I am trying to answer the question of whether a man can fall in love with another man. Last time, I talked about when I did, in fact, fall in love with S.; which might or might not mean that the answer is exactly “yes”. On to the next part of the story.
Ryan had just invited me to spend the weekend at the beach house his family had rented, which was perfect, because I had just come out to the entire world, and on Facebook no less; and even though I felt tremendously light and happy, I also felt like there was steam coming out of my ears. So a weekend at the beach with a good friend, with no internet or phone service, sounded like just the thing.
Except I was also terrified of the idea. Because the past few months with Ryan were the first time since falling for S. that I had bonded this deeply with another man; and even though I would’ve cut off a finger to stop it from happening again, I could see the warning signs. The jealousy when he’d spend too much time with our other friends; the desire to tell him everything that was going on in my head at all times; the disproportionate pain at the smallest of perceived slights. I knew how this ended.
A couple of days before the trip was supposed to happen, I went to Ryan’s place in a semi-panic, determined to say something but with no clear idea what it would be; but, as so often happens with big decisions, when the time arrived, I found out I had already decided. Over his kitchen table and a glass of Jameson, I told him I had reservations about the trip; and explained that, even though I was really glad we were friends, it wasn’t always easy to be around him; and explained that this was because I was attracted to him.
F★cking hell, what did I just do!
Except it was really easy, and no fissures opened in the earth, and he wasn’t even particularly surprised. “Yeah,” he said, “when you told me you were gay a few months ago, it occurred to me that maybe this could happen. And I asked myself, ‘Am I okay with that? Can I deal with that?’ And I figured, Yeah, I can deal with that.”
And my head exploded, and confetti and gratitude and brains and relief flew everywhere, and the conversation continued.