June 1998

Seasons of Love

"In diapers - report cards
In spoke wheels - in speeding tickets
In contracts - dollars
In funerals - in births

In - five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you figure A last year on earth?

Figure in love
Figure in love
Figure in love
Measure in love
Seasons of love
Seasons of love"

-- "Seasons of Love B"
from "Rent" by Jonathan Larson


I skipped a month; didn't have much to write about. This month's column, for the most part, has nothing to do with my being gay; it mostly has to do with my being human.

I went to a funeral today. My aunt, who had cancer, passed away. This was a new experience for me. I've never (until now) been confronted with the death of a relative so close to me. And until now, I was never really old enough to attend a funeral even if a close relative died.

I found out Tuesday, the day everyone else found out. I was at work at the time, searching for a book. One of the clerks came over and told me that my mother was on the phone. At first, walking back to the office, I didn't think anything of it: I was supposed to help my little brother do some research for his school project on owls later that day, I assumed she was calling about that. I picked up the phone and said "Hello?" The instant that she answered, I knew something was wrong; she wasn't calling about owls. She told me what had happened and that either my dad or my uncle would pick me up the next day to go to my grandparent's house for the wake and funeral. After she told me and asked me if I was ok (I told her that I was), I hung up the phone and said, "I'm going to sit down for a few minutes." The clerk asked me what was wrong and I told her; she consoled me. I wasn't sad at this point, more just in shock. I didn't do much for the rest of my shift; they had offered to let me go home, but I didn't.

My uncle picked me up the next day. During the drive to my grandparent's house (about two hours), I almost came out to him. But I didn't. I was talking to him about my confirmation and the fact that I had been confirmed against my will because I disagreed with almost everything the Catholic Church is based upon. He asked me for examples. I asked him where I should begin, and he said with the A's. So we talked about abortion for a little bit (he is excellent at playing devil's advocate), and then I brought up "the whole heaven-hell thing" as I put it. I used "my best friend" as an example. I told him that my best friend was gay and that I couldn't see how he was going to go straight to hell just because he likes guys. He didn't say anything to that; maybe because he was just pulling into the driveway or maybe because he already knows that I'm gay. I wouldn't be surprised if he knew: I've never made much of an effort to hide my sexuality, I just don't openly talk about it.

When we got to my grandparent's house, I was quite surprised by the atmosphere: everyone was seemingly happy and watching "My Best Friend's Wedding" on Pay-Per-View. I suppose it's just my family's way of coping. I could tell, however, that my cousin (the one I came out to at Christmas) did not share in the mood; I knew this had hit her hard. She really loved and admired her mother.

The next day was the wake. Until then, I had never seen a real dead body before. I didn't know what to expect. When I walked in, the first thing that hit me was the overwhelming scent of flowers. I went up and paid my respects. To me, it didn't look like my aunt: she had too much make-up on, and it looked awful. She never wore a lot of make-up and it didn't seem proper that she should start now. But what control did I have over it? I didn't cry at the wake.

Today, however was a different story. I was OK until about half way through the mass when we said the "Our Father;" for some reason, that hit my heart and I shed a few tears. But when my cousin got up to read the eulogy that she had written, I lost it and had a very difficult time keeping myself from outright sobbing. It didn't get any better until we got back to my grandparent's house and I threw myself into helping prepare food for the people who were coming to the house after the cemetery. That, for some reason helped me cope. I guess it's because it got my mind off it all.

I did what I came to do: I said good-bye to an aunt whom I will miss.

After everyone had left except for immediate family, I ended up holding my three-week old baby cousin. I was lying on the living room floor with him asleep on my chest. I was taking part in the conversation that was going on in the room, but I was also thinking about this little piece of life on top of me. Granted, I have a baby brother who is a year-and-a-half old at home, but I had forgotten just how little they are at first. I was also thinking about how much I want to be a dad someday. This is nothing new; this first popped up when my baby brother was born. I don't have all the details worked out, but I hope to have a kid or two someday.

In other news:

Though Simon's Rock accepted me, I did not get enough financial aid from them to make my attending feasible. But it all works out, I suppose, because I found another college that I like better (even if it means being stuck in high school for another two years). St. John's College (www.sjca.edu) has a campus in Annapolis, MD , which is far enough away from here for me, and quite near the great city of Washington, D.C. and in the same town as the US Naval Academy (naval cadets...ooh la la!).

So I'm stuck in this insular little town for another two years, though not without a plan. I'm going to try to make my remaining two years here as interesting and as comfortable as possible. I'm going to try, though I'm not sure that I'll be successful, to start a Gay Straight Alliance at my school. I'm going to try to start going to BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth) meetings with some sort of regular basis. I'm going to attempt to find a boyfriend, and if I'm successful in doing that, I'm going to think about asking him to my Senior Prom.

Hopefully, the next two years will be at least mildly interesting. Ever since I came out for the first time a year ago, I've just been telling more and more people. Maybe the majority of this town isn't as insular as I thought it was. Unfortunately, it seems that the insular ones are the ones who hold the power in my town. But that's the subject of another column all together.

Until next month,


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