On the cab ride back to the hotel, we were both holding hands and still exuding excitement about the musical production we’d just seen, talking about the stars and the singing, the staging and just how much fun the whole thing had been. For both of us, this was our first time in New York City, specifically being in Manhattan, staying in a moderately fancy hotel, dining at a couple of nice restaurants and seeing Joseph Papp’s production of Pirates of Penzance at the Uris Theatre on Broadway.
The cab pulled up to the hotel, I paid the fare and we walked into the lobby. I suggested a glass of wine in the bar to toast the trip and the evening, since we’d be flying back to Portland in the morning.
After we were served, sipping our wine, sitting there still reveling in the afterglow, I joyfully watched the expressions playing on the face of my boyfriend. He was obviously happy. His eyes were sparkling, he was wearing a perpetual smile, his complexion just radiated health and the fulness of life. He looked my way and caught me staring.
I smiled slyly. “Two things, actually.”
“And, they are?”
“First, I’m reveling in your beauty and youth and wondering if it’s possible for any human being to love another anymore than I love you.”
His eyebrows rose and his smile became a grin as his dimples flared, and his eyes sparkled even more than before.
“You’re not still doing that Helios thing are you, like I’m some kind of sun god bringing light to the world?”
I grinned at him. “I’m entitled to have my own impressions, and that’s the way you appear to me sometimes. Especially when you walk into a room and the whole demeanor changes. As I said, it all makes me wonder if anyone can love another person more than I love you?”
“I know one person who would ask the same question.” He paused for effect and reached over and squeezed my hand. His smile turned lasciviousness and his eyebrows wiggled and I watched him mouth the word languid…very slowly! He released my hand, reached for his wine glass, and then continued, “and the second thing?”
I looked at him directly, trying to make sure my expression was both loving and fun at the same time. “Were you crushing on him, too?”
He grinned and the dimples flared again as he said, “God, yes! I haven’t felt my heart go pitter patter like that since the first day I met you.”
“He is damned cute, and what a head of hair.”
“Isn’t that the truth? And a pretty attractive body, too, especially in those tight pirate pants! He’s billed as a rock singer too, but I didn’t know him. I guess I’m too old already to be a Rex Smith groupie, but I’m a total Linda Ronstadt fan. Thanks so much for organizing this trip. The whole thing makes an amazing graduation present.”
“With Honors, don’t forget that. Graduated with honors. That’s a big deal. I’m enjoying it as much as you, and it’ll be memorable, for sure. Being in the Big Apple, some good meals, a great show. Watching Kevin Klein as the Pirate King was amazing work. I mean, I know he’s a film and stage actor, but light musical comedy isn’t what they normally perform in. For a leading-man, with good looks and a big voice who just exudes charm, I didn’t expect him to be able to be really funny. I was also really impressed with the Linda and Rex playing the young lovers. I thought they acted well, especially for being singers, not actors. How did you think their singing was?”
“I thought he was really good and she was just fabulous. As in, she has an astonishing voice and range, perfect pitch all the time, and she’s so just plain cute, like she’s some kind of innocent shepherdess, but a sexy one. And he’s a pretty darn good tenor who can really project, and then he adds those kind of pop rock crooning elements to it. It was great, just great.”
“It’ll be fun to tell Robert and Dieter about it. It was Robert’s idea when I asked him for suggestions about taking you somewhere. You remember what brought Linda Ronstadt into our musical orbit don’t you?”
He thought for a minute. “It was a few years ago. Wait! It was your birthday the summer between freshman and sophomore year. Will gave it to you. He was totally flipped about It’s So Easy and we got excited about Blue Bayou.”
“Funny how it works sometime, huh? That was also the birthday that included the Pink Floyd album from you…and the KY Jelly! What a trip it was trying that out. The album was also incredible. Do you remember me telling you later that the more I listened to Comfortably Numb the more I realized that song title was the perfect phrase to describe my emotional condition growing up?”
