April 04, 2012


Strut, fret, stamp, frown; walk it off, as if charley horses and broken hearts could be mended, alike.

Having been told that a city had taken my place in the heart of my no-longer-boyfriend, it seemed like a reasonable response to reclaim the one I'd grown up in, drowning out heartache with footfalls and preempting tears (that never came) with rain on cheekbones. So I went, across bridges, through liminal zonings, and into places I knew as if they were places I didn't; bearing headphones as social insulation and camera mostly out of force of habit.

With the world blocked out, I tried not to have imaginary conversations with the ex-lover in my head—mined from hindsight, those comprehensive and brutal archives scattered about the internet and the conversations I remember in all the places we exposed ourselves, figuratively and literally; both incomplete and exaggerated, it was the only place I could hope to find the barest insight. Though I knew it was a terrible idea, I prodded until the ache in my heart became a pit in my stomach, (like any other bruise that gets poked both to refresh the lingering painful memory of its origin and to assess the damage that still needs healing,) and wandered through days: glass-eyed and teetering, remembering to put a mask on in the appropriate places; working, slowly, towards feeling like an actual person again, and not some bearded shade, fuelled by bafflement and confusion and displeasure, yearning for an unknowable answer (as if knowing the whys or hows of a thing could make dealing with its fallout any easier.)

Throughout all this, my sister was in the hospital; her pregnancies having always been weirdly tense things, it came as little surprise that she'd been put on bed rest again, supervised to ensure minimal activity and shot full of things to address the problems that resulted in her admission and then shot full of some more things because lying around for a month solid results in a whole other host of issues. Also, there were blood tests and ultrasounds and various medical proddings scattered throughout, which meant that visits (daily, for as long as possible, usually after work and bearing better-than-hospital food,) were occasionally interrupted by some well-meaning and thankfully competent medical type person, sometimes shooing me away (what brother would want to know these things,) but also sometimes furnishing me with complexly technical discussions of what sort of things were going on as far as impending niece/nephew and/or the state of my sister's lady parts (see above re: what brother would want to know these things.)

In the midst of this, we got to talking: more and longer than we had in recent memory, and so my constant internal tug-of-war began anew, which, funnily enough, turned out to be a non-issue. Nestled deep in a conversation about why I was moving and how come I kept going to Toronto all of a sudden, my sister relayed an anecdote about our older brother: he kept tabs on her when she was my age (we've got an eight year gap,) while she was out without parental consent/knowledge and she would, accordingly, receive vague but supportive messages on her pager; stay safe, he'd say, I know where you are, let me know if you need a ride or things get weird. I'd never get these, she said, brotherhood being a different sort of beast (rendered stranger still by our nine year difference straddling a generational gap, to some extent,) but he worried, and he kept an ear to the ground, and when last summer rolled around and I kept leaving town for weddings (among other things,) they put their heads together, and found some things out. The short version: they knew I was gay, they'd known I was dating a man for about half the duration of our relationship, (from about I went to meet his parents—still a story for another time,) they were convinced I was moving to be closer to him and not for school, and they were concerned that this would be the end of me. Not in a death way per se, but in a self-exile no contact way; all of us will admit that we're not the fondest of each other but will freely fuck up whatever vector of discontent needs addressing, in the way of all siblings, really, and so the notion of leaving/cutting all ties over what turned out to be non-issues seems ridiculous, in retrospect.

Neither sibling was mad, or disappointed, or hurt; there was some surprise that I'd kept it from them for so long, agreement that keeping our parents in the dark was a necessity at the time but that they needed to hear about from me before they heard about it from someone else, and a low-level grudging admiration for having kept so much of it well-hidden for so long. I didn't ask about exactly how it came about; it seemed superfluous given what else I was being told and how much better I felt, being a little closer to no longer living a lie.

The rest of the week passed, the weather got better, and I did too, somewhat. I slept too little hammering out another one of these posts, and so I bailed on Friday post-work drinking after an early shift to slump on a couch and watch Avatar (the cartoon with the warrior-children; nobody is physically blue in it,) noting that buried in the back half of the final season of a kids show were surprisingly mature discussions of trust, communication, and ethics; I was going to talk about this to someone and then thought about drawing parallels and then laughed at myself, realizing that if I was suddenly drawing life lessons from kids shows (albeit excellent ones,) then maybe it was time to go drink in a house full of strangers. So we did.

1 comment:

alox said...

Less about other people, more about the person people who read this care most about: you.