What a ______ World -- Page 5Mature

Rosa cocked her head to one side and peered at me, lips pursed in thought. Is she as pretty as me?, she asked a little flippantly.

I put my hands on my hips and gave a mock-exasperated huff, sitting up slightly higher on my feet and knees, then brought my hands back up to sign. “I am not going to compare my crushes,” I responded, with emphasis on the 'not'. I put my hands back on my hips and mock-glared at Rosa, both of us trying not to smile. I hoped I was more successful than she was. I could still hear noises coming from the other room, and soberly reminded of the situation and my mission at distraction, I continued my story.

“Anyway, it was during a really bad part of my relationship that I got in contact with her again. My ex was … is … very sensitive and has problems with depression. At that stage in our relationship he hadn't been working due to depression and I was the only income even though we owned our own place – like I said, it's a long story – so things were strained. Now I wonder if his depression wasn't somehow related to my feeling that things weren't going well and he somehow picked up on it, or maybe he wondered if it was his fault. Regardless, it was weakening this house of cards that I built for myself of what I thought I was, and seeing that crush from high school was the gust of wind that blew the whole thing down.” I sat lost in memories for a moment, staring off into space. I brought my hands down to rest them in what I thought was my lap, but Rosa's lap was in the way and I didn't notice at first. She rested her hands on mine for a bit and her touch brought me back from my reverie. I smiled at her.

Did you date her?, Rosa asked, lifting her hands from mine.

“No, she was taken,” I answered, “but I was surprised to learn that she was gay, too. I think that probably helped my own realization. I had never met a gay woman that I could relate to or identify with before that, and I think that was important for me.” Rosa snorted and signed her agreement vigorously.

I smiled and then sobered up, remembering the next part of the story. “The first person I came out to,” I said/signed slowly, a little painfully, “was my husband.”

I swallowed and Rosa held a comforting hand to my cheek, the clatter of books on shelves coming from the other room and washing over us, though neither of us noticed the noise. “It was one of the hardest things that I've ever done in my life, telling him that. I didn't want to hurt him. I cared about him. I wanted him to be happy, but … I didn't think I was the person who could make him happy. It took me a long time to work up to the point where I could tell him. I don't remember how long, my sense of time in that period of my life was ... skewed ...” I paused to spell the word. “... from all the sick dread and panic. It felt like it took forever to accept internally that I was gay myself, and then to work up the courage to tell him, but it was probably only a week or two.”

I took a deep breath and continued, spelling the words I didn't know without thinking. “But no other choice was feasible. Now that I realized what was going on I couldn't continue living a lie, not to myself or to him. I had to be true to myself. I couldn't keep burying my feelings and pretending that everything was ok, because it very obviously wasn't.”

I blinked and smiled wryly at Rosa, continuing. “And that's when I came out to her, my high school crush, and she told me in no uncertain terms 'no' and that she was taken.” I shrugged, and signed/said, “But that wasn't all that important. I mean I was disappointed at being rejected, but I wasn't leaving my marriage for this one girl. I was leaving my marriage because it was the wrong marriage. The wrong type of marriage even. No single girl or relationship or rejection mattered against that. It was step one of the rest of my life.” I paused for a minute, briefly at a loss for words and unsure how to end the story. After a bit I shrugged again and continued, “And so ... that's basically it. That's the whole story.”

I looked at Rosa to gauge her reaction, and she signed to me, Was that the worst breakup with an ex you've had?

Involuntarily I laughed. “I've only ever had one ex,” I told her.

She looked shocked at me, disbelieving. You've never had a girlfriend before me? I'm your first?

“Yep, you're my first girlfriend. I spent most of my life living in the wrong kind of marriage and I'm never going back.” And then I leaned in and gave her a quick kiss on the lips.

The End

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