• Mathura Hawley

out

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


This moment, standing against the skyline of New York with the rest of my life a book of blank pages, was the first time, ever, that I was truly, honestly myself. "

My wife had fallen in love with a girl and I knew our relationship was about to change. She was my first kiss and the first person to make love with me. She was my picket fence and Sunday dinners, my summer cottage and Christmas mornings. Over the years, she had single-handedly gifted me the self-esteem my childhood and lonely teenage years had robbed or buried. The first night she left to spend with her new girlfriend, I looked around our apartment, at the pictures of us on the wall, at Rudy, the dog I gave her one Valentine’s Day, and my heart sank with loneliness. I began to feel a panic and rush of memories that made my hands shake and my face flush. I went into our bedroom where we would never sleep together again. I looked in the mirror we had bought in an antique store upstate and I saw myself standing alone. I opened dresser drawers, and found an empty brown paper journal. I took a pen from my bag, pushed the journal into my jeans pocket, and walked five flights down and out onto 88th street then to Carl Shurz Park. I stood at the edge of the East River and watched the currents rush by below. The air was warm and I took a deep breath. I was going to miss the comfort of our life. I was going to miss her attention. Then something deep inside of me shifted. I began to cry, and I couldn’t stop. Not because she left. Not because I was alone. And not because I was sad. I cried because I was gay. This moment, standing against the skyline of New York with the rest of my life a book of blank pages, was the first time, ever, that I was truly, honestly myself. I felt no fear. I felt no shame. I opened my little book and began to write. And my real feelings, my real thoughts, and my real desires poured out onto the pages through my tears. I felt strong. I felt like a man. I was free.


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