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Mom, I'm Gay
by Jonathan Cook

I had always known that something was different with me. I never really thought much about it though. I thought that I was normal. For as long as I can remember, this was the way I felt. As I grew older, I began to realize that what was normal for me, wasn't normal after all. To conform to the standards of society, I denied my feelings to myself, and to everyone else. I got married right out of high school to a girl I had met only three months prior. We married in August, moved to the mountains, and began our lives together, and honestly, I was content. Four years and two kids later, the marriage ended with infidelity on her behalf, and I was devastated. I had loved a woman, and created a family with her, and everything was alright. The feelings I once fought with were pushed back, life was happening all around me, and I had been so careful to not become another statistic of marriage. Above all that, I had remained content. None of that mattered though, she had made up her mind, and I was just a victim of circumstances beyond my control. I began to pick up the pieces, and move on with my life. There were many obstacles to overcome along the way, but I refused to hang my head. I turned to the only place I knew of for comfort, my mother.

My mom, a prior divorcee herself, and I made a deal. We would buy a house together, and it would just be the two of us. That was fine with me, I knew that I would never get married again, because I had already taken my one shot, and I had failed. A second time around was completely out of the question for more than one reason. Not just because I had been hurt, not because I really had no interest in women, but because I had children to think about, and to bring someone else into their lives, to me, would be selfish on my behalf. So into a two bedroom house I went, with my mother as my roommate.

After about two years, I became comfortable dating again, and there were several women that I went out with, but I remained distant from all of them, never getting too close, and always breaking it off for some lame reason whenever I felt as if the relationship was getting too serious. Four years went by, and the contentment I once had while being married was replaced with contentment from being single. I was satisfied not having anyone romantically.

That all changed one night at a party I reluctantly attended, just for the sake of a friend. A little alcohol, dim lighting, and sheer nerve, I went over to him, and began making small talk. I had never met him before, but I knew of him, and I knew he was gay. We talked for the remainder of the evening, and before I left, I gave him my number and told him to call if he wanted to go out sometime. I honestly didn’t think he would call, I thought to myself on the way home, but I was really overcome with a sense of belonging, and I know there must have been a smile on my face as I drove home in the night, and laid in my bed completely astounded at the chance meeting that had temporarily brought so much happiness to me.

The next morning when I awoke, I found myself in a daze, consumed by thoughts of this man I had met the night before, longing to talk with him again. I felt foolish and immature for desiring him so much. Never in my life had I felt like this, and I wanted to feel like this forever. I’m not saying it was love at first sight, I didn’t even know I could love a man in that way, but I knew it was something that sparked emotions in me that I didn’t even know were there.

As the day passed on, I replayed the previous nights events in my mind, and then, as the sun was setting, the phone rang. It was him. “I have to see you tonight” he said. We met later that night for dinner, and talked and laughed, and shared our feelings with one another, and I told him my story of living “straight”, and my fears of coming out. He understood, and told me to wait until I felt that the time was right. Over the course of the next week, we met nightly, and for the very first time in my life, contentment was replaced with happiness.

I had never known this feeling before. I had read about it in Emily Dickinson poems, I had seen it portrayed in Hollywood movies, and I even knew some people who had experienced it firsthand, but I was completely oblivious to its existence. I was beginning to love in a way that I had never loved before. I had to tell someone how I was feeling, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t let anyone know that another man was making me feel like this. Who could I tell, that my whole life had been a lie. Once again, I turned to the only place I knew of for comfort, my mother.

I rehearsed the speech in my room for hours, contemplating her reaction, and coming up with defenses for them. I played the whole conversation out in my head over and over. There I was, 26 years old and scared as hell to tell my mom that I had found happiness in another man. How would she react? Would she be upset, and angry with me? Would she be disappointed? I couldn’t put it off any longer and I reassured myself that it would be alright. I walked into her bedroom, and sat at the foot of her bed. I felt tears welling up in my eyes, and I could feel the lump in my throat getting bigger as I tried to find the words I had rehearsed for hours before. How could the thing that brought so much happiness to me, also bring so much shame and guilt?

“Mom, I have something that I need to tell you,” I said. She sat up in the bed with a concerned look on her face.

“What is it, Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, there’s just something I need for you to know.” “I’m gay, mom.” The tears that had a moment ago been a glazing in my eyes, were now running down my face, and the lump that was in my throat had become an emptiness in my stomach.

“Its alright baby, its okay” “You’re my son, and I love you,” she said. We hugged, and I went on to tell her about the guy I had met, and how he had brought so many new feelings into my life. I sat on my mothers bed, confiding in her my newly found love life, talking, and laughing, and then she went to sleep, and that was that.

I had found true happiness, and for the first time in my life, I was free, completely free. I had told the one person that mattered the most, and the acceptance she offered made it easier to tell others. So I did, little by little, I began telling the people that mattered the most to me, and not one person rejected me. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family and magnificent friends, and daring to be different, has made me realize this fact even more. Finally, at 26 years old, I had found my place in this world, and I know I am where I belong.

Published: Jul 22,2008 05:27
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