I slept rather peacefully that night. And when I woke up the next morning, I had lingering visions of a dream dancing in my head. A dream involving Josh and I spending a day together at my house. Nothing more than a soft kiss here and there, nothing overtly sexual at all. It was just 'comfortable'. It was a series of soft transitions from one gentle moment to the other. I had never experienced a kiss so warm. It was so real that I could taste his sweet breath as it passed sensually from his lips and into mine. Now that was a magic I could believe in. The strange thing was, I wasn't really me in the dream. I was somebody else, and yet...still me. It's hard to explain. But I was different, and I LIKED who I was. I was sooo slim, sooo beautiful, and I'm talking the kind of 'tv beautiful' that makes both men and women alike swoon. The way Josh was looking at me in that dream, you would have thought I was an angel from Heaven. The same way...that I look at him. To finally have him see ME like that, to notice me from across a room and think about me, to kiss me with love in his heart...it's all I ever wanted. And yet, it was the one thing I'd never have. Sigh...there I go again, getting all stupid over my wet dream in the flesh.
Why do I think about him so much? I could just be sitting in class, or eating breakfast, or watching tv, and Josh will pop into my mind out of the blue. It's not so much that he was outrageously beautiful, because that goes without saying. But it was partially about the fact that I couldn't have him. Not now, not ever. I guess, in a way, my inability to even talk to him kept Josh just as much of a delightful mystery to me as Gideon was. He intrigued me. I could only imagine what it must be like to talk to him, or spend time with him, or see what his room looks like. I imagined what he looks like when he's crying, or when he's asleep, or when he's angry. Using every little fragile detail that I could grasp to fill in the blanks and make him more complete without actually having to ever 'speak' to him. My mind wandered through his every emotion, hoplessly attempting to build itself an artificial replica of Josh inside to keep close to my heart. Something close enough to the real thing for me to love just as much without the constant fear of rejection and heartache.
'Love'...psh! I don't even want to CALL it that. I DON'T! Because love hurts, love is empty, love is something that sets you up to be humiliated and embarrassed and hurt for a lot longer than it's worth! I mean, come on...LOOK at him! He's GOTTA have a girlfriend! He HAS to! No female in that school would allow him to go an entire day without saying something sweet to him, or having a sexy thought to whisper in his ear. He'd cave in eventually. He needs and wants sex just like anyone else our age. And he'd be giving my well deserved kisses away to someone else. I mean...I entertained the thought of him and I being these two love starved virgins that just 'happen' to find in each other all of the little things that makes the other one complete. And it was FUN to dream about him that way! I liked it! I really did. I'll admit that. But, I have to be real and understand that it's not going to happen. I can't even TALK to him, how the hell am I going to approach him as even a friend, much less anything more. It's not possible. If he wasn't one of the supreme highlights of my day, I'd completely erase him from my memory and just hope to find a way to be satisfied with masturbation for the rest of my life. But....I couldn't. Everytime I closed my eyes, he was there. And my mind made it real. Every single time, my mind made it real. If Gideon was right about the 'dream thing' and me having total control over it...then I was more stuck on Josh than I thought. That could be dangerous as far as my feelings were concerned. Considering that it was heartbreak waiting to happen.
I jumped in the shower again, and looked at myself. God...how I hated the way I looked. I hated it with a passion. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I grabbed my love handles again, and squeezed hard, hoping to somehow pinch them away. I ran my hair under the water, hoping that the water would dye it blond and the heat would just mold my face into something completely different. That my eyes would turn a glorious shade of blue and my body would slim and harden overnight. I don't WANT to be me! I want to be one of those cuties that get everything sooo easy. I wanted to be cute enough to have sex whenever I needed to get off. To be confident. To speak my mind and know that people are listening. I wanted to be the 'poster boy' of what is beautiful and accepted in this world...blond, blue eyed, slim, still in my teens, Christian, and straight. In the end, those were the only people the world gives a flying fuck about anyway. ESPECIALLY for gay people! Well, it's stupid to think that things will ever change. So the only way to be a part of it all was to wish that I could be like them. I wanted to be as beautiful and as wanted and as worthy of attention as the boys I'm unfortunately attracted to. The ones that can break your heart and can easily pick up somebody even cuter the next day without even breaking a sweat. In fact....I wanted to be Gideon. I wanted to look like him, walk like him, talk like him. I wanted his confidence, I wanted his experience, I wanted whatever it was that he had to keep me so enchanted whenever he came around. If only. I was so tired of hating myself, of feeling like I was the ugliest, most unpopular kid in school. Thanks to my new found blond buddy, I was beginning to realize that my life was even worse than I thought it was. I wanted more. SO much more! I wanted to be that boy I was in the dream, the one I could be proud of. Please Gideon, whoever you are, take me out of this dreary colorless world of mine and make me somebody that I won't despise so faithfully. He'll have an answer. He's got to have an answer.
