Most people look at me and don’t see a problem, but a problem is what I have. I am married to one man but at the same time I am in love with another woman. My husband and I fell in love in high school and all through college our love grew. It finally bloomed into three beautiful children, the house, and a car. I always knew that someday the flower of love would wilt. It had been seeded in poor soil. I did not know that I was gay.
I didn’t even know what the word meant. I was raised in a strong Catholic community where things like sexuality were not discussed. It wasn’t until col- lege that I realized that the feelings inside me had a name. These feelings finally took over when I met Tina, a computer operator at the junior high that I teach at. So now when my husband touches me my mind screams in terror.
The only relief I get from the horror of this ritual is to fantasize about Tina, and the times when we get to sleep together. This arrangement allows me to tolerate my marriage, but I can’t tolerate living a lie. I must make a decision that will change the direction of my life. Should I stay with my husband or leave him for my female lover?
If I were to leave my husband, I would be placed in the world of outcasts. The society that I deal with has no room for a person that does not fit their mold. I would not be seen as a fit mother, and would have to fight for my children in a public court battle. With the local news media searching for any dirty laundry to raise ratings, I doubt that I would have any life left to call my own. Do I have the right to drag all the people who are close to me into such a conflict? Can my relationship with everyone stand up to such bombardment? I know I would not be allowed to teach anymore. My new lifestyle would not be tolerated in this school district. This would mean if I leave my husband, I would be giving up all that makes me a person. If I have to change so much of my life all at once, will I still be happy with my decision?
Staying with my husband has its down side, too. Though our relationship looks fine on the outside, we have deep troubles; we can no longer talk to each other. It’s my fault, I guess, that I have secrets I cannot tell him. Living with this secret between us would destroy what love we have for each other. He would have to be told.
When I tell him, our marriage will change instantly. This change could be for the better, but the chance of the change being for the worse is greater. I would have to fight to keep my marriage alive. This battle for my marriage would take me to some doc- tor’s couch. Heavily sedated I would then be forced to tell my most inner secrets to a man I don’t have a familiarity with. My children would then grow up in a house that has no love. How can they grow into loving adults if they have no role model to learn by? Again I would have to change every aspect of my life and risk the loss of the ones I love.
It is 3:00 in the morning, and I lie here on my bed going over my problem in my head. I don’t mind being awake at this hour. I want to enjoy this last day for as long as I can, for I am going to tell him in the morning. I sit here running my fingers through his hair wondering what I will tell him. As you can see, I have a problem…
Originally Written in October 30, 1992 by Mark Reinholz. Later published in Palabras 1.0.