From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Felix Lee)
Subject: yesterday it snowed
Date: 06 Feb 1995 04:03:53 GMT
yesterday it snowed, just ankle-deep. my mom called, in the middle of
Babylon-5, so I had to tell her I'd call back when it was over.
I don't call my parents, ever. mom leaves me messages on the
answering machine. she doesn't say to call back, but I guess that's
implied. and sometimes when we talk she'll prod me about my poor
phone habits, saying "it would be nice if you called us sometime."
well, I don't call, because I never think of it, and I never have
anything to say. when we talk, it's subjects they bring up, and
awkwardly deflected questions about me, my career, my future. I don't
quite believe in the future, but this isn't something easy to explain
in casual friendly conversation.
but I do have something to say now. I want to tell them, "a month ago
I figured out that I'm gay."
I told this to my roommate wednesday night. it took me several
restless hours to work up the nerve. we've known each other 6 years
or so, roomed together maybe 3. he was stunned, but covered it well.
his reflex question was, "most people figure this out in college. are
you sure?" yes, I'm very sure. I spent a year worrying about it.
maybe I should be upset he asked, but it's a natural question, and no
big deal. what bothers me more is I know why it took me so long to
figure it out, but I don't know if I can tell this to anyone or not.
worrying over a secret is exhausting.
when I called my mom yesterday, we had our usual chitchat, and her
usual gentle probes into my social life, or lack thereof. she asked
when I would "settle down", and my flippant answer is "tomorrow". I
answer the same when relatives ask me when I'll get married.
in the shower, a little later, the incurable optimist within me said,
maybe she suspects already. maybe when she asks about girlfriends
she's waiting for me to casually mention a boyfriend instead.
but I doubt this is true. we talked about movies, and mom said there
were a few she wanted to see, but dad doesn't like to go. she said,
at our age, people see movies as couples, though sometimes people see
them with girlfriends. and she corrected herself: "I mean, girls go
with girl friends, and boys go with boy friends". not as couples.
so she doesn't even consider it. (the optimist pipes up: maybe she
does suspect; she's just afraid of my reaction if she brings it up.
some day, I'm going to pummel that optimist into submission.)
my roommate never suspected. partly because I did have a girlfriend
once, sort of. my parents know her too.
Angela says she tried to get me interested in her, but I'm not sure I
ever noticed. we were just good friends. she's in California now; we
still keep in touch.
after I told my roommate and went to bed, I heard him clicking away on
the keyboard, and I knew he was talking it out with Angela. I had
told her a week ago, in email. just dropped it as a casual comment,
because I knew she would take it well. she has a curious history of
wanting to date gay men. she was surprised but supportive, and we
traded a little about cute guys.
my roommate and I don't talk about it. for now, we seem to be
carrying on normally, like nothing's changed. I think this is okay.
the awkwardness has passed. we had never talked about relationships
much anyway. just stereotypical male-male talk, of an intellectual
bent. (cheering for talk.origins instead of football.)
that's two friends done. only one or two more to go. having a short
list of friends makes it easy. (acquaintances don't count. they can
find out whenever, and I don't care.)
I told my brother already. in email, which may have been a mistake,
but he took it well, much better than I expected. he's in college
studying music, and tells me he has friends who are gay, so it's
something he's thought about a bit already.
and then there's my parents.
I have the phone number of an aunt in Minnesota. she's a licensed
psychologist, specializing in play therapy. when my family went to
her son's wedding last August, we talked a little. she probed a
little about why I'm an underachiever, and why I don't socialize much
(and why I spent most of my time there playing with SimCity 2000 on my
and one question that she asked, after asking "are you interested in
any women", was a tentatively phrased "by any chance ... are you
interested in any men?"
I lied. it was easy. I said, "some, not much", the same way I
answered the other question. I didn't want to deal with it then.
she probably believed me.
so last night, after calling my parents, I dug up my aunt's card, and
was an anxious wreck for a few hours. I wanted to talk to her about
how my parents might react. I got as far as dialing her number. if I
had used the pushbutton phone, I might have carried through with it.
but the rotary phone gave me too much time to think, and I stopped at
the last digit.
I'm not sure why I stopped. but I told myself, I don't have to do
this now, and relaxed.
there's an extended-family reunion planned for this year, August. I
thought, maybe I can talk to my aunt then, and maybe I'll tell my
parents then. but it's probably a bad idea to do it then, trapped in
the Poconos with relatives I barely know.
and August is too far away. I think I want to tell my parents soon.
I almost could have told them at Christmas. in one of our random
conversations, when my mom asked "so what's new?" I realized I could
have told her I was gay, because it was true, not because of anything
that's when I accepted it.
here I am, a little over one month later, the post-cathartic glow
wearing off, and wondering what comes next.
I don't quite believe in the future.
sometime in early 1989, I decided to collect 1989 coins. any coins
that passed through my hands, I'd extract the 1989 ones, toss them in
a box, wrap them up in coin sleeves. when I stopped, sometime in
1993, I had over $200 of 1989 coins, mostly quarters.
mild obsessive-compulsive behavior. I told people I was trying to
collect _all_ 1989 coins. passed it off as a cute eccentricity.
I don't remember why I started, but I remember thinking at the time
that 1989 would be the last year before the world ended.
well, it didn't.
but I still don't know what sort of future I want for myself.
tomorrow is hard enough.
this has rambled on enough for now.
Felix, waiting for someone to yawn
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