I woke up with a sense of urgency to pee. I stumbled on my way to the bathroom with half-opened eyes. While sitting on the toilet, I remembered that I needed to go downstairs to pick up the L.A. Times before someone else did. Someone stole my Sunday edition last week, and the replacement edition that was sent to me the following Monday. It’s still hard to believe that someone in this college-student-populated building had woken up before 10am last Sunday and stole a newspaper. I glanced at my wife’s cellphone to check the time after I got dressed. It was a little after 8am. I wondered for a moment if it was already too late to find the Times still there and I hesitated before heading towards the door as I admired my wife’s nakedness on our bed.
The paper was still there, right outside the building’s front door. As I held it in my hands, I smiled to myself with a sense of accomplishment. Clearly not over the fact that in a country like the United States, people still dare to steal someone else’s property. Twice.
I headed upstairs resenting the delivery person who for three weeks now has ignored my delivery instructions. “Please deliver outside apartment door #203.” He/she even has the code to enter the building. I almost regret given out that information but not as much as I regret that his/her actions helped someone else steal from me.
I opened my apartment door as quiet as possible trying not to wake my wife a second time. As I placed the paper on the floor, she looked at me and gave me a smile. She too had been an accomplice in this; she knew how much I wanted to beat whoever had stolen my paper before.
The paper is still sitting on the floor unread. And will remain that way until I finish reading the novel “Butterfly Boy” by Rigoberto Gonzalez, which is a memoir of a Chicano gay kid about growing up and coming out. I’m supposed to compare this book to literary works written by Chicana lesbians that we have read throughout the quarter for my Chicana Lesbian Literature midterm. The works are not all that different from each other. They all have some sort of struggle in common. Struggle because of background, race, class, sexuality, etc.
I haven’t been able to relate to the work of Chicana lesbians because my story is too different from theirs. But “Butterfly Boy” somehow was able to hit closer to home. Gonzalez is the only one who actually talks about being little and sexually confused; you cannot be gay and not relate to this. Reading this book has made me resent my family more than I already do. I just wish I would have had someone to talk to while growing up, instead of hating myself for loving women.
My father finally confirmed with my brother on Friday that I was a Lesbian. “He sounded disappointed,” my brother told me. I laughed in disbelief. A man who was unfaithful to my mother, hurt her, left me and my brother, did the same to another woman and her kids, and is now alone and old working for his brother is disappointed in me. If he weren’t in another country, I would love to knock at his door and tell him that I understand his ignorance, and that I’m sorry he’ll never know what is like to be happy but I do. I am so grateful that I was able to take my wife’s last name and erase his for good.
I’ll never understand why my mother married such a man but she’s not too different from his ignorance. She struggled with the idea that I am gay. And she now struggles with the idea that my brother is dating a black woman. I told her over the phone last night that this was his decision to make after she told me that she didn’t agree with his relationship. “He’s happy and I’m happy, isn’t that what matters?” I asked. Big mistake. She made a point of making me feel guilty for being happy. I resent her for not being a mom. “What have I done to deserve this?” she’d say. I’m not sure what she wants from us but it certainly isn’t for us to be happy.
I’m consciously glad that I’m far from those times. I’m happy I grew up enough to be on my own. Getting the paper delivered to me is a sign of independence. Even if I have yet to read it because of my midterm, I’m still old enough to get the Sunday paper. Sometimes is good to grow up just to have a clean slate. I may not have a past I’d be proud to look back to, but I have hopes I’ll find that pride in my future. By then there might not be such a thing as a newspaper delivery.