Watching all the people crowding into Chick-fil-A made me look at my journal. How many of those people have experienced the feelings I've logged? At the end of the day, what is specifically gay-related, and what is human?
If being gay is poisonous, then my kitchen becomes a gas chamber at least once a week. My gay friends and I gather to talk about life, liberty, and the pursuit of our gay happiness. Usually our conversations are a fine combination of our hopes and let-down dreams. It is a Sunday tradition, sharing our secret gay hearts with each other. Sometimes our meetings transform into North Carolina's version of the broken hearts club. We speak about our failed relationships, or "relationshits," depending on the context. We ask each other about the possibility that any one of us could find a relationship, and who really knows?
I'd taken a break from caring for people; it simply hurts too much when you are repeatedly let down. My new, adopted mom says she can always tell when I am starting to date someone, because I am miserable. She says love is supposed to make us happy, give us energy, and make us feel good about ourselves. I had no idea what she was talking about. Goodness knows if my experience in foster care, the abuse, my travels, the errors made, half a life of almost 31 years squandered on trying to find myself weren't enough, then my relationships take the cake.
My partners and friends are blessed with the gift of utter transparency from me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. My intentions are clear and usually wrapped in cellophane.
This Sunday, however, I'll bring my friends a story of happiness, a story of meeting a diamond in the rough. Telling them happy news is not something I've done often, and I am usually cautious. Sometimes people come and go from my life so fast that I am afraid to get my hopes up.
In order to pass the acid test, I called my mom. When I'm in doubt, she's the person I call.
"Mom, I'd like to tell you that I'm in extreme like," I said.
I waited for the voice on the other end of the phone to chide me and tell me again that I am not allowed to date until I graduate from law school (although I haven't even been accepted anywhere yet). The silence at the other end of the phone seemed to last a lifetime, and I was certain that that was not a good sign. I sat and waited with a mixture of anticipation and dread.
"Tell me about him," my mom said calmly.
"He's pretty much everything that I've ever wanted, and I haven't even told him what I want," I told her. "I am enjoying his company and getting to know him as a person. Plus, I like kissing him."
"Just take it slow, but he sounds like a good person," my mom said.
My mother is no stranger to the game. She's been with me on the long and bumpy road to finding and surrounding myself with good people. There was the time I bought a car for a man who, I later learned, had another boyfriend and was merely buttering me up to take all that I had and much that I didn't. When I was stuck with the SUV and a broken heart, my mom merely asked, "What have you learned from this?" She never allows me too much time to sulk. "I have a whip," she playfully says. "You had better get busy. You have work to do."
It got to a point where my friends would introduce me to guys they were considering dating, and if I said, "Yes! I like him," they would know to dump the guy in question with the speed of light. I've just had bad taste in men. There is no need for a judge or jury on that question; it's just how it's always been. Until now!
It was like being broadsided on an idle Tuesday afternoon. I found myself hanging out with an acquaintance who became a friend with a strong potential for a lasting relationship. A friend opined, "I know you two are very fond of one another. He looks at you the way that I look at my boyfriend. You look at him the same way -- the way that I wished my boyfriend would look at me." All in all, I like the way he makes me feel. I enjoy the things he does and the way his mind seems to work. I like his friends and his messy bedroom. I like him when he wakes up in the morning. I like him for all his talents and his potential talents, and that is a rarity. Too many times, even in a friendship, I find myself sacrificing something or ignoring a reality that should tell me to run fast and far. But in a sea of users and bad choices, I have found someone who likes me for me. It makes a difference in how I see things; it gives me pep in my step and motivates me in ways I haven't known since I was a teen.
Have you ever been there? Is it different in the straight world?
Who knows how the story will end? And then again, why should it end at all? At long last, I'm happy to have met someone who gives me hope. I now understand what my mother means when she answers my whining about being single and unhappy for the rest of my life with this sage bit of advice: You only need one. It takes just one person who likes you for you to be the game changer.
That's all anyone can ask for, and all I'll ever expect out of companionship, and life.