Adorable Little Stories and Great Big Books

Years ago, when I told Paul I was going to start writing this blog, he cocked his head and said, “OK.” I had heard that tone in his voice once before when I told him my attorney suggested he sign a prenup agreement. What he said then was something like, “OK, give me that stupid agreement. I’ll sign it.” It wasn’t indignation or resentment, it was bemusement, like don’t worry, you can keep your Franklin Mint Star Trek plate collection.

I narrowed my eyes and said, “You don’t think I have anything valuable to say?”

“Sure I do, sweetie,” he replied reaching out to finger the top button on my shirt. “But, what are you going to write about?”

“I don’t know,” I said, swatting his hand away and looked up at the ceiling like the answer might be hidden in the rafters. “Stories.”

“You’re going to write adorable little stories?” he asked.

The truth is, I really didn’t know what I was going to write, but after that comment, I was for damn sure going to write something, and whatever it was, it would make the world sit up and take notice. It would make Paul bow down before all of the beautiful words piled up at my feet. It would make the angels weep.

What I wrote was the first crappy blog post that I forced Paul to read and that you can still find here. I will never remove it because it makes me laugh with its oh so noble sense of purpose. And also? It lets me know how far I have come.

After that post, many stories followed and then they jumped onto The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Salon, various other places and then to The New York Times. But this blog is where I fell in love with writing. It has been my proving ground, my laboratory to experiment in until I finally figured out what it was that my stories so desperately needed to convey: It is never too late to become who you were meant to be.  

Lately, the posts on this blog have been few and far between, but don’t worry, dear reader, like Evita Perón, the truth is, I never left you. Early in the mornings and late at night, I have been writing something a bit longer than a blog post. On July 1st, 2019, more than a decade after I came out, my debut memoir, TheLie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out will be published by Little A. It’s not an Adorable Little Story, but I hope you will love it as much as I do, as much as I love Paul.

When I finished writing the book, after my agent said, “Slice your heart open and let it bleed out onto the page. After my editor who is also a poet, coaxed from me the most difficult, and beautifully terrifying words I have ever written, I gave the book—my quote-unquote Star Trek Plate collectionto Paul.

It was the story of my destruction and my creation, the story of Us, my precious. I waited. One day passed without comment, then two, then three freaking days. On the fourth day, I was about a ten on the anger scale and cranking it up to twenty-five. On the fifth day, we boarded a cross-country flight to California together, and I imagined how I would ignore Paul for six and a half hours and flirt shamelessly with the cute flight attendant. And then he pulled out his iPad, sat it on the little folding table and opened up my book.

“You are not seriously going to read this while I sit next to you are you?” I asked.

He clapped his hands like a kid with an adorable little toy. I looked through the window at the clouds below us, stealing sidelong glances at his face and at his finger scrolling through the pages of my life. After six hours, he attempted to swipe left multiple times. We sat in silence, the only sound my beating heart and the hum of the engines.

“The period end period,” I said.

He stared straight ahead.

“WELL?” I asked.

The startled passenger on the other side of Paul shifted uncomfortably in her seat, angling her body away from us. If he didn’t know how much I detested the word, Paul might have told me I sounded a little shrill.  He held up his finger, like give me a minute. I’m about to sneeze.

Look at him, I thought. Look at that same old stupid Maine t-shirt he always wears.

I glanced back through the window at the tiny roads stitched into the landscape, at how they crisscrossed in seemingly senseless patterns. I thought about all of the years invested in this book, all of the pain. When I looked back at Paul, he pulled that stupid old t-shirt up to dab his nose, to wipe his cheeks, to blot his eyes.

Look at that face.

How could I not love that face? That old t-shirt. That old Paul. My husband.

My weeping angel.


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