It seems that over time I have written much of reality – I am sure there is at least one post with that as its title. Yet it seems that much more of my current life is devoted to unreality, or so I tell Phil and so Carrie tells me. Of course in Phil I see it but I am sure that Carrie is confused which can only mean that as usual she is on to something.
Phil’s unreality has to do with that capacious closet – after seven plus years as a gay man, it still remains a mystery to those closest to him. He likes to remind me that his sex life is his own business – would a straight couple tell their children their favorite positions: “Morning Johnny – your Mom gave me an awesome BJ last night.” Yet as Phil will be off at a local gay pride event today I cannot help but wonder how many of those men and women define their gayness solely as a matter of sexuality. Do old fags who don’t do it anymore turn straight? While my activities at times may tend to belie it, I would like to think that I am more than the Craigslist “Sr8t man giving bj’s.”
Of course the scary part is that my unreality may in some ways top Phil’s. I live in many worlds which seems fine to me though maybe not to those floating in my various orbits. A recent day stands out: In the morning I e-mailed my first wife in anticipation of a visit to her and my grown children all of whom have relocated out west. I was staying in her home and she wanted to join me in a visit to some friends from grade school. Why not? Later that day I arranged a Saturday night dinner with a friend from college and his wife with Carrie in her home. (Last night was the dinner – we will get to that in a moment.) After arranging dinners involving my first ex (as she likes to describe herself) and with Carrie, I left the office and went home, pure Ozzie and Harriet in the alternate universe, to Phil, the boyfriend “of sorts”.
Last night was the dinner – Carrie and I as hosts. She cooked up a storm, wine for all, conversations flowing from topic to topic. Four hours after they arrived, hugs, kisses and goodbyes. All seemed well to me. Then as we started the clean up Carrie points out how she had once assumed she would be our friends – a couple going home after an evening out, a couple retiring to their bedroom, to their bed, to their life. She points out the evening was wrong – this was my old friend, my “turf”: Phil and I should have been having them to dinner. She is amazed – at me. To her mind our guests, while to polite to say anything, shared her discomfort, her sheer amazement at the bizarreness of it all. While this last piece can be confirmed – my friend while discrete is incapable of not being honest. He would answer fairly.
Maybe someday I will ask, a conversation over a glass of wine or coffee. But the answer seems irrelevant because Carrie’s point seems well taken. We may still be a family, a bond that survives much, but how can we be a couple. We speak daily, we share so much, but ultimately we retire to our separate corners with nary a hug or a peck. I may harbor some dreams of climbing into her bed, snuggling close but it is as likely as my lottery dreams: wonderful diversions grounded in total awareness that it is not happening.
It is a Sunday early afternoon as I type – the children watching a movie and then hopefully some time together. Frank is likely on his way to that gay pride parade. It is a distance and I am happy to be with the family, but Carrie has a point. If one is creating a new life, if one is willing, right or wrong, to sacrifice so much, then at some point one has to also embrace that life. But to me it is much simpler: in my haste to create one life, I have ended up with many lives – too many. The goal has to remain to bring the strands together and create whatever tapestry is me.