Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thirteen Things I Miss About Jan

  1. She smells like coconut and lime. I'm sure it's perfume or body lotion (more likely the latter), but in my mind the scent is intrinsically associated with her.
  2. She doesn't wear make-up. She doesn't need it.
  3. When she thinks something is really funny, she laughs like a barking seal. 
  4. She calls me "X." If I quote other people calling me "X" here on the blog, I'm just substituting for my real name, but she liked the nickname enough to use it in real life. 
  5. She's a great listener.
  6. Once she's done listening, she tells me why I'm being dumb.
  7. She's good at taking problems apart and finding ways to fix them. Comes with being an engineer, I guess.
  8. She makes me see the world differently than I ever had before.
  9. She's not afraid to get her hands dirty.
  10. But usually her hands are clean. 
  11. She slurps her noodles. Because that's how they do it in Japan. Never mind that she does this with spaghetti as much as with ramen.
  12. She lets me open the door for her, but then she opens the next door for me.
  13. She is the missing piece in my puzzle.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Got this text from Jan today:

"HCO put me on probation. Cant see you anymore."

And I guess that's it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Living On The Edge

Jan spoke to her bishop this morning. Confessed using her power to heal me, Chenry, and Tara the other day. He thanked her for confessing, assured her it was the right thing to do, but didn't seem to think it justified lessening the punishment in any way. He said he's going to report her to the Honor Code Office, which means she'll probably be kicked out of BYU. As if that weren't enough, he's going to talk with the stake president to see whether this warrants a disciplinary council. He said her transgression is more serious because she's a returned missionary and temple recommend holder, so she's broken more serious covenants than the average kid who accidentally uses his mutant power. Oh, and she's no longer a temple recommend holder; he took care of that.


I'm furious at this man and I don't even know him. Also, I feel guilty for being angry at someone who was called of God, who's just doing his job. Who am I to say he's wrong? I just wish he'd see it's not her fault. She was only trying to help me. But I guess that's part of the problem. She mentioned me, and that we were dating, and he said that concerns him even more. He said it's a sign that her using her power on Tuesday wasn't an isolated incident, but that it's part of a broader tendency toward rebellion. According to him, even if dating another mutant isn't technically wrong, it's living as close to the edge as we possibly can, and we're bound to tumble into the abyss. Maybe he's right.

But still, as Jan told me all this via instant message, all I wanted to do was hug her, to hold her tight and never let go. Now I'm wondering if I will ever see her again.

Thy Will Be Done

Well, Jan is alive. If it were up to her, I wouldn't know that, but thankfully a higher power intervened. I've been worried about her since Tuesday and when I worry I run, so I've been doing a lot of running. Typically I stick to my usual route south of campus, but this evening I had the inclination to run north, to the temple. I'm glad I listened to that inclination because that's where I found Jan--at the temple.

Photo credit: http://christiwilliams.blogspot.com/

I was jogging up that hill--I've had more energy this week than I've ever had in my life--when I noticed someone standing in the middle of the snowy field between the temple and the MTC. Someone who looked like Jan. I ran through the snow, excitedly calling her name once I got close enough to confirm it was her.

"We shouldn't see each other anymore," she said as I approached.

"What? Why?"

"I'm a bad influence on you. I'm a bad person."

I shook my head. "Because you saved my life?"

"You wouldn't have died. You'd just be horribly disfigured and possibly crippled for life."

I searched for signs of a smile but found none. I still think she was joking.

Jan folded her arms across her chest. "The point is, I should have had faith that God would take care of you. I should have waited for the paramedics to arrive. I should have, I dunno, called your home teacher or something. Instead I took things into my own hands." She held out her hands and stared at them like they were vile. "For all I know, it was your time to die. Or it was part of God's plan for you to be crippled or disfigured, because you needed to learn something from that experience. You know how when men give priesthood blessings, they always say, 'if it be Thy will' or 'according to God's will'? My power doesn't give a crap what God's will is. It takes one of the most sacred powers of the priesthood--healing--and does it without regard to what God wants. What I did to you, it's horrible. It's unforgivable. It's..." She turned away from me. "It's why my dad doesn't ever want to see me again."

This made me angry--at her dad and at her. "What, so you just decided for me that I wouldn't ever want to see you again either? Don't you think that's a little condescending? Did it occur to you that I've been worried sick about you? And I'm sorry, but I refuse to believe in a God who wants me dead or crippled. Maybe he would have let it happen, but he also let you happen. He let you be there when I needed you, and he let you heal me. Don't you think he could have stopped you if he wanted to?"

"I don't know. I don't know what God wants. Whatever connection I once had with Him has been cut. That's why I'm here. I'm not worthy to go inside anymore--I still have my recommend but I know I'm not worthy--so this is the closest I can get. But it's not working. I still feel nothing. I pray and pray, but there's no answer."

I touched her elbow. "He sent me."

I smiled and she smiled back, albeit tentatively.

"I just need some time to figure things out, X. Can you give me that?"

Reluctantly, I agreed. We talked for a few more minutes, then I continued on with my jog. Now I feel sick. I fear I made a horrible mistake, and I'll regret it for the rest of my life. Did I give up too easily? Should I have insisted that we figure things out together? Ugh. Why are relationships so hard? Why is everything so hard?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

At Ground Zero

Still no sign of Jan. She wasn't at her apartment, and I don't know where else to look. She doesn't answer calls or texts (Marsha let me borrow her cell).

