Thursday, March 29, 2007

An Easter Story ~ Part 1: Gethsemane

An Easter Story ~ Part 2: Faith of our Fathers

An Easter Story ~ Part 3: A Man Hath Friends

An Easter Story ~ Part 4: Cock Crows Thrice

An Easter Story ~ Part 5: The Empty Tomb(final)

But for a time, he was very happy living in the pink house in the hollow on the mountain.

He attended church each Sunday and Wednesday at the little church across from the cow pasture and reveled in the hellfire and brimstone services that he loved so well. His beautiful singing voice soared during the songs and his heart felt full in the presence of these people. His people.

Until there was an instance when he publicly drank some beer at a local gathering. It got back to the preacher of his church and he was publicly upbraided one Sunday in front of the congregation. He didn't feel comfortable going back to the little church across from the cow pasture after that. They had hurt his feelings.

He had been here a few years before I met him. And I had been here a few years more before we met.

I had heard of him. Someone would say, "You know Scott? He's that big goofy guy from South Carolina?"

"No, I haven't met him yet." I would say.

"Thought you might have, you'uns being from the around the same part of the country."

I never explained that the lowcountry and the upcountry of South Carolina were entirely different worlds.

I was pumping gas when he first introduced himself. I was fairly bedraggled that day and still wearing my barn clothes. An impossibly tall man with a shock of wavy brown hair came toward me. His face seemed fixed in a perpetually bashful expression. I remember thinking to myself that he looked close to my age, yet was really just a big kid.

"Hey! Are you the 'Goat Lady'?" He asked, ducking his head slightly.

I holstered the pump and screwed the gas cap back on my jeep.

"Some folks have called me such." I said and wiped my hands on my overalls, looking up at him.

He looked embarrassed for a moment.

"Miz Busbee told me all about you. I'm Scott."

"Oh, yes!" I said, "She has mentioned you to me. She has good things to say about you."

He blushed in the cold and ducked his head the funny way he has that is so incongruous on such a tall, big man.

He told me that he was on his way home from his Garden Club meeting and laughed about how he was the only man there. We exchanged some pleasantries about who we knew. I took note of his dialect that had none of the east Tennessee twang that I had finally deciphered.

"You sound like you are from my neck of the woods." I said.

"Well, I'm from upstate South Carolina, but most of my relatives are up here on the mountain."

I invited him to come by the farm for coffee and a visit. He asked me if I had any goat manure I could spare for his rose bushes.

"I've got plenty of that. All you have to do is shovel it up." I said. "You are most welcome to as much as you can carry."

I didn't see him again until the next winter. I'm not sure what he was doing in the meantime. Mrs. Busbee would mention him now and again. He would come clean her flowerbeds out for her. We always seemed to just be missing each other. He never came for the goat poop.

I was getting in my car after visiting the Newport Bargain Barn one cold winter day when I saw him again. His face looked different somehow. He was paler and his bashful face looked like a puppy who had just been kicked.

We exchanged the usual pleasantries about the weather and Mrs. Busbee.

Then he said, out of the blue, with a yearning look, "Do you ever feel lonely...well, alone...up there on the mountain?"

I searched his face as I searched my mind. I could tell he was looking for a certain answer.

"No, Scott. Not really. I sort of like my own company."

He looked embarrassed and a bit frantic, like a startled deer.

"Don't get me wrong," I qualified, "I love company. I just don't mind being by myself."

"I just get so depressed." He said, haunted.

I drove away with Scott laying heavily on my mind. A few days later I drove up to the pink house in the hollow to give him a bar of my pine tar soap for his psoriasis. It was a gesture of friendship that I was making, but I knew I should go slowly with him.

We soon became close buddies. I knew he was gay from the first time I met him. But it soon became evident to me that he hadn't made peace with that part of himself. I didn't say anything, and avoided any attempts on his part to discuss the topic. I knew that when he was ready to say the words that he would.

That time came after he tried to hang himself.

He sought help at that time for his depression and began that introspection that we all must face at one time or another...for some reason or another.

I was the first person he told.

He sat down in my big leather armchair and explained what he had been going through.

"Well, you see..." he said, blushing and stumbling over the words, "I think I'm gay."

I smiled gently at him. "I know, Scott."

He looked at me in a panic for a moment, his eyes large.

"Why? Do I look gay? Sound gay?" He said, mustering a bit of outrage.

"Gee, I don't know, Scott." I retorted in my smartass voice, "Maybe it was because when I first met you were on your way home from your Garden Club meeting? Oh no....maybe it is because of your vast knowledge of Absolutely Fabulous? Look or sound gay? Oh no...not you...Mr. Studly Rose Gardener!"

"Fuck you!" He said in mock indignation. "Fuck you very much!"

Almost all of my good friends say this to me at some point in time. That he felt comfortable saying it made me feel good.

We talked further about his feelings about the subject. He was still convinced that he was going to burn in hell. I assured him that he wasn't, though I knew it would take him a long time to figure this out for himself. He had a lifetime of mixed messages to sort out.

But mostly, he was concerned for his family. He was terrified that they would never want to see him. That they would not love him.

"I suspect, Scott," I told him, "that they probably have had their suspicions. But give them time. Tell them when and only when you are ready. This isn't a race."

He placed his big head in his big hands. And as I had so many times before, I wondered how such a big man could be so fragile.

5 Comments:

  1. chris said...
    Rosie, did you write that Wikipedia bio on Simone, or was it someone else? Just curious.

    What kind of dancing is Simone into? How badly did she break her leg when she went snow skiing?
    Rosie said...
    No, Chris...that thing is full of mistakes. Why don't you edit it? You seem to be a bigger expert on my sister than I am!

    Ballet...we all did ballet.

    Not too badly...not nearly as badly as the horse accident.
    Jbeeky said...
    God, I wish this was a thick paperback I could curl up into for hours and hours. Talent, Lady.
    mallow said...
    I agree with jbeeky!.. I wan't more but I know you only have so much time in between taking care of goats, socializing the new sheeplies ("Mutton" & "Chops" great names by the way), making soap, jam, food for food porn photographs..uh.. did I leave anything out?
    bonnie said...
    Rosie, this is such a moving story that the word "moving" seems like a terribly trite understatement.

    talk about the ways people's actions affect other people. I'm all jazzed about that stuff 'cause I found out a while ago that my silly blogging hobby has actual led to something very cool happening for someone - just got the go ahead to post about it last week & did so yesterday...

    Showing us Friend Scott like this, you're showing us both faces of that human interrelatedness.

    plus some lush pictures of where you live. Can almost smell the roses.

    And the goat poop.

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