Rosalía 's Reviews > Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Illusions by Richard Bach
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Feb 16, 2010

it was amazing
Read in January, 1984

This was actually a life-changing book. It was a book that opened my mind as to my own thought process when I came upon other individuals having challenges with life's journey. Here's a story I wrote about it (Not for eyes under 18):


I'm in love with a man who doesn't love me. Well, love is a strange word, a strong word, a poor-excuse-to-be-miserable word. He loves me as a friend, as a sister, as a pet, perhaps. I'm always around, following him like a lost puppy.

It's cruel, unfair. Passion unrequited leaves its victim insane. It's the problem of supply and demand. When love is in low supply, you demand it even more, like the last cookie in the cookie jar. You see someone grabbing it, and suddenly it's the one thing you have to have, the one thing you've always wanted. You'd beg for it. You'd pay through the nose for it. You'd steal it if you needed to.

His name is Charlie, but he looks like Jim Morrison—his long, unkempt hair; his perfect skin; his blue-gray eyes; his morose poetness.

Love me one time. I could not speak.

The song pounds in my head.

Love me one time, baby. Yeah, my knees got weak.

He'll never love me, but my knees get weak. He'll never love me, but I cannot speak. I cannot sleep—in my bed, in his bed. I'm not allowed. Only Molly gets to share his sheets, his blankets. Only Molly.

He passes me a paperback across the table—Richard Bach's Illusions. That's what Charlie is: an illusion. We grew up together; played together; shared secrets together. I'd go to his house after school, and we'd write poetry or song lyrics. I'd bang on the piano, and he'd strum his guitar. He'd read Kafka or Camus aloud. I'd bask in his voice, in his blue eyes, in his Jim Morrison hair and melodic articulation.

Come on, Baby. Light my fire.

It's been six years since we graduated High School, and I still love him, but the only female he loves is Molly. He smiles for Molly, kisses Molly, pets her in front of me shamelessly. He brushes her ginger hair and feeds her from his soft, pale, perfect hands. Molly is a Golden Retriever. She has Charlie wrapped around her finger—rather, her paw.

Charlie hands me a copy of Illusions. The book smells musty and a bit like Jergens lotion with a hint of cinnamon gum. Charlie. It smells like Charlie. I turn the pages, taking care not to dirty them with peanut butter. I sink into the cracked, leather couch and struggle noisily to reach for the sliced apple to dip in the peanut butter. I lick my fingers after each bite. Lick. Bite. A dog licks. A dog bites.

Charlie sits in the orange recliner. His cut-off jeans display his lean legs. He shovels forkfuls of scrambled eggs into his mouth and fingers the bacon. When he swallows, his Adam's apple floats up and down. My face flushes, and the fever rages even more intensely. Each time his Adam's apple moves up, then down, I'm burning up. I need a bucket of ice water to dump on my head before it's too late.

Our sweat-dampened bodies stick to the furniture in this summertime Hell called Davis—one hundred ten degrees in the shade. Hot. The moisture accumulates on my upper lip, my temples, in the creases of my knees and elbows, running down my chest and collecting under each breast. My bra must be soaked, like someplace else that's soaked causing me sweet misery.

Molly sits in front of Charlie, wagging her tail and eyeing his strip of bacon. Charlie pats his bare knee, and Molly wiggles closer. She begs; better than me. Charlie places the slice of oily, crisp bacon between his lips and teeth; gets on his hands and knees and faces Molly. My heart flops like a goldfish that’s just jumped from its bowl.

Try now. We can only lose and our love become a funeral pyre.

Molly licks the bacon from Charlie's mouth and gently shares it's saltiness with her master. She licks. She bites. His mouth. She's a dog. I want to cry.

“Good girl, Molly. Good girl, Sweetie. Gimme a kiss. That's a girl.”

Even after Molly has taken her portion and has chewed and swallowed, Charlie stays on his hands and knees, lips puckered. For Molly. She continues to lick his lips, mouth, and teeth.

Sidewalk crouches at HIS feet like a dog that begs for something sweet.

Charlie makes kissing noises and croons for a dog. I watch, and my stomach drops to my knees. Someone has placed a brick in my gut and has tightened a rope around my throat. Somebody please find an iceberg to place on my head.

I've never been so jealous of a dog in my life. I've never wanted to be a dog so badly, a Golden Retriever, Molly.

This is the end.

God set me up. It's a joke: God's joke, Cupid's joke. Ha ha. Very funny.

I've loved him for years, and I thought he loved me too. We were like Siamese twins. We still are, inseparable. You'd think I would have known. I should have known: his pretty face, his pretty hands, his pretty smile and pretty words. But that's exactly why I fell in love with him.

People are strange.

I lick my fingers and turn a page and reach for another slice of apple. My legs stick to the couch as I shift and reach. There's a knock on the door and Molly follows Charlie as he gets up to answer it. His name is Charlie, but I'd swear he's Jim. He's an illusion.

“Hey, Charlie.”

“Mario.” Charlie lets him in: the man, a beautiful man, my competition—aside from the dog.

