Fifteen

Weeks sailed by. Island life was catching up with me. I let it wash over and through me like the ocean tide. Time became relative. Nothing seemed urgent anymore. I found myself, more often than not, spending my evenings camped out on a street curb, listening to ukulele music and watching the palm trees dance in the moonlight. Usually, I was a multitasker. Now I couldn’t remember why trying to jam so much accomplishment into one time slot had ever been appealing.

My new no-rush lifestyle fit in well with my previous mentality. Cole and I were together almost every day. Dylan and I were still talking almost every night. Did I mention that I still hadn’t broken up with my boyfriend? That’s not completely accurate. Did I mention that I still called my boyfriend and told him I loved him and had long, personal discussions that extended late into the night with him about everything … except my other boyfriend? The one that I had also forgotten to mention? Oops.

I once heard that a sure sign of immaturity was an inability to move on from one relationship without already having a firm grasp on another. Like a monkey swinging from tree to tree, the amateur lover glides from romantic entanglement to romantic entanglement, never actually pausing for one minute of solitude in between.

If swinging from one relationship to another was monkey behavior, I was becoming more like an overly ambitious, multi-armed sloth. Soon, I would be dangling not from two trees, but from three or four or five trees. I’m not sure even a sloth could do that, but I did. I was the great, clinging, romantically immature, genetically mutated, multi-armed sloth.

I really liked Cole. Everything from his jet black hair to his laid back attitude filled me with a rush of warm affection. I also liked Gage, a tall senior with abundantly curly locks of jet black hair who dressed like the lead singer of a Seattle garage band and played the guitar like a dream. He had just returned from Africa where he’d learned to speak the clicking language, Khoisan. Multiculturalism always turned me on. Then there was Gavin, the Spanish speaking pre-law student with the quick wit, the deep intellect and the car. My love triangle was rapidly growing into a complex tapestry of deception.

“What are you doing?” Kesa had demanded. “What about Cole? What about Dylan for heaven’s sake? You can’t just go out with whoever you want and lie to everybody else about it!”

I thought she was being a bit dramatic. After all, everybody seemed pretty happy. I was slowly weaning Dylan off … sort of …. As for Cole, well, everybody seemed pretty happy. Why ruin that? It was a bit emotionally reckless, sure, but it was all pretty innocent, aside from the blatant and rampant lying. Besides, I was having a lot of fun.

Gabriel, however, was not. As I flexed my independent wings, he curled inward like a fallen leaf. I watched him struggle through his “treatment” as days turned into weeks which faded into months. I had never seen anyone pursue something with such single-minded dedication. He was “hell bent” on recovering from homosexuality and serving a mission for the church. He prayed. He fasted. He attended every church service, class and gathering, and there were a lot of them. He studied the scriptures like the apocalypse was already raining down upon us all.

Gabriel didn’t share many details about his treatment. Every now and then he would let slip some small bit of information. I never felt like I could get the full picture though. It was easy to tell, however, that whatever he was going through was grueling. As time passed, a shadow fell on his once lighthearted countenance. His fair face took on a tint of gray. Still, we drew, we talked and he pushed ever onward.

This is the latest installment in my story. If you haven’t yet read the previous entries, click here to start at the beginning. Then continue to read each post in numerical order.

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