I went to school that day, ate lunch without Gideon anywhere in site, and when the time came, I took a detour from my English class to head for the front door of the school. We had school security, but they didn't know one kid from the other, and they couldn't tell whether I had a 'free period' or was supposed to be in class. So nobody stopped me at all. No teachers, no kids, no security, nobody. Funny...up until the moment that when I opened that school door and was blinded by the daytime sunlight, I would have thought that ditching school was going to be as difficult as escaping Alcatraz. It was hardly 'Mission: Impossible' at all, and I was almost disappointed. I walked out to the field and returned to the fence where I saw Gideon already sitting back, drinking another soda. I began to feel jitters inside of me as I got closer to him. What was he going to tell me? How was he going to help me? What answers had he found that I couldn't? And how? And where? A billion questions, and only one answer...go meet him and find out.
"Right on time. Good. Did you bring the stuff I asked you to?" He said, still not looking at me.
"Um...y-y-yeah. I've got it all right here in my bag."
"Cool. Let's walk." He said, as he tossed his half empty can into the field. He stood up and began walking, still not making eye contact from his side of the fence, and I followed by walking beside him. "So...how are you feeling today?" He asked.
"'Good'...well that explains an awful lot. How was your day?" What was this? I wasn't really in the mood for small talk at the moment.
"Fine. Nothing spectacular." I answered, as always.
"Wrong answer." I looked a bit confused, and he went on. "Do you have any idea how many things people do in a single 24 hour day? It's a LOT! One event after another. Problem area number one...you neither value, nor appreciate, a single one of those events. You don't even think about them. It's like you don't even notice, much less care. That's one of the things that we're going to have to work on first. Life, is a series of events. Events with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It's 100 tv sitcoms going on all at once in every corner of the room you may be standing in. Thousands of these events happen every day. You hear a joke, you see a familiar face, you learn something new, you overhear a bit of someone else's conversation, you see a friggin' butterfly...whatever. A lot of people want to believe that if something that happens during their day is not Earth shattering news, then it's not 'interesting' nor is it important. Not so. Everything that you experience in a single day, contributes to who you are in some way, shape, or form. You might inhale and exhale a total of 14 times in a single minute, and not notice a single one of them. But if you were drowning or suffocating or sinking in quicksand...suddenly, each one of those breaths becomes a treasured experience. Have the breaths changed? No...just your perspective. You have to WANT to appreciate your life, otherwise, you're just drifting along pointlessly. Waiting for the current to take you in the right direction. The circumstances don't have to be quite as drastic as a tragedy or life threatening situation for you to take notice of the little things."
I spoke up, "Again...you lost me dude. I just don't get it."
"I don't expect you to. Not yet. Listen now, absorb it later. Even if it doesn't make sense, just HUMOR me and think about it all for a minute or two. The concept alone is wordless. I can only tell you what works for me in my own personal experience. You'll be able to visualize these things in your own way once you've seen it for yourself." He kept walking forward with me right beside him. "Bottom line...don't take your life for granted. Not a single minute of it. You can find infinite beauty in the simplest of places if you just take the time to look at it. Being able to appreciate that beauty is going to make your initiation much easier."
That's where I had to stop him. "Initiation? For what, exactly?"
"Now that's the big million dollar question, isn't it?" Gideon grinned wickedly. "Tell me Gavin...do you believe in magic?"
"Magic? Like pulling rabbits out of hats and disappearing quarters?"
"No no no...no illusions, no trickery or slight of hand. True magic. Tapping into the limitless power around you. The energy that was always there, but so many people doubt its very existence that they refuse to even TRY to believe in it. They can't see it, and therefore, they believe that they can't use it."
