I’m too old for this, but what the hell? It’s not like anything else I’ve tried has worked any better, or has been less crazy. I’ve decided to keep a diary, although calling it a journal might make things look a little more adult, don’t you think? This latest endeavor was Fran’s idea. Francine Montgomery believes in all things touchy-feely and currently has a collection of practically every self help book ever to make a best seller list, including some which were clearly designed to help only the selves who wrote them.
Anyway Fran, as overbearing as she can be sometimes, has been the closest thing to a best friend I’ve had for the past 10 years and sadly, when it comes to matters of the heart, she’s usually right. So I’m going to do this and maybe I can figure out this messed up head of mine. There’s one problem though. I hate writing. I hate it with a passion. I always have. I can’t even get my thoughts together in my mind. How am I supposed to put them in some order on a piece of paper?
After all, I’m not a teenager anymore, although just barely. I’m not sure this will actually fit the definition of a diary though. Aren’t those things supposed to have daily entries? This most certainly isn’t going to have daily entries. I find it tedious to sit and sift through the day’s events simply to find something worth capturing in writing. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. I just don’t always have the desire to say it. Nor is this going to be a tribute to ‘guess who I saw today?’ and ‘my life is a bottomless pit of despair’ thoughts either.
Perhaps it would be easier if I could convince myself to be interested in bad hair days and the latest fashions, but such things seem so trivial to me. Maybe I should forget all of this, go out there and enjoy myself, do what people my ago do. But I can’t. That’s not who I am. Instead I’m here, starting a record of pure emotions because that’s what it’s going to be…raw emotions…my emotions. If I’m lucky, it’ll be therapeutic and I can exorcise some of my demons (there are a lot). Or maybe it’ll just be a waste of time. Either way I have to try. It’s one of the side effects of having your mind forced to mature faster than your body. Besides, I’ve long been accused of talking to myself so why not write to myself? Maybe I’m crazy or maybe I’m lost. Maybe this will help me find my way or at least understand what I’m looking for.
It’s me again. Who else would it be? I’m back after five weeks of waiting and wondering what to write. I’ve finally found something. Would you like to know what it is? Think carefully before you answer. Well, if you’re sure you want to know. Just remember that you were the one who asked. I’ve been wondering if it’s possible for a heart to really bleed. Of course I don’t mean that in the literal sense. I’m not an idiot. Not about that anyway. Maybe about everything else…
I’ve been wondering if it’s really possible to feel that much pain…to feel like your insides are going to burst. I’m asking because I’ve felt that way quite a few times recently. It all keeps going back to one question: why do bad things happen to good people? Why is the universe such a messed up place sometimes. It isn’t fair. None of it is fair. Knowing that still doesn’t change anything.
And on top of everything else that’s going on, I’m keeping a secret too. I’m not sure I’m ready to share it with you. I’m not sure I’m ready to share it with me. I wish it didn’t exist. I wish I could turn into Superman and fly around the world a few times. What I wouldn’t give for a time machine right now. That way, I could go back. I could go back to the moment when I realized I have these feelings and make sure I never come to that realization. Does that even make sense?
I’m guessing it probably doesn’t, because you have no idea what I’m talking about. Would you like to trade places so I too could be blissfully unaware? No? I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t want to be this way either if I were you. Maybe I’m not. Maybe this is just a fluke…one of those strange things the universe puts in your way sometimes to test you. I’ve never been very good at tests.
It’s been almost five months since my last visit. I just haven’t been in the mood to write, or do much of anything. It’s funny how good I’ve gotten at going through the motions without anyone having a clue of what’s been going on in my head. My best friend has given me a few odd looks lately, but she’s the one I need to hide from the most so I’ve put on a happy face and I think she bought it. How would she look at me if she knew? But she’s never going to know. I suppose I should talk to someone though. Maybe a shrink? I don’t see myself ever doing that; spouting off my innermost thoughts to a complete stranger. I don’t know how anyone does that. I think I’m just going to tell a story instead. Would you like to hear it?
