I found it the first time when I was fifteen, in a boy two years older than me, whose father was the pastor at St. Michael’s. I remember his shiny porcelain skin, dotted with acne that made him so self-conscious in a way that I thought was mildly adorable; the one dimple that formed on his left cheek when he gave me that awkward half-smile; the little blonde hairs that ran down the back of his spine. But my favorite part about him was the way that his eyes closed, and the full-smile that came across his lips when I touched him. Seeing that smile was the first time in my whole life that I felt completely perfect. A single moment of perfect.
I remember when his father discovered us fooling around in the church confessional. I was fifteen, and all my mother could say was, “Wow, you went to church?” My parents were “equal-opportunistic-agnostics,” or so they called themselves, having sparsely attended irregular services at temples, cathedrals, and mosques alike. They simply couldn’t decide on what religion to claim was theirs. They treated spirituality like it was a walk down the Boulevard- a window-shopping experience.
The boy’s father, or rather the Father, was disgusted at the sight of two young men engaging in such acts, and in the house of God no less.
“You are a travesty of nature!” he screamed at me, pronouncing me a succubus that had defiled the sanctity of his son’s immortal soul. I tried to tell him that the succubi were female and that therefore, I was an incubus. But I guess he didn’t find the humor in it that I had because he had the entire congregation chasing me out of there with nothing short of torches and pitchforks. He had ruined my first perfect moment, and a part of me hated him for it. But mostly I felt afraid for the boy, who came into school the following Monday covered in bruises. He told Mr. Rhatt, our United States History teacher, that he had gotten into a fist-fight with a couple of other kids.
“You should see what they look like.” He was a bad liar, and yet somehow, nobody managed to see through it. But I knew differently. I knew that his father was a snake, much like my own, hiding behind the pretense of his profession. I knew that like so many other young men in our precarious positions, he had become a tragic victim of both God and society.
And the following Tuesday he put a bullet between his eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard in my entire life. After his funeral, I never went back to church, not even for my brother’s.