May 2000

May... Doesn't seem like it.

My life has been so screwed up lately, and my orientation has only been the half of it. But, that's what I'm here to talk about, and I'm way overdue anyway.

That meeting never happened between me and that Ohio guy. I realized it couldn't happen without telling my parents. They knew about me, but didn't care, it was suddenly too dangerous. Crap. I'm sort of over it, just feeling down again.

This column won't be about all that, though. I found out something today that flips my entire world.

I guess first I'll have to give you some back story, I used to run a web site, and write columns similar to these kind, only I wasn't really into my sexuality then, still questioning, denying, whatever, so it never came up. I did write about my cousin, though. His name was Russel, and he's been one of the worst and best experiences I've ever had in life, I'm not sure which. As a child he was the big cousin I looked up to, and now as the teenager he's the former friend I sort of despise. I'm not sure if I do anymore, but hell, I'm so confused, anyway. Here's the article I wrote, and I'll explain more after. This was written earlier in my junior year, I'm a senior now.

David File #7... A loss never to be regained.

I went to my aunt and uncles this weekend. I used to call it going to my cousins. That's changed I guess. I remember every summer I would go and stay a week or two with my cousin. He was a good 2 years ahead of me, but we got along cool. I supposed I looked up to him.

I don't remember the last time I stayed, I think it was going into 6th or 7th grade. I don't know why exactly I didn't go back the following summer... It could be that he was going into high school and it wasn't all that cool anymore, I dunno, he wrote me and everything seemed ok.

Whenever we visited after that, it was the same amount of welcome and talk as usual, but then something happened. The last time I remember having any kind of talk with him was when he came down with his family to spend the night so he could go over and preview a college. I was in 9th grade. He was in 12th. We didn't see each other for the rest of the year, and suddenly he was off to college.

New Year's Eve, sophomore year, freshmen in college for him. We were staying the transition at my uncles. I didn't really get to see him. Well, I did, but it was later on. His parents put me in the basement (don't worry, it's a cool place, big screen tv, surround sound..) And he came home and I guess wanted to sleep down there with some of his old high school friends. I moved, and that was that. I went upstairs and was put in his room, and just sitting there on the bed, he came in looking for something I guess. His date or girlfriend or whatever was with him, I looked up and said, hi(I think, it was something along those lines), and he said "Yeah" and his girl looked up and smiled. His tone wasn't bad, It was just kind of.. Yeah. It was mediocre friendly. And that was it. I passed him in the halls a couple of times. Said, "hey" once in the basement, but got no response or anything. He seemed really, well, I dunno. Stuck up was my first impression. But I can see past that, right? I can see past that to the cousin I used to dance to New Kids on the Block too, right? I looked, but found nothing. I can't SEE ANYTHING. Where'd you go?

Oh yeah, back to this weekend. He wasn't home, had gone back to college for his second year. I'm on my junior in high school. So my family plus all the other relatives split for the festival, I decide to chill at their house. One of my other cousins and her hubbie plus friends came by, but they left eventually. I had only been in a few rooms lately, and others I had been in many times, but many years ago. So I was re-exploring the house, but when I came to his room, I hesitated. I opened the door and looked in. Something hit me. I don't know what, but it knocked me back. Suddenly I seemed a lot smaller. I was looking into his room, but the barren "I'm not living here but keep my memory" look was fading, and a familiar more lived in bunk bed room was returning. And there I was, sleeping under some blanket with a giant cheetah on it. I looked so serene. I guessed I was about... fuck if I know, a lot younger. And my cousin was there on the other bed, sleeping as soundly. I continued my tour of the newly looking house, and looked at somewhat unchanged bedrooms and other rooms.

The basement hit me full of that stupid music we were all into back in third, fourth grade. New Kids on the Block, Mariah Carey, whatever else. Then I found myself on the patio. The hot tub looked completely unchanged. I saw me there, and my cousin at the other end.

We were talking. The rush seemed to encompass me, guiding me through countless conversations we held there about life, sex, music, girls, school, and whatever else. I told him everything about my life, as he did with his.. I'm pretty sure. I fell down. The images left, and I sat there on the verge of tears.

