Underneath all of the busyness of my life—composing my thesis, a twenty hours of work a week, eighteen credits, church activities, and volunteer work as an English teacher—a steady and understated rhythm was beginning to surface in my life. As the drama of dating Derek and not dating Anderson panned out (more details in a future installment), my time with Ianto remained constant.
It seemed it was all I really wanted. But being new to dating, I wondered if it was really all that I wanted.
Two or three times a week, we had a standard date. Always dinner and a movie at his place. I found this in no way unimaginative because every time managed to be somehow different and special.
“Okay. You’ll have to twist my arm, though.”
In conversation, I’d heard it spoken of in the same terms as God’s Army for pushing the line and seriously addressing questions of faith. This is why I was interested in seeing both films and also why I’d avoided them. Deep down, I didn’t want to be a ‘bad Mormon’ and challenge my faith like that. However, this time the yes side won out.
As we lay on his bed watching the movie in his tiny room, I would occasionally notice him glancing over at my reaction and thinking, That’s what I do. He really cares what I’m thinking and feeling.
Although both of us were almost silent the entire movie, I felt as if he understood exactly what was going on in my head. As the “greenie” missionary arrived in the field, my mind went back to my mission days to meeting my trainer and my other roommates and thinking What have I gotten myself into?
He seemed to show concern when we watched the scenes of anonymous sex. He understood my shock as those things I’d only heard about had suddenly become a visual reality. I was disgusted, but also curious and as the plot unfolded, I began to understand some of the reasons that was a reality.
It wasn’t long before Ianto and I were as close as we could be laying next to each other on his bed. He held me from behind watching the movie practically through my hair or perhaps not watching the movie at all, but feeling my heart beat with his arms wrapped around my chest.
I tend to think it was the latter. He wasn’t Mormon, but he seemed to understand just how I’d processed the movie without talking about it or simply by listening to my heart. In a romantic way, I liked to think that as a musician he could read and interpret rhythms and variations to a degree of intimacy I hadn’t imagined.
“You weren’t prepared for it to get all cosmic like that, were you? Or when his mother slapped him. You didn’t breath for like half a minute,” he posited as he turned me around to face him on his bed.
“All true. The movie’s definitely not perfect. I don’t think it’s totally fair to either side, but I definitely came out of that understanding a lot of what I’ve been through better.”
“What do you mean?”
“I share a lot of my worries about my family and the Church with… what’s the missionary’s name?”
“Yeah. I worry that my parents will react the same way. And the sex… they were evil. I don’t know what to think about it. They were really in love and to express that love is sinful? Ianto,” I paused. “I haven’t even discussed this with Cole, but that’s what seems wrong with the Church. Telling each other how or who to love and passing laws to that effect is the one thing that could make it all true or all false for me. It seems almost hypocritical when 150 years ago there were places it was illegal to be Mormon. Being gay is as much a reality as being Mormon.”
“You’re not the only guy I’ve dated who’s been through this. I don’t think any of them have been quite so thoughtful or articulate about it, though, ” he said. In a way, he seemed to think of it as an elegy for the Church’s lost boys. Ianto was never Mormon, but as some of his best friends were, he made a sincere effort to understand and respect their beliefs.
“I don’t know if that makes things easier or harder for you, but I’m here. As much as I’d like to help you, I can’t. Watching the movie and thinking about it will only help you think through this, I think. That’s what art does.”
He looked me in the eyes communicating just how serious he was about what he’d just said before pulling me towards him for a tender kiss.
End, Part 7.