I did, however, get news from the police: They found a body in the wreckage. The strange thing was that, based on what they've been able to recreate of the incident, he was right at the epicenter of the explosion, outside the Honor Code Office on the fourth floor of the Wilk, but he didn't die from the explosion. His skin wasn't burned at all. He died from the fall, once the explosion took out the floor beneath his feet, and the building collapsing on top of him. They've identified him as Stan Kirby, a student in the music department. Based on the evidence, they suspect he was the source of the explosion--not that he was carrying explosives, but that he was the explosive. A mutant.


The investigator who called me asked if I knew Stan, or had any idea why he would have used his mutant power to destroy a building at BYU. I lied. I told him the name didn't ring a bell. He said he figured it was a long shot, but he wanted to rule out the possibility that my friends or I were the target of what he called Stan's "terrorist attack."

I kept my mouth shut, but I do know Stan. He's no terrorist. I didn't say anything to the detective because I didn't want to explain that I know Stan from the Understanding Unnatural Power Proclivity club at BYU. I didn't know him well because he wasn't very talkative, but I know his dad is a pretty prominent businessman in Salt Lake, and he comes from a big Mormon family. I remember thinking at last week's UUPP meeting that Stan seemed really bothered by something. Someone even asked him what was wrong, but he just shook his head and said, "I don't want to talk about it."

Now that I know they think he was outside the Honor Code Office when it happened, I'm thinking that whatever his problem was last week, it had something to do with Honor Code issues. Maybe he wasn't doing a good job of keeping his powers in check. Maybe he was in trouble. Maybe he was being kicked out of BYU. Maybe he was scared of what his parents would say. Maybe he was angry at the Honor Code Office. Maybe him dying in the explosion he caused wasn't an accident.

So I guess I'm a jerk for not saying anything to the officer, just because I didn't want to out myself. Putting the truth out here on the blog eases my consciousness a little, but I know it's not the same. If the police investigator comes across this post and puts two and two together, then I deserve whatever consequence comes of that. Stan Kirby was not a terrorist. He was a mutant, and a Mormon, and a BYU student. Perhaps he made some mistakes--I really don't know--but he didn't deserve to die. He didn't deserve to feel like death was his only option. Nobody should ever feel that.

Wombat Woman Lives!

Galadriel appeared by my bedside last night. Which sounds like something that belongs in Lord of the Rings, but this was no elf queen; it was my friend and writing group mate, who I thought had been killed in yesterday's explosion at the Wilk. Except she was very much alive, albeit scratched up and dirty. Nonetheless, the sight of my good friend, smiling down at me in my hospital bed, was more beautiful to me than Cate Blanchett could ever be.


"You're alive!" I said, because I'm really good at stating the obvious. "How'd you get out?"

She grinned mischievously. "Can you keep a secret?"

I nodded. "You've kept mine."

"The ceiling was about to fall on me, so I went the only way I could--down. I burrowed into the earth below the Wilkinson Center."

This is when I began to question whether I was actually awake.

Sensing my disbelief, Galadriel playfully backhanded me in the arm. "What, you live in a world with a man who climbs walls, a woman who can make herself invisible, and a thawed-out super-soldier from World War II, not to mention one where you can fly, and you can't believe that one of your friends has abilities beyond those of the average human?"

My jaw dropped. "You're a mutant too?"

Galadriel laughed. "No. Being a mutant isn't the only way to have superpowers. It's a long, boring story, involving my dad's lab at BYU, an experiment gone awry, and a radioactive wombat. But don't go telling everyone. People get weird about this kind of thing." (I figure it's okay for me to mention it here, since I'm not using her real name.)

She gave me a hug, then headed home to clean up. I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't stop thinking about Galadriel's revelation. I'd always known that there were people like Spider-Man, Captain America, and the Fantastic Four, who have powers but aren't mutants, but I hadn't really thought about it before. Are their powers just as offensive to God as mutant powers are? I suppose so, since it's just another form of counterfeit, distracting us from the true power of the priesthood. But I can't imagine God faults Galadriel for using her power to save herself, anymore than he faults me for using mine to save me, Chenry, and Tara. Or Jan for using hers.

Just as soon as the doctor gives me a clean bill of health, I'm out of here. I'll head over to Marsha's for Christmas day festivities, as planned, but not before I stop by Jan's place. If I can track her down, my Christmas will be complete.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Explosion

I'm writing this post from a hospital bed. I'm not injured, though--at least not physically. The doctors are insisting I spend the night here, just to be safe. I'm going along with their request only because I don't know what else to do. My life has gone to hell.

This morning, Jan came with me to campus when I went to meet with my writing group. She loves to be on campus when it's empty, and just wander around in the silence. So I went to Tara's office in the Wilk, and Jan wandered.


Tara had four chairs set up in a circle in front of her desk, as usual. I sat next to her, Chenry sat next to me, and Galadriel sat across from me when she arrived fifteen minutes late. We started out discussing the latest chapter of Chenry's novel about quirky BYU students with odd names (I have pseudonymed him Chenry in honor of his propensity to come up with eccentric character names), and then we moved on to Galadriel's feminist poem about menstruation.

