|Chapter 14: Ups and Downs: Letters from Danny|
|October 15 ... Steve and I have been doing some
house hunting the last couple of weeks, and a good thing too. Don, the man
whose house we have been staying in, called last night and told Steve he's
had a change in plans and will be coming home next month.
Steve is in a panic because he hasn't told Don about me staying here. He told Don that he is planning to move out before he gets back, so now we have to act fast.
We've found a nice little house for rent that's actually closer to work
for both of us. We went over today after work and signed a lease. Now, we
have to get busy packing...
November 9 ... We're finally getting somewhat organized, although the garage is still full of boxes. Nonnie let me have an old couch and chair, because she just bought new furniture for her living room, so we're fixed up quite comfortably. She also let me have the old refrigerator she had out in her garage, and we bought a card table and two folding chairs at a garage sale. Our biggest expense was a new queen-size bed.
Two cats have been hanging around ever since we moved in. The neighbors
say the people who lived here before abandoned them, so we have adopted
them. We call them, very originally, Black Kitty and White Kitty! White
Kitty, especially, is very affectionate....
December 3... Work! What a disgusting revelation the real" world
is. The office here at the water district is constantly filled with petty
squabbles that either build to huge, hate-filled confrontations (as it is
now), or settle into a simmering fear in which everyone acts terribly
polite and avoids looking at each other, and you know things can't go on
like this much longer. Well, I can't say I haven't learned a lot about
survival this year!...
December 14... We came out to Bill and Mark (the other gay couple in the choir) last night. We thought they probably already knew about us, but apparently they didn't. Bill seemed especially surprised; his jaw almost dropped off his face!
It was really hard for Steve to muster up his courage to tell them.
He's only come out to a couple of other people in his life. But it all
turned out very well. Bill and Mark were delighted, and we talked and
talked and talked until nearly midnight. It was very good...
January 1...We've decided to rent a piano. We'll put it in our second
bedroom, where we have a desk and all our books. and that will become our
February 11 ... You asked where I am spiritually. Well, I'm as uncertain and unsettled as ever. I don't know what I want or how to distinguish it from my fears or whether either one has any bearing on truth or whether anything even matters at all.
I certainly wouldn't care to live this past year over again; too many bad things have happened to me. There have been so many things that have made me afraid, and I feel like I've gradually retreated back into some little crevice of my soul until only my eyes are exposed to the cruel world. I think I've become very right-brained this past year. I'm not at all sure I'm pleased about it, but nevertheless that is what has happened.
Things seem to swim in a fog of emotions and impressions. It's hard to
really see anything. Very much like a dream. It's not as bad as it was,
though. For a while, I was under such terrible pressures from all sides
that I was unable to remember things I was supposed to do at work, or I'd
leave words out of sentences or forget to turn off my car lights. Things
are somewhat better now....
March 27...The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the last few weeks,
and I have SPRING FEVER! I have planted nasturtiums, sweet peas, and
morning glories in our tiny, tiny backyard, and I am going to have an herb
garden, as well, so Steve can have all the fresh herbs he wants for
cooking. I hope you'll be coming out to visit this summer. I can't wait to
show you my garden....
June 2...It's been nearly a year since Steve and I first made our
commitment to each other. Our relationship so far has been through a lot
of hard times, but I believe we have worked through them well. I am so
glad I have someone I can share my life with....
August 10...Your visit was wonderful! It gave me a warm, gooshy feeling inside and reminded me of all the good memories I have of my childhood.
I'm fascinated by the quilt you're making me, Mom. It's exciting to think that it's your very own original design. I definitely think you ought to enter it in a quilt show when it's finished. I don't mind that you're putting it aside while you make a quilt for Brenden and Melissa's wedding. I'll just enjoy the anticipation of receiving it someday in the future.
