Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving 5-Part Essay 2


It’s hard to give thanks for something that is dying.

Sometimes I wonder what I am campaigning for. Why it matters so much that I tell my parents when the reason for my confession shrinks away from me every day. I’ve never believed that any one factor defines your identity–not the music you listen to or the color of your skin or your sexual orientation. This is probably why I made such a miserable frummie. I am so much more than just “Orthodox,” a sentiment no one else at YU seemed to share.

So how to tell my parents that not only am I not Orthodox, I am also gay?

I don’t even like the word. Too rigid, too all-encompassing. Too definite. I love Alex, but I also love macaroni and cheese, science fiction, the moment in Lecha Dodi where we bow to the approaching queen. There are no words for those loves, no value judgments or expectations attached to those affections and pursuits.

Why does the fact that I love Alex need to be described, delineated, defined?


It’s hard to give thanks for something that is dying.

“I’m not giving you an ultimatum,” he says. “Either you tell your parents or you don’t. The choice is yours.”

“But if I don’t, it’s over.”

He rubs his hands over his face. “I’m not going to do this anymore,” he warns. “I deserve better than this.”

“You know that’s not–”

“It doesn’t matter what your reasons are. You’ve met my entire family and yours doesn’t know that I exist.”

“I need time,” I protest.

“You’ve had six months,” he says.

“It’s Thanksgiving,” I remind him, as though that means anything.

“And before it was Sukkot and Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana and you didn’t want to screw that up, and soon it’s Chanukah and your aunt is coming in from Israel, and then it’ll be New Years, and then Pesach, and then several years will have gone by and you’ll have suffocated in your little frummie closet.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Damn right it isn’t fair,” he says evenly.

I look at him, trying to find that place in his eyes that always held something for me: desire, an agreement, a laugh. There is nothing. He could be looking at anyone, anything.

It’s hard to give thanks for something that is dead.

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  • bazbaz

    This is a bummer.