“I do, and I wasn’t even familiar with all the songs on the album, I’d just heard a couple on the radio. But it’s a pretty amazing song. I didn’t know if we’d like their music, but now we’ve got another section in our record collection. Anyhow, what I was getting at was that Will was focused on It’s So Easy because he was falling in love with Sam.”
“Yeah, but we both knew he was struggling with love that summer.”
“Maybe him liking that song so much was Freudian. Wasn’t it after that they went camping at Smith Rock, and that was all she wrote!”
I smiled back. “I think that was a few weeks later. Remember they came back frustrated because they’d been physically close climbing and both sharing a tent, and they both had strong feelings for each other but hadn’t been sharing their feelings with each other. Then we had that talk at home, and you played them How Far, remember?
“They got the message in the song, that’s what’s important. You’re right, they didn’t…what do ministers call it? It sounds like a soup.”
“You mean consummated. And yes, I suppose you’re right, they didn’t. It was that Labor Day weekend on Willapa Bay when they “got it on” as Sam so delicately put it, after which it was all over but the shouting. And she did a pretty good job of getting even with you, remember? The we’ll tell you after you tell us challenge? The next day when your Dad and Frank almost totally lost it they were laughing so hard?”
He rolled his eyes. “I do remember, thank you very much. But I’m thinking of more important things like the fact that now they’re married and have a one-year old, and we’re uncles! Go figure. How great is that?”
“It is pretty amazing. Marrying them, like marrying Lois and Gary was one of my two favorite services of all time.”
“It’s been great having them live close by for the last two years. I’m going to miss them when they move to Eugene for his Masters.”
“That’s for sure, but I think it’s the right decision, don’t you? I mean, he’s got his teaching degree and could teach high school, but he really needs a Masters if he’s going to teach at the university level.”
“You’re right, and he’s still doing a lot of arranging, so it’ll look better with a higher degree. I’ll just miss seeing them a lot, having them over for dinner or breakfast on the weekends. And babysitting too. Aren’t you going to miss the baby sitting?”
“Actually, yes. Mainly it’s not changing diapers and the crying, it’s having him around to grow up with. I sure hope they move back to Portland when he graduates.”
“Wouldn’t it be wild if he ended up back at Lewis & Clark working with Robert? That would be a trip.”
“I can see it in terms of how well they work together, but it’ll be long odds. It takes retirement or almost an untimely death for a faculty position to open up. I only got hired in Vocational Counseling because they created a new position and I had kind of an inside track.”
He was almost laughing. “Yeah, you and your inside tracks. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s done wonders for lots of people, including me.”
I lifted my glass to him, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, as they say.”
He laughed back. “I won’t, you did pull off getting your masters in Counseling Psychology in a year, and I know you’re going to end up Dean of Students within ten years. That’s a retirement you can plan on. And, again, you’ve got the inside track.”
“You’ve done pretty well yourself on inside tracks, too, you know.”
“What? I earned my way, every step of the way.” He was grinning conspiratorially, and his eyes were flashing again. “I got the intern job at the ad agency, and I did a good enough job they kept hiring me back each summer, and then I’d reached the point of doing such extraordinary work that they offered me a full time position when I graduated. All based on talent and hard work!”
“I’m not making light of either your talent or the hard work. You did a great job. Where do you see the job going?”
“Probably too early to tell. I’ve only been doing it for five weeks. But the longterm career paths are kind of limited at a local ad agency. And, don’t forget, I only was able to get vacation time for this trip after five weeks because of the stellar job I did the last three summers.”
“Come on, there wasn’t anything special to it. Add up all the time and you’ve worked there and it’s almost a year, so they’ve got to give you vacation regardless of the quality of your work.”
“Whatever you want to believe, my Sexy Man. Whatever you want to believe.”
“Well, I know you eventually want to move into marketing, but it’s pretty damn fortunate you got the job with this recession starting. I know the ad agency doesn’t have tenure or anything like that, but as long as you’ve worked there should help if things get tough.”
