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Sunday, January 18, 2009


Passing time has made clear to me the amount of unnecessary emotional baggage that I am carrying around. Is this discovery a sign of maturity? I want to try to get rid of some of that pointless weight. I have chosen to write about a very painful experience and the person involved. In order for me to develop, it has become crucial to set her free now.

It happened at the end of the summer of 2002. I had still not come to terms with the kind of individual that I am. There was a young woman, let's call her Helen, that I became friends with. She was the daughter of an old school friend of my mother's. I found that I wanted to test the theory that the christians were promulgating: that I was making a conscious choice to be gay. I became romantically involved with Helen. I shared everything about my life up to that point with her: the good, the bad and the ugly. I honestly tried my utmost to be completely open about my past in order to start what I thought would be a wonderful new life.

We had a few "dates", and when it became time for my ten year matric reunion, I asked her to accompany me. There We met with a blatantly gay school friend of mine that I hadn't seen in ages. He was there with his boyfriend. It was an enjoyable evening, but I suppose that I had a bit too much to drink. On the way home, I casually remarked to Helen that I wondered who the dominant figure in my friend's relationship was. She kept quiet. It was truly only meant as a passing remark, but it changed the dynamic of our relationship. We drove on in silence and I dropped her off at her house.

Over the next few days I tried to contact Helen, but she would not return my calls or e-mails. When she finally did reply, she said that she thought that I may be gay. Observing me with my school friend had tipped the scales. Understandably, her attitude shattered me. I never contacted her again.

After a while, I wrote a poem about the experience. I've translated it into English below:

man wat japanees leer
vir ie

soos ek daardie lang somer
jou oë deurvors het
vir 'n flikker erkenning
fynkam ek nou dié simbole
vir 'n knooppunt sodat
ek kan verstaan, kan onhou

en soos ek angstig vir jou
my verse geskryf het
teken ek nou dié karakters;
hier sal niemand ook nagaan
dat my grammatika reg,
dat my spelling korrek is

dié taal sal ek egter weldra kan bemeester;
die taal van jou hart sal ek blykbaar nooit praat

man learning japanese
for ie

just as I monitored your eyes
during that endless summer
for a glimmer of acknowledgment
I now scrutinize these symbols
for a point of contact in order to
comprehend and recall

and in the same way I fretfully
fashioned my poems for you
I draw these characters now;
here again nobody will ensure
that my grammar is accurate,
that my spelling is correct

eventually I will master this language;
it seems that I will never speak the language of your heart

Written by I