re: hey there - i’m gay
This is my first time conducting an affair over personal email. It’s a more direct line of communication than I usually have. Most partnered discreet men prefer burner emails, work numbers, shady messaging services, etc., but he insisted. He’s been talkative, even amorous at times, reaching out most days to say hi, talk about our time together and apart, or try to meet again.
We’ve met once so far, at a DMV parking lot late at night before he drove me in his truck to the gated lot behind his workplace. We hooked up in the cab of his truck--not an easy feat for two people who clear 6-feet. The development of the center console was some sex-negative bullshit that car companies came up with, I don’t care if you love your cup holders. We laid on top of each other, grinding and kissing and touching, most of our clothes on in the steamy box of the truck.
Our conversations after we split that night were lots of one-liners, texting conducted through Google’s server. As he sought out more information about me, he sent an email that restarted our chain--you know how Gmail does that sometimes? He asked me, “Are u gay or bi?” First of all, honey, what? (Imagine my limp wrist here.) I’m always floored when someone thinks I might not be full homo faggota. What kinds of reference points are you working with? Even when I “masc” up, the gay leaps out. But I suppose if you’re not living a “gay lifestyle,” then you really might not know more than your own quiet, pressing attraction to people whose similarity to you should make them undesirable.
I replied, “i’m gay.”
For some reason, Gmail didn’t maintain the conversation from there even as we continued talking in that thread. So now sitting in my inbox is an email line that reads:
J____, me 2 re: hey there - i’m gay On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 11:05 PM
It’s a poem, I could say archly.
More sincerely, all communication walks a fine line towards connection and honesty, only sometimes achieving either. There’s nothing laden here except my own self-reclamation and desire for attraction. Yet, it sits in my inbox day after day, the light grey of “i’m gay” as subtly obvious to me as my visible sexuality. Attention brought to that slight difference--the lack of boldness of grey making it stand out, just as the ways that I don’t fit a certain mold feel blatant when I look at a mirror, hear my voice, or see one of my gestures.
I’ll see him again, though feel a sense of disquiet. Already I feel his attachment to me more than I’m willing to have an attachment to him. Maybe I’ll lend my body to the cold war of a stymied marriage, but I refuse to play “homewrecker,” let alone “house.”
I still think about how we kissed in that uncomfortable truck for an hour, each unable to pull apart from the other. He kissed wildly, enthusiastically. My lower lip was bruised lavender the next day. I wondered if anyone else noticed.
Since the initial writing of this, I have seen J____ again. He came to my home where we laid on my bed. There was so much space for us. Seeing his skin in the daylight, I was surprised at the paleness of his body. After he left, I reached out to him about a month later. He never emailed me back.
J Klein is a writer and community organizer living on Huichin Ohlone land in Oakland, CA. You can find them @jkleininc on Instagram and @psych0pompe on Twitter.