He nodded. “Yeah, I’m hearing you, and Spencer has said plenty about stability the last few times I’ve talked to him. Dad too! Don’t worry, I’m not planning on making any moves for a few years. It looks much better on a resume to have at least two years in a position, maybe three. But, I think longterm I’d rather be in corporate or product marketing and the ad agency experience is a good foundation.”
“Stability is a good goal given what’s going on. Gasoline prices haven’t recovered, and even though its now called AIDS instead of GRID, the gay community is still at risk along with hemophiliacs.”
“I know, but if we’re both healthy and only with each other, aren’t we safe?”
“So it seems. It makes commitment and exclusivity suddenly seem important instead of quaint.” I sipped my wine, looking at him over the rim, and said, “when do you start singing with Portland Gay Men's Chorus.”
“Not till next month. You know I’ve wanted to do this for a year or two, but it was just too much with school and two choirs there. I told them I’d start coming to practice in August, after this trip. Did you hear that they’re performing at the Gay Games in San Francisco in September?”
“No, I didn’t but that’s pretty cool. Are you going?”
“Are you kidding? I’d have just started singing with them, so, no. But it’s a pretty good recognition, don’t you think? I mean the chorus was only founded two years ago.”
I smiled again and nodded, picturing him lined up on risers with a bevy of gay men instead of the mix of students he’d sung with for the past four years. “It is cool. It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it, that Will self-selected himself out of the chorus by finding his other half and getting married.”
He laughed softly, “Yeah, it is, because he really wanted to as well. But it doesn’t work if you’re married, and he’s moving, so that’s that.”
We fell silent for a minute and the waiter came by and I ordered two refills.
“Speaking of Spencer, I’m still quite amazed that Gary wants to establish a payment schedule to pay off what he owes you for your half of the house.”
He smiled at that. “Like I told you, I was blown away when Spencer called and said he wanted to set up a meeting to talk about that. I mean, we knew the landscaping business was doing really well, but that well?”
“They’ve got six employees now, so they must have more work than they can keep up with. He was right about growing his own plants making for a much bigger profit margin. Has he got all of that two acre piece of ground he bought filled with nursery stock now?”
“Pretty much, and Lois tells me he’s looking at a couple more acres to expand onto. So, I’m meeting with Spencer next week. I’m betting he’s also meeting with Dieter. Something tells me he’s ready to trade in his car for a new model. Are you starting to think about that too?”
“Are you kidding? The 2002 is a ’76 model and runs great. That makes it six years old. I figure it’ll run great till it’s ten years old if you keep regularly changing the oil and stuff for me.” I grinned at him and asked, “Is Will letting you keep the creeper when they move?”
“Yeah, because they’ll be in an apartment and won’t have a garage. I told him they’ll have to drive up and stay the weekend when they need an oil change!”
“I bet you’ll miss the tandem mechanical work, you on the Challenger and Will on the Nova?”
“Yeah, it was great, wasn’t it? Me, who never knew how to pull a wrench before. And between Dad and Will, somehow, I’ve gotten to the point I know a bunch and can do a lot. I mean, I can’t adjust the timing on the engine or anything like that, but I can do all the basic stuff without breaking anything.” He glanced at me, grinning, “And it does sound extra cool since we got those glass packs on instead of the regular mufflers, don’t you think?”
“I have to admit it does. I didn’t know what to expect, but it does sound cool, and it’s running well for a twelve-year old car. But you take good care of it.”
He dropped into silence, and I joined him. After a minute he looked up, smiled and said, “I’m really happy for Gary and Lois. She keeps busy, too, running the business and doing landscape design. It’s really great for the. They’re in love and happy, they work together and love it, and they’re doing really well in all ways. Five years ago, I never would have even dreamed something like this was possible for Gary.”
I smiled at him, and he went on, “I guess an outside observer would probably have said the same, more or less, about all of us, right?”
“For sure. We’ve all come a long way in five years. Who could possibly have predicted on July 4, 1977, that the cute teen in the too-tight cutoff jeans and that new minister would hook up and end up here in the Big Apple sipping wine after seeing a Broadway show?”