"Okaaaay...I believe this is where I get off of the boat dude." I said, almost ready to turn around and go back to school.
"Strange, is it? Of course you think it's strange. Once you are efficently 'tossed' out of your childhood, you are taught to limit your beliefs. No more monsters, no more Santa Claus, no more Easter Bunny. BUT...when you were younger, the ideas of dragons and creatures under your bed, were SO real, that they were a part of your everyday reality. Your mind MADE them real to the point where they effected your behavior, your thoughts, your dreams. They guided you to believe in something that made you structure your own set of values and morals around it. Whether they want you to believe it or not, society operates the same way. You believe that you'll be an adult at 18 because they TELL you so, and they make it your reality. So at midnight before your 18th birthday, you magically transform into an adult worthy of making your own decisions? Why 18? Why not 21? Why not 50? Why not 10? It's whenever they TELL you it is, and you never question it. Because you're supposed to believe what the 'important people' tell you. You believe in government, and religion, and the law, and national holidays...why? Because the majority of people around you says that it's ok. That's why. Imagine...if enough people were to honestly believe in magic. imagie if they could believe in it strongly enough to tap into the limitless source of power that it provides. If THAT became the majority's point of view, you would be considered the 'strange' one for NOT believing."
"YOU, my friend, need therapy." I said.
"It's all around you right now, Gavin. Around you, inside you, passing through you. Unnoticed and unused because it's not as concrete as your average 9 to 5 job. It's not as believable as bumper to bumper traffic, or a nice set of tits, or a needle filled with the drug of your choice. You've been 'taught' to limit your idea of possibility. To put a cap on it where you can only believe so much, and once you cross the line of immediate proof...anything else must be a fairy tale. The ramblings of a crazy person who isn't in touch with 'reality'. Am I right?" He said.
"Yeah, but MAGIC, dude? Come on."
"Why NOT magic? What's so hard to believe about magic? You believe in God, don't you? You believe in things like gravity, and oxygen, and love, and mathematics. You can't see those things, or touch them. Yet you believe on blind faith alone that they exist. Why is magic so different?"
"Because magic isn't real. It's done with mirrors and camera tricks and hocus pocus bullshit. Just because you come along and tell me that magic is real, doesn't make it so." I said, beginning to think that I wasted my time on this whole stupid adventure today.
"Oh really? Well, what if I told you that man never landed on the moon? What if I told you that there were 19 planets in the solar system instead of 9? What if I told you that the Civil War never happened? What then?"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Can you, in any way shape or form, prove that *I* was the insane one by making those claims?"
"By grabbing any book, asking any official, getting the artifacts, shuttle photos...and a billion other things! Helloooo?"
Gideon smiled at me and said, "So, you would grab history books, photos, people who 'study' these things, film footage, and so-called artifacts...and that would make your claims real? Because you have a lot of people to get on your side and back you up? Is that right?"
"So what if all the photos you've seen were faked? What if the video of the moon landing was actually a guy in a suit, in the desert, with wires and a bit of distorted information? What if the government doesn't want anyone to know there's a 10th or 11th planet, so they just decided to say, 'Hey, let's make it 9 planets and leave it at that. And while we're at it, we'll make the legal driving age...um...16...that sounds good'? What if the artifacts from the Civil War were forgeries? What if the 'facts' were all created out of someone's imagination and falsified, and the people who are supposedly experts in these fields are all studying the same distinct set of lies that were laid out for you to believe in? Hmmm? Absolutely impossible, right? Pure insanity! BUT...when you sit down and really think about it, you've been living your whole life on blind faith without even knowing it. You've been accepting the popular opinion of the people around you as truth, without ever questioning its value or its purpose. And when you really break down the specifics of your reality, you'll find that your history books, your science books, the Bible, the law, and my wild claims of true magic being real, can pretty much ALL fit in the same category. Something that you have to believe in, something that you have to live by. The only thing making it real...is you." I think he could see the strange look that I was giving him, and shook his head with a smile, "Sighhhhh...but...like I said, you'll come to your own conclusions later on. 'Reality' still has its claws in you pretty deep right now, and that's cool. But I guarantee you that you'll have a much wider perspective by the time your initiation is over."
There was that word again. 'Initiation'. "So...you're going to teach me how to shoot thunderbolts out of my fingertips and levitate objects with my mind? Is that it?" I joked.