Tara was laughing at some provocative joke Galadriel had made when an enormous boom shook the building, and the glass separating Tara's office from the hallway shattered. I have a hard time reconstructing exactly what happened next, but I remember Tara screaming for us to get out of there, and I remember running, and I remember suddenly realizing that there was no floor beneath my feet. I honestly don't know whether the floor caved in beneath us or I just started flying for no good reason, but I do know that I instinctively grabbed the two people nearest me, who happened to be Tara and Chenry, and I took them with me as I flew out of the crumbling building. As we soared free of the destruction, I realized my clothes were on fire and my skin was burning, and the thought that came to mind, of all things, was that I must look like the Human Torch.

We crash-landed in the snow, which felt soothing as it melted against my red and blistered skin. I tried to get up, but my shoulder screamed with pain and I couldn't feel my legs. Then I started to panic. Had I lost my legs in the explosion? Had I injured my spine when I crashed? The freezing wetness of the melted snow overwhelmed me and my body started shaking uncontrollably. I heard sirens, then I saw Jan's face, crying, and then I blacked out.

And then I woke up here at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, without a scratch. My shoulder is fine, my legs are still attached and they work perfectly, and my skin is smooth and pasty white as the day I was born. Even my appendectomy scar seems to have disappeared. I'd be tempted to say that what happened this morning was all a nightmare, except that the nurses assure me that I was in fact found unconscious, dressed in tattered clothes in a puddle on the grass after an explosion demolished half of the Wilkinson Center. The police are still trying to figure out what caused the explosion--it could have been something as innocent as a ruptured gas line, but they suspect arson.

Chenry and Tara are recovering from the trauma in rooms nearby. Just like me, they're both in perfect physical condition, although traumatized. Tara hugged me and cried for a good five minutes. Chenry jumped when I came into his room, then asked me to leave. He says he needs some time to process what happened before he can handle being around me. Whatever that means. Firefighters are still searching through the rubble but haven't found Galadriel. I'm praying for her but not feeling very hopeful. Marsha was here when I came to, but I insisted that she go home to be with her kids on Christmas Eve.

I've tried calling Jan several times now; her phone goes straight to voice mail. I'd try texting, but my cell phone was destroyed in the fire. I still don't know exactly what happened this morning, but I know I saw her before blacking out. The words I heard her saying as tears came streaming down her cheeks repeat over and over in my head: "Please, X. Please don't make me do it. Don't make me use my power."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas

I was feeling bummed about not having money to fly home for Christmas, but it's turning out to be a blessing in disguise.

First, I got to be in Utah for this historic weekend with all the mutant marriage celebrations going on--Jan and I drove up to Salt Lake again tonight for a big rally at the City & County Building, which was a lot of fun. A mutant couple got married at the rally and others were using their powers openly. Some made fireworks with their hands, others danced in the air, and shape-shifters did impersonations of public figures. I'm not going apostate or anything--all that stuff's not for me--but I was happy to see mutants so comfortable just being themselves in public.

Second, I get to hang out with FOX tomorrow. Chenry, Tara, and Galadriel are all local, so we're going to have our usual Tuesday morning meeting. I doubt anyone else will be on campus, but we can still meet in Tara's office. My writing group is among my favorite people in the world, and it's really great to be around non-mutants who know all about me but love me anyway. When we were talking about whether or not to meet tomorrow, Galadriel joked, "Aren't you going to be busy getting mutant-married?" I told her maybe she should go marry one of her many mutant friends.

Third, I get to spend Christmas with Marsha and her family. I love playing around with her kids, and the truth is I'm closer to Marsha now than I am to my mom. I'm headed over to their place tomorrow night so that the kids can wake me up bright and early on Christmas morning.

Finally, being in Utah means I get to spend Christmas with Jan. She had a falling out with her father over the mutant thing a few years back, and she isn't exactly welcome at home anymore. I think it's sad, but she says she's over it by now. Still, I'm glad she doesn't have to spend the holidays alone. And I'm even gladder that I'm the lucky guy she's going to grace with her company. Marsha has invited Jan to Christmas with us, so Jan will sleep in my niece's room while I bunk with the boys.

All in all, I'm thinking this just may end up being the best Christmas ever.

Friday, December 20, 2013

On the Sidelines of History

A Facebook conversation between me and Jan this afternoon:
X: Did you see the news? Utah's mutant marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional! http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57291925-78/ban-judge-sex-court.html.csp

Jan: hurray

X: ...

X: Hard to read tone on Facebook. Was that excited or sarcastic?

X: Jan? You still there?

Jan: im here

Jan: readng the article

Jan: have you reloaded it in the past couple of minues?

Jan: it's been updated

X: Really? No, I don't think I have.

Jan: the church made a statement

Jan: "The church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect," said spokesman Cody Craynor. "This ruling by a district court will work its way through the judicial process. We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between humans, and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court."

X: Oh, right. I see that now.

X: But you aren't surprised, are you? I mean, you know as well as I do that that's the Church's position.