He grinned at the images and said, “Good point! Just like that quote you use from Ripley about truth being stranger than fiction. And, we’ve got to pay attention this Fall after seeing the posters about Chariots of Fire. I definitely want to see that movie when it comes to Portland. It looks terrific.”
I nodded. “I agree, it looks intriguing. You know the title comes from a line in the British hymn Jerusalem, don’t you? Speaking of the show, don’t you think Ron would have liked the stage sets?”
“Yeah, they were big and cool and colorful. Probably not as technically fancy as some of the ones for big productions in Ashland, but he’d like them. He’d love being able to eventually do set work on Broadway. That’s his dream. He’s done well enough moving up through the ranks at the Shakespearean Festival that I bet he’ll make it. He’s good and he’s motivated, and he’s a nice guy on top of it all.”
“From what I hear those that’s an unusual combination of attributes in the arts.”
He nodded, and I asked, “How are he and Peter doing? I don’t see him much outside of PDA, and he doesn’t say much about his relationship.”
“They’re still together after three years, and it’s certainly been tested with them only physically being together in the summer, and then on school breaks when Peter flies him down to San Francisco. But Will tells me it’s good. You know I didn’t see that much of him last year. He was finishing up his Art major and I was doing Marketing and Communications, so there wasn’t much overlap. But we’d get together, every once in a while, with Ruth and Will and Sam and talk. That kept us connected. Anyway, he’s moving to San Francisco to live with Peter when the Festival closes at the end of summer. The job possibilities in theatre are much better in San Fran than in Portland. I guess that will be the next big test.”
“I hope it lasts. He deserves a good, long term relationship.”
Jackson paused, then nodded. “You’re right. He does. We both thought Peter was a good guy and a good match when we met him that time in Ashland. Anyway, Ron sure earned my respect with how he handled things with Will when he got back to campus and found out about Sam.”
“True, but Will was also finding out about Peter.”
“Yeah, and both had been clear that they were just dating and not bound together or anything. Still, even if they kind of expected things could change over the summer, I think Will expected that there’d be some major blowback because he was with Sam, you know, with a girl instead of a guy.”
“That was an interesting weekend, wasn’t it? You’re right though, Ron was a class act. It helped that he’d known them both for a long time and understood not just where they were both coming from and why it worked for them, but the changes he was going through as well.”
“I still give Will a lot of credit, calling Ron up when he got back on campus and saying he’d been invited to that start of school barbecue at our house, but they needed to meet first.”
“It would have been a real downer if Will had come back alone without Ron, and Sam and Ruth and all the PDA students were there but no Ron because it had gone sideways or something.”
“Yeah, but like you said, he was a class act. I was impressed that he really deeply understood what we’d all been working on about identity and finding your other half and that it wasn’t just words for Will, it was real stuff.“
“True, and he knew what Will went through with Kevin, so he had to believe it was serious. But don’t you think he came to our house that night just a little suspicious? You know, checking it all out to see if it was for real?”
“No doubt, but he must have been satisfied because they’ve stayed friends through college, so that says something about both of them.”
He nodded, sipping his wine, “Now that you say all of that, I can remember being paranoid Will would come back alone, and then worried after he got back with Ron that something would blow up or get nasty, but it didn’t. He saw Will and Sam together and I guess he saw with his own eyes that what Will had told him was true.”
“Weren’t you there when he said later, ‘You can see it in their eyes. It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but with a good ending!’ I thought that was pretty cool.”
“It was, and I remember you told me that later. I wasn’t with you when he said it, but it was all good, and he was also in his own new relationship.”
He got quiet, looking at me over his wine glass as he sipped. I saw his eyes sparkle, and a smile form.
“You know the main thing that made it possible, don’t you?”
I raised my eyebrows questioningly.
“It was the open discussions in the PDA, and your counseling. Have you ever asked yourself where people like Will and Ron and Sam, and so many other students over the years would be, if you hadn’t been a part of their lives?”
