Carry on Tuesday

English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind wit...

English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue skies and the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Midway in life’s journey…

“My name is Joey, I’m thirty years old, married with a daughter named Sophia. We are a good family but sure we have more than our share of ups and downs. Who is happy all the time, right? I mean I know we aren’t. I never thought I would turn thirty, have a family and be out of a job but the economy sucks. I was laid off from my writing job at Music Magazine, a place where I have worked for over five years. Five loyal years of my life and now they lay me off. I hate my life now. My wife is a lawyer and we can pay the mortgage but that’s just not it. I put hours and hours in this damn company, screw the economy. “It’s not personal” my boss said, ”we’re laying off 20 people.” Is that supposed to make ME feel better? It doesn’t.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, my wife, Gabrielle and I have been fighting non-stop, I’m not even sure what we fight about anymore.  Gabby and I have been going at each other since we met, at least that’s how it feels to me. Sometimes, I feel furious when I even think of her and I don’t know why. Well, maybe I know. That’s when I feel my heart speed up and I scream out loud, I’ve even put a few holes through the wall but I am in no way proud of that, trust me.

Been hanging around with my friends Steve and Jack more, since I don’t have to be anywhere in the mornings. We usually go to bars or to the ballgame or just hand out at their house watching television.. It was really funny, last night we went to a gay bar. Steve and Jack are a couple and they asked me if I wanted to go. I  thought ‘why not?’ So we went in and after a while, a few guys asked me to dance. Of course, Steve and Jack were egging me on so I thought it would be fun. I danced and it was a blast. I felt free and I felt happy, happier than I have been in a long time.

I left the bar at 3 am and was not looking forward to Gabrielle’s interrogation, God, I hate that. She’s not my mother you know, I’m a grown up and can go out with my friends if I want to. Sure enough, she was sitting up in bed, her dark brown eyes looked black with fury. She starts screaming about “courtesy and marriage, and “why didn’t I call? ” Yeah, I know, I screwed up by not calling but after her screaming at me for so long, I stopped caring. Enough is enough. Everything inside me froze.

I’m midway in my life’s journey for my own truth and happiness and as I stood up from the bed something clicked in my head. That always happens when I have a very important thought or if I have reached my limit or made a very important decision. I didn’t say a word and Gabby was still screaming at me. Calmly, I went to the closet and got our old navy blue suitcase and started packing. I couldn’t speak but I cried, tears streaming down my face. Gabby didn’t even notice that I was crying which says a lot.

I started sobbing and shaking violently so I sat in my armchair, put my face in my hands and wrapped my arms around myself. I was moving side to side like a pendulum. Gabby was suddenly silent. She didn’t even ask if I was ill or was having a heart attack, she just sat there and stared. Through my cries of distress and anguish I managed to say “I’m so sorry Gabby, I’m so, so sorry” over and over again. Her face looked as if it had aged ten years. “You’ve always been suspicious and I’ve always denied it but I can’t anymore. I deserve to live a full and happy life.””Gabby” I continued, “I’m gay.”

The words lingered in the air, floating around the room like a helium balloon. Finally, I was able to let out a deep sigh, I felt so bad about hurting her but I felt amazingly light inside myself. “I will make sure to see Sophia, but don’t ask me to change who I really am.”  “I’m a gay man and I’ve lived a lie,” “but I can’t live with myself any longer playing this game. I love you and our daughter but it’s time now, truly time, for me to love myself.” With that, I lifted the suitcase, went to Sophia’s room and kissed her sleepy head and then slowly walked out and locked the door behind me.”

Carry Over Tuesday – “This is the life I wanted, and I could never see”

The ring of the telephone made Jane gasp and stumble in her excitement: “what should I say, what should I say?” because of course, “hello” was just so banal and at what pitch? He would know, wouldn’t he, that she had waited for him to call…. Her heart beat rapidly, she felt nauseous and couldn’t eat a thing.  The butterflies in her stomach had turned into tarantulas; this happened every single time she waited for him to call, and she never knew when it would be. She finally ran to the phone: “Hello?” she sputtered. “Janie, Hi, it’s Steve” he said casually. “Oh, HI,” she said, drawing out the whole one syllable, all forms of pretense gone. Jim chuckled, somewhat unkindly, on the other end. “Say, he said casually, are you interested in going to dinner and a movie Saturday night?” She tried to sound cool but it wasn’t working, this was like a game they played: “sure” she said, what time?” He said”I’ll pick you up at seven.” “Okay” she swooned, see you at seven, bye.”