Jan: I know

Jan: it's jsut depressing

Jan: on the news they're showing hundreds of mutant couoples and mixed-species couples at the court in slc

Jan: but nothing changes for us

Jan: for you and me

X: Well, no, but, remember what you said that night at the bell tower? The Church's policy on mutant marriage is just that--policy. It's not doctrine. It'll change.

X: And we can wait until it does.

Jan: I know

Jan: I just

Jan: I don't know

X: I guess it does still suck for us, doesn't it?

X: The law can change, but for us, nothing changes.

Jan: no

X: :(

Jan: :(

Jan: but i guess we can be happy for other peole

Jan: wanna go up to slc and see all the couples getting married?

X: :)

X: I like the way you think. Let's do it!

This afternoon at the county clerk building.
Photo credit: Clint Martin


So we did. Jan had a 4:00 class, but she ditched it. And we had fun. The energy at the county clerk building was amazing. So many couples, in love and excited for the chance to be legally married. And even more supporters. I have to admit, I was tempted to get down on my knees, propose, and get in line for a marriage license, but I resisted. When it's time for mutants to share in the blessings of marriage, God will let us know through his prophet. So tonight, Jan and I just held hands and watched. "Someday," she said, "that'll be us."

Someday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fight On

Greg and I both had a couple of hours free this afternoon, so we went to the hospital to check in on Lucy. Technically home teachers are only required to visit their teachees once a month, but we'd have to be pretty crappy people to stick to the bare minimum when our teachee is in the hospital undergoing chemo, so we've been trying to go at least once a week, if not more. Lucy seems to enjoy our visits. Seems like whenever we arrive there's someone else there, and by the time we leave another person or three show up, so Lucy's got no shortage of people who love and support her. I'm glad to see that--no one should have to go through what she's going through alone. The doctors actually recommended against chemo because the cancer was so far advanced by the time they found it that the chemo has a very small chance of making a real impact other than putting Lucy through unnecessary pain, but Lucy was not willing to just lie down and accept defeat. She has faith in the blessings her father has given her, but she knows that God expects us to do our part, so she's doing everything she can. It's inspiring, really. You can tell just by looking at Lucy that she's hurting--the dark circles under her eyes, the amount of weight she's lost in the past couple of weeks (she was already thin), the way her hands tremble--but she refuses to give up. I want to be like Lucy when I grow up.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

To Power or Not To Power

At last night's UUPP meeting, I asked the group what they think of the X-Men. Does the good they do count when they're going against God's will by using mutant powers? The responses I got would make a nice bell curve--in the center of the curve, most everyone felt like God isn't going to judge the X-Men harshly because they're doing their best with the knowledge they have. If they haven't been taught the gospel, they can't be expected to live it, but at least they're living according to the value system they know. Then on either end of the curve, there were a couple of people with more... extreme opinions. One guy doesn't buy the "doing their best with the knowledge they have" thing; he says deep down they know that what they're doing is wrong, but they do it anyway because it gives them a thrill. It's not about helping people, he says, but getting high off their powers. Another guy agreed with him and pointed out that even though not everyone has the gift of the Holy Ghost, everyone has the light of Christ and can tell the difference between right and wrong. On the opposite end of the bell curve was a girl who insisted that there's nothing wrong with using mutant powers. She was quick to explain that she believes in the Church but she also believes that prophets are human and can make mistakes--they were wrong about blacks and the priesthood, she says, so why can't they be wrong about this? She said she's fine with not using her powers while she's at BYU, since she signed the Honor Code, but once she graduates she's going to use her powers to help people, like the X-Men do. Everything went silent after she said her piece, and then we moved on to another topic.


Jan hadn't expressed an opinion during the meeting--which is unusual for her--so I asked her afterwards what she thinks. She said she doesn't know and doesn't care what's right or wrong for other people, she only knows what's right and wrong for her. She has a personal testimony that God doesn't want her to use her mutant power, but she's not going to tell anyone else what God wants for them.

As for me, I can see the value to all the points that were made, but Jan's is the one that rings truest. I've got a pretty awesome girlfriend.

Monday, December 16, 2013

What Would You Do?

I was in the Wilkinson Center dropping off Christmas cards at the post office just now and a bunch of students were gathered around the big TV watching a news report. One of the X-Men groups was in L.A. fighting some super-criminal. I stopped to watch for a minute and some of the comments I heard from people nearby made me feel sick: "Why do they have to do that in public?" "Can't they keep their mutant business to themselves?" "Ugh. That black dyke with the mohawk just ruined women for me." I only heard one guy defending them: "They're using their powers to help people. Who are you to judge?" After that comment, made loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, everyone shut up. Whether they felt guilty for being judgmental or were now silently judging the guy who spoke up, I don't know. I left quickly, afraid someone might catch me checking out Storm on the TV.

I'm thinking about what that guy said. If mutant powers are bad because they don't come from God, but you use them to do good, what does that make you? I don't know.

