abandoned places. There we would go. People like us. People who were different in a society that did not accept differences. These abandoned places were where we who were different came to be the same.

Danny, your type, drove us there. A man met us in the drive, shone a flashlight in our eyes. He recognized Danny, you, and asked about me. "She's okay." You assured him, but I could tell he was sceptical. Even among the different I was looked on as different.

We drive on. Down the pitch black lane. Stars shining bright above. Moon a sliver of its usual self. We could hear the sound. We would see the lights. Past a strand of trees that hid an old building from the country road we took.

An old warehouse or factory. Past the trees I see the lights flashing in the windows, hear the heavy metal pounding, see the cars of others, like us; who were different. Fallen angels who had lost their wings, yet here they could don their wings again and soar.

Inside, the older punk style competed with heavy metal headbangers, New Wavers in their bright and glam rock colors. There were faux girls and real girls. But, more guys, less girls of either type. All of them different. All of them the same.

Mohawks, spiked hair, dyed hair of many colors. Boys and girls. Leather. Plaid. Dark and bright. Early gothic and emos. Grunge with a touch of glam. In the grimy, gritty, decaying old factory setting. Where the fallen angels gathered to don their wings and soar above it all.

There was no band. Only the DJ with his music mix, that was as different as those who danced on the floor before him. A bar sold beer to minors illegally. There was supposed to be no drugs, but there were. Not everyone had stopped being fallen angels or donned wings.

In the corners, away from the eyes of others, cocaine, heroin, pot were used. Addicts weren't welcome, so they hid what they did. Alcohol was welcomed. Drugs were frowned on. Not needed. Not if we were to fly on angel wings.

We got our beers. We met Neal who arranged this place. Nobody owned it. It was abandoned. Neal moved in. Hooked up power. Set it up for us. Neal liked them young. Liked me. Liked you. Set up this place to lure people like you, like me, like others in hopes we'd like him.

We sat at a table with your friends. I first met Scott. Dressed in leather. Muscles bulging. Handsome with chiseled looks, blond hair, blue eyes.He was my age. Taller, stronger, larger. He didn't need to don his wings, it was like he never fell and always soared above us all.

He offered me his chair. He grabbed a chair and sat beside me. You sat in Danny's lap. I was jealous. Technopop came over the speakers and

Danny and you left for the dance floor. Leaving me with strangers who were your friends. With Scott. The angel who never fell.

I watched you dance. Scott talked to me. I smiled. Laughed at his jokes. He goes to our school I learned. He saw me in the halls, not like this, but my drab, unimportant self. Bullied and hated. Different. He acted the same in school. People thought Scott was the same.

Here, Scott was different. Buzzed haircut. No tattoos. No earrings. None of these things. In school Scott was the same. Or looked the same. Jock, weightlifter, winner. Not a loser like me. Not different.

Yet, Scott was here. Talking to me. Interested in me.

Here it was okay. At school it would have been different. Because I was different. Scott could pass for the same. It didn't seem fair. It didn't seem right. But here. I could don my wings and fly with the angel who had never fallen. As though I had never fallen myself.

In the end. We went back to being different. Scott would go back to being the same. Danny had taken you to the back rooms while there. I never saw him around when others were around when we came back. So, I thought he was the same. We all put away our wings outside.

Was that it? When we were there, we were treated differently. We were offered invitations to the back rooms where sex was traded for some form of acceptance. Were we there only for sex, or because we were different after all. Did we have wings or we still among the fallen.

That night we slept in the same bed again. Close together. Intimate in our own way. You felt good, your body touching mine, me imbracing you. You; snuggling against me. I felt my angel wings unfold. I felt myself begin to soar.

Back at school we rode together in your car. We walked together to the school. There was fatso, his ugly self, his ugly words. Egged on by other students. Who hated us for being different. We stood toe to toe yet again. He wanted a fight. I wouldn't back away. You begged me to.

He was afraid to back down. I demanded dignity, respect. We stared at each other. Until I felt a hand on my shoulder. Someone stood in front of us. He backed down. This person he had no chance to beat. This was not a weaker opponent. This was Scott.

You tried to calm me down as Scott appeared and made fatty back down. He was my fight. I was protecting you. From the ugly boy with the ugly words. The fat pig throwing his mud and slime at us. Dirty filthy animal who I hated as much as he hated me for standing up to him.

