In the middle of the night I found myself up, again, with the puppy and while she went out back and rollicked I read some e-mails on my HOW group. Dark room, no glasses, squinting inches from the monitor, another on a common thread: love wife, gay, want it all. And in bold a response: “I don’t care how beautiful your damned yard is” : The coda to a paragraph on not going back into the closet.
I hit reply, save that one line and type:
“God, what I am willing to give up for that “yard” – Love the image.”
Maybe there is value to exhaustion, to not having the strength for denial and facades. When I typed “Love the image” it was the writer in me, such an evocative sentence, nine words painting a portrait. But immediately I realized the double entendre: I may love the imagery but I also love the image, the image my life presents from that beautiful yard. And I realize how much I am motivated by that image. A friend of Carries, slightly older, very “fifties” in outlook points out that Carrie is my “skirt” – a woman a gay man can hide behind. It is the same image – a skirt, a yard: maybe the better word is crutch.
I would of course argue it is more than image I want to hold on to – it is tucking in my children, being part of a family, hanging with my best friend. Much more than an image. But I have been offered all of those things. Carrie is happy for me to remain in our house, to share in our family. All she has asked is the tangible of my leaving the bedroom, which I have done, and the intangible of respecting her as my best friend and respecting her by accepting she is no longer my lover. Ah, those intangibles are so hard to grasp on to.
We have agreed on joint counseling but until yesterday I fear it would have been a waste: my going to resurrect what once was and her going to build a new model for the future. She is right, something I have always known, but every time I accept that it means I have to accept myself. And it means I have to be ready for the day when the gate to the yard is thrown open, the closet doors kicked down, and I accept the current reality.
The same man who wrote of the yard ended the e-mail “I hope you can have it all”. The thing is that I can once I accept the meaning of "all". When I can accept who I am and when I can accept the totality of my wife’s loving friendship, and when I can accept that what once was, is now gone, then (and only then) can we be Will and Grace, and frankly that seems like a pretty good deal to me.