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Love in the Present

Love in the Present

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Love in the Present

199 pagine
2 ore
Nov 18, 2014


Jess and Favio have both changed their religious paths because of their sexual orientation, ten and six years earlier. For Jess, a question of faith also influenced his decision to change, and for Favio, it was a health problem. After a first meeting in a bar and a day of sharing that confirms their mutual attraction, they have to face the reality that Favio's long fight with leukemia is not over and threatens their love daily. Favio has to overcome his fear of causing Jess a pain he has himself suffered before. On his side, Jess worries that the revelation of his love might increase Favio's stress, which could weaken the strength of his determination to survive.

Overcoming these hurdles does not take them to the open road they wish for their relationship. Favio is not out to his family who is still very involved in religion, and he feels that his impending death does not favor telling them the truth at this point. He has a five-year old son he's concerned about also. How will Jess receive this news?

Favio's heart has been harmed by all the chemotherapy he has received through the years. He is on a heart transplant list. An experimental treatment is in the works, which should be good news, but what are the chances of its success? Both Favio and Jess nervously travel the road to the hospital for that intervention. Will they come back together?

Through the protagonists' dialogues and journals, through the intimacy of their thoughts, the reader is invited in the heart of Favio's and Jess's relationship, companioning them on their insecure path, and like them, believing in the beauty and value of love in the present.

Nov 18, 2014

Informazioni sull'autore

Ghislain R. Labonté attended high school in Northern Ontario, Canada, and then completed a Masters degree in Theology at the Dominican College of Theology and Philosophy in Ottawa. He continued his studies at the Biblical Commission in Rome and the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem from which he obtained a License in Sacred Scriptures and a Diploma in biblical studies. He held the Old Testament chair at the Dominican College from 1988 to 1997 and served as a chaplain in hospitals and hospices in Ottawa, Burbank and San Diego from 1997 to 2012. In his retirement, he has adopted a third career as a writer and translator which he does from his home in San Diego, California. Ghislain has enjoyed running marathons most of his life, and completing a few triathlons also, finishing his first ironman in 2009.

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Anteprima del libro

Love in the Present - Ghislain Labonté


Chapter 1

A Sense of Belonging

May 30. Friday night. Journal. Favio.

At thirty-one years old, I finally found my place in this world.

I can still hear the doctor: Look at it this way. You're young. Your heart is weak, but the rest of your body is strong. Your chances of living beyond a few months are high, which gives us more time to find a donor.

He probably thought he was sharing good news: I might live more than a few months. I don't want to have to hope that someone dies so that I live, but that's what being on a heart transplant waiting list is all about. I never thought I would pray some day that someone else would die so that I could live, someone young, with a strong and healthy heart. Hey you, good-looking, strong-looking, would you please die for me so that I can have your heart? Or, more directly: Hey you! I need your heart. It's either you or me. You live, I die. You die, I live. And I choose to live.

Why me? Why do I think I should live? Do I have the right to live if it means that somebody else has to die? I am not the only one on that waiting list, and there are many more people in need of a new heart than there are donors. So, why me? I have asked that question before, not about living, but about dying. Why do I have this illness that kills? Why not somebody else, anybody else anywhere in the world? I know there's no answer to that question. So, I suppose there's no answer either to the Why me? of living.

If I could line up all human beings to choose a heart, would I have the guts to point at the person whose heart I wanted? Him. I want his heart. What if I had been in such a lineup when I was healthy, and someone else was in search of a new heart? Many would not want my heart, I suspect. Who would want the heart of a gay man? Apparently some heart recipients find they take on personality traits of the donor. Another gay man would want my heart, I suppose, but I don't remember being asked about my sexual orientation during the screening process to be accepted as a recipient on the waiting list. The donors are probably not asked either.

Anyway, none of that is my doing. I have no power over the treatment's success or failure, or over the finding of a donor. And I'm not really praying that someone else dies. I hope that I won't need a transplant. God, please, I don't want a transplant. I want this new treatment to work for me. I'm not the only one on the waiting list. Let someone else live because of somebody's death. Let me keep my heart. I want it to heal.

My place in this world now is on a heart transplant waiting list. For a while, I thought that I had found my place at the seminary, and I really figured it was forever. Then I fell in love with Jason, and again I believed it was forever, and now, I'm on a waiting list, a transplant list. That's my place in the world. The good thing about such a place is that it can't be forever. Either I receive a heart and live—which means that someone has to die—or I do not receive a heart, and I die. Either way, I'm off the list. I'll have to find my place again in this world if I live. And if I don't? Will this still be an issue in the next life?

Oh, Jason, why? I loved you. I did. I thought I had found my place with you, forever. Yes, a second forever. How many forevers do we go through in life? My parents only know one. Forty years. I suppose they'll stay together until death do them part.

Jason, I loved you. I know you loved me. We might have had a forever. I thought we did. I had found my place with you. It was beautiful. I had a home. Why did you have to go? Is it God who decided that your turn had come? And now God is indicating that my turn is just around the corner?

Ok, enough of this. My place now is at The Paclus. I need to have fun before my hospital stay… if I make it that long. It would be bizarre to die at The Paclus. That would be quite a dramatic way to come out to my family. I need to tell them about the hospital. The doctor said he would call in a month. There's still time.

Same night. Journal. Jess.

Home. 11:55 p.m. Glass of wine in Armando's honor. We had a celebratory moment when he came back from work. I'm continuing the celebration by myself. I do a lot by myself. I always have.

