That’s in the bathtub that we lost the battle.
It was in the spring of 2012, May or June.
We were soaking in hot waters. A couple of girls and a couple of candles.
It was supposed to be an enjoyable moment. But she brought up the sword-of-Damocles subject that I knew was hanging above my head since the first day of our common life.
Her parents wanted to come and visit in the fall, and it would therefore be very welcome if I was so very kind to plan myself a little 2-week holiday to evacuate the premises of my own home.
(The parents were told I was a boy).
We finally had hit the wall. We had gracefully managed to work our story around it for already 2 years. The state of grace was over.
I can’t remember any of my words. I can’t even remember what I thought.
I only remember diving underneath the water and not wanting to come back to the surface cause we’d have to finish this conversation.
But I soon got out of breath and emerged to articulate something like of course, I understand, I want you to have quality time with your parents, I am just a fucking dyke they don’t deserve to witness this, and you are a dyke too by the way, but yes that’s hard to admit, yes, only fair, yes, old generation, yes yes, let me just take a map of the world and put my finger on a random country and I’ll book tickets and it will be as if I had never existed.
Where is the line between compromise and self-bashing? When do we know what’s acceptable and what’s excruciating? Should I have grabbed her hair and maintain her head under the water for a minute or two so she knew how I was feeling? Should I have walked out of the bathtub without even rinsing the foam off my body to pack my things and never come back?
It would have exploded if I had said no, so I said yes and it exploded anyway. Only difference is that we agonised for a year.
I’ve paid for my lack of courage. But I’ve never found what I could have done or said that day to prevent the explosion. It wasn’t in my power anyway. This was never my story.
On the map, my finger had landed on Iceland, so off I went alone to Reykjavik, which has since then become my spiritual retreat.
The purity of the Icelandic air burnt my lungs the first time I ever breathed it. I wandered Iceland alone under these disturbing circumstances. One day, I sat on a bench near the duck lake in the town centre. I wanted to enjoy the last rays of sun. I started thinking of what was happening in my London home at this instant.
I thought of the naked walls from which all my pictures and personal traces had been washed away – too feminine, too queer, too me. I thought of my clothes and shoes stuffed in bin bags and hidden behind a trapdoor above the same bathtub where it had all begun. I cried on all the ducks of Reykjavik that day, and she was calling me to help her cook a béchamel for her parents over the phone.
It is the most wounding feeling in the world to know that your existence has been clinically wiped out.
Picture borrowed from the wonderful I’m a Fucking Unicorn page.