Monday, January 29, 2007

Confessions of a Recovering Homophobe - Part II

Now that I've done few posts on other subjects, you know that not all of my posts will be all about me - that would be tiresome, wouldn't it? - I'm back to me.

You must know that my stories do not necessarily arrive in chronological order. Part II actually takes place before Part I of The Confessions. Once again, I'm fearful of causing offense, but I don't know how to tell the story of my transformation without telling the truth. Forgive me, my gay and lesbian readers.

My beloved sister, who died last April, in a much too swift and untimely manner from pancreatic cancer, had many gay gentlemen friends. Her friends were a generation or so younger than she. She met the men through R., with whom she became friends a good many years ago, in the mid-western city where they lived. He and his partner, H., were youngish then and struggling to establish a political consulting business.

Over the years, R. became enormously wealthy from his business, or businesses, for he came to have several. He and H. bought an old house in the downtown area, and restored it magnificently. The house had a third-floor apartment, which he invited my sister and her husband to rent - for a nominal amount - to be there with their dogs when they traveled, which they did a lot.

On several occasions, I was invited to stay in the magnificent house, but I never went. To my great shame, I must tell you that I didn't go, because they were two gay men sharing a house. What is that but homophobia? I must call it that, for that is what it is.

After several years, R. and H. moved from the Midwest to a city the Southwest, buying an even more palatial house, and my sister and brother-in-law bought a house of their own.

Two or three times a year, my sister went to stay with them, and I was invited there, too, but I never went, for the same shameful reason. Finally, one spring, about three years ago, my sister was going to stay at their house for a week to care for their dogs while they were out of town. I had been through a particularly trying time in my own life, and I thought that, since my sister would be staying alone with the dogs, I'd invite myself to stay there with her for a week in the lap of luxury. After turning down all their invitations, I invited myself to their home, because they would not be there. How's that for ingratitude and chutzpah? Oh, the shame! They said fine, and I bought my plane ticket.

A few days before I was due to leave, my sister called me to say that R. and H. were not going on their trip, because they wanted to meet me. They tricked me by not leaving their own house while I was going to be there. What to do now? Nothing to do but go. If I did not go, my reason for not going would be plain - as though my decline of all their other invitations had not already made my reason quite plain.

I flew into the city in the Southwest, and after I retrieved my baggage, I saw a man in a black suit waiting for me, holding a sign with my name on it. He took my luggage and led me to the limo in which he drove me to the house. What can I say, but that I loved every minute of it. No hassle, no fuss, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

R. and H. were good-looking, hunky guys, who welcomed me warmly in spite of my past churlishness. When I look back, I hardly even recognize the person I was back then - the transformation is so great - but I must claim her as my own.

The house was something out of a fantasy, something you see in the decorating magazines, but with a definite personality of its own. They offered refreshments and afterward led me to my gorgeous room, a room with glass doors facing a private walled garden - not private to the house, but private to me - with a view of the mountains beyond the garden. The outside wall of my bathroom was glass, with the same lovely view of the garden and the mountains. I never lowered the blind in the bathroom. I figured if someone came into the garden while I was undressed - what the hell - I didn't care. The toilet was hidden away in an alcove and not visible from the outside. I would not willingly inflict a view of me on the commode on anyone.

Readers, I believe I'm going to have to break here and bring you the rest of the story in another post, or maybe even two other posts, because this is getting long, and I'm getting a pain in my neck from hunching over the keyboard. To be continued....