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This is the story of Dorian Lavender who has vanished from the party scene of music, stimulants, sex and is now ironically beyond the saving grace of suddenly-discarded friends of which there are many. (Perhaps you knew him too.)
While no tracing of his family tree to Victorian times exists, it’s rumored that Lavender is related to fabled youth made famous by Oscar Wilde in “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. I, for one, believe it to be so.
Dorian Lavender was gifted of looks so well-proportioned, so stunning in effect, as to be spellbinding upon all who met him. (I was too old to consider inviting him out for an evening of adventuring.)
Surprisingly, Dorian was not spoiled by his looks. “My looks are pleasant,” he’d laugh. “If faces are fortunes, my bank account’s modest but drawing interest at the ATM.”
Dorian wrote poetry. Composed songs. Painted. He line danced superbly. His dinner parties were wonderful. He went to the gym three times a week. He was golden in the summer. Fashionably, seductively tinted in winter.
His fate was sealed at an office party. “You’re gay,” said an artist whom he met. “Would you mind if I did a portrait of you, and how heaven must see you? I specialize in portraits of the soul. I’m sure you have one.”
Intrigued, Dorian agreed. It was Dorian’s undoing. When the portrait arrived weeks later he was shocked. It was framed in mortice black, and quite, quite ugly.
“Why have you done this to me,” he texted the artist. “That Dorian is how God sees your soul. You’re lost, damned, must mend your wicked ways.”
For weeks the portrait haunted Dorian, He was mesmerized. “He’s right,” said Dorian, returning home from a night of dancing and toked ecstasy. “I’ll pray. Go to church. Be born again. My gaiety’s over with.”
Dorian proved resolute. The portrait scared him. He hid it away. Each day he prayed. Each day the portrait began to change. As did he.
It crossed my mind when passing his condo that I had not seen him in months. I buzzed. A vaguely familiar but hideous man appeared. “Yes?” he hissed. “Is Dorian home?” I asked. “Dorian is banished forever!” he snarled. “Good riddance to my past forever!”
As I turned to go, the miscreant shouted, “Hey there! Wait. This image scares me. Take it.” Alone that night I opened the package. It was a portrait of Dorian. Young. Beautiful. Smiling. Serenely radiant. Obviously gay.