Monday, March 29, 2010

Chapter 2...

Fast forward a couple of years…

Fabrizio and the RM continued to write and call each other frequently. The feelings from that “first kiss” are ever present in their conversations. Nevertheless, a lot has happened and yet everything is still the same. At this point in the story, the RM is now happily married, having fallen in love with the most incredibly wonderful woman who makes his heart beat faster every time he's around her. Their mutual best friend is also happily married now and has a young daughter. Fabrizio sees life passing by and changing quickly in others and wonders what change is in store for him. He decides to suspend his medical school studies and submit his papers to accept a mission call. Though he is a bit older (23), and with no support from his parents, he feels it is the right time to do this.

The RM can’t help but wonder if Fabrizio is doing this because he has an urgent desire to preach the gospel, or whether he feels life is passing him by, and knowing that he has no prospects for ever marrying, decides this would be a good filler of time as he figures out what to do next. The two friends talk about these things, and the RM encourages him to serve a mission as he feels prompted to do so by the spirit. Yet, deep down, he is worried for Fabrizio. Something feels wrong – like a deep sadness inside him.

A few months later, he receives his call and is coming to the MTC in Provo! At this time the RM is still teaching in the MTC and so naturally they are excited to see each other again. Since he has no family in Utah and is flying in from out of the country, the RM naturally becomes his “family”. Their embrace is electrical as they fall into each other’s arms again.

Over the course of a few days before reporting to the MTC, they go see movies together, go shopping, attend the temple and discuss the joys of the eternal plan - and just hang out, but mainly just talk. In some ways it is so magical to be together again and to share these anxious moments and renew feelings for each other with physical touch. In other ways, everything is different. Being married now changes everything. And being in America changes even more everything! The touchy-feely-ness seems less appropriate and even wrong here, while at Fabrizio’s home it felt completely right. Why was that? And with the RM’s wife watching the two of them interact, questions arise as to why Fabrizio was always sitting in the RM’s lap or nestled on his side in a snuggle on the couch? This made the RM self-aware of the inappropriateness of their behavior together and an uneasiness settled over their marital bliss.

On the last night before entering the MTC, Fabrizio was doing his last packing and organizing. The RM came into the guest bedroom and the two talked late into the night.

“You need to be good!” the RM warmed his affectionate friend.

“You mean, I need to be more American?” Fabrizio asked jokingly.

“You know what I mean! This isn’t Italy anymore!” the RM emphasized. “You need to be careful about being too affectionate. Some of your companions may not understand you.”

“Do you understand me?” he stared into his eyes, now full of tears. There was a knowingness about those words that hit with force like a blow square in the gut from a jr. high bully.

“You know I do.”

“Then, why are you pulling back from me? Why isn’t it the same as we were together in Italy?”

“You know why… I’m married now. Things are different. And you’re going to be a missionary tomorrow, and that makes things different as well. Rules and obedience and all that stuff.”

“Yeah, I understand, I guess… But is it really different between us?” he pondered out loud - uttering almost silently with a heavy melancholy tone.

The RM hesitated for a long time. He reached for Fabrizio’s hands as they fell together on the bed in an embrace.

“No, not really… deep down, nothing has changed,” the RM sighed as he held his confused friend, feeling just as confused and conflicted.

They kissed each other’s cheek and forehead, but this time the RM felt that Fabrizio wanted more, but he wasn’t prepared to give him more.

He pulled apart… “You’re a missionary now! Remember who you are and who you represent!”

Though he wanted to more than anything, he just couldn’t kiss him again the way they did in Italy. His sleeping wife in the next room would not understand. He didn’t understand! So many thoughts and feelings raced through his mind and heart. What was happening? Why this torture? This was so confusing. He couldn’t do it.
The RM broke the embrace and stood up. Fabrizio stood up before him. They stared at each other holding hands.

“I love you!” Fabrizio sobbed.

“I love you, too!” the RM struggled to get out through tears. “Now go to bed… you’ve got a big day ahead of you tomorrow.”

The tension in the room was enormous. Both young men were so conflicted by the contrasts of duty verses passion, right verses wrong, the spirit of the law verses the letter of the law. Was this wrong to love such a boy as he did? Why were these feelings still haunting him? He was “happily” married now, no? So, what was going on?

NOTE: The worst is yet to come… there wasn’t going to be a Chapter 3, let alone a Chapter 2, but there is more of the story yet to be told.


MoHoHawaii said...

This is such a touching, human tale. I'm glad that you as a writer are able to have such compassion for the young people in the story. They are innocents. A person would have to have a heart of stone to view these events through a lens of sin and punishment.

(What do we mean when we say "spirit of the law"? In every case, it just seems to mean that people matter more than ideas. I believe this to be true. We sometimes talk about the problem of balancing mercy and justice. I believe this is misframed because we are usually talking about balancing mercy and wrath or love versus condemnation. Anti-gay animus is not about justice. It's about wrath.)

I can't wait for part 3....

playasinmar said...

Correct me if I'm wrong here but when this story plays in your mind is it all in Italian? Not just the words but all the other words, too?

Beck said...

MOHOH: I hope you realize I am writing this (yes partly because I really feel a need to get it out there and down in writing once and for all instead of frozen in time in my mind) because of your encouragement and tenderness toward this story.

Realize that this story took place nearly three decades ago. It was a different time and different place than today's world. In this world where these young men live, never was the word "gay" even uttered or thought about. Were there attractions? feelings beyond romance? love between two young men? yes, oh yes... but it was cloaked in a world of mixed cultures and spiritual brotherhood.

But hang on - the innocents become less innocent and the spirit of the law and letter of the law become more drawn and clear...

Not to tease you, my faithful reader, but there is more to come.

PLAYA: Some parts, yes and some parts no. The first part of "first kiss" are played out in my mind in Italian with all the senses, nuances and feelings unspoken being Italian. Chapter 2 is most definitely in English. They spoke English and engaged in an English-speaking world and culture - something that affects their relationship in multi-dimensional ways.

playasinmar said...

"They" "Their"


I thought this was you.

Beck said...

PLAYA: Yes, It is a first-person story told in the 3rd person.

playasinmar said...

How... oddly dissociative.

robert said...

"yes, it is a first-person story told in the third person..." There are so many things to reflect upon in that statement. A beautifully rendered account.

Ned said...

I agree with Mohoh, this is so touching, and I'm both looking foward to and also kind of dreading the next chapter. It's like driving by an accident. You don't want to look, but you do want to look.

With apologies to Lady Gaga, I'm hearing a variation of her song, Alejandro...

"I know that we are young and I know you that you may love me, but I just can be with you like this anymore, Elder Ado

Don't call my name, don't call my name, Elder Ado
I'm not your man, I'm not your man, Elder Ado
Don't want to kiss, don't want to touch
Just study scriptures and hush
Don't call my name, don't call my name, Elder Ado..."

Beck said...

ROBERT: I don't know why I chose to write it in the third person. Maybe to put some distance between me now and me then. It's like I'm the proverbial fly on the wall observing this relationship instead of being directly in it.

You make me wonder why I chose this approach. Maybe I'm still afraid to be too attached? Maybe I don't accept my role in this story? Maybe I just like talking in 3rd person?

Why do you think I've done this?

Beck said...

NED: Train wrecks, car accidents, drama of fellow MOHOs - we love them all!

Why is that?