I haven't posted in over a week because I've been traveling. Actually, I'm still supposed to be on vacation but unfortunately, 12 hours into our visit to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, James fell ill and we had to come back home .
It's been an insane week but nonetheless we're both still standing, and I'm blogging. For now, all is right with the world.
While we only spent 48 hours overseas, it was all the time I needed to add a new dimension to my opinions on some of the issues that loom large in my life and that of many other Americans. It's funny what six waking hours at an all-inclusive resort will do to the most cynical liberal or cantankerous conservative. The impact of the words "Breaking News" is lost when it's competing against your fifth margarita and the chanting of topless European chicks diving into the pool beside you.
I'm lucky to have soaked up that libertine spirit so quickly because it would come in handy as I explained to doctors and ER staff the symptoms that brought my partner, and not my father, to the hospital in the first place.
I'm disappointed to report that at times I actually felt nauseous whenever I had to explain that James (who's 15 years my senior) and I are a couple. To do so in Spanish and weather the pregnant pause between that revelation and the writing of Husband next to "Relation to Patient" made me feel like I was coming out to my parents all over again.
There were also times when I'd just smile and nod whenever other nurses would say that my dad or friend would be fine. The cab driver who took me to my hotel so I could check out went so far as to ask how my girlfriend was doing. It was fun to play straight for the 20 minute cab ride and rule out pregnancy as the reason for the sudden trip to the hospital.
Can you ever expect people to understand that two men can be in relationship and just shrug it off? Can I? I wonder if the eyes I felt on me was just my repressed homophobia coming through.
On the plane ride home, holding James' hand, I thought about what the word marriage means to me. Forget that, I thought, what the hell does this relationship mean to me? How "out" should I be and is that any reflection about how I view my life with my partner?
Do the pointy shoes, tight jeans and penchant for color and my man purse not speak enough for me?
I haven't felt that insecure and ashamed since I was 21 and in the closet.
And then I left the hospital with James on Friday only to be called a "maricon" (Spanish word for faggot) by two guys in a car as we crossed Seventh Avenue. I turned back and exchanged some words with the guys - something I would never do - feeling ready to go to blows in the middle of the street and in the snow.
The guys sped off.
I don't know whom to be more mad at - those jerks in the car - or myself.