Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Didn't ask, didn't tell
I feel like I should be sitting on a couch on a daytime talk show set as I write this, but I found out today that Desert Storm is gay. I am not referring to the military engagement, but to my ex-boyfriend who earned the nickname after our short, intense relationship that had many strange after-effects. He was hilarious, handsome, creative and a performer--the latter of which offered a vicarious thrill. We had great chemistry, great affection and great fun--until he did a kind of Jekyll and Hyde routine with bitterness, anger, put-downs and coldness. The worst part was that I bit my lip, and my tongue, and stayed. He had dealt with depression off and on and eventually went on meds while we were dating. I didn't want to leave him when he was down and out. After he started his prescription, he was much nicer to be around. The good parts of him stayed, the bad parts faded. I figured I had it made. Then he dumped me via a phone call litany of my sins against the church of him. Sins that ranged from partly true to exaggerated to outright false. I was crushed and wrote him two righteously angry letters in my defense. My letters caused him to ex-communicate me.
The break-up recovery was the hardest and longest I'd ever been through. Partly because it happened without real warning. Partly because I should have initiated it months before. I was mad at him and mad at myself. He'd let me down, but much worse was the fact I had let myself down. Eventually, strangely, we made our amends about a year later in the mosh pit of a rock concert that we happened to attend separately. He handed me a guitar pick that had been tossed into the audience. It was our peace pipe. I've saved the pick and all his notes and cards and a cool, little handmade collage gift box he made me and still have it all, tucked in a bottom drawer.
We would e-mail semi-annually for a couple of years. Then he surprised me by asking me out, out of the blue. It was one of those moments ex-girlfriends wish for: the offender returns, realizing what he has given up. I hemmed and hawed for a few, well, months, and he finally got the idea that I was leery. While it was tempting to reconnect, it was also tempting fate. The last time I saw him was over a year ago when his band played nearby. We had a nice talk after the show, hugged goodbye and had an awkward parting glance.
So, cut to today when a buddy who is linked into Desert Storm's mutual friend network called. She said she had big news about someone we both knew. I immediately thought, "Desert Storm's getting married." Close, but no cigar. Rather, it was the exit of a closet by my most infamous ex. And while I say gay, I must assume he's really bisexual since he was a true lover of the ladies and quite a lustful lad with me. Gay, bi, straight--whatever. When two people share their lives and their hearts for a length of time, their preferred sexual organs in a partner is really secondary. As long as no intentional deceit or abuse is at work, people are people. Souls are souls.
Did I suspect anything, the daytime show host would ask me about now. Well, he was in touch with his feminine side to be sure. The story he once shared that sticks out in my mind is the time he wanted to dress up as a certain female pop star for Halloween when he was about 11. Very My Life in Pink. And people who knew him casually would sometimes assume he was gay. So it's not a big surprise that he might like to take a walk on the non-hetero side.
The happy ending is that I'm happy for him. Our relationship will always be a little piece of his history, and that's nice to know. The fact that he came out actually helps me get some closure regarding my occasional "what if" musings. After all, the positive parts of that relationship were exactly what I picture the perfect relationship to be: snappy repartee, amazing chemistry, mutual cheerleading and shared creative expression. The negative parts of that relationship, not so much. But I do wish Desert Storm well and hope this will bring some added happiness, pleasure and peace to his life. I hope I can talk about this with him someday. Partly out of curiousity about what was the straw that made the camel Brokeback, partly because I still care. And still love him. And always will.