Everyone loves fireworks and this year the “tweenage” children decide they want the full show – Macy’s fireworks over the Hudson River, one of those things you do with a million of your closest friends. I can’t blame them and actually look forward to the adventure. We park the car in suburbia – this is a train night, stupid I’m not. Before leaving the car I prepare – pull my drivers license and credit card, train tickets and cash: no need to carry everything I own.
My key chain seems to always have more on it than one would think necessary so car and house key are on one ring and all sorts of things are on the other. I remove a key from the everything ring and start to slide it on with the car and house key – the “real’ ring. The kids notice – there is not much they do not – and ask what That key is?
Now they have heard Phil’s name over the years, usually by accident, always fleeting, almost with shame, a mirror of my own insecurities. However a theme has emerged over the last few months, one sponsored by Carrie, welcomed by me, and tolerated by Phil: it is time for Phil to meet the family. Not in a Meet The In-Laws formal weekend visit: a more unstructured whenever the paths cross moment.
“What is the key for?” they ask again in unison. I answer simply: We will be in the vicinity of Phil’s apartment and in case we need a place to go – whatever the reason – it is good to have the key. “What if Phil is there?” I answer “Phil is not there.” “How do you know?” “Because I know where he is. And if he is there, you will meet him”
We did not need the key – I never expected we would – but what a liberating moment: his name spoken, not whispered, his existence and my key acknowledged. They may not have met tangibly last night, but in some sense I feel a bridge was crossed, more by me than by them. I suspect they had crossed that bridge a while ago – stupid they’re not.
Somehow it all seems to tie in: “Pride” is important, a group believing in itself, but I suppose that pride as reflected in our day to day lives is much more important for without that there never could have been “Pride”. And when one can banish shame, if only for a moment, there is a vacuum that pride will eventually fill.