I know it's late, but I wanted to get this one in today. Patronus Joleen asked for a flash piece about "repentance and forgiveness". This is for her. Also, it's a screen test of sorts for a character who will be appearing in my WiP (working title "The Midwife".) While things may change as I write that story, this is a chance for this character to say hello and introduce himself. So, without further preamble, here's a letter from Breton. Dear John,
Isn't that how these letters are supposed to start? Letters that you leave when you know you'll never see the recipient again? Appropriate, don't you think, John? It's true, though. By the time you read this I will probably be long gone.
It comes down to this, John: Pedro gave me AIDS. He didn't know it. Fuck, he didn't even know he was positive until we'd been together six months. Thought he got it off a junkie tweaker he had been crashing with in the Village. You didn't see his face when he told me, all shaking. Eyes red. I thought he'd fallen back on old habits, honestly. But he was crying. And not a single tear he shed was for himself. He'd just found out that he was dying a slow, terrible death. He wept, though, for the fact that he'd given me the same fate.
He couldn't forgive himself. Pedro hanged himself three months later. Right about the time the KS lesions started appearing on his stomach.
And you know what, John? It wasn't the AIDS that pissed me off. It was that he checked out the easy way and left me behind.
I can't tell you how often I've thought about doing the same thing. Especially after you and I last spoke. You remember. That time you put your fist through a wall, called me a “cockgobbling faggot” and hoped I learned my lesson in hell?
If there is a Hell for me to go to, it must be right around the corner. I've learned a lot these last days. Coming to terms with what happened between me and Pedro, me and you. I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness—giving it and asking for it. And I want you to know that I have forgiven Pedro. For everything. For the disease, for leaving... I've forgiven him for everything.
And you, Dad, well...
I won't be doing the same kindness for you. I can't. The endless hours of trying to pray away my demons. All of the years you glared at me with disgust. You realize you could field dress a bull moose without curling your nose, but just looking at me churned your stomach. Even before I told you I'm queer, you couldn't keep your loathing secret. Telling you only made things worse. The camps. The shock treatments. Shit out of the Dark Ages.
You don't do that to your blood. Your child.
You don't do that to another human being.
I will not forgive you, nor will I spend my last breaths begging you to understand me. I am what I am. Who I am. A poet. A reckless spirit. A painter. I can dance. I can see the world from the other side. I am your son and you gave that up. You gave up loving me and knowing me. And you've lost your chance to ever do it.
I will not forgive you. I will not apologize for being who I am.
That is all I have to say to you, John. --Your son (even if you refuse to treat me as such.), Breton
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