But then, Gideon surprised me with, "If you want to learn, sure. I don't see why not." At that moment we reached the end of the fence and he winked at me as he climbed over to my side. Was that his way of joking too? Or was he actually serious?
I decided to keep taunting him a bit, but I was also curious as to what he said. "So...I'll be able to fly, and turn invisible, and jack off at the speed of light?"
"Hehehe, whatever you want, superman." Grrr! This isn't giving me any answers! "Gavin, magic isn't some supernatural power or being able to defy the laws of physics. It's actually a lot simpler than that. It's generating a thought in your mind, and and converting that though into action. It can be as easy as moving a pencil from one place to another with your hand. You thought about it, and then you made it happen. Your life works exactly the same way. There may be a lot of things that you want, but only one or two that you believe you can have. So, no matter how hard you are supposedly working towards all of those goals, you're only going to actually achieve the one or two that you BELIEVE in. The rest are 'ghosts and shadows'...things you want to be real, but don't REALLY believe in enough to MAKE real. The key is finding a way to believe, and then finding a way to follow that belief until you get what you want. For your initiation into magic, the first thing you are going to have to do is change your way of thinking. If you don't believe, then it will never be real." Gideon led me accross a busy street, and then down into a long ditch running beside the train tracks. "You seem awfully quiet all of the sudden. No questions?"
"I'm not exactly sure how any of this is going to help me. I mean, you have to admit that this is a bit hard to grasp all at once."
"Take your time. It won't happen overnight. For some people, it never happens at all. They simply never accept the idea that they can have whatever they want through faith and patience. We live in a world where everybody wants everything now and their not supposed to chase any dream that's too far fetched for the average person to believe in. They're unable to make that subtle shift in their way of thinking, and they end up 'following the herd' all the way over the cliff. It sucks, but that's their choice, and some people can live very full and happy lives by doing that. Just not me. Hehehe, nah...I'm reaching for the stars, baby! You're an artist, right? You should know what I mean."
"Artists are cool. Whether it's poetry, or drawing, martial arts, sculpting, singing, painting, writing, design, whatever. It's such an expression of the soul. Once people learn how to effectively and passionately tap into that little area inside of them that connects them to their inner spirit...they're unstoppable. It's awesome. I see you as being one of those people who would put a lot of heart into their work."
Instinctively, without even knowing it, I found myself wanting to jump up on that rail and walk with Gideon. Just a little child-like urge to balance on it and walk along just like he was. Something about it just looked fun. So, I gave in, and stepped up on the rail behind him to follow him. "Yeah, whatever. My artwork sucks. I can't ever seem to get it right."
"It's an ART, dude. It's always right. Once it's finished, it becomes a piece of you. Something that nobody else will ever be able to duplicate. Even when you're consciously tearing it down, your subconscious is a little more relaxed for getting the opportunity to express itself."
Walking behind him on that rail was fun. Such a little thing. "If you say so."
"I DO say so, and you fighting me on it isn't going to change my mind. So...shut up and take the compliment already."
"You're welcome. Now, did you bring those drawings that I told you to bring?" He asked.
"Yeah...they're right here." I started to fish them out, but he stopped me.
"Now you're absolutely, positively, SURE that these are the best drawings that you've ever done?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "Yeah...I guess so."
"GUESSING isn't what I wanted and it certainly isn't what I asked for. ARE these the BEST?" He asked again with a bit of a demanding tone in his voice.
"Um...yeah." I mumbled.
"You don't sound so sure."
"YES! Happy now?" I shouted, and he just smiled and kept walking.
As he got further away from me, I got a bit confused. "So...don't you want to see them?"
"Eventually, sure. It might be nice to see what you're capable of. But the drawings aren't for me right now, they're for you."
I was puzzled. "But...I've already seen these..."
"Not the way you will tonight, I'll bet. They're the best you have to offer, right? Well...take another look at them when you go home, and think about them. REALLY think. Why they're special, what you were feeling when you drew them, what was going on in your life at the time...everything surrounding each individual drawing. That's going to be the first part of your homework."
"The FIRST part?" I asked.
