What I Have to Do; Or Do I Have To?—Clark Humphrey

What I Have to Do; Or Do I Have To?—Clark Humphrey


She was the love of my life. Nobody had ever dug her way into my heart the way she did. And when she pulled herself out of my heart, it hurt like nobody else had ever hurt me.

All my girlfriends had warned me about her. Just a kid, they said. Worse than just a kid, they said she was just a LUG.* She’d get her experimental phase, i.e. me, through her and past her. Then she’d go on to the high-powered career she was studying for. And along with that, she’d totally buy into the husband/dog/2.3 kids/white picket fence lifestyle.

And she did.

Completely. (Except for the kids part, at least so far.)

Thankfully, when she did all that, my girlfriends didn’t gloat, at least not to my face.

She’s just found me on Facebook.

She wants me to go to her wedding.

She wants me to sit there silently, while she gets to do with her family- and church-approved straight mate what she could legally not do with me. What I still legally can’t do with anyone I might ever come to love to the point of lifetime commitment (which hasn’t been anybody since her).

Not only that, but she wants to impose restrictions on what I can wear, say, and do at her wedding.

I’m supposed to wear a dress. A “tasteful” dress. One big enough to cover my tattoos.

I’m supposed to put on the full “square company job interview” look. Makeup on. Tongue stud off. Contacts on. Cats-eye glasses off.

I’m supposed to tell everybody there that I’m just her dear close friend from grad school. Nothing more.

I’m supposed to take part in the tossing of the bouquet, and at least pretend to try to catch it.

I’m supposed to give a “tasteful” wedding gift. Something that won’t embarrass her parents or the groom’s parents. (“NO VIBRATORS!” her message explicitly said.)

If any guest asks me to talk about my past with her, I’m supposed to make up plausible stories about staying up late studying, snacking on Pop Chips, watching chick flick DVDs, daydreaming out loud about Daniel Craig. Even praying together in church. (She even sent me the name, address, and description of a church we’re supposed to have gone to.)

I’m supposed to become a version of me that never was, reminiscing about a version of her that only existed after she left me

I’m not supposed to dance or flirt with any women at the reception, or talk about politics with anybody, or get shitface drunk, or plead for her to run off with me, or otherwise make a spectacle of myself.

I’m not supposed to mention chugging Miller Lite by the case. Or watching Miss USA just to sneer at it. Or making out in a movie theater. Or drunkenly singing k.d. lang together at karaoke bars. Or me licking her tits while she’s on the phone with her mom. Or flying out to New York on a whim to protest the pope.

If I go, I’m betraying everything I am. Everything I thought she was.

If I don’t go, I’m betraying everything she meant to me (and, really, still does mean to me).

If I go and then “make a scene,” I’m betraying any respect I still have for her wishes, for her freedom to create her own life.

My girlfriends tell me I’m on my own about this one. They either can’t or won’t tell me what I should do.

I have to let her know in the next couple of days whether I’m going.

Right now, I think I’ll go.

If, for nothing else, to show her I’m a good sport.

And to show her that tough women do cry.

*”Lesbian Until Graduation.”


About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on February 5, 2012, in Fiction. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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