Coming out to Veena / poem 73

It hasn’t been the most burning issue but it’s been on my mind to, sometime soon, be authentic with Veena. I almost told her on our last drive to Columbus but it felt too weird to just blurt out, “Oh, by the way, there’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you.” Now I’m not closet-y by any means; after all, I was one of the Gay Pride Marshalls honored last year plus I was in the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1998 when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered. Still, I know that Indian culture is very conservative and, even though Veena has lived in this country for twenty years, may have a hard timing grasping it.

So after I ate lunch with her and she asked, “Were you ever married?” I knew this was my perfect opportunity. Her husband and kids were gone and we had a relaxed afternoon before us. “No, I’ve been in relationships and lived with a few people but I never married.” Pause. “Veena, there’s something I’ve been wanting to share with you.”

Such drama, even a simple statement such as this. She got the impact of the pause because she asked, “You never killed someone, did you?” I laughed and confessed, “No, nothing like that. Veena . . . I’m gay.”

She was quiet and reflective. She had no idea what I was going to say but it wasn’t this. She took my disclosure graciously but will need some time to think it over, I could tell. She did end up telling me that someone she works with is gay. Veena even knows the term ‘gaydar.’ I was surprised! She told me she learned that word from someone at work. We had a brief conversation or was it mostly me saying a few gems like “I really believe I was born this way,” and “In college, a guy proposed to me but I just wanted to be friends.” I reminded her, “I know you like me and will try to understand” and she nodded, or at least that’s what I saw in my mind’s eye. Still, when her college aged daughter walked in the front door, Veena quietly said, “Don’t tell her.”

poem

you are a beautiful, gracious woman and now we are friends.
we share the spiritual, we bare our souls,
now please allow me to share my life.

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