"Yeah. Every time that we get together, you'll have three tasks to accomplish by the next time we meet. Got it? If you follow the rules, and make your best effort, you'll move forward to the next step. You keep completing the tasks and moving forward, you'll see your view of the world and yourself begin to change. Things will begin to happen to you that you never thought possible. Opportunities for improvement will litterally THROW themselves at you for what appears to be no reason at all. Things will fall into place, and soon everything will have an air of possibility...even the things you once thought were impossible or crazy or unattainable. The more concrete the concept of self improvement becomes in your mind, the stronger your belief, and it will get easier and easier as you go along. By the time your initiation is over, you'll see things very differently, and magic won't seem like such a fairy tale anymore. That's when I start to teach you the really 'cool' stuff." He was walking faster on the rail now, and it was hard to keep up without falling off. I asked him what the other parts of my homework would be for the night, and he replied, "The first thing is, I want you to write down, with the red pen, everything that you hate about these drawings in your notebook. Then, all the things that make them special to you with the blue pen. And be honest. Don't let your emotions get the best of you. The more honest you are, the more detailed and unrestricted, the faster you'll grow." Gideon led us off of the tracks, and back towards the school. "The second task, is that I want you to read and study that list of likes and dislikes in your notebook...and I want you to use them to create three NEW favorite drawings. Even better than these three. Strengthen what you liked about the others, and stay away from what you hated about the others. It's that simple. Put your heart and soul into it, and bring it back the day after tomorrow."
"The day after TOMORROW??? I can't do that! Do you know how long it takes me to do one of these things?"
"You can, and you will. NO excuses! And before you even ask, no it's NOT ok if you 'try your best and just don't finish in time'! Push yourself. Inspiration isn't some ghost that comes floating by on some random occassion. You control it! Get a hold of it, and make it work for you. Concentrate, miss a few tv shows, lose some sleep, I don't care how you do it. But if you want to move to the next step...you'll find a way." Well, gee...that sounds just dandy, doesn't it?
As we approached the school gate, just a few minutes walk back to school and to my next class, I asked, "So what's the third thing?"
"How'd you sleep last night?" He said out of nowhere.
"Last night. How did you sleep?" What the hell was THAT supposed to mean???
"Dude, can you just stop being really weird for a second and just..."
"Dreams, kiddo. Did you have a dream last night?"
I thought back to what I was dreaming of the night before. About...being beautiful, and sexy, and wanted. About holding Josh in my arms and feeling his sweet kiss as it brought a blinding light to my once darkened existence. The lingering adrenaline rush that came from that dream was almost enough to make me sigh outloud. But I didn't want Gideon to see that. He was basically a mind reader as it was, no need to give in anymore than I had to. "I...I don't dream all that much."
"Yes you do. You dream every single night when you go to sleep, dufus. If you didn't, you'd be quite insane by now. And now that you're holding back, something tells me that you remember exactly what you dreamed about and just don't want to tell me. Am I right or am I wrong?"
"I've gotta get to class."
"Third task..." He said, putting a hand on my shoulder to stop me from running off. "...your dreams are a representation of what you really want. See, while you're conscious, you can mentally warp those thoughts and images and distort them to be anything that best 'suits your current situation'. BUT...when you dream, your subconscious finally gets to take over. And it's not going to be worried about analyzing things. It doesn't worry about taking chances, or doubts, or fears, or consequences, or risks. Things in your dreams don't HAVE to make sense, they just simply are. And you are mentally controlling every minute detail inside that paradise that you created for yourself. All of your desires, all of your phobias, all of your most animalistic urges are locked within. An entire universe built from the things your spirit needs to be fulfilled. It's scary to stare so deep into your own reflection, but if you want to tap into the kind of power that I'm going to give you, then you're going to have to know exactly what it is that you want. And you're going to have to accept those wants and needs completely. No matter WHAT society says, no matter WHAT your friends say, or your family, or some 2000 year old religion, or anything else. This is for YOU! And only YOU know what your heart wants and needs. Even when 'they' tell you it's wrong."
"But..." I started to speak, but he cut me off quick.
"NO 'buts'! Listen...you had a dream last night. In that dream, your subconscious was trying to tell you something. Something that you want. Maybe a bunch of things that you want. Go home tonight, think about the details of that dream. Whatever it was that existed in that world that you don't have in real life...THAT'S what you want. Write just 'one' of those desires down on the back of one of the new drawings you bring to me. We'll start there, got it?"