Mary Shelley’s Coco

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003 | Family, Gay

CHORUS OF THERAPISTS: “Coco, you’ve got to be alone for a while. Your happiness shouldn’t be contingent on whether you stay with X, Y, or Z.”

LITTLE BUNNY COCO: “But I want all of them.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“They don’t want each other.”

“Perhaps you need to be with yourself for a while.”

“You mean to eat in restaurants by myself? Are you insane? I can’t even walk into a singles bar by myself. Why would I want to be happy by myself? Am I going to be like Garry? Forever the first person on the list of available San Francisco Bears on ‘bear.net’? Always looking for that perfect mate? And always single? I am not a single person.”

“Exactly, you’re half of one. You’re already married, and have a wonderful boyfriend, and you flirt with anything with hairy shoulders. You’ve never been alone, and you’re driving everyone crazy with your partial commitments.”

“You’re the ones who are missing the point. I want to live in cro-magnon South of France and breast feed my furry clan of hus-apes.”

“You’ve defined yourself since age 16 as the ingenue, and your erotic life has revolved around struggling against the inequities inherent in such a dynamic, gaining power through your sexuality, and pushing yourself to match the achievements of your mentors/husbands. Through your art, you’ve stumbled into a different relation to your erotic life, one not dependent on power struggles, but rooted in physical desire.”

“Here we go with the transition, again.”

“Yes, you’re growing up. But you’re almost 38. Most people go through this stage in their 20’s.”

Almost 38. And this is different. I started early. This is a mid-life crisis.”

“It’s going to be if you keep it up for another 3 years. You’re piecing together a relationship with men who don’t add up to what you want from one man. Mary Shelley’s Coco. You don’t need the structure of a relationship to be complete. You aren’t able to feel complete in your relationships because you are not complete.”

“But I’m afraid to be alone.”

“But you’ve never been alone, how do you know?”

“I was alone for a whole year after Manny died.”

“You mean the year that you dated Christian, Alfonso, Garry, David, Will, Bob, and Luis with the ‘husky football player-type build’?”

“They were part of my grieving process. Wasn’t Alfonso cute?”

“…”

“What? Just tell me what to do?”

“We’ve already told you what to do. You hear what you want to hear. When you’re ready, you’ll do what you need to do.”

MONTHS, YEARS PASS…

Bob came home Sunday night to say that he had a little evening romp with someone on Diamond Street. “Bob? Who’s Bob?” Bob’s my partner. We’ve lived together for 10 years. He’s the father of my stepson Reese. I don’t talk about him much. Since the commencement of my blogging we’ve been in a strange purgatory, inititated by my announced need to be with someone my age (he’s 18 years older) and my less than successful attempts at integrating that need into our otherwise quite successful relationship. (Successful except for the essential core.) I was upset (“Hippocrite,” cried Big Chrissy, with whom I’d spent the evening), not so much because Bob had finally taken steps to get some much needed physical attention, which we’d actually negotiated months before, but because I’d put my partner in a position of needing to do so. Something clicked. This isn’t the kind of relationship that I’d like to be in, where we’re both grabbing here and there to piece together a completeness that eludes us.

I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in the next few days, but I’ve turned a corner, tossed out of the car, actually, and it’s bright and clear, but a long walk to the next town.

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