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So I got drunk one night because my old lady wasn’t in the mood for fucking which pissed me off (I was being a dick but in those moments you don’t realize it and you feel like an asshole later and admit to it because you should after all) and she went to bed and I stayed up horny.

I downloaded some lesbian porn and jerked off. My son’s Elmo doll stared up at me and I’m scared positive some of the spill hit his red fur.

But afterwards I didn’t feel like going to bed and so I stayed up Googling random shit.

Don’t ask me why but I searched Matthew Shepard because somebody on the news or at work had mentioned the name and it just popped up. Stuff like that happens in this impersonal modern age. Words and images appear but there’s no meaning to them and so we look to the internet searching for meaning. I shouldn’t have searched it. I should have just gone to bed and apologized to my wife and not asked for make-up sex. I would have been a happier man.

Matthew Shepard was a young guy who was gay. Two fucks, I won’t ever print their names. A killer’s punishment should be that he’s forgotten. That’s how they would kill you in the old days. Kill the name, kill the man.

Matthew Shepard was a young kid who was tied to a barbed wire fence in a field in Wyoming and tortured to death because he was gay.

They beat him with a pistol. They beat him with their fists. They tortured him. Then they left him to hang limp for 18 hours before a cyclist found him and thought he was a scarecrow.

I knew a kid growing up. Nice guy, never talked to him much. Kinda fruity, but allright. We used to talk in high school because we sat next to each other in math class. In high school he held hands with a boy. My eyebrows raised, but that’s all. One day a group of guys cornered them both and beat them with rocks. They had to go to the hospital while the dudes that had done it got detention then an expulsion and I think two of them are serving time. But that guy had been nice, but I didn’t have a name or a face to attach to the memory.

I really shouldn’t have searched it.

The Wikipedia page informed me that when the cops finally found him his face was covered with blood except for two rivers of skin where his tears had washed it away. And that’s what killed me. That’s what brought my wife downstairs from her mad on and she found me holding my chest and weeping. Not a single man tear from a sports movie. Just hard bawl. Haven’t cried like that since I was six. She forgot her mad and held me and I pressed my face into her breast and broke down. She took me up to bed and held me until I fell asleep.

I’m fine, in a way now. But I’ve stopped sleeping so well at night because all I can do is picture it. A young man, twice as young but eternally so now, hanging from the wire with nothing around him for miles. Just fucking weeping. Feeling so alone. So scared.

But those two rivers are haunt me the most now. I can picture his pink skin with some freckles and maybe a mole coming through so clear through the metal meat juice. Two cold rivers made out of fear. Pushing away that hot blood and cleaning part of his face so that, when somebody would find him, he would be more than the pain and cuts and blood and torture. He would be more than another victim of idiots. He would be a boy again. A young man who hadn’t even found life yet.

My wife holds me at night, trying to help me, but I don’t think I’ll ever be okay. Never again.

I still search his name sometimes at night, and I stare at the face of a young man I will never meet. In some way is nothing more than a page on a screen on the internet. But he’s become more real to me day by day.

He’s a young man I would have liked to know. I know that’s absurd and ridiculous, and the realist in me knows that’s just sentiment. But sometimes, all the time, we do want to know someone who has died because knowing them makes them more real. They become more than just a name or an idea.

When I dream I use those two rivers to clean his face. The tears sink into the fabric of my shirt and the blood stains deep into the cloth and my skin.  And I cut the barbed wire. And I hold him, while he cries into my chest, until the ambulance comes to save him. It never does. And so I hold him until the sun rises on another day, and on a young man’s, an old man’s life, soon to end.