Chapter Two: Vindicated
March 23, 2008, Cincinnati’s Hope Medical Center
I can’t help, but think of how short life is and why people would go to great lengths to cover up who they really are. I guess, if you love someone so much, you don’t want to hurt them. So much so that you rather suffer miserably and let them live happily. Being gay is this, isn’t it? Of course, I don’t want to come out because shit will blow through the roof and I may get kicked out. But, I think it would hurt my family so much, I couldn’t bear the pain too see them that way. Even if it leads to my demise.
I think about this as I walk through this hospital. There must be so many patients who still have secrets too great to tell, but aren’t willing. Aren’t willing just because they knew it would hurt their loved ones. The problem is none of us, none of their family members wears their chains. None of us, not even their family members knows what they are going through. Yet, they are willing to take their secret to their graves. That is unsettling, if you think about it, but that is reality. Reality stings. You know everyone one wants to feel vindicated, wants to feel like they belong. Not everyone gets that.
As I walk through this hospital I can’t help but notice the transfer of life and death here. I wonder if the newborns bear the burdens and secrets of the dead or dying. What if we are all connected someway? We all share the same types of feeling in certain circumstances. We all share the same experiences in our lifetimes. What if newborns bear the same secrets as the dead or dying? What if. Will the newborns share the same fate? Will the cycle end? I want it to end. No secret is too great to tell, if it hurts to keep it buried. But again, I’m naive because reality stings. I really hope reality changes soon. Everyone deserves happiness.
My thoughts fade away as I see a mother’s smile as she holds her baby for the first time. The innocence and the joy. These are the moments that make our hurt fade away. Even if it is just for a moment, it is enough. It is unsettling though, if you think about it. We are taught to be happy all the time. There are self help books, shrinks, and motivational speeches on happiness. But, THIS is how we get by day to day- sporadic moments- like the birth of a baby. This is reality.
I finally get to sit down for a bit after finding the waiting room. It’s too much, so I glance at my phone for those social media updates to divert my thoughts. I find great comfort in social media cause I can get away from reality sometimes. Reality stings. Soon after I hear a voice: Tommy? Your grandfather is ready to see you. It was the nurse. I take a deep breath as I walk in. I have one chance to get it right.