Monday, July 26, 2010

Hold, Part 3

Forked Path

“One, two, three, one, two, three.  Turn, turn and promenade,” the choreographer ordered as the soloist belted out:

I have found her, she's an angel
With the dust of the stars in her eyes.
We are dancing, We are flying,
And she's bringing me back to the skies.

“Turn, turn, and spin… lift!”

Hailey GMB Dance Rehearsal.

With that, I grabbed my hoop-skirted partner by  the waste and moved her from one side to the other—only a mere two inches off the ground.

“Okay everybody, back to your places.  We’re going to try this again full speed after I give everybody their notes.”

I turned to Hailey and blushed, “At least we were on tempo this time.” 

As always, she made no big deal out of my inexperience.  “We’ll get it.  Last time, I was a half bar behind.”

Meaghan, the choreographer approached with a smile on her face—the types suggesting she knew I’d take whatever she had to say very seriously.  “GMB, do I really need to show you how to hold a girl again?” she teased.

“Get in position…. Good.  Now grasp those hips.” 

I took moved my hands, took hold, and flexed preparing to lift.

“Hold it there.  GMB, lower and firmer.  Hailey, bounce a little right before that lift, the inertia will help him and look more graceful.” 

The unstructured, freeing experience of the previous night of clubbing inevitably came to mind.  Practically speaking, holding and dancing with another man simply felt natural. 

After rehearsal, I rushed up to my secluded corner of the library for some cram time—but only after doing a pair of quick searches online.  With a name like Mickey, being gay, and living in Utah, the mysterious boy across the dance floor was not difficult to encounter online.  So, to ease my curiosity, I sent a quick message his way before delving into the world of imperialism in music history. 


In due time, Mickey responded positively and we found ourselves on a date at IKEA (aka Homo Depot), thus ending my dating moratorium.  As it turns out, it was eye-opening in all sorts of ways I hadn’t intended. 


After a couple of hours of playing house and talking house wares, it was really evident that Mickey was really satisfied with life, so I asked him outright: “Where do you see yourself in a few years.  For a guy growing up gay and Mormon, you’re really more put together than most, and believe me I’ve dated enough to be able to make that call.”

He chortled.  “You know that’s not exactly true.  My grandparents weren’t exactly happy to find out and even though I haven’t really done anything a mission doesn’t feel right (even though admitting I’m gay is the only possible barrier there) and neither does school.  Following the gospel feels right and there’s no questioning that, right?”

“I like to think everyone’s commission in life is finding their own peace, so that works,” I said as we made our way to the exit purchaseless.  “Want a cinnamon roll?  I’ve been meaning to try them”

IKEA Cinnamon Roll

“Sure, but this is my treat.  Two cinnamon rolls and two lemonades, please,” he said turning to the uniformed likely-grandmother across the counter.”

“So… What about you?” he turned to me stirring the ice in his lemonade with straw moments later at a table in the corner. 

“Me?” I said, sighing a little.  “You noticed I tend to avoid that topic?”

“I noticed you tend to avoid that topic,” he echoed with a smirk across his face.

“The short answer is I don’t know.  It is reassuring to meet guys like you who are satisfied and very happy in the Church.  I just feel like it’s a lot to ask for us to be alone and celibate our entire lives.  I don’t see myself happy when I’ve met a special guy and then my life has to hit a brick wall.  That’s where I get stuck.  Am I weird?”

“Not at all,” he said rubbing his chin introspectively.  “You just let yourself think farther and get farther than I do.” 

“I guess that’s what I do,” I said proudly.  “I think.” 


Returning to the club the next weekend, I revisited that moment we’d spotted each other.  What was that draw?  Coincidence?  Attraction?  Mutual curiosity?  If anything, we were kindred spirits and not soul mates as a romantic might want to exaggerate the situation. 

Midway through another night of dancing with friends, someone tapped me on the shoulder.  “Huh?” I said in reflex as I turned around.  Looking down, my eyes unexpectedly came upon a Latina.

“Hi there,” she said with the slightest accent.  “My friend’s been staring at you the whole night.  Do you mind if I introduce the two of you?”

I blushed and looked towards Lila and Ezra for their reactions. “Why not?”

Slightly awkwardly, she grabbed my hand and pulled me across the dance floor.   Dragged in her wake, I clumsily stepped on feet and bumped into couple after couple, superficially caught up in each others contours.  Finally, we came to a lone man in the crowd.  His expression read nothing but what spewed from his mouth a second later “I can’t believe you’re doing this, Carla.”

“Man up.   Helaman, this is the guy, right?”

“Right,” he said curtly. 

“I’m GMB,” I said chuckling.  “Would you like to dance.”

What followed was an echo of my experience with Mickey: an incredible time dancing, rushed goodbyes, and a follow up date a matter of days later. 


Star Trek

We sat there resting from the action aftermath of Star Trek.  As the credits zoomed by and the rest of the audience trickled out we sat in wonder of the fate that had brought us together.  “Carla’s the fearless Latina every boy needs,” he told me as the last patrons trickled out. 

“Does she do that often?” I teased.

“Well, her motherly instincts have kicked in lately,” he said pulling up the armrest and grabbing his jacket.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah,” he said as he put his arm around me and revealed a grin.  We sat motionless looking into each other’s eyes for a split second. 

Then, with a motion of his arm, he pulled my lips to his for a single kiss. 

As we left the theater and the lights went out, he explained, “Carla’s been looking out for me since the breakup.  Adam just got bored one day and he was done.  He needed somebody else, but he didn’t have the common courtesy to let me know.”

“I bet that must have been though,” I said not offering much to the conversation.

“Well, that left me reconsidering a lot of things.  I mean, I hadn’t thought about the Church for a long time, but after leaving a decade ago when it felt so right, I began to wonder again if I’d gone down a path I’d regret.”


“Regret’s a strong word.  I felt bad but the difference between before and after leaving the Church, before being myself was the difference between breathing air and breathing water.  I really am satisfied with life.”

In a way, that revelation was not what I was prepared for.  If Helaman could be as happy as Mickey having followed a completely different path, what did that mean for me.  Maybe it was time to rethink what would make me happy. 

End, Part 3.


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