THE PASSION STROLL...
a blog by author Ashavan Doyon
This month chewed me up and spit me out, but I was determined to get this piece out. It's easy to miss early on how The One That Feels is also a fantasy story, and this chapter really makes the fantasy element plain even more than Thommas's journey into Jordan's mind from Chapter 4.
After speaking with Jordan's mind and determining that Jordan is alive, barely, Thommas finds himself face to face with a determined mother, who wants to know the truth about her son.
New to the story? Pick it up from the beginning. New chapters are posted in the middle and at the end of each month.
*for the record, I've had someone ask and I'm sure I did say this already, but this story is complete and I intend to continue posting until all chapters have been posted.
I woke to Brian’s anxious eyes and the harsh odor of smelling salts. I turned to Brian, ignoring the hovering nurse as I pulled myself up on my elbows. “The ties are tenuous, Bri.”
“You can bring him back…”
“Perhaps,” I said, catching the eyes of the nurse as she glared at me and grasped my wrist to check my pulse. I sighed and looked back at Brian. “He is very broken, Bri. You might want to consider—”
“No,” said Brian, shaking his head vigorously. “I didn’t bring you here just for you to let him go.”
“But you gave me the authority.”
I've been behind on a lot of things over the past few weeks, and I'm sorry. I've tried to keep folks up to date on social media, but the gist is two things. First, I spent four full weeks, including my one week vacation, sick. Then Orlando happened, and with it the realization that I'd lost a colleague in the shooting. I'm pretty good at keeping distance between horrible events, it's part of my coping mechanism. But knowing someone who died that night has made it really hard for me to function. I'm frozen between grief and fear and it makes being creative very hard.
So I gave myself the week to try to process, as best I could. Now I'm full catch up mode. Part of that is the serial. While this episode is late, I want to be clear that the end of the month post will still be happening on schedule (so there will be a shorter wait for chapter 5!)
Here it is, chapter 4 of The One That Feels. I'll be posting chapters twice monthly, once in the middle of the month and once at the end. (note, only the first three paragraphs appear in blog view, you need to click "Read More" at the bottom right for the full text of the chapter)
Chapter 1 can be found in an earlier entry if you have not yet started the story, and there is also a prelude to The One That Feels in the April 2016 issue of ARDOR. I also encourage you to sign up for the email version of the newsletter.
The world was a featureless plain, pure black below with a sky of dusky gray above. So it was going to be like this. Had I known Jordan better, I would have had a better idea of which way to go. Instead, I studied each direction briefly, but the defenses of a drug addict were powerful things, and this featureless plain… I had to think that I knew what it represented. I just couldn’t focus. I felt so week, muddled. It was the drugs. The ones that had tortured him and the ones that they had pumped into him. I had absorbed too much of the toxins within his body to be completely rid of them, and then given of my own strength to make his body well.
What remained of his mind, that part that was tied to his body in the real, was laid out in the blank landscape. It couldn’t all be gone. I had to hope it wasn’t all gone, for if he had truly fled completely leaving only this, there would be no bringing him back. Lacking any waypoints, I picked a direction and walked, thankful for the fact that at least the emptiness upon which I walked was acting like solid ground, at least for the moment.
Brian loved this boy. I needed the reminder. There was very little else about Jordan for me to like. He was young, and beautiful, and stupid. No, that wasn’t fair. I just liked to think of him as stupid, because I resented losing Brian. He was hurt. He hadn’t started on drugs out of stupidity. He had done it because he was hurt. I had my suspicions as to why, but if I knew for certain I might fathom why he’d risk the one stability in his life, Brian, and overdose. Brian had said it was an accident, but Jordan had been a druggie for a long time, far longer than the five years they’d been together. What had Jordan seen? What had driven him to the brink of loss? Why would he give up Brian, who had long since committed to the relationship, to being with Jordan no matter what. They had dealt with scares before. Did Jordan really hate himself that much?
I lost a friend – perhaps several – on Facebook this week. I’m not proud of it. It hurt me a lot more, I suspect, than it hurt them. I didn’t unfriend them myself. They were important to me. Are important to me. But I did make the choice to post when I knew that would be the result.
I try not to unfriend people. Even my most toxic friends – the ones who can’t help but post how horrible the world is or how everything is going to kill you if you eat/are exposed/allow it to exist. I unfollow all the sites they share, but I don’t remove them, because they’re my friends. And I know those posts come from a passion to want to change things and do what’s right. For politics it’s much the same. If you post a lot about how people are welfare cheats or how we need to drug test for approval for welfare or how Ted Cruz is going to save the country, probably I unfollowed you and the sites you support a long time ago.
I appreciate diversity of thought and opinion, but in today’s world, that feed is a sort of social living room, and that sort of negativity has a very real effect on me. As a bipolar person, it doesn’t take a lot to make me sink, and sometimes that post was the one that did it. And so I excise it. But not the friendship.
So how did I make it happen this time? I know people have strong opinions about bathroom usage nowdays, but with so many friends and loved ones that identify as trans, I can’t just listen to someone spew about how they’re a danger. I was raped in a bathroom as a child, I know where the real danger lies. And so people using that fear of something real, something I’ve experienced, to attack people I love and care about really gets me… angry. Not just a little.
But it still hurt. Because the guy, a friend since college, asked if he was being a bigot. He asked me. And I told him. Because he was. I told him he was not thinking things through. I told him he was trying to find a cultural issue to use as a wedge between people, and that it was wrong. He told me we weren’t friends anymore if I called him a bigot again.
I knew what I was doing. But I was angry. I told him, essentially, that if he didn’t want me to call him a bigot, he should stop being one. It was a principled stand, I believe that. But I knew how he reacts under those sorts of pressure circumstances. I mean, I’ve known since college. Upwards of twenty years. He’s a conservative republican. I knew I was losing a friend.
So why do I care? I hear so often in the community people say we should just cut people like that out of our lives. But what if they’re parents? Brothers? Friends? I know… what kind of friends could they be with beliefs like that? But the answer is surprising sometimes. He was a good friend. At a time everyone I thought was my ally turned on me, it was him and the other republicans who rallied and said “No.” They were the ones who had my back when my community turned their backs on me. He was a good friend.
And now he’s not. It makes me sad.
Thinking about losing friends reminds me of the one time I actually unfriended someone. I got catfished. Yeah, it really happens. He was a good friend. Young and struggling and active in our fanfiction community. Trying to keep a romance alive and struggling with that. And then he “died.” And I mourned. I’d spent weeks helping keep him sane when he thought he’d never keep his hopes up. I’d helped him edit stories. I’d spoken to him almost every day for years.
And he never existed.
The person who was behind him is the only person I’ve actually unfriended myself. The incident was the inspiration for The Byte of Betrayal. So I’m going to plug one of my own stories, and note that it’ll be on sale at the Dreamspinner Press store for 30% off from June 6-8.
The Byte of Betrayal
Caleb McDonnell lives his life online. A thirty-year-old fast food worker, he spends his time talking in an Internet world where his job and living conditions can't dictate his friendships. He's found acceptance, friendship, and even romance. But when an online friend is revealed as a fake, Caleb loses all sense of trust. To stave off the emotional collapse of his betrayal, Caleb leaves his online life behind and retreats into the monotony of his job.
Nicodemus Rokos feels like his heart has been torn out. He knew Caleb would be hurt, but he'd hoped not to be shut out of his boyfriend's life. He can only hope Caleb still feels something when he shows up in person to reclaim what he's lost.
Writer of the mysterious, fantastic, and the romantic. Sometimes sappy. Often angsty. Always searching for the sexy. Stories about men who love men.