I do not care for falling asleep as the great stone mounds tower above me and around this single road that stretches far out west. The mile-markers countdown, tall green things that denote the border, and my mother laughs and reads them out loud as my father grips his hands tighter around the wheel. One day I will be like them, one of them or both of them, I don’t really know. I will be sitting in a seat and placing my foot to the pedal, hands gripping the wheel and eyes pointing straight ahead at the road in front of me, on my way to some foreign house where someone that I once knew now lives—now grown up and slowly aging. They do not listen to any music, they share words between each other: stories growing, fights breaking out; I wonder if this is what it is like to get old and married.
Marriage is not a thing I think much about though; I have been blessed with an image of one that has lasted, that has stayed solid throughout my whole life. What they lack in obvious affection they make up for in solid standings, yelling at times but then resigning to their feelings; I have never once gotten the notion that they do not care deeply for each other. Is that one caring deeply is? Is it the dealing with the stress, the anger, the frustration? Is it yelling and tearing, is it name-calling and joke-telling, and then, sitting down and sharing a meal? Is it civility? Is that the proper word?
My older brother, the one who is nestled at the end of this road, gets girls like air: taking them in and then letting them go—endlessly recycling them without struggle. As if it was always that easy—as if it always is. And my brother, the one who sits behind me, he too has garnished love. He is an artistic heart with a sensible head, gaining love and affection and keeping it for extended stints in time, then, they will leave him and life will go on: laborious at first and then settled. My father had many a girl when he was young; it is something that my mother sneers at, incapable of accepting into her head. Yet she too recycled guys: drawing them in and then letting them go, exchanging one for another, a seemingly endless repetition that my whole family mimics. I don’t know how it is that I started thinking about relationships. Perhaps it is the looming thanksgiving dinner; the Christmas parties, the New Year’s celebrations. Perhaps it is the looming thought of entering into a room, making small talk between our teeth—no one asking the question that they want to; no one bringing up my homosexuality.
Perhaps that is what I would want them to ask: have you found a guy? Then I would smile and shake my head. I would add that there are guys that I have fancied, but with my lack of motivation and my endless self-depreciation, I am incapable of making a move on them. “Besides,” I’d say. “I think one of the girls in my class is dating him anyway.” Here the mountains reach into the sky: great stone things that tower above me, and I wish to climb to the top of them, to yell from the bottom of my stomach out to the empty world around me. I want to yell and bang my hands against my chest, to scream with every last bit of my body, exhausting all the oxygen. I want to yell till someone hears me, till anyone hears me, and comes running to my sound, attracted by its vibration. Yet why does my mind resign itself to this at this hour? I do not know, perhaps it is what I am.
“I am a different breed.” I tell my mother as we try and find the hotel in the cold rain. I am covered in water and shivering, my black jacket thrown across my flabby body in haste, my too-loose jeans worn in rags across my body, my red-flannel shirt tucked in all wrong, leaving me boxy and malformed. She smiles and doesn’t reject it, looking in the dark for the hotel’s lights. It is true that I am a different breed, but I am a breed born of those two: bickering bodies of boundless love that pulls through in the end. Perhaps I will end up like them, in the end, and perhaps that will not be so strange. I tend to welcome it now. The great stone mounds tower above me; they encircle my body, sitting in this car, traveling down this road. I cannot escape them, even if I wanted to.