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Shemmmm

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It was this moment I realized it. Shem was free. Shem didn’t care if people were gaping at Shem and more importantly, Shem didn’t care if Shem was embarrassed. Shem was free from Shem’s inhibitions and Shem was better than all of them. Shem was the most fascinating being to live on this planet, and while I realized this, I wept like a baby as I heard Shem’s voice and saw Shem’s arms tied around Shem’s back. God told me once that I would someday find someone who would show me the “light” and to follow them. What the “light” was is irrelevant; what’s more important is that I was irreverent. I didn’t listen to God, which puts me in this place now.

Shem was my neighbor. I never could find out if Shem was a girl or a boy because Shem had one of those faces who had both the features of a man and a woman. I liked Shem’s enigma because it reminded me of a puppy I had when I was 5, I never could tell if the puppy was a girl or a boy, but I liked it like that. I liked that the puppy had its mystique and I felt if I found out its gender, I would hate it for having one. So Shem continued to be genderless as I observed Shem from across the street.
Besides Shem’s name (which I found out by peeking into Shem’s mailbox one night when Shem was out jogging), all I knew about Shem were three things:


1. Shem had the voice of an angel.

2. Shem always wore odd clothing that covered up Shem’s entire body but Shem’s face.

3. Shem never talked to anyone.


Shem’s singing voice represented Shem’s androgyny; it did not sound like it came from a man or woman, but some deity. I waited for Shem to sing every night because Shem’s voice helped me to fall asleep. Shem’s attire was always amusing. Shem always wore clothing that looked like Shem bought it from a pricy costume store (which led me to think Shem was rich and that Shem was confused about what day of the year Halloween fell on; I always imagined how disappointed Shem must have felt walking outside Shem’s house everyday realizing that nobody else was dressed up). The costumes never allowed Shem to show anything but Shem’s face. Shem also walked, talked, and lived alone. I never saw Shem interact with one person; not even Shem’s mother or father ever came to visit, and I always worried about Shem feeling lonely.

Now you may be guessing that I ended up confronting Shem and befriending Shem, but unfortunately it never happened. I was afraid of Shem because Shem intimidated me, so I adored Shem from afar as the busy cars and their irritable drivers separated our two lonely lives. It wasn’t until this momentous day that I realized my restraint was a mistake I would regret forever.

I woke up late that morning (I stayed up too late the night before engrossed by a movie on TV about a dog transforming into a human), and heard the noises of sirens and a crowd of people outside my house. I nervously peered out my window not only to see a crowd of strangers outside of Shem’s house, but Shem being handcuffed by what seemed to be twenty policemen. Shem was singing and smiling as Shem’s hands were placed behind Shem’s back, but it was not this that surprised me, but that Shem was naked and the distortion of Shem’s body. Shem was electric green and had a figure that was inhuman. Shem’s veins extruded from his fragile, sickly green body, and I realized that Shem was not a creature of this planet. Shem sang as the policemen and taxpaying strangers shouted around Shem, threw rocks, and beat Shem, but Shem was smiling a smile that liberated Shem from Shem’s secret and I cried into my arms as I saw Shem’s eyes trail up to mine as he looked from his side of the window into mine for the first time.





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