“Yes, and I don’t take myself too seriously. I just trust someone else would have been there if I hadn’t. There’s another piece to the puzzle, too, and that is that while I’ll accept I did Okay on the counseling side, you do remember what Mona said was the most important part of the formula for the Center, don’t you?”
“The volunteers. The students who took an active role, because students respect their peers as much, and maybe more, than they do faculty and staff. So, Lover Boy, you have an equal claim to fame here, because I don’t think most of the stuff I was talking about would have stuck or come off as relevant if you, and eventually Will, hadn’t been able and willing to talk about it in terms of your own lives.”
He smiled knowingly, the smile slowly turned into a grin, and then he lifted his glass and said, “Shall we toast the Dynamic Duo?”
He had me chuckling on that one. “In retrospect, we have been very fortunate. Not just fortunate, together in terms of our lives, but as importantly in terms of all the people we’ve met and been able to help along the way. That brings the most satisfaction, don’t you think?”
He nodded, getting quiet, then said. “Yeah, and we haven’t talked about it much since Kevin killed himself. I guess it hurt too much, but somehow we got through that, too.”
He was right, we hadn’t talked about the suicide much over the years, there being some emotions that are best left alone. “I think that illustrates what we were saying. We helped Will get through it, but Will is part of our family, so we were pretty impacted, too, and we all helped each other get through it. I know some schools of psychology subscribe to Nietzsche’s thesis, ‘That which does not kill us, makes us stronger,’ but I don’t think that’s always the case. That’s a pure survival of the fittest kind of approach.”
“Pretty harsh, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it is. In contrast, I remember you saying in PDA once that even though you thought about suicide at one point, you also had a basic positive faith that things would get better because even in your family you were loved and cared for at some level. Remember?”
He nodded, smiling wryly.
“In my mind, the same thing applied to Will. He was raised in a loving and caring environment, so he had that same kind of faith that Kevin’s death wasn’t the end of the world. He also understood that he wasn’t carrying the load of guilt Kevin had to. I always thought it applied to Sam, too. So, all of us are fortunate that we had this kernel of love and care in our lives that gave us faith, and that not only nurtured, but strengthened, our capacity to learn and adapt when a problem or crisis came along. Most of the good things that came out of PDA were because of that foundation. We just built on it and helped students see the light at the end of the tunnel and how to get there.”
“I’ll buy that because it’s not limited to homosexuals either. Remember what Ruth said about not just how much she’s learned, but matured so many ways in her life? It was all to the good for her as well.”
“She and Sam were quite a pair, weren’t they? I mean very different in a lot of ways, but true friends and very similar in terms of their values and what they think is important in life.”
He nodded. "Now that you're Director of Vocational Counseling do you interact much with the new Campus Ministry pastor?"
"Fairly frequently, but it's mainly business. I mean, I try to stay out of his business, it being his ministry now, and I tend to my own student counseling responsibilities. Why do you ask?"
"Well, we've all graduated now, and I know we all stopped going to worship services when you left and went to work at the college. Meaning Will and Sam and Ron, but Ruth says she goes quite a bit. I just wonder how that is going? Ruth said the new guy wasn't too excited about the early church model worship service, like he thought it was too informal and wanted more structure."
I paused, then said, "I frankly haven't asked. It's not where we are spiritually anymore, so I keep my distance. It's his ministry now, so he gets to make any changes he sees fit…and live with the consequences."
Jackson smiled at me. "I understand that, and think your approach is cool. We haven't talked about it much lately, but I kind of think that unless you have students who understand the metaphorical and non-literal approach it'd be hard to keep it going."
I nodded at that one and took another sip of wine.
His eyes twinkled and he asked, "Can I ask where you are spiritually now?"
"I've always said you can ask me anything about anything."
I paused and smiled at him. He smiled back wordlessly, eyes reflecting the lights in the bar.
