A Different Kind of Family
Brad Kelly is preparing for “The Big Day”. Standing in front of the mirror, he wonders when he began looking so old. He did not particularly feel almost 60 years old. But still, how many people his age were about to embark on a so many life changing events all at one time? Fortunately, he had a good team to work with – his “family” – and that should ensure success.
But how he got to this point was a long, sometimes twisted path. Here he remembers his early years, that involved coming out, being rejected by his blood family, losing his best friend, and finding the first major love of his life. Through laughter, tears, love, loss and many unexpected events – both happy and sad (and sometimes just bizarre), Brad reminisces over his early life and how it started him on the path to where he is on this very special day. It was during this time in his life he began to learn the true meaning of the words “Love” and “Family”.
“The Awakening” is a retrospective of growing up and coming out in the 1970s and 1980s, in a typical midwestern environment of that time period. In those early days of the gay rights movement, coming out was an often scary and sometimes dangerous endeavor. While it is never an easy process to realize you are “not like everyone else”, the past twenty years have brought the LGBTQ+ community many protections that we did not have back then. As we approach the third decade of the twenty-first century, we seem to be teetering on the brink of returning to those not-so-happy-or-safe times.
*** Prologue ***
July, 2014: Rockton, Illinois
The cell phone alarm buzzed persistently. Brad Kelly barely opened his eyes as he reached over to look at the time showing on the face of his phone. Six a.m., it read. He swiped the snooze choice, rolled over and went back to sleep. Again, the alarm began its persistent buzz at six-fifteen. Another snooze swipe.
Finally, when his cell phone buzzed at six-thirty, Brad sat up on the edge of the bed and turned the phone’s alarm off. He stretched and yawned before standing up to stumble into the bathroom. He had taken his phone with him and noticed it was displaying a notification that today was “THE BIG DAY”. He sighed.READ MORE
Looking in the mirror, Brad wondered when he began looking so old. He did not particularly feel almost sixty. But still, how many people his age were embarking on a so many life-changing events, all at one time? Retirement, a new business, and a new phase in his relationship. It seemed like an awful lot to be taking on at this point in his life.
Fortunately, he had a good team to work with – his family. The family he had spent the better part of four decades piecing together, through a life journey filled with unexpected twists and turns. It would be the people in that family who ensured his happiness and the success of these new ventures.
Yet, the sight of the aging man in the mirror brought doubts and apprehension into his head. But “age” is really just a number, right? Thanks to modern medicine and good genetics, he looked like a forty-five-year-old of thirty years ago.
Still, all the signs of advancing years were staring him in the face: the graying hair, the tiny wrinkles increasing around his eyes and mouth, the chest and stomach muscles that seemed to be headed south, the graying fur on his chest and belly. He remembered a time many years earlier, when a look in the mirror revealed quite a different picture.COLLAPSE