“Are we still on for tonight?”

Charlie and I met in a ceramics class the summer after Sixth Grade—wet clay, wet hands, creating art together.

Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you. Let me jump in your game.

In school, we were best friends. We could touch, we could laugh, we could pass the time doing absolutely nothing. And when we discovered sex in junior high, we even kissed; behind the gym, waiting for the bus; my love, my first love, my door to everything.

Now, I’m gonna love you, till the heavens stop the rain. I’m gonna love you till the stars fall from the sky for you and I.

Senior year he changed. He started wearing make-up, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. He started wearing kilts. Kilts are skirts. He looked so pretty, I should have known. The illusion. He was the tiger that disappeared, the rabbit in the hat. He was the ace up my sleeve. I've never been good at figuring out magic tricks.

When I asked if he was going to the Sadie Hawkin's dance, Heather laughed at me.

“Oh, Sofie. He's gay. Didn't you know?”

It's funny how things change, people change. You can't predict where life will take you, where love will take you.

Charlie protected me from junior high monsters: boys too young to be men. They said I had big eyes, cow eyes. Charlie said I had beautiful eyes. They pointed at my chest that had grown too large for a girl of thirteen. I tried to hide it under my hair while they snickered and joked. Charlie told them to grow up.

Charlie's kiss tasted like cinnamon and sunshine, and it warmed me all the way to my toes so that I thought sparks would spurt from them. He smelled like Irish Spring and Jergen's lotion and cinnamon gum. My savior, my messiah, my love—before he discovered he was gay. The illusion.

Senior year I barely recognized him on the outside. He was still the same old Charlie on the inside. He still made my knees weak.

Love me one time. I could not speak. Love me one time, baby. Yeah, my knees got weak.

I pat the couch, and Molly trots over. She smells my hands and licks at my fingers, expecting a treat. Mario smiles and comes over to pet Molly.

“Hey there, Sophie. What are you up to? Are you going out with us tonight?” His blue eyes are lethal. I see why Charlie can't get enough.

“I didn't know there were any gay bars in Davis, Mario.”

“Ouch. Harsh, So-So.” He plops on the couch next to me. “We're going to Shooters to play some pool and see a new local band trying to break out. You can join us if you like.”

Charlie joins in. “Yeah, Sofie, why don't you come? You never go out anymore.” He wipes his pretty mouth with a paper napkin.

“You don't want a third wheel.” I shake my head and try a smile.

“Yes, I do. I miss your company.” He's so beautiful when he begs. I want him on his knees.

“You just want a female in the group so you don't stand out.” I wink, and they both crack up.

Mario drags his palm along my calf.

“Ooo. Smooth. We all know what that means.”

“It means nothing,” I say gruffly and brush his hand away.

“A woman who shaves wants. . . ”

“Shut-up, Mario. I just don't like to be hairy, okay?”

“Mm hmm. C'mon, So-So. Go out with us. We'll find a guy for you.”

“Yeah, if you don't take him for yourselves.”

“Oh! Double harsh!” Mario laughs.

“What's gotten into you today?” Charlie picks up his plate and slaps me gay-like in the shoulder on the way into the kitchen. I hear the plate clank in the sink. Ugh. Just kill me now.

Strange days have found us. Strange days have tracked us down.

Charlie bursts out of the kitchen, arms outstretched, singing a Culture Club tune. He does his Boy George impersonation so well all I can do is laugh. Mario, beside himself, doubles over, tears streaming down his cheeks. I decide then and there to give in and go out with the dynamic duo; maybe find myself a nice heterosexual for once.


At Shooters, Aerosmith and a roaring swamp cooler overpower the crack of cue sticks and billiard balls. Mario and Charlie have dressed casually, and it feels like old times. I should have put my hair up. The nape of my neck is damp and sticky, and I keep fanning myself with tonight's paper program, but it doesn't do any good. Charlie's legs in snug blue jeans, Davis heat; I just can't get cool, not even lukewarm. The swamp cooler can't keep up with full occupancy even after the sun has gone down.

Mario and Charlie have me play on both their teams; otherwise, it wouldn't be fair. I'm that good.

“Okay, Sophie. Your turn. Put 'er in the pocket now, you shark.” Mario hands me the stick after chalking it up.

“Do I have to call it?”

“So-So, you can do whatever you want tonight. You're always on fire.” Charlie grins. “You can be on my team forever 'cause I'd never bet against you!”

“Ha! Flattery will get you everywhere. See that three over there? Red. Corner pocket.” I point my stick and lean over. SMACK. The ball slides across the felt and drops into the pocket. I sink solid after solid, then stripe after stripe. If the guys weren't gay, I'd think they just like watching me bend over. I fake a miss so they get a chance to play.

“Ohhh. . . So close.”

“Too bad, so sad.”

I notice the bartender looking my way. His shirt tugs at all the right places, showing off a set of huge biceps and a tight chest. I start fantasizing about unbuttoning the shirt, then I catch a glimpse of his thick legs. Mario notices him too.