I do know this: If I were in one of those What Would You Do? videos, I would be the guy who feels sheepish at the end when the host asks him why he didn't step in to defend his fellow human beings. I am a coward.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Me, Literarily

I ran into an old friend this morning at another friend's piano recital. This is someone I've known for almost fourteen years now, who's read a lot of my writing, from the really crappy stuff I wrote in high school to the not-quite-so-crappy stuff I've written in college. She mentioned a book she'd recently read about blogging, then added with a smile, "I thought you might be interested in, you know, people who write secret blogs and stuff." I laughed and asked how she knew--whether it was some detail of my life that I'd mentioned. She said it wasn't so much the details as the writing style. My voice, I guess. It was nice to chat with her, and reassuring to hear from someone who knows me so well that she recognized me from the way I write. I suppose my fear is that in accepting my mutant identity, I am becoming a different person, so I'll gladly accept evidence that I am fundamentally still the same me.

My friend also told me that she had seen my blog linked from a review of Mormon literature at the AML blog. The snooty English major in me wants to say, "Excuse me, sir, I know literature, and this blog is no literature," but the rest of me is just flattered to have people noticing me. I guess now I'll have to be more, like, literary and stuff.

Are you impressed by my mad Photoshop skillz?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dirty Laundry

Got an email from Chenry today. He apologized for missing our writing group meeting the other day, especially since he knows I could easily read more into his absence than he intended. He says he just had to work late at his overnight warehouse stocking job (this is what I have to look forward to as an English major). He admits he was surprised to read my essay about being a Mormon mutant, and says his first reaction was to think of General Conference talks about not airing one's dirty laundry in public. After reading my essay and thinking about it for a couple of days, though, he says he understands why I want to go public, and he recognizes that talking about being a mutant--which isn't a sin in and of itself--isn't the same as talking about past transgressions.


I'm relieved that he doesn't seem weirded out by the whole thing and that he's obviously trying to understand things from my perspective and to help. I'm also worried that his initial reaction might have been right. Between this blog and the essay and UUPP, am I being a little too careless about the private details of my life I share with anyone who wants to listen? No, being a mutant isn't a sin, but I have talked here about a couple of times I slipped up and did things I shouldn't have. Will people judge all mutants by my imperfections? Am I getting as close to the edge as I can without jumping, rather than keeping a safe distance? I mean, if I were a porn addict, would it be wise of me to run around telling everyone about how much I want to look at porn, and talk about the websites I'm not going to?

Why can't anything be simple?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What Does The Fox Say?

You may not guess it from the crap I spew forth on this blog, but I'm actually an aspiring author. I've taken just about every creative writing course in the English department, I'm applying to BYU's creative writing MFA program, and I'm part of a writing critique group. It's a small group--just me, a married guy who graduated last year (let's call him Chenry), a girl I worked with at the CougarEat my freshman year (Galadriel), and a woman I met at a writers' conference who works in the Wilk (Tara). For the sake of preserving my anonymity (which I'm starting to question, as you'll see below), I'll call this group FOX: Friends Of X. We meet on Tuesday mornings at Tara's office in the Wilk.

Photo credit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/speciesinfo_fox.htm
I've been toying with the idea of expanding my first blog post into a personal essay that I could publish. If you're a Mormon then you've probably seen the anonymous "I struggle with unnatural power proclivity" articles in the Ensign. You know, the ones where the accompanying image is a man hidden in the shadows, angsting over his Very Big Problem. Yeah, that's not what I want to do. I want to publish an essay that is faithful and uplifting, but at the same time direct and honest about what it's like to be a Latter-day Mutant.

And I want to publish it under my real name.

The thought is terrifying, of course, so Jan suggested I test it first with my writing group. So this weekend I threw something together (it was easy because the essay was mostly composed in my head already), shared it with my Foxes on Google Docs, and this morning we discussed it. Chenry didn't show up today, which is a little unnerving (have I lost another friend?), but it went well with the other two. At first there was a bit of nervous laughter as everyone tried to gauge whether this was for real or I was just messing with them. Once we established that the essay was indeed non-fiction, Tara crossed the room to give me a hug. Galadriel joked about how she must be some kind of mutant magnet because I'm like the tenth of her friends to come out to her. And then we proceeded to critique each other's writing, as usual. No big deal.

So I passed the first test. Next I'm thinking of bringing the essay to my creative writing class. It's technically not against BYU policy to be a mutant, so long as I don't use my power, so I don't think I'd get in trouble with the Honor Code Office. And these are English majors we're talking about, who tend to be a little more open-minded than other BYU students. But still. I'm not sure I'm ready to open myself up that much. What do you think? Should I do it?

(...aaaand I'm going to be late to the UUPP meeting.)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Girlfriend

So. Jan and I are officially dating now. As in, we are boyfriend and girlfriend. Yes, we only met one week ago. But this is BYU. People get engaged in less time. Maybe we'd be that crazy too, if, you know, getting married weren't against our religion. Jan assures me that we're not violating Church doctrine or BYU policy or God's will or anything by dating. True, the For The Strength Of Youth pamphlet offers vague counsel to "only date young men or women whom you might one day be sealed to in the temple," which everyone knows is a reference to not dating mutants, but that's just counsel, not an out-and-out commandment. According to Jan, at least. And honestly, she didn't have to try all that hard to convince me. Is it pathetic that Jan is the first girlfriend I've ever had, and I'm twenty-four years old? I never thought it was an option. But then Jan is opening my mind to a lot of new possibilities.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lucy, meet Jan. Jan, Lucy.

