It's pretty crazy. Lots of kids, boxes, parents and cars. Chris’s room is on the top floor and we walk up the stairs carrying his stuff as opposed to waiting in long lines for the elevators. We get everything into his room and Carl goes to the student store to buy Chris a computer. We figure it would be cheaper because Chris could get a student discount.
I sit on his roommate’s bed while Chris unpacks. My job is to hand him each pile while I announce what it is and ask where he wants to put it. Every time Chris turns his back to put something away I feel my shoulders sag. Then I straighten up and put on my perky when he turns around again.
When Carl gets back with the computer he and Chris set it up and get it running while I lay down on Chris’s bed watching these two men work together. I feel useless but don't move from my safe spot.
The day before Carl and I went walking up and down The Haight buying presents to decorate Chris’s room. Carl bought him a conga drum that had a deep sound to go with his bongos. I bought a Che poster.
We give Chris his gifts. He lets me know how uncomfortable gifts make him. Now I'm uncomfortable. He then informs us that he hates the dorm. I sit up at attention. He says he feels “different”. I say everybody feels different.
Back in LA his roommate to be called to meet him before they moved in together and told him he was gay and asked if that was a problem for Chris. Chris said no it wasn’t.
I ask Chris if maybe he thinks his roommate feels different. He listens at attention. I say I feel different and Carl says he does too. Everything gets quiet.
The sun is starting to go down. We woke up at sunrise. We are all very tired.
I ask Chris what he wants to do? Did he want to go home? He said no. I look at Chris and I think if I were him I would want Us to go home. I'd want to take all in and digest my new reality.
So I ask him if he wants to have dinner with us or would he rather us go so he can do his own thing. He says do his own thing.
Once he says these words to me I can no longer speak. I lose my ability to talk. I lose my prepared words of hope and encouragement and support. All I can do is plaster a smile on my face and give him a big hug. Pouring all I've got from my arms. Circling him with my light. Circling him with my protection. And circling him with my love.
Tears must have appeared because as I pull away he wipes my eyes and telling me it's okay. He walks us to the car and I get in keeping my smile steady.
Carl can speak. It amazes me to watch him. He hugs Chris and tells him he will miss him like crazy man. I continue to smile.
As we drive away I smile and wave and flash Chris a peace sign...smile, wave, peace., smile, wave, peace. Chris walks away, down the street, with an expression on his face that I don’t recognize. Carl says he's taking the costal route home. I nod. He asks if I'm all right. I nod. He asks if I'm hungry. I shake my head no.
As we drive farther and farther away from Chris I feel the strain of our umbilical cord. Stretching and stretching and stretching. Far too much to take the strain. Knowing it will soon brake. It's like a warm dessert breeze that I can feel but can not see. It washes over me leaving my smiling face wet with tears. I realize I'll never be hungry again.