The days are getting shorter and the air is growing crisp. I love that word, crisp. Want to know a word I don’t like? Autumn. What a useless, unromantic, pseudo-sophisticated sounding word. “Spring” so perfectly captures the essence of the sudden gushing forth of life following its long, dreary winter dormancy, and in a way that “autumn” can never even approach for the season properly known as the Fall. Ah, there we go: the Fall; life’s realization that winter’s encroach is nigh and then its slow, symphomic tumble to the Earth below in peaceful resignation. Sure, the leaves are dying, but have you ever appreciated how happily they do it? They deck themselves in such gay colors as to make my queer heart approach jealousy and glimmer so glamorously as to make even the sternest curmudgeon soften if only a little. If only all life were as beautiful at the moment of death, then maybe we wouldn’t dread it so.
I sometimes forget I’m living abroad. You’re probably thinking, How is that possible? And it’s a perfectly logical question. I understand little to nothing that anyone says and I stand out–with my white skin, green eyes, brown hair, beard, and frequent flamboyance–sort of like a red prom dress would in a funeral procession. Nevertheless, now that comparatively little about Korea or Korean culture is unfamiliar to me anymore, I do sometimes forget, if only for a few moments or so at a time, that I haven’t always been here. Maybe that seems odd to you, and that seeming oddness might make sense if you’re the sort who’s always felt an integral part of something. I haven’t, though. This is a tired old confession, which it seems that everyone makes (honestly or just in a moment of depression) at some point in their lives, but, in fact, I’ve never felt as if I truly fit in anywhere. A fairly large part of that is due to the fact that I’ve spent all but the past six months of my life in the closet, but that’s only one reason among a vast multitude, the host of which I don’t intend to share with you simply because I’d like to maintain your interest in what I have to say.
I had my first crush when I was eight years old. And, by “first crush,” I mean my “first gay crush.” I suppose one could say that there had been others. I still remember the first day of pre-Kindergarten when I marched right up to the prettiest little girl in class and gave her a huge kiss, right on the lips. I’d most likely seen a movie recently–probably one of those romantic films from the 50s and 60s my mother liked to watch where kissing scenes stood in for bedroom scenes–and had felt it would be cool (in the way that four-year-olds do) to emulate what I’d seen. It is, therefore, entirely accurate for me to say I kissed a girl and I did, in a sense, like it. The teacher had seen the impending-PDA coming seconds before it happened and, though she hastily yelled for us to stop, she was too late–llips had locked. I had a rebellious streak even when I was four and took great pleasure in her scolding me afterward but having no ability to change what had happened: I’d won, and nana nana boo boo.