Monday, September 22, 2008

Significant Other

It’s not that there are no words anymore: they fly through my head, post titles, opening lines. But then there is life, what at times is the fullest of times stuffed into a gypsy like existence. Last night my pillow in the country, my weekend home with Carrie and our children or maybe the night before, “my” pied a terre in the City, a night with Phil. I am sure I slept somewhere the night before that, maybe at Phil’s, maybe my place in the suburbs. I really should be packing again now – I think tomorrow is a city night.

Now I am not complaining, it is actually rather nice having a full life, no time to be bored, no time to harbor the lurking confusion and regrets, and still, as Carrie would be happy to point out with just a tad of bitterness, so much love. And of course among the things hard to carve out the moments for is the writing, the actual fingers on the keyboard style of writing.

A few weeks ago I could have been found in my weekend haunts, the house in the country – their house in the country. Carrie goes to her room, a phone call with a friend so I take the moment for a quick check-in with my friend, my boyfriend. When she emerges and sees me, the anger and hurt flash. The next morning we speak. She acknowledges the complexity and points out she is alone and I have someone, a friend, boyfriend, significant other. The problem of course is in the nuances. I do have a friend, no denying a boyfriend. But then the murky area: I do believe I have a significant other – Carrie. Now usually there is linkage – a boy or girl friend should be the significant other and I do not mean to denigrate what I have with Phil – a wonderful man, a dear friend, a good person. And he is clearly significant – I write now as I wait for him to arrive after his evening with his family.

But still so much is tied in with Carrie – twenty plus years of friendship, a seeming menagerie of children, the day to day issues, the “kitchen table” financial affairs, and yes, I still do in so many ways love her. Maybe it would be easier if she did have a new life – a date here or there, a moment on her own. Not so. Her life is with the children, being a mom and when I spend time with her it is strange, betwixt and between, but still an evening when she can talk as an adult, not always on the level of the kids.

She tells me how if I just handled it differently I could have had it all. I am never sure fully what that means. I know much of it is if I had remained in the closet to the world so she would not have had her humiliation – part real and much on her part imagined. Well, she may not agree with the last sentence – it is all real to her and then some. I wonder the same thing and do understand part of it.

The thing is that if I had understood my gayness, the process would have been: “Hi honey, I’m gay. Where do we go from here?” But that was never the case for me: it was for me to discover and learn and the problem with realization on the fly is that you cannot steer a straight course, a rush to the finish line, not when you do not know where the end is. I do realize that many may think that disingenuous: "Just go back and read all you wrote." The answer was there but denial is a mighty powerful force.

I also wonder where the magic compromise would have been. A life of lunchtime hookups, a veritable liberal Larry Craig. Or maybe it would have been that Daddy had business trips, late night meetings where I needed to stay in the City. And as absurd as it sounds, sometimes it sounds good. But I do not believe it, not really. It is easy now to imagine this arranged marriage, this middle road. So much to be said for it, but still a glaring fault line, that of honesty. It’s funny, Phil and Carrie (who have yet to meet) agree on one thing – well maybe many things in fact. But the relevant one is my need to be out there, to be honest, with those I work with, my family, my friends. Phil would say whose business is it, is it relevant. He is not wrong, but it is still not right.

So do I regret not living with my family, my children: of course. Anyone who can be separated from their children without regrets is lying –either to you or just to themselves. But do I regret that my world knows, that I do not have to measure my words, do not have to skirt the truth: No, I do not. There is much I wish for, much I wish to change but there is no denying who I am and that now that I have a modicum of honesty with myself, I do not regret sharing that honesty with others.

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