This is my fourth holiday season since my life made a drastic turn. The first couple of years, I was paralyzed by the solitude. All that had been crazy in my life had come to a warmly welcomed end, and was being enjoyed only by me. Random threats commonly heard by me made mention that my ex would not remain a member of the single adult world one moment longer than necessary. As a matter of fact, I relished the thought of my ex finally having a diversion from making my life a living hell. Another victim would be...could be... my ticket to personal, albeit not financial, freedom. I had always enjoyed the concept of 'being married', it just so happened that I had spent several years married to the wrong person.
It worked. Our divorce became final on March 17, 2003. She married husband #2 on March 18, 2003. Had our hearing not taken place so late on that day, I'm quite sure the new couple would have been able to file a marriage license just minutes after our divorce decree had been stamped and registered. Oh well, we all can make bad choices. Mine was getting married in the first place. Had I come of age in a less sheltered environment, perhaps I would have had the chance to see a better choice. Coming out of the closet post-divorce and in one's 30's sets into motion all sorts of regrets. Three kids in tow can make it even more complicated. But I'm slowly learning my own way.
I always thought that coming out would be one of the most freeing experiences I could ever do for myself. Personally, it was just that. Socially though, I've gotten a few scrapes. Hell, I should just be honest and say that I've bled quite a few times. Those were some of the lonliest times in my life. Even more lonely than much of my pre-coming out days. And I really wondered if trying to live in a way that was true to myself was worth the ever increasing amount of hurt that I was encountering by being a gay bachelor or part of a gay social group. Was it even worth trying to find a date? It's still a question I ask myself often. Sure, I'd think it was great to find someone who I could consider my best friend, but who could also fulfill the role of boyfriend, partner, and eventually...husband. But I don't hold my breath anymore. At least not continuously.
I nearly found what I was looking for. It was just over one year ago. I met Stanley. He was as genuine a man as I had ever met. What soon followed were several trips back and forth, whether via Delta Airlines or Interstate 30, between Dallas by both of us. Stanley had every quality I needed in a friend and boyfriend. At least every quality I needed immediately. Just before we had met, both of us had been through the typical emotional roller coaster of severing ties with our previous romantic interests which, unfortunately, he was more deeply invested than myself. I had just closed the doors on a one month old potential romance, but he was ending something of a much greater magnitude. We were each other's shoulder to lean on. We still are. I love him like a brother, and I bounce every problem I'm having off of him. It is a friendship I will always treasure. We're both so lucky that we saw fairly early that things between us could only go that far and romance was not in our cards. I really needed to find a friend like him years and years ago.
New Year's will be here so soon. I will be celebrating it just as I always do. Alone. And I doubt I'll even be able to stay awake. But that's okay. As much as I feel lonely, I also relish my solitude. I guess I'm still experiencing the burns from a bad marriage and a couple of bad boyfriends. It would take an awfully great date prospect for me to give up my usual New Year's routine.
I suppose it could happen.