Bruce Garrett Cartoon
The Cartoon Gallery

A Coming Out Story
A Coming Out Story

My Photo Galleries
New and Improved!

Past Web Logs
The Story So Far archives

My Amazon.Com Wish List

My Myspace Profile

Bruce Garrett's Profile
Bruce Garrett's Facebook profile


Blogs I Read!
Alicublog

Wayne Besen

Box Turtle Bulletin

Daily Kos

Mike Daisy's Blog

The Disney Blog

Disney Gossip

Brad DeLong

Dispatches From The Culture Wars

Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia

Envisioning The American Dream

Eschaton

Ex-Gay Watch

Hullabaloo

Joe. My. God

Made In Brazil

Peterson Toscano

Progress City USA

Slacktivist

Slacktiverse

SLOG

Fear the wrath of Sparky!

Truth Wins Out Blog

Wil Wheaton



Gone But Not Forgotten

The Rittenhouse Review

Steve Gilliard's News Blog

Steve Gilliard's Blogspot Site



Great Cartoon Sites!

Howard Cruse Central

Tripping Over You
Tripping Over You

XKCD

Commando Cody Monthly

Scandinavia And The World

Dope Rider

The World Of Kirk Anderson

Ann Telnaes' Cartoon Site

Bors Blog

John K

Penny Arcade




Other News & Commentary

Amtrak In The Heartland

Corridor Capital

Railway Age

Maryland Weather Blog

Foot's Forecast

All Facts & Opinions

Baltimore Crime

Cursor

HinesSight

Page One Q
(GLBT News)


Michelangelo Signorile

The Smirking Chimp

Talking Points Memo

Truth Wins Out

The Raw Story

Slashdot




International News & Views

BBC

NIS News Bulletin (Dutch)

Mexico Daily

The Local (Sweden)




News & Views from Germany

Spiegel Online

The Local

Deutsche Welle

Young Germany




Fun Stuff

It's not news. It's FARK

Plan 59

Pleasant Family Shopping

Discount Stores of the 60s

Retrospace

Photos of the Forgotten

Boom-Pop!

Comics With Problems

HMK Mystery Streams




Mercedes Love!

Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz TV

Mercedes-Benz Owners Club of America

MBCA - Greater Washington Section

BenzInsider

Mercedes-Benz Blog

BenzWorld Forum

March 6th, 2016

Peace And Quiet

It was after you sent those last photos of your wunderbar vacation that I felt something had changed inside me. Skiing isn’t exactly a risk free sport and I’ve fretted often about your safety on the slopes. This time it was different. For one thing, you sent me those photos right after I’d suggested I might be coming down to your neck of the woods for a short vacation, which I needed desperately. You’d been so quiet and then all of a sudden it’s Look At My Lovely Ski Photos With My Honey.

Yes, yes… It wasn’t hard to figure you sent me those to keep me away. I’m on vacation now Bruce, so don’t bother coming down. But you weren’t. I made a bet with myself that you’d be there after all. And you were. For all I know those shots were from some other trip you took years ago.

But that was just the first flew flakes that started the avalanche. All there is after that is a hopeless longing for something that’s dead and that’s how people fall into abusive relationships. And I had already started to be afraid that was what this had become. Right from the start your teasing had an element of belittlement to it. The gay kid who accepted himself and went on to live in the world for better or worse as the person he was just couldn’t be allowed to stand taller than the one who fled into the closet. I had to be taken down a few notches to stand in your presence.

It was getting old. Another kid from our school, ironically another youngest brother in another family of Germans who came to this country, used to like doing that to me too. He did it all through school and like you, vanished from my life without a trace, only to come back into it decades later with a big chip on his shoulder for working on the space program and driving a Mercedes-Benz, while he was living in a shack in the attic of a decayed theater in Pennsylvania, and working off some sort of community service at a Mennonite kitchen. As if the kid who was raised by a single working mother and went to school in second hand clothes would ever hold someone’s economic status against them. I had to tell him to go away. Thank you for not making me do that to you.