As we continued on to school. I am upset. Envious in a way Scott made them back down. I wanted the fight. I was angry at them. Hated them. As they hated me. The ugly people with their ugly words. I wanted to fight them all. To hell with angel wings. I fell into hate around them.

I had been the protector. I was the one who stood up to them. Fought them. Hated them. Channeled my anger at them. Scott became our protector. I didn't know what to do with the anger or hate. How to channel it anymore.

I couldn't hate Scott. I didn't love him. I appreciated his respect for me, despite that I was different. We became friends. He wanted more. I couldn't give him more. I didn't know how to soar on angel wings with Scott. He wasn't my type, You were my type.

I think now, would it have been so bad to be gay. With Scott. He had money. His Father was open. He met me. Knew what Scott wanted with me. I tried. He touched me. I touched him. It went no further. He did not inspire me to unfold my wings. I couldn't fly with Scott.

I drove now. We drove separately to school. To pay for gas I got a job. Between school, work, and going to the club that was my life. What I remembered most. Wanted most. Was being with you. Being able to unfold those angel wings and fly with you when I could.

Made up, dressed up by you. Even when I learned the basics, and you guided me as I did it myself, I so wanted you to do it. You always did my hair. Temporary color, hair spray in the big bold styles of the day. That was how I learned to unfold my wings and be the angel I was.

I loved you. Adored you. Would do anything for you. Including make-up, dressing up, to be with you. Not that I didn't like it. The attention others gave me. I just preferred it when with you. It was with you that I no longer was the fallen angel. With you I flew on angel wings.

I remember sitting with our friends. We watched Kelly on the dance floor, going from boy to boy. Stumbling, trying to be sexy, but too high to pull it off. Watched Kelly fall while people walked past her ignoring her. A fallen angel who had fallen too often. Her wings broke, unable to soar.

I got up. Went on the dance floor and gave her a hand up. Kelly stared at me with all of the hate I felt inside. Told me not to expect anything for helping her up. I wasn't her type. She wasn't mine. You were my type. Yet, I wanted her to learn to mend her wings and soar with us.

Don't talk to her. Kelly is no good. Kelly is a skank. Kelly has no control. She takes drugs. Constantly drunk. She isn't really one of us. You don't want to be a part of her. Don't even help her up. She's trouble. A fallen angel, with broken wings, who could never fly with us.

So, you told me. Avoid Kelly. I did. Until I found her outside the club, so high she didn't know better than to get out of the cold. Half naked. Crying. Hating. Loathing. I couldn't let her stay there. Couldn't leave her to die in the cold. As she would have, if we left her there.

Like many people in our Midwest city. I had a bedroom in the basement, there was a bathroom. A shower. I threw Kelly in the shower. Gave her some clothes. Washed her own. Showed her kindness. Tried to mend her wings. Got caught.

Mom came into the basement. We weren't doing anything. Only talking. Mom was happy to see me with a girl. Kelly was kind to Mom. Told her she slipped outside and I gave her clothes. Whatever. Mom didn't care. Perhaps she saw the fallen angel with broken wings needing my help.

Don't talk to her. Kelly is no good. Kelly is a skank. She is different. You don't want to be around her. Don't help her. Don't go near her. Kelly is trouble. She'll get you in trouble. A fallen angel with broken wings who couldn't fly, even among other fallen angels.

We shared our hate for those who were the same. Who couldn't look beyond different. We defied them. Showed our contempt for them. They tried to break us apart with ugly words. Yet, she mended her wings. She learned to fly again.

You shared your doubts with me. Kelly showed her kindness. She got off the drugs. Didn't drink as much. We helped her. Kelly stopped

sleeping with anyone. Eventually she slept with me. For a short time we flew together. Her wings mended, two fallen angels, who learned to fly.

All of the hype of sex. Sex was messy. Kelly was experienced, I was not. I was a little disgusted at what Kelly wanted to do. Kelly and I tried to be the same. Wanted to be the same. But we were different. All the same, with mended wings, Kelly flew with the rest of us fallen angels.

Those who were the same. Normal. Moral. With their ugly words. Their hate for those different. They hated Kelly and me for being different. As much as they hated you. So, we got along because we were different. We flew on angel wings above those who were the same.

