BEYOND THE WALLED CITY
The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly.
Wallace Stevens, Opus Posthumous
Had I been born into the dominant society, had I been coached in its norms and mores--in short, had I been conditioned to see myself in the Western mirror of reality, I probably would have experienced lifelong despair and confusion about the homosexual molestation I encountered in the orphanage. But because I was a child who had been relatively remote from orthodox Jewish, Christian, and Islamic perceptions of morality and normalcy, my childhood abuse had little impact on me, even when I reached sexual maturity.
I recall thinking about those "wrestling matches," if at all, as simply another type of human experience, neither good nor bad, normal nor abnormal. Of my many emotional and physical experiences in the orphanage, the fact that I was fondled by a young man seemed rather insignificant, especially by comparison to an event that took place one Sunday in spring--an event I have remembered with distress and pain all the years of my life.