Monday, July 12, 2010

"As my father said to me when he died in my arms, 'I don't understand any of it. I never did.'"

This weekend was spent in Charlotte, North Carolina for my cousin's wedding. I saw many family members I hadn't seen in years and for a moment when I first arrived around 10pm on Friday night felt totally overwhelmed when I encountered my extended family all drunk already in the hotel bar and having to talk with aunts and uncles that remarked to me how handsome I was and asking me if I remembered them, that the last time they saw me I was "this tall," them holding their hand a foot or two down from my current height, potentially true, but also very likely exaggerated claims of nostalgic and drunk family members. Once I had a couple drinks in me I felt much more at ease talking to my family and joined all the nostalgic games as well, really happy to see some of my aunts who I had not seen in years and who really were such a major part of my childhood. My aunt C and my grandma at one point asked me who I was living with now and I told them that I was living with my boyfriend and that felt really liberating to say. My gayness is a bit of an open secret that I assume most of my family knows about but which they never really ask me about, and so it was really nice to have some reason to talk about it, to feel really secure in doing so, being a bit drunk and also really quite happy with my romantic situation these days and it being something I want to share with people.

The wedding was the next day and it was stiff and overly formal, but nice nonetheless in a way that weddings often are, the public declaring of love and devotion of people that you know in front of other people that you know. I really do love my family a lot and it was quite fun to hang out with aunts and uncles that I've known my entire life as an adult now, to drink with them and smoke with them and talk about work and love. The reception wasn't starting for about an hour after the wedding and because the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, my family all wanted to grab some drinks beforehand and so we wandered around downtown Charlotte trying to find a bar that was open and found one. So much closeness is enabled with alcohol and I really felt so close with my family on this day, talking to cousins and aunts and uncles about life in a really nice way, sharing a lot about myself and listening to them share a lot about themselves. At the reception itself, I got quite wasted, as did most of my relatives. I encountered a gay aunt that I didn't really know and talked to her for a long time and am apparently going to hang out with her this weekend when she visits New York. I met this crazy flamboyant gay man on the groom's side of the family and both of these people made me feel much more comfortable at this wedding. I had a felt a bit ill at ease being a fag at this big Catholic wedding but felt so much better once I discovered I wasn't alone, that there were these awesome older queers at this wedding. There was a weird conversation with an uncle who was a priest about why I don't go to church anymore. There was awesome talk with my aunt S about everything.

After the reception a bunch of us headed to some pub nearby and continued partying. I snuck my 20 year old cousin T into the bar with me. I talked to S about my open relationship with Jacob. My cousin T told me about his romantic life a bit before telling me how awesome he thought I was for being so open with my sexuality in our family, that people talk about me in our family but how he thinks I'm really awesome. He then started to tell me how he's not sure if he's gay, how he's never done anything with a guy, but how he would like to. The things that alcohol will reveal. At some point, I went outside to use the ATM and then decided to go back to the hotel which was a block away and change out of my suit and into something less hot. I put on a tanktop and shorts and went back to the bar. They told me there was now a cover and that I needed to wear sleeves to get in. I was belligerent and hasty and used this opportunity to go to the gay bar in town, hopped in a cab, and went there.

I talked to a couple of people there who asked me where I was from, saying they could tell I wasn't from there because of how I was dressed. Despite the hot Southern weather, everyone was wearing pants and sleeves, and I told them I was from New York. I bought cigarettes for six dollars from a vending machine, finished my drink, and really missed the conversations I had been having with my family. I could have silly conversations with gay strangers any night of the week, but these were family members I only saw every couple of years and so I went back into town, changed into sleeves, and went back to this pub to hang out with my family. We shut the place down and I stumbled back to our hotel with my cousins T and J. J told me how he hoped my wedding would be the next one because it would be really funny to see our family at a gay wedding. I thought it would be too and throughout the weekend actually thought a lot about marriage and these ceremonies and family and how it's really nice these occasions where people have reason to all come together.

I watched The Boys in the Band tonight and it made me really sad at points because I thought about gay friends and thought about ones I have lost, missed them a bit, and then tried to squash the feeling, thought about moving on and what's good for a person and friendship and when they end and how mean people can be to one another. I am also thinking about a job I want and which I thought I wasn't going to get since I haven't heard anything for two weeks now after submitting my resume, but last night in a wine store was approached by someone who is friends with the person I submitted my resume to and who said he heard I was interviewing with him. I keep on playing that sentence over in my mind, trying to figure out what it may have meant, whether he was confused and heard I applied, or whether I am going to get called in for an interview. All day long today, I continued to check my email, hoping from word from this person, but nothing. And I am thinking I would have heard something by now but then keep parsing out the words of this guy in the wine store, hoping that I still may hear something from this job that I really, really want.

I am drinking wine now and it is quite hot out and I am sad and happy and I am alive.

1 comment:

  1. If the thought takes hold - bring the family up to Provincetown and make it a really gay wedding. I just participated in my first gay wedding earlier this month and it was a fantastic time.

    Love the blog BTW.