Written By Brandon Mead
Author Bio: Living on the other side of the split lifeline on his left palm, Brandon Mead is a Central Florida author and online contributor just trying to write something that won’t embarrass his parents. - Social Media: @bameadpro - Website: brandonalexandermead.blogspot.com
We’re talking about religion when he tells me “think about God like a flawed artist working through something really emotional”
I️ don’t typically think about God, not in the way that makes people hope for things or keep getting out of bed in the morning.
And we’re lying here, furry and exposed, listening to something dark and explicit
A young musician, he’s filling the candlelit room with lyrical memories about his dead parents and their complicated relationship. Our conversation adding to combination of sounds that doesn’t rush to conclusions, it speaks softly, working through complex thoughts and emotions
I’m staying silent drinking wine thinking about forced baptisms and picket lines
wondering how he still has room in his heart for a religion that has never kept a promise to men like us
But maybe he’s not religious in the way I’ve learned to lower the tone of my voice around men who say they love God
Because he’s not metaphysical in the common sense, but he listens to Loreena Mckennitt and knows he’s a Sagittarius
He’s telling me about the time he brought Enya into his Christian school growing up, when the assignment was to scan a song for demonic influence
And I️’m smiling because I️’m thinking about him as a kid, Pure Moods CD in hand. The Sunday School equivalent to the Necronomicon.
But I️ don’t tell him I saged my bedroom before he came over
That I️ cleared it with delicate smoke between tonight and the last time we saw each other, because I️ know don’t have the answers to our questions but I️ know I️ believe in nothing as much as I️ believe in new beginnings.
I️ think maybe I️ could never call myself religious because I️’ve never presumed to have them, the answers
But I’ve met people who seemed to have a some, beings that somehow tap into some sort of universal truth-
even when I️ didn’t want to believe it.
Because I️ don’t know that I️’m spiritual either, not beyond the way that narcissism makes us hunt for ghosts.
So I️ don’t tell him about the lapis lazuli and tarot cards spread on a warm New York City day by a man who knew I️ was a Leo before I️ shook his hand
I don’t tell him that the reader told me about exploring canyons in my dreams, the pen I️ won’t let run out of ink, and said the next time I connected with a man he would have light eyes and be born in December
I️ don’t know what I️ believe when someone tells me about a future I️ am yet to live.
If that takes my power away as a creator of my own story knowing there’s certain parts that are already composed.
My general ego clashing with nihilism clashing with how many times I’ve fallen in and out of love with this chaotic world
I️’m imagining God as a painter, just trying to process through some feelings, smearing paint on canvas and having days where he’s a lot more Jackson Pollock than Bob Ross
My questions about my own breath and brain, making me realize at some point I️ had to stop asking myself if God existed and instead start asking, “Where does destiny end and adventure begin?”
To worship nothing aside from life.
We’re still sipping sweet wine between the music whirling around us like what I want to see my own aura-
and God still on his tongue, lying with another naked man who has consistently been turned off in the past by the phrase “man of faith” -
as if he would buy into crystals and mediums and the only rituals that have brought me some form of comfort, he reads my mind through thoughtful silence, and says, “I️ believe in purpose, not fate”
His eyes are darker under his glasses but when he takes them off they’re blue, or maybe grey. Lighter than I️ remembered.
Music stopped, the troubled deity providing the soundtrack to the last few moments of our energies combining, now silenced
Underwear and belts and distractions masked as obligations picked up from the floor and back in hand, I tell him, “we’re calling it something different, but I think we’re talking about the same thing.”
And I️ think about New York City in July, about Orlando in November, climbing western canyons in the Spring
About how I️ don’t need all the answers to know I️’m glad we met
I️ think about collecting memories like sips of wine and living a life as tragic and beautiful as any God.