Armando found a new place to rent for his salon. He's excited, and therefore I am too. I never thought he and I would become like father and son. I still remember the first time he told me that I was like a father to him: the best father in the world said the birthday card. Yes, he's like my son. I'm privileged. I thank you, Life-God, for Armando. I have found a place with him, and it's good. Still, I yearn for a place with someone else. It's good to be a father. It would also be good to be a partner.

I never thought my life would turn out like this. For over twenty years I was a Catholic priest. When did that begin to change? It was gradual, but if I'm honest with myself, the change probably began very shortly after my ordination, when I fell in love with Paul. That should have been a clear sign that I had made a mistake, but, no, it was not a mistake really. It was good that I become a priest and that I lived the life all those years. It was good to leave also, and it's good to be here now, not a priest.

Do I visit The Paclus tonight? I might meet someone. No. I'll go to bed. I want to write tomorrow. I need a good night's sleep.

Chapter 2

A Seminarian and a Priest

May 31. Saturday. 3 a.m. At The Paclus. Thoughts. Favio.

It's good to be here. It hasn't changed one bit, the raunchiest gay bar in town. I can't believe that I used to work here. From the seminary to The Paclus. That was bold of me.

What if a former client recognizes me and wants to be serviced again? No. I'm not a waiter anymore.

This might be my last time here. Let's not think about that. I'll drink this beer and then hit the dance floor. It's been too long since I've danced. I miss it. It would be nice to meet someone to dance with. He might want to take me to his place. I really shouldn't do it. I don't want my last night with someone to be just a trick. Well, it's either that or nothing. I don't have much time.

At The Paclus. Thoughts. Jess.

What am I doing here? Why could I not fall asleep? I had declared it a night, and now, here I am.

Oh, there's a cute young man. I wonder. No. Let it go. He reminds me of Favio the first. As a matter of fact, Favio the first was standing exactly at the same place when we met, and I was sitting here.

Same body-build as Favio the first. He looked at me. I could introduce myself. No, let it go.

I will not let it go. I find him attractive. Right height, about 5'7". Chocolate milk skin, as much as I can tell from here, probably as smooth and sweet as zChocolat. Lickable. Spiked hair, black. No doubt a few years older than he looks, which would make him about thirty. Brown skin and black hair always gets my attention. Let's get closer to see his eyes, his lips. Yes, I'll let him know that I find him attractive. What have I got to lose? The worst that can happen is that he rejects me. At least I'll have had a closer look.

(Jess) Hi. My name is Ghislain. How are you?

(Favio) Ghislain? I never heard that name.

It's French. Everybody calls me Jess.

I'm Guido, and everybody calls me Favio.

Thoughts. Jess.

This cannot be. Favio the third. Wow!

(Jess) From Guido to Favio. What's the link?

An uncle I loved very much when I was a kid. His name was Favio.

Nice to meet you Favio. How are you?

I'm fine, thank you. You?

Really well. It's nice to be here tonight. I haven't been here for a month at least. Are you from Playa del Carmen?

(Favio) Now, yes, but originally from Guerrero. Yourself?

I live here also, but I'm originally from Canada. I lived in San Diego, California for ten years, and have been living in Playa del Carmen for the past four.

You like Playa del Carmen?

I do. I feel more at home in Mexico than I do in the U.S. Besides, the beach is wonderful.

Are you retired?

Is it that evident?


I'm an old man. Sixty-two years old.

Not very discreet on my part, was it?

Thoughts. Jess.

Wow! He has a beautiful smile. Thick lips, celebrity's teeth, not fake I'm sure. Unless he's rich. Well, that would be a bonus. Just the right height for kissing. Definitely kissable. I hope to see him in the light. His eyes shine even in this dark place.

Thougths. Favio.

Oops! I think I goofed.

(Jess) No big deal. I like young men, like you. You're very handsome.

And I like—how do I say it?—mature men, like you.

You can say older men.

All right. I like older men. But I didn't think you qualified. You don't look sixty-two. That's why I asked if you were retired. I was trying to verify your age.

The low lighting can be confusing. So, do I qualify?

(Favio) Yes, you do. And I like a man with a hairy chest. You qualify for that too.

It shows through my T-shirt, I know. Can't hide it.


I, on the opposite, like a smooth chest. How about I undo this button here. Yes, you are smooth.

We are a good fit then.

(Jess) Wonderful. I think I look my age though, and I do not mind at all. What I mind is that I do not have as much energy as I used to. I ran many marathons and did a few triathlons in my life. I can't do that anymore. I still exercise, but nothing as intensive as what I used to do. You must exercise, or practice a sport. You're slim.

No, I don't. I did play soccer in seminary, and I try to eat well.

Seminary? Were you a priest?

No, I left before ordination. I was in a religious community from eighteen to twenty-four years old.

Thoughts. Jess.

Do I tell him that I was a priest? He might think I did wrong to leave. Eighteen to twenty-four. At least he's not a boy.

(Jess) Wow! That's interesting. What community was it?

The Messengers of Jesus.

I never heard of them. Were they founded in Mexico?

Yes. They work in parishes, and they have radio shows also. I was a student with them, and I helped with the radio programs.

You must have been good. Your voice is deep and relaxed, even sexy.

Thoughts. Favio.

This guy knows about religion. And he seems to like me. I bet he's been a priest, or perhaps still is. I hope not.

Thoughts. Jess.

Was this deliberate?

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