(or how I came to eat dinner on the lanai of a Florida home in the summer, alone.)
We must talk, POST-HASTE!
You asked me to explain to you why I dislike you so much. Of course, you asked seconds before you slammed the sliding glass door robbing me of the chance to actually tell you and after you said “Well, I guess that faggot thing really got to you.”
First things first, the term “faggot” is used, almost exclusively, to offend and provoke. I’ve never known anyone to choose it as a self identifying moniker and using that as yours says a lot about the degree of your self loathing.
But, nonetheless, I am left defending myself against your belief that being homosexual is the reason I harbor such contempt for you. I assure you, it is not. Sexual preference is not now, and has never been, part of my criteria for…well, for anything. I have gay friends, closeted and out. I’ve had gay colleagues and I have had conflicts with them (but never about anything besides work).
I’ve also been active in New York City theater as a playwright, actor and producer for over ten years now and if I had such contempt for people attracted to the same sex, aside from same-sex adult films, I couldn’t think of a less likely form of creative expression where I would be so ensconced with such a myriad of talented people, including gay folks.
Jay-sus, Mary and Joseph.
Honestly, you would be hard pressed to find anything I could care less about. Seriously. Whoever you’re attracted to is about as much business of mine as who I am attracted to is yours. Which is to say, it’s not important. I simply just don’t give a shit about that stuff.
There, that’s settled.
Now, why do I dislike you? It’s simple. Right around the time you came out of the closet (after three marriages and two biological children) you decided to unleash something on our family from a “found therapy” session.
To call it conspicuous timing would be an understatement.
To call it pathetic would be reductive.
To call it wrong would be right.
I would argue that the ensuing accusation you made was not “found therapy” but more your own “aversion therapy”. Perhaps your own inability to deal with whatever you were dealing with (homosexuality, parenting, drinking, drugs, failed career, failed marriages, take your pick) was the real issue at the time..but I am not a shrink.
It was as if you gleefully took a bomb, dropped it in the center of a home and screamed “Fuck ya’ll, you did this to me!”
Doing that nearly tore apart a marriage that was, by most accounts, good. You placed a dark cloud over someone who gave you everything, including a name. My name. You destroyed the psyche of your sisters already fragile mind. You instilled a degree of contempt in two young men who had been raised to believe that such contempt was patently wrong. You completely decimated any possibility of a family reunion, which was the one thing you know mother would have enjoyed. And the one thing she desperately wanted to have. Or maybe you don’t know that. Or maybe that was your plan? Some sort of post modern Oedipal thing?
What exactly we, or anyone, were to have done to you remains a giant mystery to those of us left standing in the ruins. However, I assure you, we didn’t do anything to you. My guess is that no one did. No one was, or is, out to get you. Your path of destruction is all your own.
You’re a narcissist. Not a victim.
The truth is you can’t feel anything except victimization for yourself. Hell, by all accounts, you can’t really feel anything for anyone else. The joke was always how long it would take to swing the conversation around to you. I’ve had long, very long (and expensive), conversations about this with a lot of people. I’ve also invested way too much of my own time reflecting on this damage you have caused.
And you know what? In every way possible, it all ends up pointing in the same direction. To you and your wickedly inflated sense of self.
Even more truth is that no one, and I mean no one, believes you. No one believed you then! And the one person who your accusation did the most harm to? She didn’t believe you. Of course mother had questions. She had doubts. But when she went looking for answers and corroboration, all she found was a shady therapist and bunch of lies built on a house of cards.
I had heard a story that in one of your rare lucid moments you even rescinded everything to your third wife (although you lacked, and still do, the intestinal fortitude to rescind it to anyone else). I wish your cowardice came as a surprise.
But after all of the damage you caused, mother still accepted you. And I am proud to be the son of two people who would still take in, and accept, someone who willfully destroyed so fucking much. The fact that they did is a testament to their ability to sacrifice and, yes, even to love. When you had nothing, they gave you everything that they could. And you took it. I often scratch my head on it, but I am very proud of them for doing it.
That is no longer the case. Our only connective thread was mother and she is dead.
While I won’t attempt to speak for anyone else, I can say confidently that I no longer have to consider you in any thing. Not that I ever really did. By virtue of our age difference you were never around and always rather insignificant to me. For a very brief period, you were around. For an even more brief period, you may have considered us close but my memories of you involve my introduction to weed, buying me beer and yes, ONE camping trip…35 years ago. Looking over my life as a whole, our interactions were thankfully few and far between.
While our interactions were limited, my anger towards you over these years was anything but.
Look, make no mistake. Our family was fucked up (probably a tad more than most, but, we’re all from odd families, degrees are subjective). And as dysfunctional as we were, and we were, you still fucked it up even more.
You did that. Amazing.
I can say this with the utmost confidence, “If you were on fire on the side of the road, I wouldn’t piss on you.”
The Christian in me would have me believe that I shouldn’t feel this way.
That I should let things be in the past.
That I should forgive.
All that being said, I still wish you no ill. I wish you all the happiness that you create for yourself. I wish you the best health you are capable of. I wish you all the love you desire and deserve. I want all of that for you. Truly, I do.
My gut tells me you’re simply incapable of wanting the same for me.
But that’s OK because my biggest wish for you is really for myself and what remains of my family. That wish is for you to simply go away. And on August 9, God willing, you will.
So, “What happened?” you ask.
Why do I feel this way towards you?
You fucked up my family.