Dragon Clans Bk. 01 Pt. 01byVjax©
Everything begins with pain. Many people believe beginnings start with other things, love, chaos, etc. the universal truth of beginnings is pain. This is not a negative or positive thing, pain is a catalyst, and it motivates every living thing into action and with action comes beginnings. The pain of unspoken love moves us to speak with the object of our desires. The pain of virginity abandoned for the hope of love opens the way for conception, the aches and pains of carrying a child motivate a mother to prepare for the birth, the pain of contractions initiates the push of birth and the slap on the ass forces our first breath.
At 3:15am on October 27th 1968 the slap came for me, the first breath and first lament of Michael Dane. I obviously have no recollection of this but that first breath, I can only imagine, was very sweet, and painful at the same time. Lungs accustomed to warm fluid now assaulted by the purified and sterilized air of the mercy hospital delivery room, yes, it must have been very sweet, and painful.
At the same instant I was growing accustomed to the wondrous sensation of air circulating through my lungs, ninety-nine heads raised to the sky, ninety-sets of pupils dilated as they looked sky ward, ninety-nine minds began the painful cycle of having questions with no answers and worrying what the future may hold. And in an ancient place, inhabited by an ancient creature an eye opened, a claw marked the stone floor and the painful process of awakening began.
What follows is the account of my life, a life filled with joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and loss. For those of you interested I welcome you, it is my hope that by committing the story to paper, some may be moved by it, others will find some solace within it, and a few, just a few will be pained enough by their inactivity, inaction and insolence to take action and live a life filled with passion and be not afraid to face the pain life offers as signposts for the moments of beginning.
Fittingly the funeral was held on a rainy day, it seems that rain lends itself to such solemn occasions, the sound of the rain turns into a lament for the pain of the living and the soaking rain provides a glimpse of the clammy chill of the grave.
Standing over the freshly dug grave Michael Dane had no words, no thoughts, only feelings, feelings of rage, feelings of pain, feelings of love and an overwhelming thirst for revenge. For thirty-eight years Michael's life had been...interesting, from the day he was born Michael had lead a unique life. Raised by his parents Carson and Linda he was brought up in a loving home with parents who adored him but didn't smother him, they gave him the tools he would need to explore life but gave no bias as to how those tools should be used. Michael didn't realize the uniqueness of this situation until middle school, when those first relationships form and you are let into other people's lives. Michael was amazed at the indifference that most parents showed to their children, amazed how few took the time to really know their kids and amazed at how truly unique his own situation was.
Michael had always been a solitary creature, wiser than his years, he spent many a night counseling his uncle (seven years his senior) on the definitions of romance, spent an equal amount of time with his uncles' love interests explaining the complexities and meanings of men's seemingly odd behavior and basically guiding those around him as he could, trying to help those that he loved and always wondering where his destiny would take him.
Destiny, it was a word that haunted Michael his whole life, having an overriding feeling of destiny can lead to a wonderful life full of adventure and attainment or it can lead to the life of a monster bending people till they break so you can attain your "destiny". To have a destiny meant not having control, and control was something Michael always had, be it control over his classmates, making sure that those he liked did well or stayed out of trouble. Or his parents whom he helped by keeping his true nature a secret. Or the stranger on the bus who needed to get off at the stop near the women's shelter and not the one near her home. Michael would always know the right thing to say at just the right time, to further his own needs yes, but more often than not to help another person find the missing choice that they were searching for. Knowledge and Control, Destiny and Chaos, these were the things that kept Michael always questioning, questioning his place in the world, questioning what he was meant to do, questioning how he would ever find happiness.
As it turns out, happiness found him...twice. The first time it was in 9th grade photography class, it started with a black Pony T-shirt. Every Friday Anna would wear the black pony; every Friday Michael would be distracted by the tight fitting shirt, the luminous blue eyes and the beautiful blond hair. Being shy but intelligent worked in Michael's favor, Anna was taken by his quiet demeanor, shy ways and the thrill she got when their shoulders accidentally touched several times during every class. On June 3rd 1983 they officially became Mike and Anna, sealing the deal with a date to see Return of the Jedi. That summer was one Michael would never forget and cherish as one of the simplest times of his life. Anna was his friend, they had built up a trust that grew quickly and solidified their relationship. Now, both Michael and Anna were virgins, however this is where the similarities on sexuality ended. Michael being ever the enquiring young man had spent the better part of the last 7 years reading and studying everything he could on the subject, from penthouse forum to the Joy of Sex, Michael was a true connoisseur at the ripe old age of 14 of all that was sex, he had read the Kama Sutra, studied the very...detailed views in hustler and had wondered about when he would have a chance to bring his considerable knowledge into practical use. Anna was the answer to that question. Raised in a loving but strict household Anna had no preconception about sex, either as a wondrous or an evil thing, seeing as how it was a subject both her parents did everything in their power to ignore. This left Michael with a tabula rosa to work with, and being who he was, he did not waste any space on the page.