Last night Jan and I made cookies and brought them to Lucy. She actually couldn't eat them because of a procedure she's having this morning, but she let us hang out and chat with her, so our effort wasn't a complete failure. Lucy seemed pretty uncomfortable with me still, but she liked Jan well enough. And who wouldn't like Jan? She's good at listening and asking questions and making people laugh. She even made a cancer joke that Lucy laughed about for a good five minutes. We didn't mention the fact that Jan is a mutant, like me. It was kind of irrelevant, you know? We weren't there as mutants, we were there as people visiting a sick friend. Isn't that what the gospel's about?


Friday, December 6, 2013

Keeping Both Feet On The Ground

I hung out with Jan again last night. I picked her up after her Thursday night engineering women's club meeting and we drove to Village Inn for some pie. This made for a much warmer date than the previous night's walk in the snow. I apologized for the flying incident, and for freaking out and not really talking to her after that. She told me she understood--she knows it's hard not to use your mutant powers, that sometimes it happens without you even realizing. She also understands why it freaked me out and why it took me a day to calm down enough to talk about it. She alluded to a time she used her power and ended up ruining her relationship with her dad. She didn't offer any more detail than that, and I respected her wish not to talk more about her power. She promised she'd do what she could to help me abstain from flying--that we could help each other resist the temptation to use our powers.

I started to tell her the latest about Lucy, but she stopped me because she'd already read about it here on the blog. She told me it's awfully egotistical of me to assume Lucy's illness has anything to do with me. This is Lucy's challenge, not mine. If I want to help Lucy, she said, I should stop thinking as if the world revolves around me and start thinking of things from Lucy's perspective: How is Lucy feeling now? What does she need from her friends? And, of course, Jan is right. I need to stop wallowing in self-pity and start worrying about others. Being a Mormon mutant has its challenges, but at least I have my whole life ahead of me. Thinking about what Lucy is going through now really puts everything in perspective.

Jan also told me that if I'm going to keep writing about her on my blog, I need to stop making her out to be some perfect angel. It's not fair to put her on a pedestal, she says, and it's sexist. So in an attempt to be more feminist, I will tell you that after she finished her French silk pie, Jan belched loud enough to make people all over the restaurant turn and look. She laughed and so did I, but I have to admit I felt pretty embarrassed. She also comes across as a know-it-all sometimes. And she snorts when she laughs. But I still think she's awesome. Sorry if that's sexist.


We talked until Village Inn closed, then I drove Jan home. It took us a good half-hour to... ahem... say good night, but I stayed safely buckled in my seat the whole time. It was like Flight Lite--same emotional high, zero guilt.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cancer

Lucy has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Apparently it's at an advanced stage and has already spread all over. The doctors give her between two months and two years.

I'm trying hard to have faith. Yesterday Lucy's dad promised her in the blessing he gave her that she would be healed. He wouldn't have been inspired to say that if it weren't true. Maybe Heavenly Father is just testing our faith now, before the miracle.

I can't help thinking, though, that I'm the one being tested, and that Lucy is suffering because of my failings. I have a hard time seeing how that's fair.

Forbidden Fruit

My hands are shaking so bad it's hard to type. I am not a good person.

Jan, being the laid-back zen goddess she is, forgave me for being late to our date. We didn't have set plans--we just met at the Wilk, grabbed a bite to eat at the CougarEat, and talked. I told her about this afternoon's hospital visit. I told her about my family. I told her a couple of funny stories from my mission. Jan told me about her mission (she served in Chile). She told me about this club for female engineering students she's in (apparently there aren't many of them). She told me about the first time she confessed to her bishop that she has a mutant power.

By this point we were done with dinner and were just walking around campus. Holding hands. It was dark and freezing cold (today's high was 23 degrees!) and her hand felt warm in mine. "Do you mind if I ask," I said, "what your mutant power is?" Since I'm new to this whole talking-to-other-mutants thing, I wasn't sure whether it's okay to ask that.

Jan looked away. "I'm sorry," she said, "I'd rather not talk about it. My power is... really bad."

"Worse than flying?" I asked with half a smile.

"Like, blasphemous-bad."

I tell you this so that you understand what kind of person Jan is. She draws clear boundaries between right and wrong, and doesn't cross those boundaries. She has a strong sense of reverence, and a great deal of respect for the prophets. I tell you this so you'll have an open mind and won't judge her when I tell you about what happened later. I am the only one here who deserves judgment, not Jan.

Photo credit: http://derekhullphotography.blogspot.com/
Much later, after several hours of wandering around campus and chatting, we found ourselves at the bell tower by the Marriott Center. Thanks to the ridiculously cold weather there was not another soul in sight. I'd been having such a good time talking with Jan, though, that I hardly noticed the cold. Standing below the bell tower, Jan took both of my hands and smiled. "This is nice. Talking to you is like talking to myself. Except taller, and with a deeper voice."

I laughed, then sighed. "It makes me a little sad, though."

"Sad?"

"Because nothing can ever come of it. You know, with the Church's stance on mutant marriage."

Jan shook her head. "I don't believe that for a minute. The Church's position on mutant marriage is policy, not doctrine. It'll change."

I blinked. I didn't know what to think. I knew some people believed what she was saying, but I'd always thought those were semi-apostate Mormons on the fringes; not active, faithful, BYU-attending Mormons.

