Saturday morning is an early affair, a drive to the City - early camp bus. We gather on a Manhattan side street – five buses worth of parents and children, four weeks worth of hugs and kisses, many waves goodbye. And then her twin announces she is happily an only child; now the day is hers. Breakfast in a coffee shop made special by being in the City, by being three instead of four. And then a day of Museums: Up to the Cloisters, barely past opening time, serenity and beauty, side by side. The Cloisters are a division of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and our little badges are good for both places. So back into the car, a quick drive over to Fifth Avenue and as I turn to look for parking, a space opens up, an omen of the continued good day.
We have figured out on past visits what we like so even though the Met can be daunting we are a team with a mission – a surgical strike and back onto the streets. Barely past mid-day and what a day it is. Sunny and warm, low humidity, a pleasant breeze: too beautiful to not savor the City some more. So back into the car and downtown: Did I recently mention “an outdoor space on a perfect temperate night”? Why not on a perfect temperate day? I find the place and at that moment a parking space opens right out front. For those who are reading and wondering why such excitement over parking spaces, I remind you we are talking of Manhattan: The gods of parking are never to be trifled with.
The cafe is hopping but we are immediately seated: an outdoor table shaded by trees. Now I need to mention that this is not a gay restaurant but there are gays about. As we sit there Carrie looks over my shoulder – a table with two men and a woman, one of the men clearly gay – and says: “Too young.” Then glancing at a different angle points out a table with three men, three gay men even with the gaydar turned off. She notes they are a better fit – right age, right look. This is all done discretely as our daughter works on her burger. A little later another gay couple: hardly a mention by now. But then they are joined by some more friends and as they kiss European style, I see Carrie smile. Quite the little show.
We return home, seventy-two hours that felt so right comes to a close and as I swing in my hammock I try to put it in perspective. I suppose it is having had so many different pieces of the puzzle that is me come together at different times and different ways. I suppose it is the fact that I can admit to such pleasure of my evening with Phil and with my time with Carrie and family. I suppose it is the fact that I can accept my desires and appreciate how much a bond of friendship adds to the mix – gay or straight.
But ultimately what I am left with was today – the fact that Carrie and I could have such a nice day while continuing to come to grips with the reality of our lives and the fact that we can still talk and joke (though I did not find the first guy to be too young). I asked her tonight – now that she is such an aficionado of gay men – if she saw me as one of them and she thought and laughed. She pointed out how gay I seem to her in many ways – the way I run or move at times – and my knee jerk reaction was to feel hurt. But that gave way in a moment to the sheer humor of it and the fact that she was right.
On Friday my friend asked if magically I was no longer gay could the marriage be repaired. Of course such talk is silly but I told him how if there was a pill I would take it tomorrow, but let’s be real. While there may be truth to swallowing that pill, there is also untruth. The truth, the real truth, is I like myself – always have. Maybe that sounds egotistical but ego in moderation is healthy. And if I like myself then I do not think I get to pick and choose which pieces of Nate’s basic nature I keep and which I toss. I suspect that if the pill was put before me today, I would read the booklet, check out those risk factors, think of being a different person. I would pick it up and hold it between my fingers. And with all my strength I would likely put it back down.
Because last June I was writing posts discussing the difference between wants and needs. This year I chose not to write it, but my thoughts were on the silliness of wants and needs when the real issue is one of being, just being.