“Would you like some coffee?” Derek asked me as he invited me in and shut the door to his office.
“Thank you,” I said.
As we began talking about family and that we should get together sometime for dinner. I began to feel more and more uncomfortable. “I found out what my core issue is . . .” I paused and tried to gain some courage.
“As a boy, my family and I went to a church in Longmont, Colorado. The pastor, AFB, I think, sexually abused me.”
Anger and rage visibly swept over his personhood like a hurricane. “Do you know what he did to you?”
“All I know is that . . .”
Again, I paused to take a breath, gathering the belief to speak the next few words. It still seemed foreign and grossly perverted to think, let alone articulate.
Swirling inside me in a battle of fear and confusion, my breath had stopped and my body clenched in a taught ball of angst. It felt as if a thick mud was slowly pumping through my veins; outside my body I saw myself talking to a bald man on the other side of a cherry wood desk.
I was suddenly overcome . . . Huh? What’s going on with me? Why do I suddenly feel like taking off my shirt?
“He put his penis in my mouth,” I weakly spoke the words I couldn’t believe myself.
“I’m so very sorry; I suspected something like this might have happened to you,” Derek panned in almost eerie calm.
“Well I didn’t,” I chided back. “If you had asked me about this two weeks ago, I would have told you that it wasn’t me.” I was starting to get frantic. The words coming out of me, like watching a movie screen, gave them power, a reality I wasn’t ready to face, especially to another man, let alone my pastor. My spiral was starting like a small tornado and the room was starting to disappear. Derek’s voice gave me a small pinprick of light out of the blackness.
As we talked further, Derek began to speak an unimaginable perversion perpetrated upon him and his siblings by his step-father. Like the story Tyler Perry told on the Oprah Winfry show a few days earlier, I felt as if I was being initiated into a fraternity of common pain. A club forced upon us by our frail youth and inability to defend ourselves, I was beginning to think that the survivors of abuse are unbreakably linked together in a blood-brotherhood out of our common anguish and terror.
“I then remember, one day as my step-father came home drunk, he entered my room. . .” Derek continued.
A mist of forgetfulness whispered into my ear, “It’s not real. It’s not real. It’s not real.”
Confusion tore at me. Part of me knew I was an adult and in a safe place; the other part of me was tearing apart outside of the seams, the fabric of my core becoming frayed and snapping in the wind of my tortured mind. I needed to take off all my clothes. I felt compelled to take off my clothes. WHAT THE FUCK?
Why did I want to do this? Why did I so compulsively . . . the only way to feel better was to. . . “NO!!!! I must not!!!” I told myself, “I am 39 years old! I am an adult! I would be really embarrassed if I gave in. NO!!”
A micro-second of a flashback before my eyes, a sermon outline on unlined paper? WHAT THE FUCK?
Again the mist of forgetfulness spoke, “It’s not real. It’s not real. It’s not real.”
Derek continued, “I began to write my autobiography, and I realized that God was with me all along. I think you should do the same.”
I left the meeting more confused than ever before. I had a lot to think about yet my mind was paralyzed. How could I love and trust this man sitting in front of me, truly personifying God, yet hate and revile the man that was supposed to be that same personification for me in my youth? Where was God? How could He be in this? I hate Him and I hate him. Forgiveness? FUCK THAT!! Derek must be deluded. I can’t speak about this, how can I write about this? That’s permanent—a record.