"I've been on a journey that's moved through the metaphorical to a more generic spirituality. I know you still describe yourself as an atheist, but you also talk about having a spirituality. We've talked about that and agree that spirituality is connecting with the divine, however you define it, through our own personal experience, right? It's discovering and then experiencing and finally embodying our spiritual nature."
His smile continued and he nodded his head, letting our a soft and sweet, "Yeah, that's me."
So, I guess the best description of my spirituality is that it's gone full circle."
"Meaning you should be able to tell me because unbeknownst to me I revealed where I was going to end up to you within the first weeks that we were together."
"Wait! Is this turning into some kind of a quiz? You said I could ask you anything!"
"You can, and I'm not holding back, I'm just curious if you can put your finger on it."
His brow furrowed just a little and the smile was back on his face, and then he said, "I think I know. It has a lot to do with petals unfolding, doesn't it?"
I grinned back at him, happy and warm that he knew where my heart was, and it reinforced how close we are even about subjects not discussed in detail. "Yes, it does. It's the Robert Hunter lyrics of Attics of My Life. In my mind they are simultaneously divinely transcendent and personal. There are times I sing them, and occasionally just read them, and the images that flow through my mind are purely spiritual and metaphorical. Then there are other times that I sing them or read them, and I think of you."
"Yes, Love, you. I spent a lot of my life full of cloudy dreams unreal , and I think I can claim that I've spent a lot of my life seeking all that's still unsung , and even contend that there were times when I had no wings to fly . And in all those instance either you sang to me , or you played to me , or you flew to me . I know many people would make the "You" in that song either God or their understanding or a transcendent or divine power, or whatever. Like I said, I go back and forth between that kind of spiritual understanding and the personal one about you."
Jackson was quiet.
"It applies to the last verse, too, the one about the space of dreams and when the secrets all are told and the petals all unfold . The same thing applies, the transcendent and the personal, because of those last two lines: When there was no dream of mine, You dreamed of me. "
He was quiet and I could see the emotion rising on his face, and my own followed.
"I think that's the most beautiful thing you've ever said to me, David."
"It's all true," I said reaching for his hand. "But don't go thinking I've turned you into some divine being like Helios riding his chariot across the sky. I do know that I am who I am, because I'm with you. In my book that's plenty good enough to believe in."
"I love you, too, and feel pretty much the same way, you know?"
"I do, and isn't it wonderful to be so in synch?"
He grinned again, nodding. “It was so great to watch Will and Sam fall in love, and Sam slowly but surely become part of our family. Our sophomore year, when she was coming over more and more on weekends, and then essentially moved in for the weekends for the back half of the year.”
“Yeah, and the next summer, when she and Ruth were going to move to a different apartment for their junior year, but had to vacate in June, and she moved in with us for the summer. All of a sudden, Will has a live-in girlfriend, and you couldn’t be walking around the house naked or in your boxers!”
He laughed. “That was a change, but a good one. You know I caught her a couple of times trying a quick sneak into the bathroom in just her panties without a bra, right?”
I laughed back. “It was a good time. It kept us on our toes, and it proved that they were not just compatible, but meant for each other. “
“Though it wasn’t easy when school started and she moved back to the apartment. Will was pretty down there for a while.”
“That probably helped motivate them to get married the next summer, don’t you think?”
“Oh, that’s for certain. I kept telling him I’d sleep with him every so often so he wouldn’t be lonely, but after a while he didn’t think that was too funny!”
“And, then there were the parents.”
“Well, Sam’s parents basically just acted relieved it was a guy, as in any guy. You remember that, right? Gushing all over Will the first time they met him, but not really seeming to care about the details. You joked afterwards that they probably would have been Okay with Frankenstein’s monster if he’d had a penis.”
He was giggling. “They weren’t too happy with the gay minister marrying their daughter, and his boyfriend being the best man!
“By the way,” I continued, “did Frankenstein’s monster have a penis?”
“Good question. I don’t know. He was assembled from parts…so, that would depend on now anatomically complete the good Dr. Frankenstein wanted to be!”
“Send a telegram to Mary Shelley, right?”
