Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hope & Love Anthology by Hope & Love Anthology by Hope Ryan (plus many others)

It starts with hope. That’s what LGBTQ Centers all over the world give us, the hope, the community, the care and education we need in a world that is often hate filled, scared of the unknown, and down right scary. When first introduced to community many of us rejoice as it’s often the first time we’re able to be out and be our true selves without fear or shame.
This anthology is for the benefit of one such center, one that touches many many lives, and like others, needs help and nourishment as well. Centers like the MKE LGBT Community Center depend on the love and support of others so that they may help and support us.
Within this collection of stories, you will find hope, family, love, and community. Take a chance on a new author or one of your beloved… read, enjoy, and know that you are helping children, adults, teens, and elderly alike in our greater LGBTQ community!
One hundred percent of the income from this volume goes directly to The MKE LGBT Community Center in Milwaukee, WI USA

From: Blue Eyes, by Hope Ryan
I WENT in the first time because I was hungry.
The warmth was the first thing I noticed. It was April, but even April here had a bite most days and my sweatshirt wasn’t exactly the warmest I’d ever owned. If I’d known it would be all I could take with me, I might have picked something else to be wearing when I told my parents I was gay. And I'd lost my jacket two months ago when some other guy decided he needed it more than me. 
The second thing that greeted me was the smell of baking bread. That was new. None of the other kitchens I’d gone to had made their own bread. I didn’t really know what to think of that, but my stomach certainly liked the idea.
See, hungry was probably an understatement, but I hated sounding pathetic, even if that’s what I was, so I usually did my best to play stuff down. In this case, however, playing it down hadn’t helped me. It’d been two days since my last meal, and that hardly counted. Two Slim Jims and a day-old donut did not add up to a meal. 
So, yeah, hungry. Hungry enough to push me to go into the new shelter over on Forty-fifth Street. 
I’d avoided the shelters, for the most part. My first week on the street, I’d gone to one of the more well-known ones, but the combination of pity and pretense got to me fast. The workers seemed to be one of two types of people: do-gooders who showed that grating pity or those pretending they cared when in reality they blamed us for being where we were. Maybe some of my fellow homeless were, but I’d have bet the last shirt on my back that it wasn’t the case for a good ninety percent of us.
But hunger is a strong motivator and despite my wish to stay away from eyes that were a little too sad to be honest and carefully-hidden sneers, I needed food. I was having trouble moving on when the cops poked me off a park bench. Pride be damned.
I followed the sign in the entryway telling me the kitchen was on the lower level. I took the steps a little slower than my stomach would have liked, but I’d been enough places and gotten enough looks that I just didn’t barrel in anywhere, anymore. 
As I stepped through the door, I was reminded of the other reason I really didn’t like to go into these places. People. Too many people. I’d gotten pretty used to my own company the last few months and generally preferred it to most others. And worse, the do-gooders with pity in their eyes always seemed to think I wanted to talk to them and tell them my story. 
No one wanted to hear my story. I certainly didn’t want to hear my story again. I just wanted some food and to be left alone. Was that too much?
The cafeteria-style room was probably half-full and the noise level made me wince. Once I got past that, I looked around enough to see the line ahead and went to join it. The guy in front of me looked like he’d been even longer than me since his last meal. It’d certainly been longer since he’d showered. 
I got lucky. A little over a week ago, I'd stumbled across a guy named Tommy, who’d been a friend when I still lived a relatively normal, if closeted, life. He’d been a study buddy in the days when I’d cared about grades and trig tests. He’d apparently heard what had happened and offered me his couch. 
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