Catfish Hotel


catfish hotel-St.Johns River,Florida

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Along the St.Johns River (Florida) there are small camps various distances apart-long distances! This place in the photo-known as Catfish Hotel-is so away from anything,anywhere,and is only accessable by boat. The river banks at this point are approximately 8 miles apart-the nearest highway overpass about 4-but it is guaranteed,you are not walking out of here.

It is fair to say the Catfish Hotel is a sanctuary for escape from thunderstorms-which Florida is famous for. It was built by airboaters (oddly,out of steel) to escape storms-yet,it has been used as a camp for many years and it comes complete with a cook out grill for a kitchen.

You could drop me off to live there-the isolation is so welcome (however-gallons  of mosquito repellant will be required)…and yet-isolation is so uncanny for what I have in my heart.

I spent yesterday visiting a friend who vacations at Siesta Key-a posh resort town next to Sarasota,an island,but not quite like the island our Catfish Hotel has been built.

Siesta Key runs with the Gulf of Mexico to the west. I remember when I first drove Midnight Pass Road which runs parallel to the beach-this was in 1970…you could see the waters for as long as Midnight Pass lasted. Not today. It is nothing but condominium after condominium. It gives me a sad feeling to remember 1970.

I have dealing with depression again-usually it becomes compounded with the hints of the crixmix season (christmas-for those who do not know). 1970 pry’s at my mind most all of the time but it becomes more pronounced as this time of years comes close-my rape happened in this season.

I’ve been asked a certain question about myself-twice in the past few years. I about to be interviewed in regards to ‘military sexual trauma’ and that I am a male survivor…the journalist asked it exactly the same way as my attorney once asked…”what is your sexual preference”?

“I don’t know”! This is my answer. I never had the chance to find out.

Shocking to some – dumbfounding  to them too. According to the Bible-it is only supposed to be one way. Oddly,I have no comprehension…how could I?

I am a father. I always say my sons and I grew up together-that because it is so. To be a father I had to be with a woman…and may I say-I am sure to be a father of children that I do not know. No matter what the mental capacity of a man or a woman-as long as they get together in some form of sexual moment a child is likely to come of it.

I am attracted to woman-that is why Siesta Key had an impact on me yesterday. European tourists seem to flock there. European people seem to be less inhibited by their bodies than Americans-they dress more freely closer to nude,at least at Siesta Key. I do admit-my eyes tried to drink in as much as they could,the closest I had been to a naked woman (or,nearly naked) in years and years.

My drive home is 3 hours long. I thought about the day as I drove along…more honestly,I thought about the young woman my eyes were longing for. Not  longing for them sensually….longing for the experience I had missed as a teenager-and as an adult,never having the fun and laughs these young people were having. I had never had a date (my first date ever was disturbed by my brother being killed) except some ordeal my parents arranged to help out a cousin of ours. My wives were not products of courting and dates and normal engagements. My first marriage was a true shotgun wedding (less violent then it sounds) and my second was two six packs too many and a blindness only a fool can have…but no dates.

More so-I drove along and thought a lot about what is wrong with me. I am broken because of what happened to me in barracks D.

The insanity of the sickness of what happened there is something I have never been able to walk away from. Some years ago I would do something that I have always known in myself as ‘damage control’ , which is my way of being like a battered wife who keeps returning to her battering husband. I tried to control it but it controled me-I needed to return to what it was that was given to me. The abuse became the only form of touch I could have-because the gentil touch of I love you was not something I could understand…it never was mine.

Through the years I have had many encounters with woman. Beautiful woman…and sometimes not so beautiful. I tried to find someone I could love and accept love from…but the results of the punished life I received at barracks D always stood steadfast in the very moments a moment of intimacy were to begin. I became so afraid-the discoveries…the need to explain-the wish none of it ever existed,but now seems to have existed forever.

Am I attracted to men? Am I a ‘homosexual’ as many have asked? I really and honestly have no idea…I do not know what is normal or is not,I had no other choice but to learn it that way-what was given to me at barracks D. Drunk I could be blasted enough to fall for a woman like my last wife-long gone 12 years now and the last time I was sexually active with someone-ANYONE!. Like a deer with its eyes in the headlights I would have to re-do the marriage I had with my first wife…I only did it because I was scared to death of her dad.

I hated ‘damage control’ too. I did it to abuse myself…plain and simple-my body wants to vomit from the memory of it, but like the Bible says-“a dog returns to its vomit”. Sometimes the urge to return is so over powering, I wish to be dead to be free of it.

The choices would be easier if one could dwell in a place like Catfish Hotel.

The incredible thing about yesterday at Siesta Key…I wanted to be with someone-I wanted to hold a hand and feel loving breath on my neck. I wanted to be 18 to find out what it really was supposed to be…not like it ended up-and what it is. I missed something.

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