It meant a lot to me that you came to hear our choir sing. I knew you would be impressed with its quality. I don't imagine it was particularly comfortable for you to attend St. Andrew's, but I appreciate your being willing, and especially for coming up to the choir loft afterward and meeting everyone....
September 7...I went to see a doctor about the pain in my arms, and he
said it's tendinitis. My job is about 90 percent data entry, and my work
station has not been ideal. I've made some changes to improve it, and the
doctor had me get splints for both of my arms....
September 21...My doctor told me I have to cut back to working part
time for a while, as my tendinitis isn't getting any better. Workmen's
Comp will recompense me for the time I miss. I certainly can't say I'll be
unhappy to spend less time under this racklike tension....
October 11...I'm working just till one o'clock every day. In case
you're wondering what I'm doing with all my spare time, I have really
gotten into composing. I got interested in that last year, you know, but
now I am getting serious. I have started composing a cantata, based on the
sixty-first Psalm. I have the first chorus, "Hear My Cry, 0
God!" half finished already. Next time you call, I'll play it for you
over the phone....
November 2...Steve left yesterday for the conference in Scotland. He'll be gone for two weeks. I'll miss him, but it'll be good to be alone for a while. We were beginning to get on each other's nerves.
I guess what bothers me most about Steve is that he doesn't seem to value me as a person. He isn't interested in my opinions, my likes and dislikes, my life before we met. It seems like he has never learned how to give and take. Everything has to be done his way. It is a very lopsided relationship.
I shall have lots of time to work on my cantata. I'm glad you liked the first chorus when I played it for you the other day. I've almost finished a tenor aria, "From the Ends of the Earth I Call to You," and then I will start another chorus, "Lead Me to the Rock.". . .
November 25...When I went to see my doctor last week, he said I'm going
to have to quit working entirely for probably a couple of months to see if
my tendinitis will clear up. If not, I could be permanently disabled. If I
am permanently disabled, Workmen's Comp will pay for my retraining for a
March 16...Here's the tape of my cantata. It's from the rehearsal; the one we recorded at the performance didn't turn out, unfortunately. Marilyn, our organist and choir director, was quite pleased with it.
My final diagnosis is partial disability. I have to find a job where I
will be doing computer entry no more than 60 percent of the time. I'm
working on updating my resume and will be trying to find something as an
administrative assistant. Workmen's Comp will continue paying me for up to
six months, if it takes that long to find a job.
June 5...Tahoe was a little bit of heaven! It was really great of you to rent that house on the lake and invite all of us to come. It was wonderful to relax, play games, go for walks, and best of all, just to be together as a family again and talk and remember old times. I'll never forget it!
I wish I could have stayed for the whole week, but Steve was being
difficult. Since he was borrowing my car while his was in the shop, I
thought he could have gone out of his way a little to pick me up on
Sunday, but he would have had to make arrangements for another cantor to
take his place. Anyway, what's done is done, but I'm glad for the time I
had with you....
July 24...My interview went well. It sounds like a very interesting job. It's a group of environmental scientists. I would be working directly under one of them-a woman, by the way-but would also be available for two other scientists when they need extra help. There is a fair amount of creativity involved with producing reports, and I would learn several new computer programs. Fortunately, there isn't a lot of data entry....
I got the job! Dr. Johnson called and said I was far more qualified
than any of the other candidates, and she was impressed with my computer
skills. Said I was better than anybody they'd had working there in the ten
years she'd been with the company. I start next Monday....
August 23... I've been working here for almost four weeks, and so far my arms are doing pretty well. I would say I spend less than half my time at the computer, and it's usually never in one long stretch. Yesterday my boss took me out to lunch. That was quite interesting. She told me everyone was very pleased with my work. Gave me a couple of pointers about things where I could improve. She was so nice that, without intending to, I found myself confiding in her that I was gay. As soon as I did, I could have bitten my tongue off, but she just laughed and said, "I already had that figured out." Then she told me that she is lesbian and is quite active in a gay-rights group...