My mother. My father. My aunts and most of my uncles. I would not yield to them. I would not wait at the altar for someone I did not and could not ever love walk down the aisle to be with me forever. I tried to let them know. Too many times to let them know. They wouldn’t hear of it.

“It’s a phase.”

“You haven’t met the right girl yet.”

“It’s unnatural.”

That last one was becoming more frequent since it became clear that the first two were wrong. I was way too old for it to be a phase. And I had met more than enough women— old/young, thin/fat, rich/poor—to know the right one wasn’t out there somewhere.

He and I sat in a small coffeeshop in the neighborhood. The one where the waitress didn’t always try to sit you way in the back. By the kitchen.

“You have to tune it out.”

“Easy for you to say. Your family’s on the West Coast. Mine are four stops across the Nassau border on the Long Island Railroad.”

“Have they changed one iota since you came out to them?”

“You know they haven’t. I knew they wouldn’t.”

“Exactly. So fuck ‘em.”

“Again, easy—”

“I get it. ‘Easy for me to say.’ Look, you haven’t been to your . . . to their house in a couple of years. No Thanksgiving. No Christmas. Your folks won’t even drop off your birthday present. They let UPS do it. And when you call them—and they never call you—I see how tense you are and how much you want to get off the phone.”

“I’d rather get off with—”

“Focus. Let’s just do it. Let’s pick a date and a location. We have more than enough friends here to fill the room. Invite them. If they come, they come. If they don’t, you’re no worse off.”

“Are you, like, proposing.”

“Well, not the most romantic and a bit spur-of-the-moment but I guess I am.”