The Consequences of Dissonance - Chapter Thirty-one
By Monday evening, I was itching to get out from under my parents. It wasn’t that I was particularly tired of being back home or even that I wanted to get back to school. Simply put, so much of the rest of my break revolved around the planned trip that everything else just seemed like so much of a waste. Without the briefly interesting computer work, I was left with little to do other than sit around online or try to find something to do in a town I didn’t even know all that well.
Finally, I gave up and just grabbed my cell phone and stuffed it in my pocket, shrugging my jacket on and slipping out of the apartment while my dad and his girlfriend watched TV after dinner. Being still the heart of winter, it was already long past sunset and the streetlamps lit the block around the apartment complex in a dull yellow. I walked down the short canyon of the sidewalk, snow drifted up to either side from the day’s plowing. The snow had stopped, but the sky was still a dark gray, lit from beneath by the sulfurous lamps.
I circled the block first, just to stretch my legs, then headed out west toward the mountains, figuring that if I walked enough to wear myself out, I’d appreciate walking downhill back to the apartment rather than climing up to it. At least it was a quiet evening, I though. The streets were empty and the only sound was a slight wind higher up and the occasional rush of a passing car blocks away.
I was startled from my thoughts by a buzzing in my pocket, my phone vibrating from a call. Still walking, I pulled the brick phone from my pocket and peered at the backlit screen. Kris.
“What’s up, Cor?” she asked, sounding excited.
“Not much, just out for a walk.”
“Now? It’s way dark and cold, though.”
“Yeah,” I shrugged despite being on the phone. “I needed to get out, you know? Sick of parents, sick of being at home with nothing to do.”
“Oh, yeah, guess I can understand that.”
“Yeah. So what’s up?” I asked.
“Jamen’s gay!” she blurted.
I laughed and shook my head, “I know. What brought that on?”
“Oh,” she sounded disappointed, her surprise ruined. “Just got done talking to him online, he told me about it.”
“Good on him,” I replied. “Takes a lot to come out.”
“Yeah, especially with his family.”
“Oh, he told you that, too? That’s friggin’ crazy.”
“Uh-huh.” She laughed a little, “He said you have it easy, liking a girl for real and not just to cover up being gay.”
I felt my cheeks redden from more than just the cold. “Yeah. I feel kind of bad, now. He definitely had it lots harder than I did.”
“Yeah? Why do you feel bad, though?”
“Well,” I stumbled over my words. “It just feels like it’s a pretty big deal for me to be going through all this weird stuff, like coming out all over again, when he had to go through all that.”
“Mm. Makes sense, I guess.”
“What do you think about all of it? I mean, me, and all…” God, I sounded dumb.
“Being gay and with me? Oh, I don’t know. Sometimes I worry a lot about us, but it seems like every time I do, we have a real good time with each other and and that goes away for a while.”
“Yeah, you and me both,” I laughed.
“How so?” Kris asked, sounding concerned.
“Well, I worry sometimes, too.”
“That I’m… I don’t know, fooling myself. That I’m really still gay, but just kind of making myself act straight for a while.”
“Oh.” I could hear the frown.
I hastened to add, “Of course, like you said, then we hang out or… you know, get together and that all kind of goes away for a while.”
“Well, as long as that’s the case,” she laughed.
“Of course. It’s like if I spend a bunch of time alone, then I start having my doubts.” I smiled, “I guess that means we’ll just have to spend more time together.”
I heard Kris giggle, then, “You got it, Cor.”
I grinned. “Hope I’m not making things awkward by talking about that.”
“Nah,” she replied. “I told you to, remember? It is a little weird hearing that you’re still doubting things, but I guess that’s something I should know.”
“Oh, alright. I don’t want to seem like I’m just experimenting with you or anything. I’m not, you know…”
She laughed and I heard what sounded like pots being moved around behind her, “I know, I know. Anyway, look, I gotta get going for dinner. Can I catch up with you later?”
“Sure thing. I’ll see you online or call you before the trip, and we can make sure things go alright.”
“Cool. See ya later, Cor.”
“Mwah,” I offered, giggling.
“You’re such a dork, jeez,” her voice trailed off as, I supposed, she pulled the phone away then I heard the click of disconnection.
I made sure she had hung up before slipping the phone back into my pocket and continuing up west. With the clouds lit from beneath as they were, the mountains appeared as a raggedly cut border leading to the real night: pitch black with constellations of lights from the wealthier people who lived on the hills. I shook my head and walked, mind wandering back over my words as I searched for anything that might’ve come out wrong. I had always heard you were supposed to turn things over in your mind seven times before you spoke, but I never could manage that.
I had gotten the feeling that admitting to Kris that I still had my doubts about my sexuality hadn’t exactly gone over well. Of course, in hind-sight I could see why. I don’t think anyone enjoyed being told by a loved one that they weren’t the gender that they had expected. I supposed I had just told Kris that. Wondering if I was really still gay in the middle of a straight relationship struck me as a not very healthy way to run things.
I was still warmed by the fact that I had talked with Kris, though, and I realized I still did like her an awful lot. It was hard for me to concentrate too much on any of the troubles I had introduced in the relationship when I was busy focusing on how nice it was to be in that relationship in the first place. With that, I hunched shoulders against the building wind and and turned around for the easy walk back home.