Send Carrie the letter or let things be: by now we all know the answer; I did share it with her. But the next day before sharing, I had a mini-epiphany: how much I was ignoring what she has been trying so hard to tell me. It stopped being about sex, men, celibacy, and who might know – the “shame” factor – a long time ago. It is about Carrie having grown to a level of self acceptance to which I still aspire. She does not want a gay husband. She wants a man who will want her – all of her, nothing but her – with all of his soul. Bob teases me that she is a bigot, but he is wrong. She does not mind gay men and looks forward to having one as her best friend.
But the thing that most amazes me is her acceptance that she may never find this mythical man and she may be left with her family and friends, with books and errands. And that is okay with her, she has chosen authenticity over safety. And by so doing in some strange way she is guaranteed some level of happiness no matter what.
Yet I still vacillate, wanting to hang on, out of love, out of friendship, but also surely as much as I do not want to admit it, out of fear. I try to define that fear, not an easy task, but I suspect it is the fear of being alone. Sis and I had an extended IM chat and she went for the fear like a hound on a hunt.
Sis: I don't buy that you're not scared. You can tell me that you're not scared all day long, and I still won't buy it. I think you're terrified. Not of being alone, necessarily, but of never finding someone who "gets" you on such a basic level.
Me: To have found one person who "gets” me on that level is awesome. To find another.....
Sis: The thing is, I think Carrie can continue to be that person for you, just not as your wife. But for you to be able to accept that and make it work will require you to really start to "get" yourself and embrace that person. It will make your relationship with her a lot easier.
As I re-read the snippet from our exchange, I realize that Carrie told me the other night that I need to embrace who I am. She was referring to the gay Nate, but it is more. It is learning to embrace – to “get” myself, all of me.
So a little over a week after having come home and sat on Carrie’s floor fighting back tears, I sit here a little older, a little more mature. Carrie has moved on and so shall I. This is not a question of moving out – after looking at the finances we realize every month of delay is much needed money for our family. But it is still moving on as we slowly evolve sharing a house while still moving on. A temporary state – nine or ten months at best – and one that may yet change, for if there is any lesson as I look back over this year it is not to make predictions. Life will chart its own course quite nicely.