“There you go, Sophie.” He nods his head toward the bar. “I promise. You can have him.”

“What makes you think I want him?” Oh, yes. I do want him.

Charlie skips over, holding his stick like a spear. So gay.

“What's going on? What're we talking about?” He bends his head in close. “Huh? Huh? Huh?”

“The bartender,” Mario whispers. “I think So-So needs to make a move.” Charlie glances over and nods.

“Oh. Definitely. He's a hunk.” Charlie grins wickedly and nods.

“You two are impossible! If I go over, will you leave me alone?” They're both leaning on their sticks, beaming and bobbing their heads. I sigh, pass Mario the chalk, and stroll over in appeasement.

Tried to run. Tried to hide. Break on through to the other side.

Sometimes a few steps away can feel so long and sometimes overcoming small obstacles can be profound. I smile at Charlie and begin the trek across the floor. The bartender regards me with green eyes and smiles, awaiting my approach. He ignores the customer on the stool to his left who's slapping the bar to gain his attention. I cross oceans to get there, deserts, miles and miles of burning sand and void, years and years of drought. When I get there, I feel as if my throat has dried up. I can't speak. I need water.

Break on through to the other side.

I slide into the stool facing Mr. Muscles. He grins smugly.

“What'll it be?” He leans onto the counter, dangerously close, chin on his hand. I swallow, and it feels like sand down my throat.

“Anything. Water first, then anything at all.” Oh please, anything. I want him on his knees begging. I want him to bend me over and fuck me hard with whatever he has hidden within the confines of those tight pants. I want to lie on the bar and spread for his dirty encroachment. I want his mouth on me, licking me, biting me, and I want him inside me filling me. I want to lift the apron to unzip his jeans and release any male savagery he has stored up to alleviate my anguish and deliver me from my years of desolate need.

That's when I see it: a book; a copy of Richard Bach's Illusions in the pocket of his apron.

“You're reading Illusions.” It comes out as a hoarse whisper. He looks down to his apron, then back up at me.

“Yeah. Have you read it?”

I really do want him. I want to touch him, suck him even, or sit on the bar and let him crouch between my knees to lap the puddle that has formed in my crotch till I scream and erupt with that fiery orgasm stored deep inside my core.

Break on through to the other side.

“I'm reading it now, actually. How strange.”

“I'm Eric.” He stretches out his hand. I shake it and watch his arm move up and down, the shoulder move up and down, like the Adam's Apple moves up and down. I imagine him between my legs and moving up and down. He's so thick. I want him like a piece of meat.

“Molly.” I lie. I'm not sure why. The new band starts with a Doors tune, and I turn my head abruptly toward the stage. They have the keyboard just right. The singer tries to move like Jim, but he doesn't look a thing like him. They need Charlie up there.

“Nice to meet you, Molly. You like The Doors?”

I'm looking at his mouth.

“Yeah. I do.”

I watch his tongue move as he speaks, his white teeth, his throat, his Adam's apple. Up and down. I'm imagining us on our hands and knees facing each other, eye to eye, nose to nose, lip to lip, mouth to mouth. Sharing bacon.

“I get off in a few minutes. You want to dance?”

Week to week. Day to day. Hour to hour. Break on through to the other side.

My heart pounds. My gut wrenches and the wetness flows between my legs, under my breasts, and under my hair. The back of my neck is so wet the hairs cling to my nape. I can't believe I'm actually saying it. I can't believe I really want it—my fantasy. Not what I thought. An illusion.

“Actually. . . You got any bacon at home?”
4 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Illusions.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

08/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Scott Sheaffer Nicely done. I love the way you've intertwined the three separate strands, your story, the Doors song and Bach's Illusion book together, like a perfect braide.

Rosalía Thank you, Scott! I like to think I have gaydar now but really, I have to ask to be sure. Maybe it's just time for some bacon...:-)

King I agree with Scott, nicely written. =)

message 4: by Candace (new)

Candace Wow....

message 5: by Candace (new)

Candace I have always thought Gay men were some sort of punishment to women. You give us ourselves but you take it away.

message 6: by Candace (new)

Candace I loved Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Guess I will have to read Illusions.

Scott Sheaffer Illusions is much better than JLS. I read illusions during a period of my life (Sr. in high-school) when I was thirsting for guidance and direction. This book jumped to the top of my favorites list and has remained there ever since. This is one of three books that deeply affected how I choose to spend my life. “Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours.” ― Richard Bach

Rosalía I love that line, Scott.

Scott Sheaffer Rosalía wrote: "I love that line, Scott."

Whenever I think something is too hard or that I can't do something this quote ALWAYS come to mind and helps me to have the courage to try.

Martin Ortiz Thank you,It made my morning.Please keep on writing.

message 11: by Zaina (new)

Zaina This was great!!! Did not expect that at all.

Peter Upton I wasn't expecting that sort of subject matter on a Richard Bach site but you are an excellent writer I hope you manage to make a career out of it. Talent so often goes unnoticed. Good luck

back to top