I've been trying to write an essay on the four straight guys I had madly fallen in love with. Well, not with, I guess, since they were straight and, for the most part, oddly indifferent.
It was easy writing about the boys in high school...one of them the tall, farmer's build handsome guy with a smile that could thaw Antarctica. The other was a young guy who was about as lost as I was and was sympathetic up to a point.
The third I met during my college sophomore-junior summer. We were counselors and he was the most fascinating man I'd ever met. Smart, cute in an aw-shucks way, and as interested in what I thought about things as I was with him. We wound up roommates in my senior year, but it was always on the understanding that he wasn't interested in gay sex. He eventually married and moved to England and that was that.
Guy #4 was the most intense relationship I'd ever had. I was ass-over-teacups in love with him and he was as interested in me, except for... This was in the '70s. Many of us were coming out and not about to go back where The Truly Religious wanted us to be. He was younger than I and had red hair that fell just about to his ass. He was expelled from school because he refused to cut his hair (his mother backed him up on that) and got his GED before his class graduated. I had never met anyone so fascinating, so funny, so into me. Except for when he wanted to date a girl, we were inseparable. And he never seemed to be embarrassed or apologetic for being with me. Then I met Jack, he met the woman who knocked him ass over teacups, and we fell out of touch for 30 years.
One of the things my therapist wants is for me to be more assertive, to take action. I've wanted to get in touch with Guy #4 for a long time, just curious about how he is, what the decades have been like. I found his phone number, punched in the digits, the cricket chirped and there he was. He sounded the same. I could picture him. The phone in my hand was shaking. We've agreed to get together sometime.
"Sometime" feels too specific. I'm really scared about this. What will I say? How do you avoid what is and still be truthful? Suicide and depression and stays at mental institutions aren't something I feel is "so what's been happening?" material. I've had a good life...sometimes even amazing...yet I can't get over feeling that I've done the wrong thing, that maybe leaving such an ideal relationship dead may be the better course of action.
I see my shrink tomorrow and have no idea where that 50 minutes will turn out. He'll be all happy that I did something I didn't think I could do. My bus ride back home may not be as joyful.