So last night, sitting around with friends, drinking wine, I played around on a Facebook account. I don’t have my own account because I don’t really want the hassle, but that’s another issue.
I looked up old classmates and saw some people I’d known as teenagers, with grown-up pictures. It was kind of fun.
And then I saw a picture of my ex. He appears to be gay. Not just a little gay. A lot gay. Gayer than a field full of daisies wearing strap-ons. Gayer than springtime in Paris doing whip-its. Gayer than singing songs from the musical Oklahoma! while perusing window treatments. Yeah, gay.
At first I could only stare at the screen in consternation. Then I showed the picture to my friends, for confirmation.
“Does this guy look gay?”
“It’s the white shorts.”
“And the incredibly buff body, the kind that other guys check out.”
“Oh, and the fact that he’s got his arm around another man.”
Now, I am not saying that these things make him gay. But it did get me thinking.
We dated twice. The first time, I was a teenager. I broke up with him eventually after too many times of his prioritizing money for CDs and then having none to do anything with me. He was also becoming less communicative and spending more time with some sketchy downtown characters.
Eventually, he got into heavy drug use. We remained friendly, but I distanced myself. You know, because heroin addiction isn’t pretty, up close.
When he finally got clean, I supported his decision and encouraged him as much as I could. I was a right little cheerleader. As time went on, we grew closer. We talked about everything: Bodily functions, childhood traumas, the works. I dissected his relationships, he dissected mine. He was my best friend in the whole world. It makes me sad to think that he couldn’t say to me, “Liz, I like boys. That way.” I would have been startled, but then I could have said, “Okay. Well, then I think you should break up with your girlfriend. It’s only fair. Hey, what do you like in a man, anyhow?”
Needless to say, it didn’t happen like that. When he had been clean for three years, we started dating again. Three years, I figured I was safe. I figured I was home. After all, we spent most of our time together. We had more fun together than with anyone else. We were a wonderful team.
It was great for a while, really great. And then the problems started. He wanted to hang out with younger kids, kids who adored him, who saw him as cool. I found them boring and wondered if my breasts were too small. He stopped phoning when he said he was going to. I lost a lot of weight, because I was obviously too fat. Throughout this I was trying to talk to him trying to get back to the place where we could tell each other anything. He wouldn’t talk. He’d take me to an early movie and them meet his party kids to go to raves. I tried, but I thought they were boring and stupid, and I had to work in the morning.
I broke up with him. I was the only thing in his life that validated his existence as anything other than a complete wastrel, and I wasn’t going to settle for that. He had become the complete antithesis of everything he used to respect and strive for. And then I obsessed for a few months.
I wondered what I had done wrong. I must have driven him away, somehow. I must have done something that made me completely unlovable, right? Right? I blew it. I was the wrong woman for him, and no one was ever going to love me again.
Now, maybe I just had the wrong plumbing. If that’s the case, I feel sad that he couldn’t tell me that. I feel sad that it possibly caused his dependence on drugs. Mostly, I feel sad that we still live in a world where someone can be afraid to reveal their real sexual orientation, for fear of what others (and themselves) may think.