Freedom! Thank you for not being a possessive narcissistic dick and letting me go. I was worried right up to the end that you would try some manipulative thing and smack me down while keeping me on the hook. Yes, I pushed it. It was deliberate. Because I needed closure. I’m too old now for this shit.

I spent 33 years searching for you. And all that time I thought you’d be the braver one. The stronger one. And you weren’t. You made your allegiances as you told me a few months ago, and all they asked in return was that you let them put a knife in your heart. And you did. Last November the last thing I heard as I left was you complaining that you’d let yourself get trapped in a life you didn’t want. I did it to myself… you kept saying as I left. I would have liked to have talked it out with you but that was on the other side of the fence you’d put up so I kept my mouth shut. And anyway, where else was the guy going who told me a few years earlier that he couldn’t tell sometimes who it was he was looking at in a mirror? My last blog post creeped you out did it? Let me guess where…

But teasing is only fun when there is a bedrock of honesty between friends and you don’t want me that close.

Honesty. That’s what they try to kill in us gay kids first. We have to hate ourselves. That means we have to lie to ourselves. And once you start that, it’s hard to know when you’re telling the truth to anyone else, let alone yourself. You told me once that when I’m on my deathbed it won’t be all the times I had sex I’d be thinking about. Well that would depend on how much I’d loved them I suppose wouldn’t it. Yes, actually thinking back to those times I spent in the arms of someone I was deeply in love with would be a lovely way to go out. I can tell you this though: when I’m on my deathbed what I won’t be thinking about is all the people I could never let see the real me.

What I realize now is I spent 33 years searching for you, and I found myself. When I found you again I was desperate to prove to you that I wasn’t the awkward little dweeb you saw back in school. So I babbled on and on about the work I did for the space program, about the stuff I did fighting for gay equality, until you told me not to talk about any of that in case your wife heard it. I gave you things from work, beautiful Hubble photos of the stars and galaxies, and mission patches. I showed you my artwork and my photography. I was trying to prove myself worthy. And all that time it never dawned on me that I’d Actually Done All That.

Falling in love with you back in high school made me believe in the honor and the dignity and the righteousness of gay love and romance. I could have ended up like so many of our generation, hating myself, living hand to mouth in a cocoon of self loathing, believing such as me did not deserve any better. I have seen so much of that…so terribly much of that. I escaped it thanks to loving you. Or rather, loving the brave, intelligent, noble heart I thought was you. So now you close the door tightly shut on me and I honestly have to say Thank You again, for showing me that I wasn’t the one who had anything to prove after all. And maybe I wasn’t such a little dweeb back then either. Back then it was hard to believe someone like you would even notice me.

I had to scramble all through young adulthood to find work because whenever the boss detected Teh Gay in me I was shown the door. But I kept walking forward. And now I’m a system software engineer working on the James Webb Space Telescope, and a published editorial cartoonist, and a recognized photographer who still gets the occasional newspaper or wedding photography job. I designed and wrote the code for this web site, all but the WordPress blog you are reading now, and even there I’ve tweaked the code a tad where I needed it to do something it wouldn’t out of the box. I might not have accomplished everything I set out to do, but I’ve accomplished a lot, and in some instances way more than I ever dreamed, and I’m not the one bellyaching about the life I’m leading now.

I’ve been living as an out gay man nearly all my life. I came out to myself when I was 17 years old, accepted myself for what I am, two years before the shrinks decided homosexuals weren’t mentally ill after all. Yes, I kept it low key for most of the 70s but I never once dodged a direct question and never lied to anyone about it, back in a time when I could be, and was, multiple times, fired for being a homosexual. I can still remember the day when I was a teenage boy and I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and said to my reflection I Am A Homosexual after I’d read some crackpot that said admitting it was the worst thing a man could do. On that day forty-seven states still had sodomy laws on their books. I used to dig up every failure of nerve I ever had when I came to visit you. What I should have done was remember all those times I was blind-sided by The Question and I had to make a sudden snap decision about being closeted or not. Yeah I was afraid. But I never held back. Because by then I could see something with frightful clarity.

