When they met she was 15 and he was 16. They were friends and there was a chemistry and connection always there between them. But nothing ever happened and they separated and each went off to college.
Some time passed, and one day she ran into him while she was on a date with another someone. All those feelings flooded back and it was to be the last date she would ever go on with someone else.
Their families were excited and supportive of their coupling. Seven happy years would go by until one day, while on vacation, he would propose. In two years time they were happily married with a child. It was the stuff of dreams.
At least, it seemed like the fairy tale.
The kid was in kindergarten when he lost his job. His mind too, it would appear at the time. Strange things started happening.
Like him leaving the house at 3am. She would awaken to the sound of garage door opening. He’d be gone hours. “Just went for a drive,” he would claim. “Just needed to clear my head.”
The stories started getting more convoluted. The receipts she found from gay bathhouses were just “experimenting” and “curiosity”.
She continued to pretend she was still the princess.
Until the day he came home and informed her he was HIV positive.
Then the fairy tale was most certainly over.
He lives with his boyfriend now. He has for years. But he still won’t admit he’s gay. Won’t say it to her, the child, or even the boyfriend.
“Does it make you angry?” I ask when she finishes the story. “The lying? The deception?”
“It just makes me sad for him,” she says softly.
She’s past the lies and over the angst of ignoring her gut and pretending her life was a storybook dream. But what she can’t understand is that to this day, he still denies who he is. She accepts him, but he does not.
Makes me sad too.
People tell me their stories. This is one woman’s story.