Jan laughed. "I'm not saying they're going to revoke the Priesthood Proclamation or anything. I have a testimony of that. But the marriage thing is just a policy that was created in a time when there wasn't a good way to ensure that mutants who married didn't have children and pass on the mutant gene. Nowadays, it wouldn't be that complicated for a woman with mutant powers to get her tubes tied, or for a man to get a vasectomy. Then we could adopt. Problem solved."

"We?"

"Mutants. Us."

This conversation was getting scary. Scary because after this afternoon I wanted to stay as close to the iron rod as possible, and that meant not questioning the General Authorities. And scary because what she was saying made my heart race with excitement. The thought of being able to get married someday, after years of accepting that it could never happen, was invigorating. "So what are you saying? It's okay to ignore what the GAs say and get married anyway, because it's just policy and not doctrine?"

"No. I'll wait until the Church changes its policy before I get married. But in the meantime I can plan ahead. And if I do find the right guy, we can wait together." She grinned.

Without thinking about what I was doing, I closed the gap between Jan and me. I wrapped my arms around her back and pulled her lips into mine. I've kissed girls before--mostly in high school before I accepted that I was a mutant and could never marry--but never someone I felt such a strong connection with. As Jan and I kissed, it was like our souls touched. Never had I felt anything so powerful.

After a few minutes of bliss, Jan pulled away and smiled. "This is amazing."

"Thanks," I said, laughing. "You're not bad yourself."

She shook her head. "That was a great kiss, don't get me wrong, but that's not what I meant. I meant this." She pointed down with her chin.

I followed her gaze to the top of the bell tower, at least twenty-five feet below us. I swore. I willed us down to the ground so fast that we both fell over when we landed on the concrete. "I'm sorry, Jan. I'm so sorry."

"It's okay," she insisted. "It was an acci--"

"It's late. I should walk you home."

So, yeah. Now I'm flying not just in my daydreams, not just when I'm asleep, but when I'm wide awake. And the worst part? My hands aren't trembling because I'm so deeply ashamed of my sin. They're trembling because it's taking every ounce of willpower I have to keep from doing it again.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Power Failure

Well, that didn't go as planned. This afternoon, just a few minutes after I got home from class, Greg banged on my door. "Lucy's in the hospital!" A mix of emotions flooded me: fear for my friend, guilt for not thinking of her since meeting Jan the other night, shame for letting a date gone wrong get in the way of my home teaching responsibilities. Lucy had been sick on Sunday and I hadn't followed up to see whether she was better on Monday, just because I felt embarrassed and awkward around her. Now I felt like a big, selfish jerk.

Greg filled me on the way to the hospital: Lucy had been in pain since Friday night, off and on, and this morning she'd started throwing up blood again. She refused to go to the doctor, but when she fainted from blood loss, one of her roommates called 911.


When we got to Lucy's room at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, her roommate and her parents were in there with her. Lucy was sitting in bed in a hospital gown, looking a little pale but otherwise okay. She had an IV in her wrist. She smiled and said, "Hi Greg!," then looked at me and said hello much less enthusiastically. Her mom, whom I'd met briefly when picking Lucy up on Friday, frowned at me. I could only imagine what Lucy had told her. Lucy's dad, on the other hand, seemed happy to see both me and Greg. He shook our hands and said, "Thank you guys for coming. Will one of you assist me in giving Lucy a blessing?"

"Greg please," Lucy said quickly.

Greg gave me a questioning look, but I just motioned for him to go ahead with the blessing.

I can't say I blame Lucy. I know that having unnatural power proclivity doesn't make me unworthy, but I've gone beyond just having UPP lately. Between proudly proclaiming myself a mutant to anyone who will listen, chasing after relationships God doesn't want me to have, and generally obsessing over the mutant issue, it's like I want my sinful nature to define me. I've been putting the "X" before the "Mormon." And let's be honest--if a man who lusts after a woman has already committed adultery in his heart, then I've committed the sin of using my mutant power every day. Several times a day. I might as well have flown to Paris and back for all I daydream about flying.

Obviously, if I were worthy then the blessing I gave Lucy two weeks ago would have healed her. I told her as much in the blessing, and at the time I believed those words were coming from God. Now I know that was just the wishful thinking of a sinner pretending to speak for God. For Lucy's sake, I'm grateful her father was there this afternoon. He gave her a real blessing, one that will really count because he's actually worthy to use God's power. The doctors are running tests today and expect to have results tomorrow. Lucy's dad promised her in the blessing that she'll be healed of whatever's afflicting her, and I wouldn't be surprised if the test results show she's already healed.

And, just because it's that kind of day, I just realized I'm late for my date with Jan.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Moving UUPP In The World

Who needs drugs when you have emotional highs like this? What should I tell you first--the good news, or the better news?

I'll start with the good news: The Understanding Unnatural Power Proclivity club is awesome. There were about ten other students there, all of them experiencing UPP in one way or another, and all of them faithful members of the Church. I cannot begin to express how amazing it is to meet others like me, caught in this weird twilight zone between the mutant community and the Mormon community. It hadn't even occurred to me before how lucky I am that I can pass as human--at least to people who don't know me as well as my sister does. There was a guy there tonight who has purple skin, and has to wear flesh-colored make-up to school every day. One of the girls has horns that she has to cover up with hats all the time. (She joked about how kids from her hometown in rural Alabama used to tease her that Mormons have horns, and it turned out to be true for her!) I guess the club has a different theme each week, and this week they had a guest speaker talk about suicide prevention. I hadn't realized before what a huge problem suicide is among mutant Mormon youths; I feel bad now for even suggesting the idea the other day. I have my bad days, but I would never seriously consider taking my own life.


