After traveling to New York City on Amtrak I headed for the F subway train, carrying my suitcase and backpack up and down the stairs. I got off the F train at the Lexington avenue stop and followed the signs to the uptown 6 train. The signs took everyone to a narrow broken escalator that looked to connect us the the floor above. Once I started climbing the escalator stairs I realized the climb was much more than I had thought, at least three or four flights of stairs. The escalator was too narrow for me to stop, with a long stream of people behind me, so I kept going and trudged up the stairs with my backpack and suitcase. My left knee tweaked with a bit of pain and I began to breath heavily. Maybe, I thought, I should remember my age, 59 years, before I start climbing stairs like a twenty year old. I swatted away the thought and kept climbing.
There is real death, and then there is what I think of as, the little death. When I use this term I do not mean what people describe as, la petite more, a term that is tied to the feelings at the point of orgasm. I always think of, the little death, as it was described in the book Dune, by Frank Herbert. He writes in the Litany Against Fear: “I have no fear, for fear is the little death that kills me over and over. Without fear, I die but once.” Continue reading →
As I headed towards my 50th birthday in 2008 a number of things in my life were beginning to converge. I was increasingly dissatisfied in my marriage. As the world around me began to celebrate being LGBT, I was in hiding. I felt that I was going through the motions: holidays with my wife’s family; birthdays with the same birthday cakes year after year. I felt increasingly lonely, isolated and compartmentalized. I played the role of husband, father, bread winner while an internal battle raged about my identity and sexual orientation.
I attended a wonderful production last night at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City of Donizetti’s, Roberto Devereux. We attended with an old friend of my partner’s who was in New York City for a get together of a group of Beverly Sills’ fans from across the country. Why did they choose to see this opera? According to the Met’s web site:
“Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky takes on the extraordinary challenge of singing all three of Donizetti’s Tudor queen operas in the course of a single season, a rare feat made famous by Beverly Sills—and not attempted on a New York stage since.”
So what better way to get together in NYC than at an opera role Beverly Sills made famous.
Watching your parents and family grow old is difficult. My parents are at the age where their health continues to decline. My mother has been the caregiver for both her sister and my father as their health declined. It is not easy to see this slipping away of people that you love.
This afternoon my aunt passed away. She was 89 years old. Like all things in the internet age, I learned about my aunt’s passing from a text message my mother sent to her five children and her three daughter-in-laws. “Sadly,” it read, “Aunt S. passed away, very peacefully, about 2 hours ago. I have made arrangements for the funeral home to pick her up. When it is convenient for all of you, we will have a family service at my home.” It was not really a surprise. My aunt’s health has been declining for a very long time. While I feel very sad at the loss of my aunt, I also know that her long suffering is finally over.
I have never grown a beard before. Oh, I had some feeble attempts to grow beards in my 20’s and 30’s that were very short lived, but I have never had the courage to wear a beard to work. I remember in my late-twenties growing a beard when I lived in New York City. My mother was visiting me and we were in a cab together. She turned to me as we headed down Broadway, just passing Union Square, and let me know that she did not like the beard. I do not remember exactly what words she used, but her comments confirmed all my self doubt that the beard made me look silly. When I got home I shaved off the beard. I do not remember growing a beard for more than a few vacation days since that cab ride with my mother over thirty years ago.