One of the longest nightmares in my life has finally ended. No, I am not talking about the Ugg boot craze. After over a year on the market, the Texas house that I co-owned with Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies) finally sold on Friday. Thank Guadalupe!
Of course, I haven’t actually lived in the house for even longer than that. Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies) announced that he had “evolved” beyond me some eighteen months ago (Yes, he actually said that). Just because he was leaving me, though, didn’t mean that he was bothering to, you know, leave. After all, why should he have been inconvenienced (being the newly evolved life form and all)?
Apparently he thought that I would enjoy a front-row seat as he continued to build a relationship with somebody else. Why not stick around so that I could come home and find little packages that his loser boyfriend had sent him waiting on the doorstep? Yeah, they were sweet like that – not even putting on a pretense of considering my heartbreak. After eight years together, I would have thought that I would be granted a bit more consideration. I was mistaken.
In retrospect, I wonder why I didn’t burn those packages . . . or douse Liar Ex with acid. Sigh – So many missed opportunities. Live and learn, I suppose.
Instead, I scrapped together what little dignity that I had left (which wasn’t much) and moved out. This plunged me into financial chaos as I struggled to pay rent and my portion of the mortgage. Yet, Liar Ex had the temerity to complain about taking care of the house (which he refused to move out of in the first place).
Making the terrible choice of having trusted Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies) cost me a lot financially and emotionally. If love is a war, it was he who won. I hope it gives him a great deal of satisfaction.
It’s hard, of course, to recount these stories without sounding bitter -- probably because I am. Each bad memory is like some sort of macabre memento in a collection that I keep in an old cigar box under the sink. Periodically, I take them out for examination. Each time I expect to find some sort of larger meaning. In the end, I don’t think there really is any. He was an asshole. I was a gullible idiot. That’s about the sum of the story. It’s not a particularly original one either.
Even I have grown bored with recounting all the bad feelings and heartbreak from the past. Sure, we can add texture to the story and search for explanations. I was only 22 when we met and pretty naïve. The longest relationship that I had with anybody up to that point had been two months. When I first started dating Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies), my best friend in grad school warned me with Cassandra-like clarity that he was a mediocre soul. All this I ignored because I looooooooooved him.
Now, though, Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies) exists in my world mostly as a punch line for the blog. To me, the relationship was over so long ago that I hardly feel like the same person. At some point, I need to take responsibility for the future.
As a result, I am working on letting go of the bitterness. From what I can tell, the bitterness and anger are the last and hardest emotions to kill off. One of my fears is that I won’t have the strength to finally let it all go. It actually keeps me awake some nights. That's when I decide to get out of bed and go home.
Like we all do, I know several individuals, both gay and straight, who launch into the tragic tale of the bad end to their former long term relationship. At first, one gets the impression that they are talking about a recent break-up given the rawness of their anger. One finds out later, though, that their relationship had been over longer than the conflict in Vietnam. I definitely don’t want to morph into one of those people who carries around the bitterness for more time than the actual relationship existed (though I can easily understand how that happens).
"Um, GayProf," I hear, "that train has left the station." Shut up, voices in my head. That train has another seven years before that really happens...
On the other hand, I find the opposite to be just as baffling. I don’t mean the people who come to a mutual understanding that their relationship wasn’t working and they part ways honestly and amicably. Though not my experience, I can understand that as a possibility.
Instead, I mean the people who had a horrible relationship and then insist upon being friends. “Sure he lied to me and there was also that time that he stabbed me,” they say, “but I felt being an adult meant that we could still be buddies.”
You know what? I am willing to concede that I am childish and petty if it means that I don’t have to ever have Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies) in my life. Hell, I’ll own up to being a lesser human if it means never seeing or hearing from him ever again.
The house finally selling feels like an insignificant coda to a pretty nasty composition. Of course, buying the house in the first place was all my idea. Next to getting into a relationship with Liar Ex, it stands out as the penultimate worst decision of my life.
I had some romantic ideas about that house. All of them, though, were against the basic rules of real estate. People will tell you to buy the smallest house in the best neighborhood. Instead, I went for the largest house in one of the least desirable neighborhoods in that forsaken Texas town.
It wasn’t the size of the house that appealed to me. In an area where everything historical is torn down, that house had survived seventy years. Clearly it needed some work, but I thought it would be labor of love to restore it. Really, I had simply watched too much HGTV. You know the shows that I mean. They depict some happy, smiling gay couple who tell us that rescuing a collapsing heap of house is just as easy as ripping out the formica and shag carpet. GayProf, it turns out, has no skills in the industrial arts.
I also had some pretty serious delusions of grandeur. As Carly Simon might say, “I had some dreams. They were clouds in my coffee.” With so many rooms open for entertaining, I could fancy myself as the modern-day gay incarnation of Mabel Dodge Luhan. The house could become a salon for people from a variety of backgrounds to gather. There we would discuss matters like race, gender, and sexuality. Or, if not those topics, at least we could assess the strengths and weaknesses of different Charlie’s Angels episodes. As the new Luhan, I would also get some kickin’ new outfits. Though I probably wouldn’t wear chunky turquoise jewelry like ol’ Mabel – probably.
It turns out, I had totally the wrong colleagues, neighbors, and spouse to support such a salon environment. While there were some exceptions, my colleagues weren’t interested in talking with me in general. Their vision of history consisted of moving around little flags on maps. My neighbors who weren’t associated with the university often scared me silly (small-town Texas is not a safe place for those who aren’t white, straight, married, Christian, and have children). Finally, Liar Ex (Who Told Many Lies) might have learned some key phrases to parrot from cultural studies, but he had no talent for critical thinking. None of those elements would make my self-aggrandizing salon possible.
As a result, the selling of the house is one of the last steps to finally ending my connections to Texas. There is not much more to say about that time in my life that I haven’t said. Well, except, of course, “Fuck you, Shaun.”