I would never have that kind of closure again. Never. I would never feel so secure, because to have that kind of open-ended relationship is only possible as a kid to someone they look up to. I couldn't have any more of those summers. They were lost, never to be regained. I can't believe I didn't take as many chances as I could to have that. I should've at least tried to go back down again. Maybe we could have kept friends. But I fell into my mood in high school, and he was suddenly too old for me, even though we've always been a couple years apart. I'm not too immature for you fucker. But maybe I'm too different.

Perhaps us growing apart was as much my fault as yours. Now you seem dead to me, and it's that feeling because the you I've known has died, or at least in my view. And that's the only part I ever cared about. The same cousin I played G.I. Joes and once helped with his paper route and watched you first drawings and interest in drafting develop, he's gone. Maybe he could return after College. But then again, I'll be in college your last year of it. And I always did try to copy you, well, ok, only when I was down there. But I might develop that same mentality and fucked if we don't patch things up by then that's it. All there is left is the memory. And someday that'll leave, too. And I'll feel a little more alone. I'll feel just a little more alone, but enough to be alone.

Hey, Russ. Times were great. Hope you have a good life, and you get what you want, and you remember the fun we had.

Love ya.


After that, eventually I made my dislike of him public. He was always very much something I tried not to be like. Yeah, he was smart, a hotshot in college, everyone loved this kid, relative wise. I didn't. He screwed me over, just stopped talking to me, and caused me a pain and a loss at a time in my life when I later needed him. He would've been one I would have told first about my sexuality, had we not stopped talking and had I trusted him. He seemed so fake to me, so fucking fake. Like he was better than me, and he never got the chance to know me after I hit high school. When I turned into the individual I am now, he knows nothing of it. I hate him for that. But I am beginning to see a larger picture now.

The last time I saw him was back at some family reunion. He ignored me, I ignored him, and he asked one of my cousins to go to a movie or something, I guess they had started emailing and become friends or something. There was another college buddy of his, as if he was too good to just come alone, he had to bring a college friend with him, to show how his life was so much better than the rest of ours. I had friends, too, I just chose to leave them at home. Ok, so maybe I was bitter. Really bitter. But I had my own fucked up life at that point and didn't want to be there anyway.

Well, after I told my dad I was gay, he ended up talking, I guess. Yeah, my mom knew. But he told his best friend, who has a brother who is gay. That surprised me, but didn't really get to me. Big deal, you know? Then I find out he talked to my uncle. My uncle is cool, but we've never really connected, he's not the type you sit down and have a nice chat with, at least not with me. I was a little mad at first, but then I found out why...

Russ was gay.

Simple as that. My cousin, the one I used to look forward to go see, used to be so like, and have so much fun with, feel so secure with.. We never even talked about homosexuality, except when I found out the word existed, and that one of the New Kids on the Block was. Two brothers, both have a kid that's gay, what? How's that... I don't know, it just screws me up. I've always said I've never even met another gay person.. I USED TO BE BEST FRIENDS WITH ONE. WHAT???!!!! WHAT!!?? I'm sorry, but there's nothing else I can think to say right now, nothing else to convey the emotions and thoughts and doubts and simple connections hitting around in my head right now. WHAT?!

The friend I thought he was so high and mighty for bringing, it was his boyfriend... I guess.

Oh, man. This makes me want to punch him, but at the same time hug him. Talk to him about how it all was, ask him all sorts of questions, like I used to as a kid. But I also want to shun him, make him think I really don't care, think I still hate him, and I don't. I don't. I miss him. Now more than ever.

Somehow, I'm not surprised. Like I always knew I was different, I always knew he was different. I have the same feelings I got about myself for him. The same intuition. I just forgot about it. I became so wrapped up in myself it never did occur to me why he was bringing home a "friend" and not a girlfriend. No one else knows in the family but my parents, his parents, and me. Oh, yeah, and the deal was, if I was told, he was going to be told, too. That means he knows about me. I wonder what he's thinking.

I don't know what's going to happen, I'll see him at the graduation party, my joint graduation party with my other cousin, and I don't know what I'm going to do. I'll probably stay shut up until I'm approached, I just can't think of a good reason to talk to him. I want to, but that's not good enough, it seems stupid and I think makes me look like I need him, or need someone. And I don't, I'm quite comfortable with myself. Man, this was a lot to pour out, and still it doesn't even begin to relay the amount of pain, joy, and melon collie feelings I get from all this. See ya next month.



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