The closet is not a safe space.

It is not a comfort zone. It will not protect you. It only protects bigotry and hate. Our silence, gives them permission to suck all the joy and exuberance out of our lives. Our silence gives them permission to make their stepping stones to heaven out of our hopes and dreams.

I wasn’t about to go there. Yes, it was a struggle. Some days I thought I had no viable future ahead of me. But I persevered. And I’ll tell you what…even in the depths of poverty, living hand to mouth in a friend’s basement, I never once considered going back into the closet as a solution. I just couldn’t see myself lying to myself, let alone to others. Because I knew down to the bone there was nothing wrong with being gay. I always had falling in love with you to look back on, and remind myself that life is good after all. 

Then I found you again. And for a while it was wonderful. But in these last few years you put toning it down as the price for your company. Something happened to you. Something changed. And you let them put a leash on you. And that meant I had to wear it too if I wanted to stick around. And I acquiesced because every time I stood before you I turned back into that awkward little teenage dweeb, all shy and amazed that you would even talk to me. Slowly but surely you nudged me into a closet I once swore I’d never live in. It was becoming corrosive. I had to push it. Because I Am Not That Anymore.

Truth be told, I saw this coming years ago. I just didn’t want to believe the guy I fell so madly in love with once upon a time wasn’t the brave, strong, noble heart I thought he was. I wish I could go back in time and show the kid I was then the adult you turned into. Yes, you’re married. Lots of gay men of our generation are. And many of them love their wives dearly. And it is not in my heart to judge any of them, or you, for it. We live the hand we’re dealt. All you can do is try to make it a better world for the next generation. I was perfectly fine with ours being a long distance friendship and nothing more. It would have been a dream come true. I live in Baltimore. I have the best job in the world and a little house of my own. You live here and have the life you have. We’re nearly a thousand miles apart. It seemed to me that it was for the best. Distance would keep either one of us from causing any trouble to each others lives. We might never be as close again as we were back in school, but life goes on. It could have been wonderful, even so. But you were afraid of even that little contact between us if it had to be honest, and when it came to my having to closet myself just to be your acquaintance then I had to make a choice between self respect and honesty. And that’s a choice I have a Lot of experience making by now. It’s Easy. You choose honesty because there is no other way. Except you didn’t at some point long ago. And now you’re stuck.

Well I’m not getting stuck with you. Not even with you. You should have expected this. I should have expected this.We needed to both open our eyes to each other’s reality.

Different metals behave differently in the fire. You want peace and quiet. I want a life. We went our separate ways long ago. They say men don’t change, they reveal themselves. I wish I’d never seen it, but on the other hand it’s better that I have. When I was seventeen shy little awkward dweeb that I was I deserved better than you. I’m 62 and I’ve lived a lot of life and seen a lot of things and struggled to achieve a lot of things and crashed and burned a bunch of times and soared among the stars other times and I sure as shit deserve better than you now.

And the really achingly sad thing is that you deserve better too. But…we make our own beds.

Your peace and quiet begins now does it? No.

Mine does.

Comments are closed.

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


What I'm Currently Reading...




What I'm Currently Watching...




What I'm Currently Listening To...




Comic Book I've Read Recently...



web
stats

This page and all original content copyright © 2015 by Bruce Garrett. All rights reserved. Send questions, comments and hysterical outbursts to: bruce@brucegarrett.com

This blog is powered by WordPress and is hosted at MomoWeb. Some custom design was done by Winters Web Works. Some embedded content was created with the help of Adobe Photoshop for MacOS and/or The Gimp. I proof with Firefox on either Windows, Linux or MacOS depending on which machine I happen to be running at the time.