I ran the pen back and forth, tearing into the paper like it was Stalin instead of tree muscle. I was looking at a book on the top shelf of my closet called You Don’t Have To Be Gay. it has an infomercial-like confidence; by its conclusion you’re convinced it can slice, dice and de-fag any fruit you can find. But it doesn’t have an afterword explaining why I have nightmares about marrying girls I sat next to in junior high band or why I think unmarried middle-aged women are more beautiful than shooting stars. It all makes me wish my mother had done it sooner – one day when my dad arrived home from a business trip she had all of her bags packed, ready to leave unless he promised to stop traveling so much. But I was already promoting androgynous dress-up in preschool and parroting Shari Lewis records at home. Maybe if she’d got him a few months earlier I would have learned to like pick-up trucks or sitting with my legs spread. But you can’t push the car back through the assembly line. So why do I want to slip out for a smoke break and never come back? I am so sad, so separated, I could sing “Only The Lonely” by The Motels and make the wallpaper flowers wilt.
I can’t seem to get anything to go. It sputters and spits and sighs, but in the end it hasn’t moved an inch. If I could sneak up on myself and scream, I would. There are so many lives inside, just not enough roads leading out. If I was in prison I’d have an excuse. I’d make dreams out of cinder block and boredom. And then at last I’d walk out into the sunny, or rainy, or partly cloudy, or overcast, or humid, or frigid, or perfect, day, and I’d listen to the grass give beneath my feet like it was Beethoven. And I’d eat dairy products and buy Eddie Murphy’s pop album and make friends with the mailman because I would understand it was all being lent to me, graciously, miraculously. I don’t think there are watchers and doers, I think there are sayers and doers. I know what category I’m in, but I don’t want to stay there.