Some months ago I found a gay men’s book club, relatively local, a nice website listing all the books. I went to Borders and a few nights later was flipping the pages for the June entry. For the first seventy nine of those pages I was wondering what was the point – sure the author was gay as was the main character, but still it seemed rather universal – a book, no more, no less. Then I read page eighty: the protagonist, a gay man in his thirties goes to a bar to be surrounded by others, others of his persuasion:
“He’ll soon be too old for this club, which pulsates with bass lines, youth and arrogance. In a few years he’ll find himself exiled, patronizing the piano bars favored by men of a certain age who mistakenly believed there was still plenty of time to find that someone special and settle down.”
I read it again, nearly committing it to memory. I have been in that piano bar – in our town it is called The Townhouse – and have watched those men, ones who seem to be rooted there, the hardcore regulars. They are nice men I am sure, and I have spoken with a few but standing there on a Saturday night at times their loneliness seems palpable.
I have thought about writing of this, and suspect I may have in passing, but then last night I read of Spider’s eight little factoids, I read the first one:
“. I am scared to death... of being left alone and not having anyone…. I am petrified of getting old and not having anyone…. I crave someone who thinks I am as special and wonderful as I think they are.”
And just as I read page eighty multiple times – hell, I was just able to pull the book off the shelf and turn right to the paragraph – I re-read Spider’s words multiple times. Both times a chord was struck, the same chord.
While the chord is the same, my hearing of it has changed, a change borne of two more months in my journey. When I read Brian Malloy’s words what seems like so long ago, the answer was clear. Not to be gay, not to lose Carrie, to run back to the nest where in so many ways there is so much love and happiness.
Last night as I read Spider’s words, there was a different reaction. One that I indeed may end up “lonely” but I do have my friends – including Carrie if I am capable of treating her with the respect she rightfully asks, I do have my family which considering I have six children is not inconsequential, and with time I should end up with at least one new bestest friend: myself when I grow into accepting that person.
But ultimately, I share the terror. What sane person would not? I suspect Spider will find that person – any who knows him through his writings and comments would agree he’s way too special not to be snatched up. And maybe I will or will not find that perfect person, but considering the brevity of my sojourn in this strange new land, I too cannot complain having made some new friends and started building this new life.
And ultimately while I share the terror, those psychological night sweats, I realize that while I could have done many things differently these past twenty-four months, there is one immutable piece of the puzzle. I am gay and when I am out there being gay, whether in a bed having sex or in restaurant with one of my gay friends talking or just here blogging, that the gayness is real and in many ways feels right.
Note: The book quoted is Brendan Wolf by Brian Malloy. And Spider should require no introduction around here.