I have a bunch of rants in my head about things but one that just came up.
I was riding in the car with Traveler to do some Christmas shopping and we were talking about scheduling. I ask, “Oh yeah.. when is the Utah ski trip by the way?”. He says “Well.. it’s Super Bowl weekend, so normally I’d be coming back Sunday night, but I think I’m going to stay Sunday night because of the Super Bowl, you know, to watch it there”. Hmm.. all *I statements*.
“Has it turned into a boys only thing?”.
“No. A lot of people are going.”
“Is it just the guys though?”
“No…Quinky Girl is coming.”
He was puzzled. I said, “Um. I was invited to that. We were all talking about going. Remember. You said it would be fun if we all went, when your friends were here. You asked me in the Irish place if I would come and I said I would. And we told your other friend, when we were in Portland, that we’d see her on the ski trip. I thought.. I thought I was still going. Am I not going?”
Silence. “I’m sorry. There will be some work people there I’m not out to yet. So, I’m only taking Quinky Girl.”
Bright smile. “Oh. Sure! No problem”. Brittle laugh.
The car was silent. I could feel that he felt me.
I hate moments like that. The air in the car is suddenly cold and it’s like a little kick. I know he doesn’t mean it, but fuck does it sting. It’s just one of those situations I guess, or it’s just people and their partners… and you can’t come. Only my socially acceptable partner can come. Of course. Of course. Smile. No. I understand. Breathe.
He looked kinda bad and I couldn’t take it. I wanted to cry but I didn’t want to make him feel bad or ruin our day. I was really looking forward to the ski trip and not only can I not come but he didn’t even remember that we’ve been talking about me going for a while now. Two weeks ago we’d talked about how it would probably be the first time either of us skied this year. He has to have remembered I was going.. right? We wondered if my foot would be good enough to ski by late January or February and decided it would. I liked his friends. I always hear about fun from these trips. It’s in Utah in a ski resort and I’ve never been to one. I just learned to ski last year. I figured Quinky and I would probably spend a little time in the lodge too because I’m a beginner and the others aren’t, and she doesn’t ski. So I’d maybe ski half days or something in the bunny slopes and then hang with her, maybe people watch with whiskey drinks. Nope.
I got into this relationship fully understanding and accepting that Traveler is in the closet in most areas of his life. There are just a handful of friends that know who he is. None of his family, and few of the people he works with.. almost none of them know how he lives. Normally this really isn’t much of a snag. It sucks when some people come to town or when he visits family. It sucks when there are lots of work parties and such. And I guess it sucks when I was supposed to go skiing and can’t. This one wouldn’t have sucked quite so much except that I was really looking forward to it. And it hurt more that he didn’t just tell me he’d decided I couldn’t come. I stumbled across it in standard big dumb dog fashion. “Oh.. do you want me to go home a day early or something so just the guys can watch the Super Bowl?”. “Um.. no.. what.. what are you talking about”. I tried to think of a way not to say I thought I was coming. “Oh.. heh.. it’s just.. it’s silly.. sorry.. I thought I was coming… Remember? You asked me if I could come and I said yes? We told your friends we’d be there? We’ve been talking about this?” blink blink. “He he he.. silly me. Sorry.”
You’re saying I’m not welcome and like an idiot I thought I was still coming. I see my proverbial big dumb dog drool all over this. You don’t want me there and forgot I was even excitedly planning to come? My eyes were hot and wet and I was glad I was wearing sunglasses and driving. I could not have looked at him or I’d have broken. I could feel his pain. I stole a glance at him and he looked terrible. “I’m not sure what to do” he said. “I feel like.. I well.. I hurt you”.
I smiled and grabbed his hand and tried to be lighter than I felt. I admitted I was disappointed but told him that I understood.. and I do. Something inside cracked again, another little crack. He explained that he didn’t always want it to be this way but that some people were coming who were judgmental and he wasn’t out to them. He said he envisioned a life where he was more open and that he’d like everyone to know about his relationship with me eventually. And I see that part of him feels that way, but I also see he has no actual plan for this. I asked him if he’s actually comfortable living as he does, and he said he was, but that it will take time for him to come out and to be honest with some people, and he asked for my patience. I believed him, that he wants to be open, but I also see that he can’t or won’t take the action to do so. He told me he was in love with me and that he didn’t want to hurt me, but that this is hard. And with that, I reached for his hand.
I gave him my patience. I signed up for this. It is part of the price of admission for loving Traveler. I accepted this when I chose to date a closeted person. It doesn’t really matter that I had no idea that this would be this hard sometimes. I signed on and I chose this by choosing him. And it’s only one ski trip.. or all the ski trips. And it’s only when some people visit, or when there is a party.. or a work function.. or a thing with certain friends or a dinner. And it’s only with his family. And it’s only every Christmas and every time he visits people he loves or they visit him. I might, if I’m lucky, meet my partner’s parents someday as the divorced girl he and his wife took under their wing.
Of course it bothers me. It cut me to the quick this time. I had envisioned those ski days and the fun talks and drinks and nights I’d always heard about and I was so happy I would be there. He chose to ski with people he feels are judgmental rather than being honest about who he is. But it’s not my choice to make. It seemed to bother him. Maybe some day it’ll bother him enough that he’d choose differently. Sometimes loving people means loving the parts of them that are hard to love too. He does it for me. And this is what blogs and good friends are for. I admitted that I was disappointed and that I had wanted to go, but I held his hand and I didn’t cry or pout or try to make him feel bad. I smiled. I spoke warmly and told him I loved him too. I kissed his knuckles. I tried to smooth it over. I held his hand and gave it a squeeze and I smiled. I thought of something else to talk about after a little bit and enjoyed the rest of the day with him.
I’m not getting to go on the ski trip with my loves and I guess my Super Bowl plans are out the window too. Dammit. We’d planned to watch it together since the first game we saw together this year. I couldn’t do it with him and to him, but I’m doing it here. Pout Pout Pout.
Thanks for letting me pout here a little in a better place. Now. To make Super Bowl plans.