Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Monday, April 10

Enjoy the Silence

‘How’s Becky?’ you ask.

‘She’s fine,’ the Firefighter says, pausing before continuing, ‘I broke up with her a long time ago. I didn’t see the point in stringing her along.’

Your glass is half-full but the second pitcher is nearly empty. You’re both a bit drunk.

‘Stringing her along?’ you ask and then wait. There’s a long moment of what seems to be silence despite the music and conversations going on around you. You’re drunk, but not so drunk that you’re going to start shooting your mouth. You wait him out.

‘Yeah,’ he says, taking a huge breath and saying, improbably, ‘I wasn’t really going to tell you about this.’

It seems unlikely that he would have dinner with you and not mention the decision you can already see coming. You continue to wait in silence. You bounce your fork off the table once and hold it between thumb and forefinger, your elbow anchored to the table and the base of the fork hovering a few centimeters above menu encased under the glass tabletop. Your eyes half-down—avoiding contact with his—emulating a pack animal reassuring a sub-dominant. You can see he looks at your face briefly before continuing.

‘You’ve heard Donald Rumsfeld say, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had,”’ he says pausing again. You make a brief, reassuring glance to his shoulder, not even looking at his face. ‘I’ve realized I—I’ve been trying to live my life as I wished I was, not as I was.’

He’s stopped talking again and there’s a light curiousness in your gut during this silence. At this point, he’s committed to finishing, so you make eye contact again and give a reassuring nod. But you can’t quite gestalt his voice breaking the silence with the words ‘I’m gay.’

You become the character in a science fiction movie who’s introduced to the fantastic creature—or the man out of time—and has to go through all the predictable and formulary disbelief of how this affects what you thought to be immutable reality and transition into the character who gets his shit together and jump on that motorcycle and drive, goddamnit, drive!


Blogger Spider writes:

OK - now what?


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

I hate to be nit-picky, but it really bothers me when people confuse the words "affect" and "effect" as you often do.
The mistake is interest since you've blogged before about how smart you (think you)are.


Blogger dan writes:

I agree, it really effects me, too.


Blogger Erik writes:

fixed it, thanks.


Blogger St Yves writes:

Since Eric is nice (heh- I called Eric nice.) enough not to point this out- "...mistake is interest (sic)..." Anon- it's "interesting." You really should proof read when correcting other people- especially when throwing in snarky comments. Oh, and while you're pondering that, you should also probably think about the use of the word "interesting" since what you seem to mean is closer to ironic.

(I had to fix my own grammar problem so I reposted this.)


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

no. i meant interesting. thanks.


Blogger dan writes:

I find it interesting/ironic that your firefighter friend seems to attribute his life-altering homosexual epiphany to the musings of Donald Rumsfeld. That's gotta be a first.


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