Tuesday, July 24, 2007



Well, the bridge is well and truly crossed. I have come out to my children, and will be moving out of my house sometime on Thursday. We built, or rather, completely rebuilt, this house twenty years ago, and it has seen some of the most wonderful times I have seen in my life. Even the studio I built out in the barn eight years ago has seen some wonderful things...

Indeed, my marriage has not only lasted half my life, but has been literally the "better half" of it. For whatever it may mean to the rest of you out there on the web, it was not a facade or a prison, but a source of constant and vivifying love, and there are three amazing, forgiving, wonderful people now on this earth to prove it. I cannot say how much my children's behavior has moved me.

I move into an interim, a true wilderness time, in town but not at home for the prescribed forty days -- as long as my children are home. And in the hope that it is not forty years in the wilderness that is my lot... Beyond those forty days, my hope is to find work near enough by that THEY are close when home, but in a city large enough to allow me to be the skunk at the gay community's garden party as I have been among you, my Blog Brothers.

This has been a long and difficult road, and aside from the occasional cruiser and cheerleader, I can honestly say that the web has brought me nothing but love and support. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, which is where you will find me most of the time, these days.

I wish you all well on your travels, at whatever point you may find yourself on your own particular roads. The Psalms taken together have one particularly Jewish thing to say: no matter what your life is like, it will soon be different. Maybe better, maybe worse, but certainly different. In that there is cause for hope, and the beginning of wisdom.


The Troll Now Well and Truly At Sea

BUT SHOULDN'T: July 17, 2006

I keep coming across things that bring me up short.

By the time I was fifteen I knew that I was gay. I am absolutely convinced that the only reason I was not pilloried as a faggot in high school is that the lead "tough guy" in my class was going out with my older sister, and shielded me; the thought only occurred to me many years later, when my son was being roughed up at school, but it seems absolutely convincing to me. At sixteen I went away to boarding school and was concerned enough about being exposed in a hostile environment that I asked a new friend to loan me a pin-up, in the full knowledge that it was "cover". Gay yes, proud no. Some of you would doubtless say that nothing has changed.

I went through adolescence in college, avoiding dating but sleeping with a number of my friends, which was generally fatal to the friendships. I have always stared in puzzled admiration at people who were able to stay in close contact with their former lovers; in retrospect I realize that it was because they
HAD BEEN lovers, not friends who went too far. Thereby hangs a tale.

At twenty-two later I decided to lay my attraction to men aside, to embrace a faith I understood denied it. Five years after that I was married. I had this fantasy that the traits that marked me as an outsider if not an outcast as a youth had somehow vanished because I was grown up and married and earning a good living. I made the mistake of telling a gay friend of ours after the birth of our first son, that I now considered myself butch, well, butch enough for me. John gently informed me that I had many fine qualities, but being "butch" was definitely not one of them. Of course he was right; but how didn't I see that? Now I am suddenly aware of being the same awkward, non-physical, nerdy guy I was at fifteen. What on earth made me think that the jocks and cool guys I knew in high school had gone away, or that we had somehow become equal, as if they were not the ones at the bigger troughs higher up the food chain?

My marriage has lasted almost twenty-seven years; for the last thirteen and a half I have known not only that I was gay, but what flavor of gay. A good friend, when I told her about my predicament, remarked that she had never heard anyone speak of himself with such self-loathing. That shocked me, and really made me try to find a way to come to terms with what was obviously hard-wired in me in a way that allowed me to be true to myself and to my wife. That attempt foundered at the outset on my wife's suffering at the very mention of the facts; and for most of the last half of our marriage, I kept silent. Then in December, after other things brought my carefully maintained self-control crashing down, I realized that I just couldn't maintain the silence any more: I was choking on it.

