Sunday, January 28, 2007


I am now officially divorced.

I spent weeks re-drafting and submitting all the papers around the division of property, which, in a case not involving minor children, is all the state cares about. [Moral of story: do not move in the middle of a divorce unless you are very good at filing... or can otherwise lay your hand on things you put down a month ago before moving fifty boxes of books and junk into your house...] It puts a pretty awful face on marriage, whether or not you take the state's concerns as the be-all and end-all, which I don't. Obviously. When all was said and done, and all the legal performers had done their little minuet, the actual divorce itself took about ten minutes in court . At least, the schedule was an uncontested divorce every ten minutes.

In fact, we were sitting on a bench outside the courtroom when the previous couple was called in. They came out rather quickly, and we looked at each other with the old grin of a shared joke and both mouthed: "That was only FIVE minutes." It was so much like old times that I couldn't help wondering whether it was more heart-warming or heart-breaking. I still don't know.

Then we went in for our ten minutes of fame. I got to answer most of the judge's questions as I was officially the Plaintiff [don't ask, don't tell]. Then he asked if the Defendant disputed any part of Plaintiff's testimony. She didn't. We handed in some of the new papers to be made part of the final order, he banged his gavel, and it was all over.

Plaintiff and Defendant left the courtroom and Plaintiff immediately burst into tears, going over to stand in a corner facing the wall to sob. None of the bystanders approached Plaintiff, which in all cases but one was a real blessing. I just couldn't believe that it could come to this. Defendant's stoic silence and distance were almost the worst thing I had to face in the whole sorry business. But I had to stop, so I did, and we went downstairs and left the courthouse together. I thanked her for twenty-seven wonderful years, the better half of my life, and she wished me well. That's a lot, really. Considering.

Since I was in the area for the court date anyway, I drove over to my grandmother's, solemnly took off my wedding ring, and drowned my sorrows in tea and cake. Then I went back to the House of Bean Curd and got semi-drunk, OK, got all but falling-down drunk, and held up various walls in the kitchen, dining, and living rooms while pouring things out that were welling up in my heart, most of which I will some day come to regret having spoken.

I nearly jumped the Silver Fox's bones.

The following day I took advantage of the court's location to take the Silver Fox up on his offer of a visit. He has an apartment "in town," and a house in the country near the school where he teaches, like Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest, in one regard at least. It was the night of a follow-up Leather Night, and I was feeling a little too raw to go. I was, on the other hand, also raw enough to have jumped into bed with him without passing GO or waiting for $200, if he had as much as laid a finger, or contemplated laying a finger, on any part of my quivering person. I hurt, as my German friends say, at every edge and corner, and I just needed something to make me feel good. Someone to make me feel good. And I was kind of hoping he might be it.

I was saddled with a Really Bad Conscience because I had described him in these pages as sounding too much like a surfer dude to take home to Mother. Well, what does he come out and say himself, but that he's a bit of a dizzy airhead. Now that combination of self-knowledge and the ability to laugh at it are surely a reason to like anyone. Even someone who doesn't have those "bad eyes like a gypsy" which he does. We had dinner in his school cafeteria with a lot of transparently speculating colleagues. [How many other younger men have sat at that table with him? Now why would that thought have crossed my mind?]

Then we went off through the howling wind to find someplace warm but somewhat private to spend the last quarter of an hour before I took off for Leather Night. Because he was bound [haha] and determined I should go. Maybe it was despair; maybe it was the sense of being dismissed. But I came right out and said too much: in this case, confessing how I had just settled down enough not to be a finger-tapping, nail-biting Exhibit A of a complete mess at the first Leather Night, when he walked into the room and blew me away. I don't think I used the words "my heart stopped," but I'm quite sure I didn't have to. He got the message clearly enough to get up and close the door. Good move, wished I'd thought of it myself, though it did get my hopes up.