“But Will’s parents were genuine. That’s what initially surprised me and made me respect them even more. They’d accepted that he was bi, and had been with Kevin and was dating Ron, and seemed to have accepted that their son would be gay. Then when it didn’t happen that way, they just seemed to go with the flow, somehow.”
“But they were right there, supporting him and Sam all the way. Up to the wedding being on campus in the chapel.”
“They were very supportive.”
“It was pretty amazing. I figured by that point they’d be pretty chill. I mean, I’ve known them forever, but like you said they changed and accepted him for what he was. I bet it would have been pretty interesting to have been a fly on the wall when they were talking alone after the first couple of times that they met Sam. You know, like ‘how did our gay son fall for a girl,’ kind of talk!”
“You do remember what I told you Will said to me sometime after that, don’t you? He probably said the same thing to you.”
“Refresh my memory.”
“The four of us were having dinner on Sunday evening, early in your sophomore year, after they’d come back from Newberg. They’d driven down on Saturday to ‘meet the parents’ and stayed overnight, and there was no pushback about them sleeping together, remember?”
“Anyway, I was grilling something on the back porch, and Will walked out and was talking to me at the grill, and I asked how it went with his parents, meeting Sam and what the vibe was.”
I grinned at him. “You know exactly what happened and what he said. You just want me to tell you again.”
He nodded, smiling wryly, and I continued. “We were standing there, shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the grill, drinking a glass of wine. You and Sam were inside talking and working on the rest of dinner, and he said, ‘You want to know what the ultimate irony is? My parents don’t know any of the personal details, and it’s none of their business. They can believe what they want. They’ve been really cool and really accepting and really kind. But now they think I went through a phase about being bi and got back to normal. They don’t know Sam’s bi too, and they can think Sam and I are as hetero as they want, and it won’t change a thing.’ Do you remember that?”
“I told Will he was right, and that people tend to believe what they want to, and nice as his parents are, they’re included.”
“And, I’m remembering the moment, because Will was so transparently honest and so knowledgeable and understanding all at the same time. Anyway, then he said, ‘What they don’t know, and will probably never understand, is that we’re both still bi, but I’ve found my other half. Only you and Jackson and Ruth and Ron and a few others know the truth. If Sam was short for Samuel instead of Samantha, and if Sam came with a cock and balls instead of a vagina, I’d still feel the same way and be saying the same thing. Like you’ve said all along, it’s about finding your other half instead of being about the equipment. I mean, maybe it’s easier for me than most, and her, too, because we dated girls and guys along the way. But you know what I mean, that it’s the person first and foremost. I think that was among the most profound personal disclosures I’ve ever heard.”
He was smiling, knowing the story but reveling in hearing it retold.
“What do you say, Lover Boy? Another glass to end the night, or have we had enough?”
“I think I’m done. I don’t want to dull my senses. We don’t have an early flight tomorrow, so we can make wild and crazy love on that very comfortable bed in our room. Then, we can sleep in a bit tomorrow morning, have a leisurely breakfast, and then head for the airport.”
“Ending this trip with wild and crazy love in our room sounds like a much better idea to me than another glass of wine. Can I make a toast with the last sip in my glass?”
“Here’s to finding your true love and other half.”
CREDITS AND FURTHER READING
Joseph Campbell published dozens of volumes on mythology. Among the most helpful (all available from Amazon) to approach the subject are:
The Power of Myth
The Inner Reaches of Outer Space
Substantial credit has to be given to The Joseph Campbell Foundation for the anthology works they have published to help people delve into and understand his work on mythology. Two very valuable collections of his work that distill his thoughts down to the most important insights are:
Thou Art That
The Pathway to Bliss
Among the two most important authors in the field are Marvin Meyer and Elaine Pagels. A listing of their major works on the subject can be found at the Gnostic Society web site. For those interested in understanding Gnostic Christianity, The Gnostic Society Library, maintains a web page of the Nag Hammadi Library, as well as background information on the texts and their meaning.