For 29 years I’ve lived in a bomb shelter. Literally. Not literally, that was just for emphasis. Though I’m planning on hyperextending this metaphor to such an extent that you’ll wish it was literal.

The bomb threats were from unverified sources, but that didn’t matter, once I started listening for the ticking. I kept listening to that ticking until I had a tic; until I was a tick, sucking on the pumping blood of self-loathing. All because I was afraid of the abombination. Of being devoured by fire.

The sources of these threats – don’t misunderstand, I don’t blame them – I was one. It was safer underground. In the dark. When I was so alone – so alien – when it was so awful I could not abide anymore – I ran through the underground railroad until I ran into someone. We’d light a match, but it always burned out, and after awhile we’d wander back. But we were all free. We just didn’t know.

Then, a year ago, I began receiving love letters, handwritten on a paper so white it glowed. Every time my name was written, it was like my signature, but better; like a famous artist’s signature, which had intrinsic value regardless of where it was. I hoped they were from Him, but I doubted; I doubted. Still, they kept arriving.

The last one was an invitation. “I am requesting the honour of your presence, as yourself, as you were created.” I set it in front of me and stared at it. Each time I picked it up, expecting it to be addressed to someone else; expecting it to disappear. But it didn’t.

So I’m coming out of the ground. This is my coming out party. I feel like Lazarus, raised from the dead. You can drop a bomb on me, baby. But I’ll know it’s not from Him. I have the letters to prove it.