Sometimes its difficult to see past the masks people wear each day, other times imposible.
|The Glass Platform
I can’t believe I never noticed, never saw the glass platform. It just doesn’t make sense. Lauren always tells me that I have the uncanny ability to notice things, that I always see the mask. So why did my gift fail me? Does it even matter?
It is a funny thing in life, that knowing doesn’t really change anything. It’s intangible, and somehow innately worthless. Even after knowing the truth about Eric, I could never see pass the glass; it always mirrored the lie. Knowledge is the only way I know the barrier exists. Knowledge I am unable to act upon. In the beginning, I doubt I realized the whole thing, how much was hidden behind the surface. I’m not sure if I even know now. It’s a rather crooked story really; there is no beginning or end. But if it helps, there was a turning point.
“Hey Megan, is Eric gay?” Jen asked me. It was a Thursday night, and we were on the phone together, not really talking about anything in particular, but randomly rambling about everything.
“No way,” I protested, almost laughing at the suggestion. Eric was the stereotype of a conservative. Both Christian and straight. Our friendship was innately based in mutual irritation. At least, I thought he was like that. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure.
The whole thing continued to be quite the mystery to me, and I must admit that I enjoyed it. There was a certain thrill in the idea that my friend might have such a secret. A James Bond element that tantalized my storyteller side. Boy was I naive.
A few nights later, my chance to snoop came about. I signed into my aim account, to find Eric online. I quickly started a conversation with him. Eventually though, my impatience took hold of me and I had to ask, “Hey Eric, are you gay?” There was pause, a few piercing seconds in which there was no answer, and then he finally wrote back.
“No, I’m straight.”
I would be lying if I say I wasn’t disappointed. After all, every teenage girl who has seen even one episode of Will and Grace lusted after a little gay buddy of their own. I was no saintly objection.
The rest of the conversation was mindless drabble, best repeated when lulling small children to sleep. Bored, I made a fairly pathetic excuse, put up my away message, and walked out of the room to see if I could annoy my sister into amusing me. Just for the record, it was magnificently successful. My sister always did break too easily.
Later, I returned to my computer to read yet another story online about people with far more interesting lives than my own. Strangely though, I had mail. Few people really sent e-mail to me then, as I had the habit of not bothering to reply or forgetting to. I soon came to the conclusion that the only thing I could possibly do in this situation was open the mail. It was from Eric. He had lied to me. He was gay. The whole things seemed so passionate and real that I almost completely wrote it off as a practical joke. Still I wanted to believe in my heart that Eric wouldn’t be that cruel to a friend as to joke about that.
I sent him back a letter, demanding to know whether or not he was serious, that I didn’t care, but that I had to know. After reading his next letter though, I was convinced of his sincerity. I spent hours online that night, trying to understand all the pieces in his airtight wall. And I learned so much. About the girlfriends, each of whom he had dated if only to convince himself of some lying nature in his soul. And about his fear of the situation, his fear of going forward. I didn’t know what to make of the night.
As the months passed, I tried to see through his mirrored armor, armed with the awareness of the truth. Still, I saw nothing different. He played the straight so well.
As would happen with my luck, complications with quick to arise. A close friend of mine, Amy, developed a huge crush on Eric. I was between a rock and a hard place, with the pointy spikes in the walls moving inwards. To tell Amy or not? I knew it wasn’t my place. Still, seeing her efforts and hearing her adoration for him has been difficult. I feel like a failure of a person. No matter what happens, someone will get hurt directly because of me.
A few more months passed and I began to become frustrated. Why wouldn’t Eric just come out? I knew it would be difficult, but it would be better in the long run, right? He knew about Amy. How could he let that happen? We were a threesome, friends and math class partners. Not wanting to damage my friendship with him, I stayed silent about my opinion. But I grew more and more bitter with him as the whole thing escalated. I’m still not sure what I think about it, but I’ve come to realize how much more gray it is, how deep the situation is buried beyond the glass platform.
It was at Amy’s house that it all came out actually. IT was rather nonchalant; I doubt the comment affected Amy as much as it did me. “My dads pretty sick again.” Feeling like the whole comment would be better situated in the TV drama ER, I asked him what he was talking about.
“My dad is dying. The illness has its ups and downs, and he gets more sick sometimes.”
He waved the whole thing off, as something he had already overcome ages ago, but I still don’t think that is possible. Suddenly the pieces seemed to make more sense. He Dad was old fashion, wanting him to grow up and marry a respectable woman and have a good Christian family. How could you hurt someone who was dying in such a manner? Eric’s life seemed so much clearer to me, what he did each day, so his father could rest in peace. I had never respected him more then when this first came to light.
I would love to say that things became perfect after the final revelation, but that sort of ending is reserved to Disney movies and the children’s books. Of which real life is neither. It is a endless story, and an inescapable one. Still, I have accepted the fact that I am not a cause of this mess. The situation might be painful, but there is no better accessible solution. At least not now, not with our world.