Once upon a time there was a girl who was confused. You see, she was being pulled in two directions and she didn’t know which one to follow. So she decided to go in one direction and ended up more confused than before. Yes folks, the girl in that story is me. Yesterday was my walk in one direction. I lost something I can never get back. Mind you, I have no regrets. It’s just that now I’m more confused than ever and the pull is still there. What am I talking about?
It started months ago with a simple walk. A walk isn’t supposed to change anyone’s life. It’s just supposed to be a way to get from point A to point B. But this walk changed my life, because that’s when I saw her. I don’t know who she is, and I never saw her again, but I do know what I felt in the pit of my stomach when I saw her…something I wasn’t supposed to feel. I don’t feel this way about girls. I am a girl. So why did I experience the first jolt of arousal when I recognized her beauty? Why did her scent linger as she passed me and make my skin tingle?
I’ve tried to deny it. I’ve tried to convince myself that my attraction is for one guy in particular. I let him touch me in ways I’d never been touched before, hoping for some sign. I felt nothing. I doubt there could be a bigger sign than that. Is this why things have never worked out? Why I’ve never felt that connection with anyone? I’ve come to a realization. Maybe it’s time to walk in the other direction. Who knows? Maybe this might be the direction I’m meant to go.
You know what? There’s nothing wrong with me. Not in the way I first thought. It might seem as though I’ve come to that decision way too quickly, but it’s not; not when it’s all I’ve been able to think about for the past few weeks. So I’m fairly certain that I’m attracted to women. Looking back it, I think that I always was, I just never allowed myself to have that conscious thought. Am I completely happy about that? Not in the least. I know that I’ve got a hard road ahead. I know that I haven’t gone all the way towards accepting myself as yet. How can I, given all the prejudices I’ve grown up with?
There are people I’m going to lose if this ever gets out; my parents for starters, although I’ve long since stopped being financially dependent on them. But money isn’t everything. How much is it going to hurt if they turn their backs on me? And what does that say about them? How about my friends? I’ve heard anti-gay comments from a few before. I’ve always just let it slide, not wanting a confrontation. Could I have been a bigger coward? How many of them would stand by my side? How many of them are worth keeping.
I know that I’m going to pay a heavy price but this is who I am. These are the feelings I have. I think I owe it to myself to explore them and try to figure things out. I don’t want my life to be about regrets.
Where do I start? How about why I’ve taken so long to write to myself? That’s easy. I’ll answer it with one word: fear. I guess I’m afraid to face my feelings because it means unearthing things I’ve kept buried for so long. Now I have to sift through the artifacts and see what’s left and what’s been broken. I’m afraid too much has been broken. Sometimes I think there’s something very wrong with me.
You know what I’m afraid to face the most? I think I might be in love. Now don’t go congratulating me just yet. There’s nothing the least bit happy or sweet about this. In fact, it might just be the worst thing in the world to happen. Why? I think I might be in love with my closest friend, and I really don’t want to be. I’ve tried my best to make those feelings go away, just like I had tried to make myself believe that I’m not attracted to women. It hasn’t worked. I’ve had to make my peace with the fact that I might be gay, but lusting after women I don’t know is one thing. Lusting after the one person I’m already afraid of losing is another. Maybe if I told you a little about her.
She’s sick. No, I don’t mean that she has some sort of depraved sense of humor. She is genuinely ill. These mutated little cells are ravaging her body and I wish there was some way I could shrink myself down, grab a sword, and go into battle. I’ve known her since we started high school together and she’s the only person who really gets me. We can talk about anything…well, almost anything. I want to take care of her. I want to hold her and give her my strength and tell her that everything’s going to be okay, even though I don’t know if it will. Is that love? I’m afraid it is. I don’t want to do this to her, not now. I don’t want to be one more thing that she has to deal with. I don’t want her to turn away from me. I need her and I think she needs me too. So I’ll keep quiet. Even if she wasn’t disgusted by the idea, I could never be good enough for her.
It’s hard, this being in love thing. And it’s even more frustrating when you realize that you can never be there for that person…you can never love them the way they deserve to be loved. You want to reach out but you’re too afraid of being hurt and of hurting in return. You can never bring yourself to admit that for once you could give in to your feelings, because to do that would mean losing yourself in something too strong for you to control. What you’ve shown to the world is the side of you that loves too little. You’ve never shown the side that loves too much, more than anyone could begin to imagine.