In a period of three weeks Michael and Anna rounded the bases as it were, it was a whirlwind of passion, friendship and fun that got them to third base, at which time the whirlwind ended, the skies cleared and Michael and Anna decided that third base was a pretty good and safe place to be. Truth be told it was Michael who stopped them at third base, having a pregnant girlfriend at 14 was not on his list of things to experience, Anna was happy with his fingers and tongue, as he was with hers and the risks inherent with that slide into home base just did not balance with the gain. So for the next 3 years Michael and Anna explored the first three bases to an extent that most would find overwhelming, but the devil is in the details and over those three years Michael learned the devils' ways well, much to Anna's delight and the envy of all of her friends.
Monogamy was, in Michael's opinion, the one true way to get the most out of a relationship, sexual and otherwise. A theme that would follow his relationships through out his life was one of deep commitment and of not letting people get close easily. So throughout their sophomore and junior years Michael and Anna remained a stalwart figure of togetherness as their friends journeyed in and out of the relationships that mark most peoples teenage years. Things changed the summer before their senior year, Anna signed up for a 6-week exchange program in Colombia, a group of soon to be seniors would go down and stay with families who would send their children to live with them during the next school year. Michael was not upset by this trip, Anna loved him, he was going to spend six weeks in Atlanta with his uncle, everything was cool. There were a few letters from Anna, she was having a good time, it was interesting living in another culture, her Spanish was coming along well and she was making some new friends. Michael's summer passed quickly in Atlanta, with trips to Stone Mountain for the laser show and the scantily clad girls who always attended, late night walks talking about life, love and the future with his uncle and lazy afternoons spent lounging in the pool, it was a good summer. That changed the evening in the high school parking lot when Anna stepped off the bus, the look in her eye told him something was wrong, the smirk on Derek Ray's face as he passed by Michael gave him a feeling of dread. Dinner at Pizza Hut with Anna's parents was a strained affair, very polite but very odd.
The details came out in short bursts, walking around Anna's block, the humid Florida evening wrapping them in its sultry heat. Anna had been very home sick when she got to Bogota, Derek was staying with a family just next door, one thing lead to another, Anna broke off at this point but Michael pressed her, the devil is in the details after all. There were night time visits with Anna and Derek rounding the bases, stopping at third, just barely stopping it seemed, there were talks of when they would get home, being together, dumping Michael, then there was the last talk, the one where Anna told Derek she would never let him fuck her and Derek slapped Anna and called her a cock tease. At this point, it should be noted that Michael showed the restraint of a Benedictine monk, the anger was there, no rage was a better word, but Michael knew there was more and that it was important to get everything out in the open before deciding on a course of action. As it turn out Michael's assessment was correct, after the falling out with Derek, Anna had turned to Sergio, the son of the family she was living with, for comfort, once again Anna rounded the bases on a regular basis with Sergio, enjoying the thrill of the new and different and ending her summer with some interesting memories.
The shock of these revelations left Michael in uncharted territory, being a very solitary individual, he did not give his heart or friendship lightly, Anna's escapades had called into question everything he felt for her and everything he thought that they shared. Michael see sawed back and forth all weekend, trying to come to grips with betrayal, trying to answer the questions of love and commitment and forgiveness, in the end it was Anna that made the decision for him. On Sunday afternoon Michael went to Anna with the intention of breaking up with her, it was too hard, to painful to be with her knowing that she had willfully betrayed him, it took about ten seconds and two of his fingers sliding into her wet clinging hole with her head on his shoulder telling him he was the only one for her to change his mind. Mike and Anna would stay together, high school sweet hearts and sweetest couple around. Something plagued Michael however, Anna's act of betrayal was quickly forgiven, in the end this was a fairly easy leap to make, having a sexual partner means one less thing to deal with, walking past Derek every day was something else again. Michael felt in a word, rage. Every time he passed Derek in the halls or saw him at lunch an unyielding uncontrollable rage welled up that took everything in Michael's head to contain. This was a situation that just could not continue unresolved.
