~ I wrote the following in March 2011 right before my 29th birthday. At the time I was closeted. ~
It starts black, like my eyes are closed. Suddenly they open and at first everything is a blurry flood of light and colors. Then things begin to focus and take shape. I’m standing in a large room: a banquet hall. The air feels warm; comfortable and inviting. The lighting is dim and yet bright enough to fill the room. The gentle glow illuminates from lamps on tables and flows down from beautiful chandeliers hanging safely above the room.
Then the room is filled with people, some sitting at the tables and talking, others simply standing together conversing in clusters. They are a moving wave of colors, sometimes stopping to talk and then moving on to greet others. I can see their faces and it is obvious that they are all delighted to be there. It’s a sea of friends and pleasant acquaintances. As they talk, some tell jokes causing laughter, others hug their familiar friends and still others touch their mouths while hearing pleasant memories.
I realize that I am watching everyone from a large stage, and as I glance around, I further realize that I know each and every one of them, all from various points of my journey through life. I see my mom and dad and my little brother. I see my best friend from when I was eight, and my grandmother who’s been dead since I was 14, and a close college friend of mine who died in a car accident right after we graduated, and there’s even a boy from soccer camp who I knew when I was 5. Everyone looks healthy and well and there is nothing odd about any of them being there. They are there for me. Each face fills me with a memory and there are only good memories to remember.
A light above me turns on and slowly everyone notices that I am there and turns towards me. Over a hundred eyes are suddenly all focused on me, and at first I can’t remember why I am there. I freeze for a moment fearing stage fright will take ahold of me, but before I can freak out I notice their eyes. Their eyes are all sparkling, recognizing me fondly and smiling up at me. Everyone is happy to see me and glad that I am finally there. I remember that I’m there to say something important: to give a big speech. I’m there to tell them all that I am gay. But my lips can’t remember how I was going to tell them…what I was going to say…
I open my mouth to speak but a sudden movement stops me. One person in the middle of the crowd has raised their glass to me in a toast. Then a second person raises theirs. Then another and another and soon everyone’s glass is raised. I realize that everyone already knows, and that it is all right. My eyes tear up from the overwhelming feeling of total acceptance. I know they are glad to see me right now, as I exist, exactly as I am. And suddenly I realize that I don’t actually have to say anything at all.
And there is a glass in my hand. It was always there. So I raise it to them, to each of them for their role in my past, their role in my present; their role in making me who I am. I thank them with a nod, a smile and happy tears beginning to roll down my cheeks. And there, in a room filled with tolerance and compassion, time stands still and I feel complete.
There is no need for anyone to say anything, because we are all loved and that is enough.
And the warm lights shine down upon us…