On the plane home I wrote in long hand – I wrote for my wife who has since heard all I have written, I wrote for me and while I deny it in the letter I wrote for all who have taken this road trip with me. It is exceedinlgy personal but after four months of pouring out my life I am choosing honest over personal for today (for this may be the first post that I do someday delete). So here it is, transcribed but unedited – thoughts from 35,000 feet.
I considered putting pen to paper on the flight – maybe work on a blog entry but realize that at this moment I only have an audience of one. I readily admit to not really knowing what this page will look like when I make it to the end.
There has been discussion of Chicago – what to tell, what to hide. The thing is that the decision to share has already been made. To dance around my trip with euphemisms is not worthy of either of us and ultimately not fair to you.
You once referred to this as a retreat. It never was – no monastery and cloistered walls. No, it was a journey of discovery. It started as the plane took off and I looked at the water glittering on Flushing Bay and realized that I was leaving something. This was never – good or bad – a trip with a “take it back” clause.
So what did I learn. On Thursday night I learned that I could have some wine, a bite to eat, have much in common and yet have nothing in common. When he dropped me back at the hotel I was actually relieved not to be having sex,
But this was a journey and I could have gone to sleep but that would have been hiding. So off I want to a downtown gay bar. And yes, there were lessons there. A lesson of loneliness, a lesson that I couldn’t meet a person – guy or girl – in a bar when I was twenty and if nothing else I was consistent. I again went home happily alone.
But I suppose my reactions were a bit disingenuous because I still had a date for Friday night and I knew – and somehow you knew – this was the test. A person I had e-mailed back and forth with, someone where some small connection had already been made. I of course have long hung my hat on the “sex in a vacuum” theory: A quick encounter and then suit up for real life.
So Friday I got in a cab and went on a date. The details do not matter – yes we slept together. The thing is that when it was time to head back to the hotel, my conference, there was an inescapable truth. I really am gay. One would think it would not be a shock, not be so hard to fathom, but unfathomable it is.
In a strange way it feels almost easier to start putting back together a life with you. It’s real hard to have a conversation based on a phase. The thing is I am not sure what the gay lifestyle is – a media myth of sorts. I am not looking for a boyfriend or to leave. I love you, the kids, our life. I love that proverbial dining room chair – the head of our table and a full table it is.
But if you were to ask me if I would forswear being with a man again, the answer would be no, not that I’m looking, not that I have plans but we have come to far to spit into that wind, the wind which has filled our sails for so long.
So I return from Chicago and I have some answers but it seems I have even more questions. The thing is I wrote earlier “I really am gay” and I am terrified, I am sad, I am ashamed. I know that these are not appropriate emotions, but they are my emotions.
As the conference ended there was an interesting coda – a punch line of sorts. We will move our May conference, Memphis for 2007, a floating opera after that. How fitting. Fare the well Chicago.
Of course the last line, the last paragraph is a fine ending to a blog entry but I may have left Chicago but we still have a life to live. I considered at some point this trip that I have written of my road trip – SF, Boston, Washington and finally Chicago. The thing is that the next chapter of this road trip will be written in New York, in our town. Some maybe written in our bedroom, some maybe written in a basement and hopefully it will be written together.
But I also know that I have placed a heavy burden on your shoulders, one worthy of Atlas. And you need no more burdens. You deserve so much more. Part of me wants to keep writing – I am terrified of the silence, but it is time to put pen down and start to absorb. I suppose now I am ready for that retreat.