I know I said that I would never let her know but I’ve told her. I didn’t mean to. I blurted it out. I had to. She just looked so forlorn and broken. You see, she’s not doing very well. The doctors say that she’s not responding the way they would like her to the latest round of medications. I know she’s getting depressed, getting tired of being poked and prodded. I know she’s beginning to feel as though she’s nothing more than a burden. I couldn’t have her thinking that. I needed to let her see how much love she was surrounded by and I couldn’t think of any other way. So I had to tell her. If this were a story I could tell you how she hugged me, told me that she’d always felt the same way, and we lived happily ever after. But this is real life.
At least she didn’t turn away from me. She did hug me though. She told me that she was flattered but she didn’t feel the same way. She didn’t want to hurt me. Strangely enough, it didn’t hurt as much as I expected. It’s not as if I had been holding out much hope. I might not hate myself anymore. I might not think that I’m some sort of freak. But I never thought that she could love me the way I love her. Am I disappointed? Of course I am. I’m only human. But I still have her friendship. She promised me that nothing would change and I believe her. I have to.
It kills me to see her like this…so weak. And still she’s more concerned about me than she is about herself. I love her. She loves me, as a friend. I can live with that. I would live with it for the rest of my life if I could be sure that she would be there to share in it.
She’s gone. I…there’s nothing more I can say. I don’t even know what to think. I have to go. I can’t write anymore. My hands are shaking too badly.
I turn around
Expecting to see you.
Everything is a part of you.
I try to let go but I cannot.
I’m back again. No, I’m not going crazy. Well maybe I am. I look around my room and see everything she gave to me, from the stuffed animals I swore I hated (which is probably why she kept giving them to me) to my treasured stack of National Geographic magazines. I’m cradling a phone book. I know that seems silly but it’s this beautiful lacquered affair and I can’t bring myself to soil its pages with ink. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to. I remember the last time we went away together like it was only yesterday, even though so much time has passed. We were laughing under the stars, indulging in one of those conversations that I haven’t been able to capture with anyone else. I knew even then that she wasn’t well, but she looked so much better. I thought that I had time, that we had time. I remember going walking at midnight and our trips not to the shopping districts but to museums. We always had the strangest tastes. All that’s over now. Whoever said that parting is such sweet sorrow was an utter fool. There’s nothing sweet about it.
How do you say goodbye?
Where do you find the words?
How do you let go?
It’s been a little over a year since I started keeping this journal. I thought it was a joke at first, but it has helped me more than I realized. Initially I couldn’t read it. It was just too hard. There were too many memories that I didn’t want coming back. But the fact is, there was good amidst the bad as well. I can look back and I can find that.
My friend is gone. I think she was my first true love. I know I haven’t really said anything about that. It was difficult to face it for a while there. It was sudden, and it wasn’t. We all knew it was a possibility. We simply prayed that it wouldn’t get to that and, for a while, things were looking up. But bad things happen to good people. It was an infection that her weakened body couldn’t fight, even though she fought right up to the end. Sometimes she had to fight me and my own sadness. It’s hard being the one left behind.
She didn’t want me to cry for her, even though she knew I would. She wanted me to go on living. I’m glad that I found the courage to tell her how I felt about her. She was glad too. She said that it made living worthwhile, knowing she had inspired such love in another human being. She was only sorry that she couldn’t return the gift I had given her; that it was her loss for not being able to be with such a special person. I told her it was okay. You can’t help who you fall in love with, or don’t as the case may be. I’m just happy that it brought her some joy.
I don’t know about the going on living part. Some days it feels like my grief will consume me. Some days I make it through a few hours of not thinking about her, and then I feel guilty. I can almost hear her whispering in my ear to get a grip…to suck it up and move on. I will, one day. In my head I know that I will, given enough time. I know that my life was richer for having her in it, and she’ll always be a part of it. That’s how I’m going to keep a little bit of her alive…by remembering. I may even find love again. I know that she would want me to. But she will never lose her place in my heart and, if nothing else, I’ll always have these words to help me keep her there.