But, being the Silver Fox, he then upped and returned to the openness of his relationship and various other little intimate details of how and when to "just do it," while holding me at arm's length at the same time. Almost physically. It took all my last remaining shreds of self-control and self-respect not to just stand up and shout, "If not you, who? if not NOW, when?" But instead I went along with his game and let him send me off to the gathering with a present for his partner, who was attending. His parting words were an invitation to come again and stay, pointedly adding that there was only one bed in the house, but that it was large.

Am I crazy to say that the signals I was getting were... mixed? I don't think so. Is this a mind game? I hope not. And then, once we were standing outside in public, freezing in what seemed a Siberian gale, he hugged me goodbye. I couldn't decide whether I should just hold on until he did something, or just say "goodbye," get in the car, and get warm on the way "home." Well, I had to read the tea leaves I had.

(sigh) If I hadn't still been willing to do just about anything to get him to make a move, I might have killed him right then and there. This is not progress.

I found myself unable to let go when hugged.

Southern Man came to supper, as a friend. It was the week before my final divorce hearing, and I was the Emotional Mess from Hell. [Do you remember my T-shirt proposal: WWI photo and the bold slogan: EMOTIONAL MINEFIELD? I was living it.] When he got up to leave and hugged me goodbye, I found I simply couldn't let go. My reward was a kiss on the cheek which I'm not sure I wanted, and even more ambiguity than I was living with here already. You may have heard that. Here's what's scary: I don't find this guy that attractive, or not in that way, really, but if he had moved an inch beyond a kiss on the cheek, I would probably have done jumped him. God, am I tiring of ambiguity and confusion.

Either my luck is running out, or my guardian angel is working overtime to see that it doesn't. Sometimes it's hard to tell... I am getting to the point, as the guys sang so long ago, where I am no fun any more. No, what I mean is: I am reaching the breaking point. What concerns me is not that I will fall off the wagon and go get #$%&ed; that's pretty much on the cards. What concerns me is the fall-out then to settle around me. As Mrs. Castorini said, I don't want to shit where I eat. Which sort of brings me back to the Silver Fox. Or not. But he has several redeeming features, one of them being that he is just far enough away that it's not going to break anything up where I need to go on living and where I have to date depended on the kindness of so many.


Did I say anything about my latest bout of hoof-in-mouth disease? Gay brunch at the palatial home of the doyenne of our Scene, way out west of town where you are within reach of the Hills. And a couple of bears had come down out of the Hills, and were attending, in more or less matching outfits with overalls, which seem to be the body-armor of choice of bears of a certain girth. Now, what possessed me to segue from all the cheerful, ice-breaking chatter about things we both knew about and deplored, to the state of gay marriage in the state, on which, as you know, I hold heretical opinions?

I don't know. [Bay State Follies Update coming soon...] This issue combines two of the three absolutely forbidden topics: politics and religion. Why couldn't I have talked about the weather? How about those Mets? or Jets? No. Two Bloody Marys [Bloody Maries??] may have had something to do with it, but the onboard censor, which usually works #$%&-ing overtime was on coffee break, and in I waded. In retrospect, I did in fact sense the steady drop in temperature, but not on a conscious enough level to get me to stop.

Maybe I should bill my life as a comedy act and sell tickets. I just can't keep my mouth shut, and while it may not have the grandeur of Lear or the melancholy gloom of Hamlet, at the moment I am afraid that I may be edging closer to tragedy than comedy. I may not feel like I fit in, but if I truly wore out my welcome in the gay community, what would I have left???

Oh ye gods.

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness.

It's not that I don't know that there are other people out there who need your prayers more than I do, it's just that if something doesn't kick in and help me out, I will have dug myself a fully excavated, concrete-lined, astro-turf-edged grave in no time at all.
So, pray for those who really suffer.
Just don't forget me. That's all.

1 comment:

  1. Troll,
    Nobody loves good advice half as much as the guy giving it, so I'll reserve my usual impulses...
    (Go out! Get laid! Get drunk! Feel much better afterward!)
    Sorry, that just slipped out. What I MEANT to say was that I know you're going to shortly have your hands full with more than you dream of... it's just a question of holding those hands out and waiting for the showers of blessings to begin.
    You're rooting for me, and I'm rooting for you too. Hang in there, big guy.