I have been sitting on this book for almost a year now, and my greatest challenge continues to be fictionalizing reality.
This morning I had a breakthrough.
I have been so overwhelmed by how all the details of reality have woven together that I haven't considered the possibility of telling a different story. My story has been, until recently, "Will my friend make it through the trial?" I have decided that the question in the book should be, "Am I homophobic?"
As a song in Avenue Q says, "Everyone's a little bit racist," and I think it is time to point out that everyone's a little homophobic as well. How many closeted gay men target other openly gay men? How many fag hags are secretly bitter that they are still single? And then there are the obvious religious conservatives who use ancient texts to condemn modern men and women. The "defenders of marriage." How many people start a sentence with "I'm not gay, but...?"
I was watching Glee with my mother, and Curt came out of the closet to his dad, and she cried. I hate it when my mother cries, especially over a television program, so I turned to her and said, "Mom, I'm gay. Just kidding."
Her response: "I couldn't handle that right now."
I know she meant nothing by that remark. I know that if I were gay, my parents would at least tell me they still love me, and they would try their best to be supportive. I also know that deep down, they would be crushed that I'm not giving them any grandchildren. I'm sure they wonder if I am a lesbian--a 25 year-old Oberlin graduate who rarely dates and spends far too much time with women and gay men at the theater. Even as a straight woman, it hurts to think that they would be disappointed in me if I were gay. In turn, I'm sure I internalize that sadness, and I'll admit, I am jealous of the happy gay couple. I look at my queen walking beside me and know that I'll never be more than a friend to him. A little part of me hates that he'll always be a little sick at the thought of my womanly parts.
Maybe the story that I'm too afraid to write is the story that explores all of my bitterness and hatred toward homosexuality. I am afraid to admit that somewhere, though I try to calm it and ignore it, I'm just like everyone else.
I think I'm finally ready to write this book.