Chapter Six Installment Fourteen
“Albert!” God said one day when Albert was sitting in the balcony of his church. “God! Can you believe it? “God spoke directly to me,” Albert said to his church friends.
Alice sighed wistfully because she had never heard God’s voice. She didn’t say anything to Albert about it. She never said anything to him about it. She simply accepted on faith that Albert heard God’s voice just as she accepted on faith the existence of God.. She believed in God just as much as Albert believed in God, but her belief in the existence of God was based on faith rather than having heard God’s voice like Albert had.
“Out of the blue, Albert tells me, God spoke to him. Sunday in the balcony where he always sits!” Alice explained to her friends, who laughed and who only listened because she was their friend. This was during her teen years when she was already dating Albert, the handsomest boy she had ever seen. And “what you say we go steady?” he asked her. And watched her melt. And since they met in the church, they attended all church socials, and since church functions were frequent they saw each other frequently, Yes, they danced, played horseshoes and volleyball and occasionally sneaked off for a kiss. But they never went further, further than a kiss, and neither one of them saw anything wrong with kissing.
Well, Albert, after hearing God’s voice, assumed he would go into the ministry, leaving Alice with the assumption that she would eventually become a minister’s wife, and assuming she would always be happy She cherished their first kiss. After their first kiss it seemed like nothing could upset her. She had a winning personality and was always happy as long as she was winning Albert’s heart. But could she compete with God? She wasn’t sure.
And then one day when they were still in high school, Albert asked her to go steady with him, and after that, she walked around with a smile because God was no longer competition. Now this worried her parents because they felt she was too young to get serious with one boy. They felt she should go out with a variety boys to discover more about herself than she would if stuck to one boy. They thought Albert was too serious.
Albert was always quoting the Bible, or so it seemed. Well, he did quote it a lot and said he read the Bible cover to cover, though it was hard to believe. Alice always felt intimidated.
Albert quoted the Bible chapter and verse. He never finished a passage without giving chapter and verse, and he always did this great pride because he had taken time to learn his Bible and wanted people to know it. (Later he changed and wasn’t so arrogant.)
And what did God say to him?
When Alice left him, took their two daughters and moved to San Antonio Albert was glad he still had his church and Alice hadn’t exposed him. He was deserted, but he still had has church. Now he spoke to God, pleaded to God, and he thought God was with him, though he didn’t hear God’s voice. What honorable minister would ever admit that he no long believed in God! Not to mention the fact that he didn’t want to lose his church, that he committed himself to the Methodist church, but hadn’t he committed himself to his marriage? Worst of all, Albert felt conflicted because he knew how most people in his church felt about homosexuality. At least, Alice had sense enough not to expose him. She didn’t want to expose him. She still loved him.
It was after Alice left with the girls and before he met Buddy that Albert felt lost. His family was gone. He was alone, alone in a big house where he couldn’t have his gay friends over, alone in a house filled with memories, and he had to spend a great deal of time there. He was representing a church because he, being a minister, had been ordained to look after a congregation. He had to be assessable. He was appointed by a bishop.
It wasn’t until he was alone in this house that he felt lost, but because he had to stay in this house and not bring his gay friends home, Albert reluctantly accepted his fate. So he carried on (carried on as best he could), or at least on the surface he did.
He … who on the surface carried on duties of a devoted Methodist minister … was struggling with his own identity, as he stood in the pulpit and preached about the teachings of Christ. Although he denied it thereafter, Albert was never convinced that all doctrines of the church were correct, but since he heard the voice of God at an early age he still performed his duties. Without confiding with anyone, he continued with sadness because he missed his family. At the same time he felt like a charlatan.
“Please God!” Albert pleaded, while on his knees. “Say something. Please help.” Albert, in the meantime, was drawn more into a secret life with hot strangers, men he didn’t known and wasn’t able to establish a lasting relationship. Even sex with these men wasn’t very satisfying. It was exhausting, but not very satisfying. For one thing it was too risky, and just then he didn’t know how risky it was. So convinced that it was risky because he thought he could run into someone who knew him even in a city as big as Dallas. Meanwhile, Albert, each Sunday after church, drove to San Antonio. He drove to San Antonio to see his two girls. This suited him because it didn’t leave him much time for risky behavior.
His eyes had to adjust before he could see across the dance floor. They had to adjust before Albert could see a potential heart breaker dancing with another man. He swore he saw him making goo-goo eyes at a other man as they danced and two-stepped in front of him. He felt jealous because the other man could dance better than he could.. He later got his chance and proved adequate. He learned to two-step.
The following week Albert couldn’t keep his mind on his business, business of the church, without thinking about his hot cowboy in tight jeans and blue shirt. He felt disappointed when the guy wasn’t there, and it turned out to be a one-night stand. This guy must’ve been passing through town. Oh, well. Too bad. Served him right.
He wore tight, tight jeans befitting a hunk, and the dance floor was full of other men dancing with men (one of the few places open then where gay men could go and be themselves) … in jeans tailored to snugly fit each man. Well, it was a place to go and be seen, and where Albert didn’t want to be seen going into. Yet he was drawn there. Yet he couldn’t help himself. Almost every Saturday night … if nothing came up … he went there to dance and to get close to other men. Occasionally he had sex with one of them.