Remember the slasher movies that were popular then. We'd all go to the drive-in and watch them together. I think we liked them because we related to them. We could identify with both the slasher and the victims. We slashed at the same all the time, out of frustration, and hate.

Slashers were all around us as well. Using their words as knives, machetes, and razors. To slash at us with their hate. How ugly they were. How jealous that we were so different. So, they slashed at us. Cut off our wings and made us fallen angels.

Despite Kelly. We still had our time. You and I. Together when your parents were out of town. Graduation was coming up. Eighteen. We were ready to leave. To spread our wings like angels. Fallen angels. But angels all the same.

You would go to Urbandale. To attend the School of Beauty there. I'd go with my skills in video, audio. My writing. We would succeed. We would rent an apartment together. We would be together. Fallen angels. Only we had our wings now, we would fly above the same and their hate.

Kelly would live and work in Des Moines. We would no longer be together. We would stay friends. We agreed to that. Scott stayed as my friend. He would work with his Father. Danny would be Danny. Each had their wings, each flew in their own direction.

We had laid out our plans. Obtained our wings. We would wear those wings when we graduated. Continue onwards. Away from the same people with their ugly words. Who slashed at us with their hate. We would fly so far away that they could no longer hurt us.

Only we were the fallen angels. We would not be able to keep our wings in a ugly world with ugly people with ugly words. Your parents caught you. Because of Danny. In one action he would throw away his wings, while trying to fly away. We would never see him fly with us again.

Your parents came home early. Danny and you were together in your room. Danny panicked and pushed you away. You hit your head as you fell and Danny ran out the back door. Afraid of being caught. Being labeled as different. He left you that way. He broke your wings.

Caught. Unable to explain. No chance to clean up or change. Your Father gave you an ultimatum if you were to go to college. You would go to a clinic first and be converted. You would be the same. Only you could never be the same. They just took your wings away.

What happened there? You never told. I'll never know. I saw you once. After. We wouldn't go to Urbandale. You wouldn't go to the beauty school there. You would go nowhere. Your wings were truly broken, you could no longer fly. We didn't know how to mend them.

My parents were leaving. Retiring to Florida. I'd go there. Find a job. Before I left. Kelly brought you to visit me. You were so thin. So lost. Not the same. Still different. You wouldn't eat. They had killed you. Your wings were unmended. You could not soar. It killed your soul.

Only it was the slow death without eating. So pale. So thin. So sad. No longer you. Not as I remembered. Not the last memory of you I wanted. Before I left your Mother came. Thanked me for being your friend. I wished we could fly together one more time, but that was not to be.

So, with nothing to keep me there. I left. Left the hate. Left the ugly words. Only to find them again in other places. No matter where I wandered. No matter who I met. There was always the hate. I no longer flew on angel wings, didn't bother to unfold them.

Kelly wrote to me one day. She told me you were dead. Only you had been dead. That is why you didn't eat. Whatever happened in that clinic, it haunted you. It killed your soul. It killed you. Broke your wings so you never flew again. You could not fix your wings. So, you died.

I tried to forget you. Move on. I moved on and on. Eventually putting the memories aside. Never forgetting completely. But put away the pain. Cover it with my hate. But I could never stop missing you. I wanted to unfold my wings, to fly again but without you I never could.

I learned one thing though. To put aside the hate. I pity the same, now. So wrapped up in their hate. I realized that I had only fallen as an angel because I wouldn't unfold my wings. Fly above their hate. Leave them to their own hate and fly away.

I found out I wasn't homosexual or straight. I was asexual. With this I unfolded my wings. I flew above the same. Became something more than an angel fallen among them. I realized that I wasn't the same, because I wasn't the fallen angel, they were.

Today I bought some roses. A yellow rose. A white rose. A pink rose. A red rose. Friendship. Loyalty. Love. Passion. I threw their petals in a local canal. In memory of you and the others we loved. One day we would fly together on angel wings again. We are all angels in the end.

Dedicated to all of those fallen angels who have yet to unfold their wings and see their full glory. Those who have not donned their wings and flown. Weighed down by their hate. Weighed down by the anger, the hate of others. Unfold your wings, soar with me, be an angel in the end.




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