I ran into my gay boyfriend at my gym last weekend. My gym that has a reputation for being filled with hot, buff, gay men. For years I've been expecting to run into him in Dupont, each of us holding hands with our respective boyfriends.
I ran home and called a friend. "I ran into my gay boyfriend at the gym!"
"My gay boyfriend!"
"What gay boyfriend? You don't have a boyfriend."
"The one from when I was 25!"
"That one? Oh, my God! Did you ask him if he's gay?"
So when I was 25, I had a gay boyfriend. I mean, I didn't know he was gay. It turns out that he was struggling, and made a huge life decision after we broke up. He never told me. His roommate did, months later.
I was so in love with him. He was big and athletic and spoke five languages and could talk about everything from the politics of Burkina Faso to orchids. We went out for a year. I technically ended it, but really, it was because he just wasn't that into me. I was devastated.
Afterwards, after we knew he was gay, my friends asked if I didn't ever suspect. Was I really that clueless?
Yes, yes I was. I thought we just had really boring sex because he was raised very Catholic.
"What about his musical taste?"
"Hmm. Lots of opera and show tunes."
"Show tunes?!? Oh, Lisa, what a cliche! And that didn't tip you off?"
"But my dad listens to opera and show tunes!"
"It's a different generation. There wasn't any moment that you wondered?"
"Well, he did have a CD of Liza Minnelli collaborating with the Pet Shop Boys..."
I am simplifying, but basically in the end I left him and moved away because I felt like he just didn't love me enough. I needed him to adore me, and while I think he did love me, it wasn't like he couldn't live without me. As I said above, he wasn't that into me.
I was so insecure. I spent months thinking it was all about me. Why wasn't I lovable? There were a million things I was sure I was too much and not enough of.
Six months later I was going to be passing through town. I still had some stuff I'd left behind that he'd never mailed to me that I wanted to get. I called beforehand, and he was going to be away, but said I should feel free to come by, could even stay there as his roommate would be there.
So when I was there I called his roommate, who I really liked, and we arranged a time she'd be home. When I saw her, we were talking about him and she said, "Please, please don't ever get back together with him."
"Okay, but why?"
"Because after you left, he started bringing men home."
"Oh. Um. Huh. Are you sure they aren't just friends?"
"Please. Lisa. He told me you were the last girlfriend he was ever going to have. Do you want proof?"
"God, no! I believe you!"
But in the end, curiosity got the better of me. We had to go through his drawers anyway, because he hadn't set out the clothes and stuff I'd left there.
I have done lots of things that I knew were right and yet had regrets, but this is one case where I did something I knew was wrong, and yet I have never regretted it one bit.
I sat down and read his love letters. I read his personal musings. I looked through two rolls of "artsy" black and white photos. Clearly, clearly it wasn't that he was a repressed Catholic. He was having sooo much more fun as a gay man than we'd ever had.
Truthfully, I was relieved. All those months, I'd been picturing him with Salma Hayek kind of woman - the woman I'd love to look like. Tall, exquisitely beautiful, exotic, lush. So the fact that he had chosen some buff little guy instead of me was good. Great, even!
We talked a few times after that, but never, ever talked about anything personal. I hinted around, left gaping holes in conversation for him to tell me, and he never did. And then we stopped being in touch.
I saw him several years ago at a funeral. Which is not the place to have a "Just curious. Got anything to tell me? Like about being gay?"conversation.
We were chatting on Saturday, and it was slightly awkward. We don't know each other. We aren't going to get to know each other. And I realized that now, all these years later, it doesn't even matter.
We were reaching for conversation, and I finally said, "You know, we knew each other 8 lifetimes ago."
Which is true. I am a completely different person than I was then. And I imagine he is, too.