Sunday, November 7, 2010


It never occurred to me that my boyfriend I’d been with for the last year and a half was homosexual. “The Streisand posters in his bedroom didn’t tip you off,” said my Dad after we broke up, one day later Jeff was engaging in butt play with another boy from the Theater department, the rumor mill had informed me. Apparently my parents knew my boyfriend was gay from the first day I brought him home, all my friends had a suspected it, but Jeff was about the best boyfriend I’d ever had, even to this day. He was very attentive, knew how to take a girl to dinner, insist she have dessert, and pick up the tab. When we were separated by school vacations, he would send me gift packages full of perfume, body and bath oil, and a cute warm scarf or jewelry, all nestled into tissue paper and sealed with a sweet note, the small envelope addressed with my pet name. Jeff was handsome, had a rockin’ body, and was charming as heck, the fact that he was gay fluttered over my head. I had somehow snagged an extra single room in my dorm at B.U., our “love shack”, that we would visit usually 3 times a day where me and my gay boyfriend would fuck like rabbits then stay up all night talking, we were madly in love.

I met him the very first day in the elevator at our dorm, he asked if he could carry a box I was bringing upstairs from my parent’s van. Two days later I broke up with my high school boyfriend I’d left back in Westport over the phone, Jeff was coming on strong and I was a goner. He had pictures in his room of Hanna, a gorgeous blond he had left back in high school, who he claimed was his girlfriend, she was so pretty, it never occurred to me that my real competition were dudes.

Jeff and I broke up after about 16 months, two days later he was having sex with Ron, a guy I had grown up with in the theater department back home, we had found our way to the same college where we both had voice lessons and yoga with Jeff. Soon, Jeff moved on into a cozy relationship with Seth, a good friend of mine, another theater student who had decided to pursue a career as a chef.

3 years later, Jeff and Seth became good couples friends with me and my boyfriend Phil, we spent holidays together, Seth would make the turkey, Phil would steal the wine from the fine restaurant he was working at, the four of us were very happy together, there was one rift between Jeff and Seth, Jeff had never come out to his parents.

Jeff’s parents had adored me, I was the only girl he had ever actually dated. They were the typical nice dysfunctional family from The Main Line outside Philly. Jeff’s mom went by the name, “June Bug,” she had everything ladybug, from pins, to mugs, to needlepoint pillows, Jeff’s dad looked like Ward Cleaver, but with Jeff’s ski jump nose – they were card carrying members of The Gin and Tonic Club. June Bug and Ward would take us to the overpriced 360 rotating bar in Boston where we’d order round after round of G n T’s, the potted plant at my right getting its buzz on due to me emptying drink after drink directly on its roots just to keep up with the party. I was soon invited to stay at their house on The Main Line, June Bug would make us lovely lunches of tuna salad sandwiches, chips, and iced tea, Jeff and I would escape to his tiny room, put on the Peter Frampton, and fuck like mad. The rest of the afternoon would be spent in the pool, or strolling around the neighborhood discussing what we were going to name our kids, or sneaking up to his sister’s room where the kid’s communal bong was kept. Around 3:30 the G n T’s would start flowing, although June Bug and Ward usually wreaked of booze shortly after breakfast was served. The grill would be fired up around 5, and Jeff’s closeted brother would show up with his wife and two kids. Jeff’s brother, Jack was quite flamboyant, owned a thriving florist’s business, Jeff and I would laugh at how he’d fooled everyone – June Bug, Ward, his wife. Jack, or "That Raging Queen,” as Jeff frequently referred to his older brother – had pulled the whole thing off.

That night, after everyone had passed out on too much gin and red meat, Jeff and I took advantage of the placid kidney shaped pool and the full moon and went skinny dipping. He had always been very attentive towards me sexually, but had always steered clear of my breasts. I had him up against the wall of the pool on the shallow end, by breasts floating above the water, I took Jeff’s arms from around my neck, and tried to coax his hands there. He said, “I think I’m going to throw up,” and ran from the pool and into the bushes. The vomiting when faced with my boobs, the Streisand posters, the love for musical comedy, it all started to add up.

I lost touch with Jeff for years, he and Seth had parted ways, Phil and I had done the same, I had heard Jeff had taken up with an older man, another theater enthusiast who was wealthy, they both resided in the rich man’s upper west side apartment, and hopped between that and this fellow’s place in Hawaii, and a little beach house they renovated together on the tip of Montauk. It was rumored that Jeff’s lover was HIV positive, and when Jeff finally got back in touch with me, his lover had passed, and Jeff told me he was HIV positive, and recently diagnosed with AIDS.

I took the long drive out to Montauk, Jeff looked much older, he was on a multiple of “cocktails” for AIDS. He had the companionship of two dacshunds, neither of which were potty trained, Jeff didn’t have to energy to train them, they willy-nilly pee’d throughout the house and in the beds but changing the sheets and following them around with paper towels required less energy than daily walks, he said as I handed my soaked bed sheet to him in the morning. Around noon, Jeff made me lunch, the same tuna salad sandwich and chips June Bug used to make us back at his childhood house on The Main Line. Halfway through my sandwich Jeff took my hand and proposed.

“Please, Claud. It would mean the world to my parents if we got married,” he had never told his parents who he is.

“Jeff, I really want you to be proud of who you are, I’m sure they know,” he put his cloth napkin to his mouth, then used it to wipe the potato chip dust from the table, shaking his head slowly, “no.”

“I don’t have a lot of time here,” he said looking down at his lap, the proposal continued,” if you do this one thing for me, I’ll leave you this place in my will. We can have the lawyers draw up something."

How I hated his parents for hating homosexuals. I hated them for shoving two sons into the closet. I hated them for denying their son his lifestyle, and the fact that they were calling his illness “cancer”. 4 months later, Jeff was gone. I received word that there would be a ceremony honoring his life back there on The Main Line, all of his parents friends would be there, his whole family, and some of Jeff’s friends would be invited as well.

All the friends that made it to Jeff’s lunch were mostly female, one or two if his gay friends were there, but no one too flamboyant – accept Jeff’s brother who of course did the flowers, they were stunning, the G n T’s were flowing, there were scrapbooks at tables that one of his sisters had put together filled with pictures of Jeff and his friends from back in high school, long before Jeff figured out who he really was.

June Bug rushed up to me right as the tea sandwiches were being passed, she pulled me by the arm over to a white cloth covered table where her friends were sitting in lovely Spring cardigans and strands of pearls. “Everyone! THIS is Claudia, Jeff’s girlfriend!” She introduced her friends to me one by one, I smiled, nodded, extended my manicured hand to each saying, “lovely, so nice to meet you,” June Bug’s face was swollen, but beaming.

June Bug, Ward, and Jeff’s next of kin had buried Jeff that morning in a quaint cemetery right outside The Main Line. Buried him in a closet, surrounded by lovely flowers supplied from his brother’s shop, everyone stoic and picture perfect – just the way Jeff would have wanted it.


  1. This brings back such happy and sad memories. I miss him.

  2. Yes, I miss him too, Ames....

  3. This is a wonderful story, Claudia. His mother cheated herself out of a very long list of things she will never have. It's sad that she will never be the recipient of tissue-wrapped treasures or the rare closeness of scrunching under the comforter with her son watching South Pacific on a random late night sharing a pint of Haagen Dazs. These fleeting moments are the real rewards of parenthood and you don't get them automatically just because you are a mother - you earn them. Hopefully his new mother on Planet Zarbalinx (or wherever he is) accepts and loves every spike on his alien tail.

  4. that's beautiful, eve.... i hope he is looking down and reads your comment, he would love it.