My second son helped me move a bunch of things that had been stored in the rooms I now occupy in my grandmother's house, over to the house next door, and brought my meager possessions into the rooms with me. I am only moving what I need in the next month or two, so it's not much -- the big move will come in September. Suddenly putting the bags down in two rooms made me aware of the reality and finality of what I had done in a way that had somehow eluded me until then. Perhaps the cynics who say that this is all in my head and a fruit [!] of my mental disorder will have the last laugh; I hope not -- I still have hopes of serving them their laughter cold, in humble pie...

Well, that is bound to become a long story.

We ate leftovers tonight, my daughter and I. Last night, I gave the family a chance to eat without me, which was meant to end in a compensatory visit to Pixar's "Cars", but instead ended with the announcement that there were no evening showings in that theater while they worked on the sound system... I ate the leftover pasta from my "night out" -- and suddenly thought: this is the last food cooked by my wife that I am going to eat for a very long time. Every move seems to bring up something that means the END of twenty-six, almost twenty-seven, years, and every single one of them is a new band around my overly constricted heart.

I have been moved by my children's relatively cheerful acceptance of what is literally an earth-shattering experience for them. Why does it then come as such a shock and such a nasty surprise that my leaving the house is met with the same cheerful acceptance? Where is the sense that a world is coming to an end for me, and that I might want them to mark it with me? Well, I suppose I can't have the one without the other; but the calm acceptance of my departure does hurt. I can't help it.

I was remarking to my therapist, who is leaving town for a better job, as I too hope to do in September, that I would probably try to connect with other married/leaving men at first, as I felt that the gap between my experience and others my own age who had been out since, say, college, would simply be too much for me to handle, at first at least. She replied that I would probably not find too many other people who were coming out after twenty-six years of marriage. Well, I suppose she is right.

Why am I surprised that everyone who posts for connection or friendship on gay dating or romance sites is looking for someone younger than me, and usually younger than they are, unless they themselves are barely legal? Why do I keep feeling that this whole process is headed for a major disaster?

Well, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

My pastor, when I told him that my bridges were crossed if not burned, looked at me sadly and said, "There's a lot you'll have to learn." I know that is true, but I think if you had asked me what the ONE thing I didn't want to hear was, possibly especially from him, it was probably THAT. God help me, I am not the least bit sure that I CAN live with what I have to learn, and live with myself at the same time.

Well, that brings us around to my usual closing:

Pray for me.
If anyone ever was headed over Niagara without a barrel or a net, it's me...

(July 13, 2006)




She looks. It's Ronny's building.

This is your place.

That's right.

This is where we're going!


The deal was if I came to the opera with you you'd leave me alone forever.

She looks for his response. He makes none.

I went with you. (pause, nothing)

Now I'm gonna marry Johnny and you're gonna leave me alone. (pause, nothing)

Right? (nothing)

A person can see where they've messed up in their life, and they can change how they do things, and they can change their luck.

Maybe my nature does draw me to you, but I don't haveta go with that. I can take hold of myself and say yes to some things and no to something that's just gonna ruin everything! I can do that. Otherwise, what is this stupid life that God gave us for what?

I don't know.

Everything seems like nothing now against that I want you in my bed. I don't care if I burn in hell. I don't care if you burn in hell.

The Past and Future is a joke to me now. I see that they're nothing, I see they ain't here. The only thing that's here is you. And me.

I want you to come upstairs.

Let me go home.


I'm freezing to death.

Come upstairs. I don't care why you come.

No, that's not what I mean.

Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is. Love don't make things nice, it ruins everything, it breaks your heart, it makes things a mess. We're not here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect.

WE are here to ruin ourselves and break our hearts and love the wrong people and die! The storybooks are bullshit.
Come upstairs with me and get in my bed!

Come on! Come on! Come on!

She follows him in.

1 comment:

  1. Anniversaries are always hard.

    I truly understand your feelings about wanting a reaction. When I left my congregation, I didn't want to make the congregation uncomfortable, but I want wailing and rending of garments! I wanted people to beg me to stay! I knew that that wouldn't happen, and I knew thngs would go on. Things needed to go on. But I still wanted the whole congrgation to collapse.