And the better news: Jan and I chatted before the meeting (and during, and after), and she laughed about my oversharing post last night and my awkward apology this morning. She said she would much rather hang out with someone who's direct and honest about how he feels than with someone who plays silly dating games and makes her guess what he's thinking. She said she was flattered by my post, and that she likes me too. (!) We're gonna hang out tomorrow night.

So I guess the only bad news is that it's another twenty-one hours until then.

Oops

I just woke up with the terrifying realization that I've made a complete and utter fool of myself. Greg has told me he reads this blog. There's a good chance his sister does as well. You know, the sister who is also a mutant, who I met last night and then gushed here on this blog about how hot she is? Yeah, that one.

I've gotten so used to hiding behind the anonymity of Mormon X that I've forgotten I'm not completely anonymous anymore. I'm such a dork.

So, yeah. Hi Jan! See you tonight? I hope?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Family

Tonight was Family Home Evening. For any non-Mormons who might be reading this, FHE is a weekly gathering with family to discuss the gospel, play games, eat treats, and otherwise strengthen your family. At BYU, singles are grouped together into "families" so that we can still have FHE every week even though we're away from home. It's common for guys and girls from FHE families to hook up, get married, and start families of their own, but of all the girls in my FHE group, the only one I was interested in was Lucy, and she's made it clear she's no longer interested in me now that she knows I'm a mutant--she skipped FHE tonight, no doubt to avoid me. Which is for the best, I guess, since getting married and starting a family isn't really an option for me, as I've mentioned before.



Except.

Except tonight my roommate Greg invited his sister Jan (not her real name) to join us for FHE. Jan is a junior, an engineering major (have I mentioned I have a thing for smart girls?), she's got a wicked sense of humor, and she is HOT. Long black hair, dark eyes, and a big beautiful smile.

Greg introduced Jan to me, saying, "This is the guy I was telling you about." Then he looked at me and said, "I hope that's okay--I told her about you."

I didn't know how to respond. I'd never explicitly told Greg not to tell anyone I'm a mutant, but I thought he understood it was a secret. I felt naked, being introduced to this girl--this hot girl--I'd just met, and having her know things about me that I've only shared with a couple of people. Things that, just three days ago, led a girl I kind of liked to freak out and run as fast as she could in the opposite direction.

Greg must have perceived my discomfort, because he quickly added, "She's the one I told you about."

"Oh." I'd completely forgotten that Greg had told me his sister was a mutant. I didn't know what to say. I'd never met another mutant before. If I thought about it I'd probably have a million questions to ask her, but at the moment all I could think about was the fact that I was face to face with a gorgeous woman who, before even saying a word, already had more in common with me than anyone I'd ever met. I opened my mouth, but no words came out.

Jan grinned, shook my hand, and said, "Welcome to the club."

We didn't talk about mutant stuff at all tonight. We couldn't have even if we wanted to, with the rest of the FHE group there, but we really didn't need to. There was an unspoken understanding between us, like I've never felt with anyone before. We played Win, Lose, or Draw and she was on my team. We totally beat the other team. :)

After FHE Jan mentioned to me, out of earshot of the rest of the group, that she's part of an unofficial club called Understanding Unnatural Power Proclivity that meets on campus on Tuesday nights. I excitedly accepted the invitation to come to tomorrow's meeting, but honestly I'm not sure whether I'm looking forward more to meeting other mutants at BYU, or to seeing Jan again. What I do know is that I have never been more impatient for twenty-two hours to pass.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fingers Fading On An Electric Guitar

I was hoping to see Lucy at church this morning since I hadn't seen her since our date on Friday night and I was hoping to apologize for unloading my personal problems on  her, but I didn't see her in sacrament meeting. In Sunday school one of her roommates told me she was home sick. Regardless of whatever weirdness there is between us now because of Friday night, I figured as her home teacher it's my responsibility to make sure she's okay, so after church Greg and I stopped by her apartment to see how she was doing.

Lucy was on the couch, watching conference talks on her laptop. She said hi and thanked us for coming, but she didn't look overly enthused to see us. She spoke mostly to Greg, like she was avoiding looking at me. She explained that she was having stomach pain again. She's worried that she might have an ulcer or something. Greg asked if she wanted a blessing. She glanced at me briefly before saying no, she didn't think that was necessary. Greg made her promise to call the doctor first thing in the morning if she wasn't feeling better, and to let us know if she changed her mind about the blessing.

Ugh. I wish my mutant power were time travel. I'd go back to Friday and stop myself from coming out to Lucy. Or better yet, go back to last Sunday and stop myself from agreeing to go on the date in the first place. Or maybe I'd just go back thirty years, before my parents were married, and Marty McFly myself out of existence. At least if I did that, something positive would come out of me being a mutant--the world would be a better place without me.