It reminds me of the night of the Frugens’ intervention. Yes, that’s right. An Intervention.
It happened shortly after I’d blithely shared stories of childhood discipline meted out by my then menopausal Latin Piscean mother and rather Aqua Maddie brother, an unfortunate convergence of tempers that resulted in incommensurate punishments for my crimes.
I didn’t realize how serious this was till I saw the color high on his cheeks. It had been shortly after they’d met the Tin Man, whom they liked but had doubts over. The worry it seemed was because it had been a while since I had someone around me, as Frugen#2 would say when I protested to saying much about him rather demurely, "Nuh-uh-uh, sweetie, you better tell us what's going on. Right now. Are you telling him who you are or not?" They tended to view most men against the specter of the Sewer and it had not escaped them how all these years I’d been alone. And they wanted to be sure I wouldn't be..well, forever.
I gathered this was both a Come to Jesus/Don't Fuck Up talk.
I listened patiently and carefully chose my words, looking at the dinner dishes laid before us. If only it were just as easy to serve the truth. “Yes, I am,” I admitted slowly. “Men do frighten me to an extent, I often have to think of them as people first to disable that. Does it influence whom I choose or how I manage things? Perhaps. But not in any way that intends a design.” I paused - touched they’d gone to such extremes.
They understood what I meant. And it sat there on the dinner table as if I'd pulled out five little boxes of something. Frugen #2 interrupted my drifting thoughts, "But Angel, you're so strong and we love that about you, shouldn't that be the thing that anyone you choose should love about you too?"
They'd brought up the point of how on the very rare occasions they'd met someone I was with – to date only two over the span of five years, that I wasn't quite the gay man in a woman's body they saw me as..not as flippant, playfully flirtatious or sexually open as I was with them. Not as Alpha as they saw me. I sighed.
“But it’s safe to do that with you darlings,” I explained, “nothing comes of it. Besides there are things that can only be aroused by someone I’m with, and appropriately so, only quelled by them. I don’t want to be the man when I have someone who’s precisely that..and I don’t know where they are in the fairy tale.” They pursed their lips thoughtfully and nodded. Those straight people and their damn fairy tales.
This period, while observed, may reveal the exact opposite of being a prince or a princess. Mostly it reveals agendas so crafted and goal oriented that you wonder if people even see each other. Real love itself demands we accept the fire of truth, no matter how decimating it can be. To be real is to occupy your own truth, while seeing others for theirs. And embracing them through it.
Most people will never say, “I do not, will not or cannot love you because..” instead parceling out their hesitations in waning interest, flaccid conversations and a creeping ennui. It’s almost practice for the indifference that kills most relationships. It is the dull ache you feel when a lie is being told, yet no mouths open. It is the weight of pretending.
I’d overshot the fairy tale by about a million miles, but it wouldn’t be my place to destroy someone else’s. It did burden me with truth serum vision; sometimes I hated this lack of escape from the grit of things. How patterns would form easily for me, how you want to tell someone “stop, don’t” but you know it’s best they live it out for themselves. The truth comes with the responsibility of compassion.
I loved them for asking, but the questions made me wilt. Obviously it had got to the point where they felt compelled to say something. The Tin Man was mildly mannered, in fact, gentle in many ways. He has the sweet politeness Southerners are famed for and at the time they hadn’t yet experienced being told off by him, which when warranted he was apt to do. He had also sussed out my propensity for hiding, and rather aggressively took me to task for it.
“So like, I can’t find a lot about you,” he pointed out, “and what’s with not friend-ing me on facebook. That’s just weird.”
I was uncomfortable with this line of questioning, but replied that perhaps it was just better to experience me in situ. He scoffed at this and took to arguing the point with a battering ram. Over and over again. Ram, ram, ram.
After some time I eventually conceded. I hadn’t been pushed this far before, and it seemed he needed the information. I dragged myself through the inches between each piece, feeling my stomach drop as they got nearer to each other.
Would they fuse together, or fall apart into even tinier ones? When I finally sent him the friend request as of course I'd been difficult to find, he chastised me promptly, “now that wasn’t so bad, was it?”
Kintsukoroi. No, it wasn’t. Eventually.