Alex - Prologue
I can feel the beads of sweat forming on my forehead. Nervous is a word thatís often overused, but that would certainly explain how I feel as I sit here staring at the monkey suit Iíd rented, and wait. My fingers are trembling so much as I try to write something sweet inside the card that I plan on fixing to the top of the small gift box sitting on the table in front of me. I bought the new dropped pearl necklace to give to Beth Ann Caruthers on her wedding day because my mom had told me that every wedding should include:
Beth Ann and I had become really good friends before all this happened, but I do have to say that I never imagined things would turn out the way they have. Never for a moment did I think that her presence in my life would change my entire way of seeing things. Truth be told, it was actually her and something else that happened two years ago that did it. Those two things alone Ė okay, and one other minor detail, were what made me believe that I actually had a choice in a certain matter.
The matter? Well donít be shocked, because most people that Iíve hung out with since middle school donít believe itís even possible to change in the way that Iíve changed. Iím still not one-hundred percent certain myself, but for the past five years, my best friend Phil Johnson has been living proof that it can be done, and so thatís what gives me the most hope. Iím not talking about getting married either. Well I kinda am. But what I really mean is, that I no longer buy the idea that just because Iíve always seen myself as gay, I canít choose to be happy, or fulfilled, or whatever it is that you feel by being close to someone, with a girl.
Up until six months ago, Iíd have thought that wasnít possible. I had spent my entire teen years thinking that if I ever actually did get married, it would be to a guy. Everyone says that if youíre gay, then youíre gay Ė end of story, but I donít believe that anymore. I mean, not really. I do still notice when a good looking guy comes into view, so maybe some people would say thatís proof that Iím still gay, but it was my friend Phil who got me to understand that itís what you do with those thoughts more than the thoughts themselves that prove who you are.
Does it even really matter?Öand sorry if youíre freaked out at the moment, visualizing what gay guys actually do in bed with each other, but then maybe you can understand how I felt when my younger brother used to tell me what he wanted to do with a girl.
All I know is that my lips involuntarily form a smile on my face every time I think about Beth Ann, so I know Iím making a good decision here. Like now, Iím imagining how sheíll look in her white gown, and I can feel the corners of my mouth forcing my cheeks upward. Sheís such a sweet thing.
She amazes me. She gives me confidence Ė confidence I never had before I got to know her.
I know Iím rambling, but you have to understand that this is all so new to me. Before Beth Ann showed up in my world, there had only ever been guys in my dreams. Just listening to guys talk about girls had been enough to make me shudder in repulsion back then. Somehow, though, being with Beth Ann has changed my entire outlook on that.
Anyway, our pre-marital counselor helped me reach the point where I believe that choosing to commit my life to loving Beth Ann isnít just a stupid idea. I actually see that Iím committing my life to the person Iíve fallen in love with, and thatís why, unlike what everyone tells me, I just donít see that me marrying a woman is a train wreck waiting to happen.
Itís still five hours until the big event. God I hope my knees stop shaking before itís time to stand in front of the church and watch her walk down the aisle. Sheís gonna make her wedding dress look stunning, even if it does include maternity alterations.
Oh. I guess now you know about the minor detail that I mentioned. Beth Ann and I are going to have a baby. I remember how, as Beth Ann sat on my lap and moved herself up and down that time six months ago, I felt like what we were doing was so wrong. Not so much because of what our preacher says in church, but because the whole time she was doing it I kept thinking about Caleb, my last boyfriend. I felt guilty; like I was somehow not giving her what she thought she was getting. I had been so surprised at the time that it was happening Ė that it actually could happen Ė that it had never crossed my mind what, given the opportunity, my seed could do inside of her. I simply had never had to think about that before. That one little brain fart is what forced me to really think about things, though.
Iím actually kind of glad it happened. If it hadnít, Iíd probably still be searching for Mr. Right.
Up until a couple of years ago I had been so sure that Caleb was the one I would spend the rest of my life with. I guess you could argue that we were just a couple of horny teenagers Ė that we hadnít grown up yet Ė but it sure felt like love to me. Then I decided to go to school in California. We hadnít even actually sat down and discussed it much. I just assumed that the next year heíd apply to the same college that I was attending, and then weíd be together forever. No use crying over spilt milk though. He found someone else, and like what happened with every other boyfriend Iíve ever had, it all came crashing down when I opened that letter at the end of my first semester.
Actually, Iím amazed at how I arrived at this point in my life. Iím not sure exactly how it all happened Ė I mean I know how Beth Ann got pregnant and all. I was there when it happened. But what I really mean, is getting to the point where at the age of twenty-one I came to believe that marrying her was the right thing to do Ė thatís what amazes me.
Phil Johnson, whoís going to be my best man, still hasnít arrived on the West Coast. Bad weather canceled his flight from back east, where we became best friends in high school, and Huong Pham, my groomsman, has been my roommate this year, so he lives on campus. He said heíd be here by eleven, so Iím left here with only my thoughts to keep me company.
Casey was my ďfirst boyfriendĒ Ė a total loser. ďUse Ďem, and lose Ďem.Ē As soon as he found someone he liked better, he dumped me Ė and let me tell you, being dumped for someone whoís three times your age is extremely hard on the self-esteem. I almost didnít recover from that one. But then Eddie came along. We hit it off the very first moment we met each other, and spent the rest of that school year, more or less together Ė together, together, if you follow what Iím saying. It was hard when he sent me an email at the end of the school year telling me he didnít want to be tied down anymore. Itís not that I ever actually managed to tie him down. Three trips to the public health clinic to get treated for STDs was proof of that. Itís just that he felt tied down because I was never comfortable with the idea of hooking up with everyone who looked at you and licked their upper lip, the way he was.
Then there was Caleb. Looking back, Iíd have to say that he was my first real love. I can see now, how with Eddie and me, it was friendship and sex (and just sex when the friendship started going south for the winter). With Caleb though, it was friendship and respect. Sex never even entered the picture until we had grown to love and respect each other.
I still think about him sometimes. Beth Ann and I have even talked about him. She didnít seem the slightest bit put out when I told her that I still had feelings for him, either. She just listened and asked questions. It was like she knew how important he had been to me, and she respected that part of my past. It seems so weird having someone love all of you Ė the good, the bad, the right, the wrong. I never got that at home.
I pray to God that Beth Ann and I can have a real home. One where every idea and thought is welcomed and discussed as it should be Ė with respect. Thatís the one thing I want to work hardest at. Beth Ann does too. Neither of us had that, growing up.
Iím sure glad thatís behind me.
In many ways, my senior year of high school was the best year of my life. After living through hell my junior year, when my younger brother died unexpectedly, my parents divorced, and both my boyfriends dumped me, I figured I was overdue for some good luck.
About the only thing that went right the previous year, was that on the very first day of school, Phil Johnson had introduced himself to me, and asked me if I wanted to go skateboarding with him. My brother, who also happened to be my best (and only) friend at the time, had just passed away, and I was pretty much a basket case then. Looking back, it was like Phil was an angel, because he helped me to get through some really tough times that year. The next summer, though, his dad took a job in the next town, and he moved his family there. It was a tough summer because that left me as alone as I had ever been, and I wasnít looking forward to my senior year at all. My only real friend was now going to a different school than me. But just like at the start of my junior year, that all changed on the very first day back.