by LJ Barr
Mitch and Nate share an intimate story while watching a gorgeous sunset.
Speaking of Sunsets
“Back in my day,” Pops said, as I stared at the gorgeous western sky at sunset. Most of what the old man said was lost in translation because to me; Pops tended to ramble when he told his stories; he was almost eighty years old, and hid tall, well-toned military physique was stooped, by Alzheimer, and what Al didn’t take late-stage dementia did. There were usually at least three red herrings before he even got to the point, which in many cases never came. As Granddad droned on, my mind spun its own tale about the Spectacle of Awe in question. Suddenly, Granddad burst into tears; I listened to the old man for some time before he regained control. “Are you alright, Pops?” I asked.
After a few seconds, he looked at me, wiped his eyes. “Son, when you find a good man, never let him go; If you do, he may never return. I was lucky when I met your grandmother. She was a lovely and very special person. There came a time, however, when my eye traveled. I hurt your grandmother bad. Every time I think about what I did, it tears my heart out, because although your grandmother came back, it was never the same between us. Oh, we loved each other, but every time I looked at your grandmother, I saw the deep hurt in her heart; it was my guilt, but it just broke my heart,” he repeated; “then she got sick, and those were the worst days of my life. I was with your grandma until she died and there were times, I swear, when I heard her ask me, “Ron, why?”
“But, as you said, Grandma was special, and she did love you, Pops, she did. You have to let go and let her spirit travel free; you have a life to live which you can’t live to the fullest because of your guilt,” I said.
“That’s what your mother told me years ago, my son agreed, so I entered a program and the doctor told me the same thing as your mother, and it helped a little for a while; unfortunately, my heart took control and guilt reentered the equation,” Pops said.
“That all happened a year ago, about a month before Pops died. I tried, until Pops died, to convince my Granddad that grandma loved him, and she wouldn’t want him to die a broken, unhappy man. Grandma would want Pops to die in peace, and then the night before he died, Grandma came to Pops in a dream. I don’t know what she told Pops, but my grandfather died in his sleep the next night,” I said.
“You know, your grandfather was a wise man,” Nate said; “although he and your grandmother lived happily in a strong and abiding bond.”
“Yeah, but I walked out on you, Nate. I wouldn’t blame you if you never spoke to me again.”
“Mitch, do you remember what your grandfather told you on that last sunset?” Nate asked.
“Pops told me that when I found a good man, never let him go or he may never return,” I said.
“Mitch, your grandfather knew you were gay.”
“Yeah, he and I had a long talk the next day. When I asked him if he knew I was gay, he said yes.” My mind began to travel to that day …
“Mitch, do you think I’m the only one who knows. Your mother told me two years ago that she believed you were gay; I told her I had known since you were fourteen years old when you tried to come out to me. Then he gave me the shock of my life. My thoughts further back to a later point in that conversation. “Mitch, your father never told you or your mother, but the affair I had was with another man. I am bisexual.”
“And grandma knew this?” I asked.
“Your grandmother told me that she had known since before we married, but she loved me then, and she loved me until she died. ‘Gerald, we will just stop at this junction and begin again,’ she said; and she didn’t mention it again.”
“Mitch, are you still with me,” Nate asked.
“Yeah, I was just remembering that conversation; it was the single most intimate moment in my life,” I said.
“I bet,” Nate said.
I watched in silence for some time.” “Now, it’s my turn to ask,” I said, “are you with me?”
"Yeah, Mitch, I'm tired of living alone. I want you to come home," Nate said.