My parents and brother are heading back home today. It’s been a good visit. Lots of dinners and a musical. We went to see Matilda, which was overrated if you ask me. But it was a fun show. The dancing was great. The little girl was fantastic. But it was kind of kid-ish, which makes sense, I guess. I don’t know. The music was kind of forgettable, though. And the guy playing the headmistress was only so-so. I had high expectations going into it and they were not met.
It’s a sad relief to see them go. Sad in that I do wish I got to see them more often and a relief in that now I can go back to my regularly scheduled life. It’s hard putting everything and everyone on hold for a few days when they’re here. And stressful finding places to have dinner that I think they’ll like. After three years of visits, I’m running out of go-to restaurants to take them to. At least there’s a new season of shows each year, so that’s always an easy pick.
As I said goodbye to them I was thinking about their last visit when they met you. It was months after your mom had been in town. We were pretty serious by that point. I wasn’t nervous for you to meet my parents, but I could tell that you were nervous. You did well, though.
(“Did well.” As if you were giving a performance or something, putting on a show so that my parents would be impressed with you. Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of guys see it. I think as gay men we worry more about meeting the parents, just because we think we have that extra hurtle of being gay to overcome. When in reality, at least for me, I could care less what my parents think of my boyfriend. They’re allowed to have an opinion, good or bad, but it’s not going to sway how I feel. For a lot of guys I guess it does, though. Which is sad. As long as I’m happy I don’t care what my family thinks about my choice of boyfriend.)
They liked you, though. So you didn’t need to worry.
We ended up doing the normal with them. We went to dinner and then to see a show. I want to say that we went to see the revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, though I go to a show every year when my parents are in town and I can’t keep them all straight in my head. I remember I was very careful when buying tickets, though. Because one time when they were coming for a visit I accidentally booked tickets to see A Little Night Music (with Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch, a must-see) for the week before they came. So when we got to the box office to pick up at will call they didn’t have our names. Luckily they gave us three extra tickets they had, though we weren’t together. We probably ended with better seats anyways.
I didn’t mess up with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, though. We had pretty good seats. I made sure to sit you on the end so that I could be a buffer between you and my parents. They’re very enthusiastic people, which is great, but also alarming when you don’t know them. My dad’s a high school math teacher, so he’s programmed to talk to anyone about anything. He can be overly-familiar when he’s known you for only ten seconds. Which again, I think is great. But I completely understand that it’s overwhelming for someone new. Especially a nervous boyfriend.
After the show we went our separate ways. That was the only scheduled parents/boyfriend time for the week. But then the next day my parents invited you to come walk the Brooklyn Bridge with us and you surprised me by agreeing to it.
The Brooklyn Bridge, while giving amazing views, is one of my least favorite of NYC attractions. It’s this narrow walking lane that’s split between pedestrians and speeding bicyclists. I’m always certain that I’m going to get run over when I’m walking it. And with the wind always whipping, it’s really hard to have any conversation while you walk. At least not when there are four of you in the group. We took our time meandering across the bridge, dodging the stream of protesters taking up the right side of the walking lane. (For whatever reason they were having a march across the bridge. I think it was something to do with immigration.)
When we got to Brooklyn we had a nice little lunch at this famous pizza place there in Dumbo. This was the moment for my parents to talk to you more and get to know you a little better. Again, things went well.
After lunch my parents decided to walk back over the bridge to Manhattan. I wasn’t looking forward to this trek, but luckily they offered us an out. (Sometimes they surprise me by how much they get it.) They wanted to give us time to hang out with each other, since they had monopolized most of my time that week. So we ended up catching a subway to your place while they walked back over the East River.
I have good memories of that visit, them meeting you. This year’s visit was a little different, spent with just the family. But it was still good. My mom asked about you, about how I’ve been doing. She knows how much I cared about you and how much I hurt when things ended. It’s nice having that support, that empathy, even though she never dated anyone but my father, so I don’t think she has firsthand experience in how awful it is to lose a love. She gets it, though.
I wonder when and who the next boyfriend she meets will be. Hopefully they’ll do as well as you did.