Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Penchant For Remote Older Men

Here's another excerpt from Second Day Reported. Thanks for reading!

One of my first boyfriends turned out to be gay. A fellow gymnast, much of our relationship consisted of driving to and from the gym, me waiting in the car while he made a quick stop at confession. I so envied his Catholicism, that unburdening in a private chamber. We gave each other notes laced with the worst corndog sports cliches about trying your best, never giving up, and the nature of being a champion.

Neither of us ever quite reached these lofty ideals. Having just ended my secretive romantic relationship with my freshman English teacher (he wasn’t married, but at thirty he was literally twice my age) because he had quit his job and left town, my stomach bloomed ulcers. That was always my reaction to men leaving starting with my dad when I was five. He left for a three month long business trip and snuck into the night as to not upset me. I imagined him dead and couldn’t ask my mother. When love resurrected a few months later, my mouth bled sores and my stomach burned all the time. Glad as I felt to have my beloved daddy back, I also now knew he could leave. Anyone could. It seemed something you could learn over and over again.

My boyfriend didn’t have it any easier and in most ways worse. He never let me seen the inside of his family’s HUD house because they were so poor and his mother didn’t speak much English. He was gay in Mineral Wells, Texas in the 80s, a decade that deemed George Michaels straight despite all those videos of him dancing around in tiny white shorts with his old school chum. But my boyfriend was touch, stoic, and he had a heartbreaking smile, the kind where your whole soul shines through, the beauty, the pain. Years later we’d figure out that we had a lot more in common that we knew -- a history of sexual abuse, a penchant for remote older men. We had seldom talked to each other during those car rides late into the night, both trapped in our own thoughts, our failures on and off the mat. Despite all our attempts to prop ourselves us, we knew we were, at some basic level, already defeated.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"These are really terribly rough times, and we really should try to be as nice to each other as possible." Lou Reed

Cocktail Hour
Drinking suggestion: Champagne with pear nectar!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!


Cheri said...

Isn't it strange how you find things out always after the fact?

I sent you a reply email.

Charles Gramlich said...

Your friend reminds me of a guy in my class. No one knew until years later that he was gay, although the signs were there if any of us had been able to read them. He didn't make it from there to here.

Anonymous said...

The bittersweet tone of this piece is quite appealing. I had a boss who was gay and I had no idea that he was, being the naive, non-judgemental type of person that I was. Then, at an office Christmas party, my then girlfriend took one look at him and said he's a closet gay, which is what he was, not that there's anything wrong with that.--George Costanza

Anonymous said...

That champagne with pear nectar thing sounds kind of good. It's like a mimosa. The last time I had a mimosa, though, I had to go to the john quite often.--Shelly at Covergirls

laughingwolf said...

i'm sure there were gays/lesbians around, growing up, but we were not aware of any....

Anonymous said...


you're gorgeeeous.

Johnny said...

I like Iggy Pop. You're blog is cool.

the walking man said...

Love can be a painful experience.

Being left behind without explanation, watching the general malaise and rigid incarceration of poverty in your area of upbringing grind everybody around you, the sadness born of being confined in body soul and spirit that brings one to the brink of failure before you even have a chance to succeed.

Damn good thing you didn't believe what your eyes told you.