I’m From Joliet, IL.

by Jesus Reyes

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

I was raised in a strict Catholic home. My mother is an ex-Catholic nun. Growing up I knew I was different. I was raised with Bibles, rosaries, religious statues, the works. Growing up I knew I would eventually deal with who I was but figured I would deal with it when I was ready for it. I had no idea it would come sooner than I thought.

When I enrolled at the nearby University I had figured I would just choose a major, graduate and live my life. It looked real easy on paper but it was about to turn the opposite in real life.

The classes were all the same to me, different names but all the same. I wasn’t sure on a major, I just knew that I had better pick something out real quickly. I had transferred as an Education major from the nearby Junior College but then decided on Art.

When I was in the art classes I was one of their best students. Everything was okay at the beginning. Suddenly as time went on I started to notice that there was always someone that was visiting a fellow student in class. I would often catch him glancing at me. I had no idea who he was, just another faceless student.

As time went on I started to notice that he knew where my classes were even though they were in different buildings. I would notice that he also would park next to my car. It didn’t make sense to me why someone would follow me throughout my daily routines in school.

One day the Art teacher gave us an assignment to do. We were to draw a portrait of ourselves by looking into a hand-held mirror. I faced the windows and drew my reflection. Suddenly, he appeared but at the other end of the classroom. He had situated himself so he was now in the reflection of my mirror. In order for me to draw myself, I had to also see him in the reflection. Suddenly for someone who was just a faceless person he started to look different to me. He looked the same…but different. I think this is where it set in that I was gay. Suddenly instead of him pursuing me, I pursued him. I was asking his friends what they knew about him. Each person would say something different. He was straight but curious. He was bisexual but ashamed. And lastly he was gay but in the closet. As the year and a half went by I started to have feelings for him. I didn’t know who he was but my heart and mind were saying different things. My heart was saying take a chance, this is something new. My mind was telling me some things are not adding up. When I spoke to his friends they basically told me, “Leave him alone, he doesn’t know what he is.” I told them I can’t because I am starting to have feelings for him.

Then one cold afternoon in painting class I confronted him. He was finishing up an abstract painting on newspapers on the floor. I sat next to him on the floor. This was a huge thing for me because I had never let my guard down like that. I was sitting on the floor with a guy that had captured my heart. As the hours went on we started to make sexual inuendoes. I was taking a chance because I had no idea where it was leading to. Then suddenly he told me something that I will remember for the rest of my life. “You know my friends think I’m gay…I’m not gay, I’m straight.” When I heard this I wanted to distance myself from him. If he was straight then the year and a half of him pursuing me was a joke. A joke at my expense. After that moment I didn’t want anything to do with him. I was so angry that anybody would do something like that to me that I was yelling at everyone down the hall. It got to the point that I couldn’t bare to stay in school anymore. I couldn’t bare to see his friends or him. So I dropped out of school. I had never had my heart broken and would stay that way for three and a half years.

Growing up as religious as I had I started to question my faith. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep. I would pray on my knees as I would look out the window to the sky. I couldn’t understand how someone could be so cruel and lead me on. Then after I had developed feelings for him, to be rejected. I never knew how much a broken heart could hurt.

As time went on I tried to pick myself up. One night after work I noticed something in the sky. I had clocked out of work at 9:00 P.M. There was something moving that just didn’t belong there. I still remember it as if it happened yesterday. It was a cloudless purple blue sky. I brought the car almost to a complete stop. From here all I can say is…”Do you believe in miracles?”

One year after I had dropped out of the University there was a huge black triangular U.F.O. over the University. It would not go away from that area. It was so low over the buildings that you could not mistake it for anything else but for what it was. This entity made no sound. The only time it left that area was when it shot out and came to a complete standstill over my car and my car alone. I was not raised to believe in things of this nature but I cannot disbelieve what my eyes have seen. It was so crystal clear. I felt as if something out there had answered my prayers. Almost as if it was telling me these things shall come to pass.

Do you believe in miracles? I do now.

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