It is a Sunday night and I sit in my apartment. For most sitting at home is a normal thing – most nights save an occasional trip or vacation. For me it has become almost the exception, particularly when it is just me: a welcome respite at times.
During the week I may see Phil, sometimes here but other times at his place. Weekends are for my family. In theory it is for my kids but in reality it is also for Carrie and very much for me. I go to their home, spend an evening or two, see my children in their natural habitat. And it works for them. They feel they have a Dad but do not feel imposed upon.
Last night they went to a party: a two hour affair. I drop them off and go back to the house and have dinner and some quiet time with Carrie. We lie on the couches in the glow of the fireplace and talk softly across the coffee table. “Do I have any regrets?” she inquires. Do I have regrets? It was only ten hours earlier that I drove up to the house when an old Bruce song came on the iPod, Walk Like A Man. As I listened:
Well now the years have gone and I've grown
From that seed you've sown
But I didn't think there'd be so many steps
I'd have to learn on my own
A tear came to my eye. So many steps.
I did not talk of the song at that moment but the answer was easy: “Every day.” That is not to say that I have a bad life, that I deny where I am, or more importantly who I am, but yes, there are regrets, so many of them.
She asks if I think I am bi or gay. The answer there is pretty easy also. While gay as an answer is so much easier to deal with, so much more understandable to the masses, I am bi. I don’t see what other answer there can be. So many years with Carrie, so much incredible sex: I do not believe that is something anyone could fake.
She can understand my sexual desires, the gayness of it all. But she asks what else there is, what beyond that to justify the lengths to which I have gone, the damage that I have done. One would think this would be another easy one, a hanging curve ready to be drilled. But it is not. I wonder how much is the gayness and how much is the pent up “demand”, the result of so totally denying this portion of myself.
The answer is so intangible: variations on being comfortable in one’s own skin. And with that seems to be a greater comfort in all around me. Strangely though, part of that greater comfort is with Carrie and my family. Sitting by the fire, talking of these things with her: what could be more comfortable, and I suppose comforting, than that.
Of course there is a problem. We are separated, I am bi and quite gay in many ways, the world around us knows. It is not simple and we do not live in a vacuum. I spend my time there and then go back to this other life, a life with the famed boyfriend of sorts. Carrie asks about Phil – she is surprised that I want to spend New Year’s with the children and her, not with him. I explain he will be away – down South for a few weeks of family and friends.
But there is more and I explain it – the post that keeps being postponed. When I met Phil he had a boyfriend. A strange sort of relationship which would qualify as an alternate universe: he sees Stan in Stan’s world, which is now to a degree Phil’s world. But Phil maintains his own world without Stan’s existence. But yes, no matter how you cut it, Phil has two boyfriends of sorts.
Now this strangely works for me: I have my weekends without having to feel guilty. It’s a proverbial win-win. But I have come way too far to not realize the unusual aspects of it and sense the unhealthiness as a foundation for my life. But it works for me – not only having my weekend time but the fact that while he may have another boyfriend of sorts in Carrie I have another girlfriend of sorts.
As I drove back to my apartment today a thought got stuck in my mind. When Phil hurts, I feel bad for him. I do care. But when Carrie hurts, I hurt too: a connection that seems to transcend in many ways where we find our selves and just continues to confuse my sense of where and who I am.