Simon Thibault

October 1999

An open letter to those who walk into my life, noticed or unnoticed

This is a grand confession. I have had inside me the great need to write, to sit down and organize and express everything that I feel needs to be understood, not only by myself but by those around me. This is my and their/your opportunity to do so. In the past few months, I've learned how to take control of my life. I have learned to control my depression, which has afflicted me since childhood, graduated, started a new job, gone back to school to take extra courses not only for the advancement of my job possibilities but for my own interests. I've written poetry. I've begun to learn how to draw and paint, and I continue to develop my other artistic outlets and endeavors. I've also begun my first real relationship.

On the first of this month, the day this essay will be published, it'll be a little over a year that I've been living in the city and I'll soon be turning 23. It also roughly be seven months that Lee and I have been dating and a year that we've known one another. It'll also be the day that we're moving into our first apartment together.

Relationships. You, as have many others, have known parts, or all of the relationships I have had. There was Brendan, the guy from Montreal who told me that I was sick, that I was too young and was all screwed up and unceremoniously dumped me at a cheap cafe by the metro station. And I agreed with every description he gave me. There was Corey, whom I helped come out and soon left because I found it unfair to be with him. I wasn't ready. There was Bill, who showed me an inkling of what love could be. I recently found out that he, as well, had fallen in love with me at that time. Only now that those feelings have subsided are we able to talk. It is our sympathies that bond us. We speak with the same music.

There was my first and only one night stand, whom I see every once in a while, and he's still nice, still funny and in a wonderful long term relationship. I think he still sees his son sometimes. There was the architect, who also was a nice guy, but it wasn't the right time. I didn't know how to accept gifts. Alec, the guy that I had feelings for years. The guy who kissed me and I cried for a week afterwards. The guy who forgot my name, a year later, while I still would read the poem I wrote about him sometimes. I still have sympathy for him. I wish him happiness. There was Winston, whom I met a week after Bill, and went too quickly with. It took me a long time to get over what I did to him. We were both guilty of letting ourselves go to a place we both knew would not be good. But we hoped. But hope was a concept that I soon lose in those winter months. There was the last guy. My shining moment. A guy who told me everything that I wanted to hear, just so he could bed me, and he did. As soon as he realized that I wouldn't go any further than just hold him, he promptly left, and I soon found out that I was just a trophy for him. Just some boy that he wanted to prove to himself that he could have.

Because of him there was Eddie. Eddie and I became friends. Eddie fell in love with me. Eddie was there for me, as much as someone who is in love with their best friend can. And I was there for Eddie, as much as that best friend can. Unfortunately, the relationship was destructive from the beginning, the energy between the two of us being pulled like a rubber band between two kids, constantly snapping between the two of us. Finally the relationship became a trial to see who would get snapped, and I was tired of it. The friendship made me feel horrible, I was upset every time I spoke with Eddie. We were too involved. He made me feel like his boyfriend, and being someone who wants to accommodate everyone, I sometimes acted like it. But I knew it was wrong. His friends knew it was wrong. We knew it was wrong, and we fought it, until finally I let go. I let go of it all.

Throughout all of this, somewhere, through all these months that I have been living in Halifax, has been Lee. I met Lee on Halloween, on one of the oddest nights of my life, but for exactly what reasons, I don't recall. He was wearing Disney ears and had a small plush toy stuffed in his back pocket. Dressed like a little kid. He appealed to the three year old in me. And apparently, or as his roommate told me, I appealed to him. I smiled, blushed and thought nothing more. I would see him sometimes, and we would walk home at 4:00 am, talking. We would talk about cuddling and how much we loved to do it. A couple of times, I almost asked. Never could. He tells me he thought the same thing. In hindsight, I'm glad neither of us did. We were both needy, and things could have billowed out, making it into an awkward situation.

One day Lee and I ran into each other. We walked around and talked. Nothing more than that. Mutual friends of ours were in town and we ended up going out for supper. Afterwards, in the car, I spoke of my admiration for Lee, but strictly on a platonic level. My friends misunderstood, and started talking about how we should get together and how he thought quite highly of me. I was once again flattered and all of a sudden, my curiosity was piqued. Was Lee interested? It didn't matter because I got to the bar that night and we both spent it talking with friends. It was better that way. I wasn't in the mindset for something right then and there.

About a month or two later, I get locked out of my apartment. I'd been thinking of him and decided to go over and wait for my roommates to come home. He tells me of his new boyfriend and I feign a smile. Once again, not meant to be. Yet, about a week or two later Lee calls me, out of the blue, and as I ask about his beau, he tells me that they've broken up! And of all the times, he has to put me on hold. He's at work. I could barely contain myself. I was standing on my bed, beaming. I'd never done that before. I caught myself in the mirror and thought, What the...?

Lee and I finally got together one night, after two weeks of playing phone tag. That first night we watched episodes of the original Muppets series and talked about relationships. He walked me home, came in and we talked and ate gelato. At 3:00 we were falling asleep. We decided that we could respect one another and their respective spaces. We went to bed and quickly fell asleep. We awoke the next morning with our foreheads touching. That night, I remembered my dreams for the first time in months.

It's been almost seven months since then. I've learned so many things. I've learned that my parents adore my significant other and are not ashamed of me, or him or what we represent. I've dealt with my own insecurities. I've learned and I continue to learn how to communicate. I've dealt with the fact that a relationship is not a static entity but continuous and flowing. I've learned what it really means to say 'I love you'. I've discovered the quiet passions of myself and of another person and how the spaces between them is as thick and permeable as the skin of water.

I've learned how to make love. How it symbolizes the physical, emotional and everything else that encompasses a relationship. I've learned how to laugh when I make love. I've learned how to talk about it. I've also, at the age of 22, lost my virginity after having waited for the right time. It was the right time. I am sure of that. And I'm glad.

I am not a new man. I am the same man. I just had to let it begin, and it is perhaps the most liberating and empowering thing I have ever done.


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