There was a scene from the movie The Iron Lady where Margaret Thatcher (played with such brilliance by Meryl Streep) is playing a DVD of her children when they were young, running and laughing on a beach. She is obviously suffering from Alzheimer’s as she is carrying on conversations with her husband who has been long dead. She keeps re-winding the DVD to watch the children over and over and her face shows sadness and regret, and a longing for something… Her husband says to her – and I’m paraphrasing here – You can rewind all you want, but you can’t go back and change anything.
I’ve been looking at all these old slides of family and friends at events and places long forgotten. There’s an entire box of slides of my wedding. July 15, 1972. I was 19 years old – a baby. My parents had to sign the license in order for me to get married. I’ve looked into the eyes of the girl on those slides and I honestly don’t know who she is. I know she didn’t have a clue about what she was doing, or how she ever thought she could pull off the marriage thing.
I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason – and things are as they should be. Still – I look at these slides of this 19-year-old girl and I wonder… How different would my life had been had I taken my father up on his offer to just leave the church before we walked down the aisle? How different would my husband’s life have been had he married someone who really loved him and well – wasn’t gay?
The thing is – we’ll never know the answer to these questions. What I do know is that not much has changed in that tiny little town where I got married all those years ago. Families still live in the same houses, still go to the same churches and sit in the same pews, still work the same jobs, and still talk about things that happened 30 or 40 years ago. More important, they still don’t understand the homosexual thing, and prefer to listen to their pastors than to their hearts. I wouldn’t fit in now, just like I didn’t fit in then.
Still – there are all these slides that show me how hard I tried to fit in – or was I just running and hiding? Or worse – and I know this is the truth – I was just trying to keep my place in my family. I believed that would give me what I needed. Turns out what I really needed was just me.
I can look at these slides over and over and I can rewind these old movies all I want – nothing in them will ever change. My ex-husband has remarried and from all accounts is happy with his life. Nothing much has changed for him as he married my cousin, so he has the same family, the same places, the same friends.
I understand the “you can’t go home again” theory. More to the point – where I grew up is no longer my home. It’s simply the place I grew up in and then left. My home is with Susan – so wherever we end up – that is my home. I won’t need to rewind any DVD to know that. ♥