Monday, May 30, 2011

A Memory

My best (gay) friend and I sitting in the library. All of a sudden, he looks at me and says:

"I think we should get married."

I smile and then return to my work.

 "No really," he continues, "we would make a wonderful couple." He began enumerating the reasons. He said we'd raise good children. He said we would balance each other. He spelled out the strengths I'd bring to the union and explained how he would complement them.

He sounded serious. And then he made his big pitch.

"I meanm there wouldn't be any lust there. But trust me....there would be love."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

When it doesn't last forever

I unexpectedely ran into an old college friend of mine earlier this week. I hadn't seen him in more than eight years, so I figured we'd have a lot of ground together. But his interests - or rather atterntion- was more singularly focused on the events that had unfolded in the last 12 months.

As it goes, he dated his college sweetheart for six years before they decided to make it official and get hitched. They had several different ceremonies, articulating their vows three times over. One year later, they had filed for divorce.

I watched him as he struggled to put words to something that made uterrly no sense to him. It had been more than a year and a half since it ended, and it was clear that he wasn't much closer to figuring out what went wrong. What stuck with me was when he said: "When you get married you think that it's going to be forever. But I guess my thoughts on marriage have changed."

I can't say that I know why his marriage ended either. There are always two sides to a story and a lot of history that feeds into a relationship.  But what I do know is this: it's easy sometimes to focus on the wedding as the goal instead of the long-term relationship. I have caught myself sometimes thinking of my life like a checklist. College diploma, check. Travel overseas, check. Graduate school, check. Challenging career, check. Marriage, house, kids....pending, pending, pending.  It's almost as if the timing of when I get married is more important that the person with whom it's with.

As my friend and I brought our discussion of love and marriage to a close, we became more forward-looking. As (nearly) 30-somethings, we both wanted similiar things,  intimacy, support, a thought partner. The main difference is that he had the trauma of a divorce coloring every potential relationship.

So as eager as I am to meet someone, I am going to remind myself to resist the urge to rush in. Because after all, almost no one gets married thinking that there's is the one that isn't going to last.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Thus far, I've been lucky, I guess. People close to me have been touched by cancer, but not consumed by it. Tumors found early and nipped in the bud. Malignant cells in bodies  well into their 90s. I've seen it dramatized in movies, retold in novels and speeches, but I never had to see it up close and person. That is until this past weekend.

Last Sunday, I saw a family member for the first time in about six months. She had been battlling cancer for nearly a decade, but I had pegged her as a shoe-in to land on the side of the survivors. She had always been strong. A modern day Amazon. Towering over the other female folk by nearly a foot and having a take-no-prisoners attitude to match. With a big boisterous family, she was energy personified. Which is what made it all the more startling to see her.

Just over 40 years old, she shuffled into the room,  wearing her own skin like it was two sizes too big. Her already short hair had receded as did the flesh around eyes and  her mouth as she kept a smile fixed on her face. Seeing her, a sickness, or maybe it was an extreme sorrow, swept over me. She looked as if she was already halfway onto the next world.

It was whispered to me that she was stage 4 now. The cancer had reached her bone.

Over the course of the night, I struggled with the competing feelings of wanting to look away and being completely drawn to her. As I was working to negotiate my own emotions,  her husband got up to dance. He took her in his arms and floated her across the dance floor as if she was the most beautiful woman in the room. Because, I think, to him she was the most beautiful woman in the room.

 As hard as the whole night was to swallow, as harrowing as it was to peronally see the cruelty of cancer for the first time, I must also acknowledge the flip side: I'd also never seen a love like that before.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Morning

It's not even 7am on Monday morning and the news has already spread through the building. One of my co-workers got engaged this weekend.

I am working very hard to be happy for her. Really, I am. But until then...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Going on Thirty

I had brunch with a very dear friend of mine, and he asked me how I felt about my upcoming 30th birthday.

I paused before answering, reflecting a bit about the 10-year-old, 16-year-old and 21-year-old versions of myself and where they thought I'd be when I turned 30. And then I responded with something along the lines of, "I am really happy with my career and the work that I do, but in terms of my love life, this isn't what I had pictured for myself-"

Being the good friend that he is, he interrupted me, and said, "Well, then it's time to paint a different picture."

As trite as that sounds, he couldn't have said anything truer. The younger iterations of myself, also didn't imagine that I would explore, hang upside down, lead. In order to fit all that other important stuff in, my picture had to look a little bit different. And that's not something to be sad about.