Jane spent the next two hours calling her friends from her pretty pink princess telephone and discussing what she should wear, what she should say, do, how she should act. She was in love with him and even though her friends were always warning her that he was a “ladies man” she was sure he was the man for her. She even asked her friends to sleep over Friday night so they could discuss her strategy and she could model some outfits for them. All of them were still dating their high school boyfriends but Jane had broken up with her high school boyfriend. She had outgrown him, she didn’t want to keep dating the same person she had gone out with in high school. She was too mature for that.

It was Saturday, the girls had slept over and they all had decided that Jane should wear her black skirt, black stockings and flat black boots. She would wear the striped black and green shirt and she had borrowed big, gold earrings from her best friend Stacey. Jane didn’t realize that she made her friends do this each time they went on a date. She felt great, excited and yes, a nervous wreck. She was always nervous before a date with Steve.

She looked at the clock, it was ten minutes to seven, he would be here any minute. She couldn’t wait, she knew he was the guy for her. He was a tiny bit unreliable with time but no one was perfect. She paced up and down the same steps to the hallway and back, it must have been at least fifty times, maybe a hundred.  Finally, she sat back down in the living room, on the beige couch and waited some more. She looked at her watch, it was already 7:20, ‘traffic,’ she thought. ‘He’ll be here in a second, what did they expect on a Saturday night in the city?’ It was now 8:50 with no word from him; she started to worry: ‘something must have happened to him, a car accident, something really bad.’

At 11:15 the phone rang and it was him. She was so worried and so relieved to hear his voice that nothing else mattered, he was alive and safe. “Sorry babe, things came up but I’m coming over now.” “Yes!” she said enthusiastically, “Come now.” Once he arrived, they were like lovebirds, kissing and touching each other on the couch, ravenous for each other. He explained nothing and she asked him nothing, all that mattered to her was that they were finally together.

In the morning, he went home and she kissed him good-bye. She was on an absolute high, she had gone from being depressed, worried and upset before he arrived  and after, she was swooning, high with his love, passion and his undivided attention. This is the life she craved and wanted, the great highs that she only experienced when she was with him, her girlfriends didn’t understand this at all. They all called her to ask her how the date went and when she tried to explain to them exactly what happened, they individually hung up in disgust. “This is NOT how a man treats a woman, her best friend said.” Her friend Rachel said:”You let him in after all that time and no excuses? That’s unacceptable.” Jane tried to explain but they cut her off, “There are no excuses her “smart” friend Paula told her, except the entire dissemination of his family ” She didn’t get it either. ‘What did she know, she didn’t even HAVE a boyfriend.’

She told them each pointedly the next time they all got together: “This is the life I want, this is the life I choose; I could never see myself living in your droll, miserable lives with the same person and the same boring things you have done during high school and will do the rest of your lives.” Janet continued to go out with Steve, craving excitement, accepting the manic highs and the very lows of their unsteady relationship.

Jane never heard from her high school friends again; Jane went out with Steve for another two years, off and on, until one day he just never showed up again. She never heard from him or saw him. She kept dating the same kind of guy, unavailable, unobtainable guys that were a thrill to date, but they never hung around for very long. Jane thought, ‘you can’t have everything’ and surprisingly, in a way, her old girlfriends said the same thing and they both were right.

The Start Of Good-Bye

In two weeks my son will graduate from High School and head to his summer job, after that he will be going to college. This is harder than I thought it would be. It’s also brand new and I’ve never been too good with change.

Simple yet elegant prom corsage

I literally want to sink my head into my folded arms on my cheerful, flowery bedspread and cry. I want to cry loud and hard enough to erase the pain of change and sadness, new beginnings and endings. I want to cry for all the graduating seniors that will say good-bye in two weeks to their life-long friends, their girlfriends, their boyfriends, their parents, siblings, dogs, pets. I want to cry for me, I want to break down in unwavering sobs because it feels like I am losing my son to the future and I know that things will never be the same. Already, the “Seniors” have changed you can see it on their faces. Next year, my baby, my daughter will graduate High School as well.

