Sunday, June 27, 2010


I've been turning this over in my brain for a while, so I'm not sure how coherent it will sound outside the skull. But here it is.

Last week one of my younger co-workers posted that as he was leaving the bookstore, he saw two boys--even younger than he--holding hands, happy to be together, you know, just like teenagers in love. He also noticed the people around them frowning, and generally looking uncomfortable with them. He said that he gave them a big smile because he was so proud of them for being braver than he was when he was their age. I thought, as I read his story, "That's just how I felt when I met him. Proud that he was so much braver than I was when I was young."

I was never brave when I was his age. I never said it out loud. Not to anyone. Not in my life, anyway.

The first place I learned to be honest was on the page, and then it took a long time. I was in my early twenties I started writing a book about a rock band. Back then, the main character, Asia couldn't admit, even to himself how much he loved the lead singer in the band. I couldn't admit it either. Not even to myself.

For me and Asia it was twenty-seven years before we were that easy with ourselves. That's longer than any of the boys in this story have been alive. I suppose that's progress.Things have changed, and my young co-worker has shown me that. He is exactly what he is with every single person he comes in contact with every day. And it makes me so proud of him, everyday, and envious of his courage.

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