Michael had been a rather, well, chubby child, through 8th grade Michael was what you would call an uninspiring specimen and he had his share of personal demons to deal with because of this. That changed the summer of 82, thanks to a growth spurt that added 5 inches to his height and a better understanding of his own body he began to come into his own physically. By senior year Michael was pleased when he looked in the mirror, 6'2, 200lbs lean and muscular build, hazel eyes, long brownish/blond hair he was handsome, not gorgeous in a GQ kind of way but in a rugged healthy manner that lead many a young girl to wonder just what it was that Anna did to keep Michael so...attentive. So, dealing physically with the 170lb countenance of Derek would have been hardly challenging, however, physically punishing Derek did not appeal to Michael's personal sense of...justice. One of the few close friends that Michael had was Gary Warden, 6ft, short blond curly hair, a surfers body and attitude, Michael and Gary were as opposite as two people could be, Gary was the school ambassador, easily moving from jocks, to preps to the band and Latin club if you went to Europa High Gary new your name, always had a smile and hand shake ready for you. It was too Gary that Michael went for a simple request, "Gary, I need some cocaine" To say Gary was shocked would be the understatement of the decade, Michael, his best friend, his stalwart companion may as well have told him that aliens had landed in the quad and were asking for an audience with the queen of England. Looking at his friend, Gary thought of the many times Michael had bailed him out, the time with Tina and the abortion, the time with the cops and Andrea, the time with......... "Okay, well that's an interesting request compadre, forgive me if I'm well...surprised dude, that's not really like you" Gary was able to say and then waited patiently for his friend to answer. "Gary, best that you don't know the details, I need about an eighth of a key, as quickly as you can, how long for a price and delivery?" Michael told his friend with a slight grin on his face, it was enjoyable watching the expressions shift on Gary's face like a wheel on a slot machine. Hmmm, eighth of a key, Carlos, maybe martin yeah Martin would be the best choice. "Give me 2 days Ill have a price and time for you, is everything ok dude?" Gary was worried about his friend this kind of weight could cause serious problems, however this was Michael, never in trouble, always there when you needed him, he would help his friend.
Few people noticed when Derek Ray didn't show up to school one day, after a few days the story came out that Derek was a mid level drug dealer with ties to the Cali cartel, his parents were very disappointed when the SBPD rolled up in their front lawn and took Derek and his bottom dresser drawer away, Derek never came back to Europa High.
Aside from the interesting story of Derek, senior year passed in a blur, Michael applied to and was admitted to the University of Florida with architecture as his major, his parents were excited both about Michael's college admission and their soon to be had freedom. Anna knew that college was not for her, Anna had a pretty clear picture of what her future was and it entailed wifely duties, winters in Vail and raising Michael and hers children. Michael on the other hand was sure that if they were to be together forever then some time apart to grow into individuals would be needed. Before parting that August they did the deed, it was gentle and romantic, everything that Anna had hoped it would be, the act for Michael was a sweet goodbye for Anna, a memory of them she could cherish, for him it was an empty act devoid of the passion he knew lay out beyond the horizon of his current life.
The priest intoned the final verse of his prayer as Michael stepped forward towards the grave, two white roses in hand he stood there, balanced on the precipice, all of his love, anger, loneliness threaten to overwhelm him, pitch him forward onto the box that held his beloved Sasha and their unborn daughter. The tears flowed down his cheeks as he gently laid the roses on the mahogany lid of the casket, removing the small knife from his pocket he quickly cut a deep slash in his left palm, the blood, squeezed from the depths of his tightly clenched fist blended with his tears and fell on the roses, eliciting a gasp from those in attendance which Michael never heard, the only sound he heard was his heart beat, the only feeling in that heart was rage, rage against what had been stolen from him, rage that he would never hold Sasha again, rage that his unborn child would never know the beauty this life has to offer. It took three men to pull a screaming Michael off of the casket; it had simply been too much, even for him.