I am a fluctuating emotional mess, happy, sad, crying, excited and miserable.  It is after prom and before graduation; it is the time in-between. The Pre-Prom party was at my son’s girlfriend’s lovely home. For me, it was like a Hollywood set, the girls with their glowing, shiny faces and beaming smiles, the sun streaming down on the back lawn highlighting their hair. Girls in long dresses of all colors: fuchsia, beige, royal blue, gold, gorgeous girls, each one of them, with the light in their eyes dancing, their faces sparkling. Their wrists adorned by delicate  wrist corsages awkwardly put on by their dates. I have known some of these girls since they were four. The young men in their tuxedos, stand tall and proud, handsome and mature. It felt like the tuxedo added years of wisdom and maturity to them.They stood brave and beaming, handsome and charming, strong and proud, very proud. Each one had a boutonniere shakily attached by nervous girls with manicured fingers.  My son posed willingly with the three best friends he has grown up with, solid friends, forever friends. He posed with his girlfriend, he posed with his family. This was a boy who refused pictures taken of him since he was nine.

These were not boys and girls anymore, here stood young men and young women going off very soon, to follow their dreams. Even though as parents we try to be prepared for the good-byes, it still hurts us. Like pieces of our heart literally being chipped off never to be repaired exactly like it was before. Our hearts still work but differently. With the young men and women’s new-found freedom, so too, comes pain. As a parent, not being able to prevent that pain is horrible yet I know, being a good parent means just that, letting them go solve their own problems, make their own mistakes.

As a mom, I am on an emotional roller coaster. Am I grieving beforehand like I usually do? Merely picturing graduation makes me wince. When my son actually leaves for college, I hope I will be just fine but anticipation is truly my downfall. I look at the photos I took of Pre-Prom over and over as if I will learn something new each time. Yet, every time I see the photos I see the same thing, utter, unblemished joy and happiness. As a parent, I wish that these things would continue but I know in a mere two weeks a lot of that joy will become heartache. It doesn’t seem fair does it? That is what growing up is all about, I’m afraid, there are always trade-offs.

These youngsters have precious little time to say good-bye to all their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends. I don’t envy their losses but I am happy for their new adventures. Tonight, on a dark and windy evening, I dread my own loss. My son is one of the nicest people I know, he is moving on and I will miss him. I love this boy of mine and in addition, I truly like him. Follow your dreams, first-born, the world will be a better place with you in it. That, I know, for certain. We will always be here for you, will always love you and support you unconditionally, when you are ready to leave, place that in your heart forever.

Ah, Roommates

Utterly Alone

Image by Michelle Brea via Flickr

You mean UGH, ROOMMATES? Don’t you?

The one word you or your college student should fear when they get the information from their chosen school is “TRIPLE.” It’s what happened to me when I applied to college, many, many years before Naviance even existed. We applied by mail, we knew the admissions department’s response by the thickness or the thinness of the envelope. Things were different way back then… my daughter likes to say “when the dinosaur’s roamed.”

When I was admitted to college I was unfortunate to be assigned to a triple, 3 girls, one small room. Another phrase for that would be “hell on earth.” I was the big city girl, the two others were from teeny, tiny towns, population probably at the 400 mark. I was doomed right from the start.

I was waiting to be let into the dorm, I was the first one in line. It didn’t occur to me that I wouldn’t have my choice of beds, why wouldn’t I? I waited, for the official starting time. Rejoice! I could pick the bed I wanted. I went to my assigned room and once there saw someone’s coat and belongings lounging on the single bed. Apparently not every one was as rule conscious as I was. Apparently, since I was the first in line, one of the girls, apparently, had sneaked into the dorm the night before and laid claim to the single bed. I was absolutely stunned, confused and thought that was unfair;  I was also very naive.

The two roommates bonded in an instant, two small town girls with nothing on their minds but boys, boys and well, boys. I found myself sitting outside in the hallway a lot when the two girls were….ummm…entertaining, their individual boyfriends of the week, on their separate beds, together. The hallway floor and my soft blue and white one piece, zip-up robe became friends. The RA (Resident Assistant) couldn’t really do too much about it although she did offer me a seat on her bed once in a rare while.

As soon as I could, I asked for a transfer but it took months. Finally, I had a new roommate that was great but then, after a while, she left. The rest of the short semester I had a single. I loved it, every single, second of it. Call me antisocial, it felt like heaven.

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