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If I spoke about it, what would I tell you, I wonder?
Three years ago, you had to know that with the words “it’s over,” you’d rushed us to an end neither of us could have known was coming.
You’d turned your back while I’d struggled to get a word out, staggered by what you’d said, struggling to breathe, unable to say anything to call you back. You, on the other hand, moved with customary confidence, your shoulders set and strong as you confidently bounded away from me, your stride unfettered by gravity, it seemed, as you leapt up the stairs, bare-headed, jacketless, without an umbrella, even, to shield you from the cold, December-in-Seattle-rain that pelted the roof. As I watched you melt in the rain, I had to wonder – how could you be so sure?
Do you remember that on that day we were supposed to step out as a couple to my friends? We’d decided to just fly to Portland together, to tell them of our newfound love. We knew this would shock them; that word would quickly spread to my vacationing parents, and to my doting grandmother, who’d been heretofore unsuspecting of this aspect of myself. Well, I’d guessed this about myself before, but you’d unlocked it – spectacularly, I might add. For days, though, you’d feared my happiness about being with you would quickly fade in the face of the inevitable, withering backlash from my conservative family. That this would fuck up my life, at some level – you challenged me, “Could they cast you out?”
So you implored me to think hard about that and so many other things. And more than once, you’d tried to talk me out of coming out, that we should keep things quiet first; but I was on top of the world, and thought I’d won you over. I thought that we’d finally agreed to face them together, that you’d succumbed to my gentle talk about how happy they’d be for us, for me, once they’d gotten over the shock. Instead, you said …
“I’m not coming, I’m sorry. This is over. You’ll hate me, I know. But, trust me, it’s for the best. I’d rather you hate me, than they hate you. They’re your oldest friends. Then there’s your conservative family – they won’t be ready. You may not be, either.” You gently stroked my cheek, vainly trying to wipe the hot tears that wet my cheeks. Then after a soft, lingering kiss – you were gone.