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Today, I hate gay. I hate people who are gay, people who might be, people who aren’t, and people who hate people who are. I hate the whole of it. I hate that when my best friend and I walked downtown chatting for two hours, people suspected things. I hate whoever threw the brick. I hate the protesters outside the hospital. I hate the counter-protesters who claim to support him and are chanting his last name wrong. I hate that they won’t leave him alone. I hate that blogs keep posting cell-phone pictures of his mangled forehead. I hate that he’ll have to wear a hat to cover the scar any time he goes outside. I hate that he’ll find a way to make it fashionable. I hate that “elective cosmetic surgery” isn’t covered by his insurance.
I hate that when I went to his apartment to get his stuff, people tried to encourage me. I hate that they told me to be brave, and to be there for him. I hated it because who were they to tell me to be there for my friend? I hated it because their sincere emotional advice referred to a relationship they only imagined I had.
And I hate the little old lady who scowled at me through the crack in her door, safety chain still hooked, busy hating me for another imaginary relationship. And I hate all the neutral faces that stared at me like, “Does he belong in my apartment building?” and “Is he gay?” and “Am I okay with that?” I hate them all and their crappy floral wallpaper.
On the drive back to the hospital, I hate all the pedestrians who don’t look at me or my car or in my direction. I hate everyone who doesn’t know, who isn’t preoccupied with this. I would hate them if they were looking, and I hate that they aren’t. I hate that they’re getting on with their lives, and that many of them have nothing to get on from because they don’t know, don’t care, have a club somewhere to look impressive at.
I hate the radio. I hate callers blaming religion, blaming my God Who is Love for people hating people who like people who are different from the people that they like. I hate callers blaming my evolution, blaming natural selection wiring our brains to be disgusted at someone not being disgusted at things that disgust us. I hate the host blaming my country, blaming a culture that enshrines free speech, allows rainbow marches, and pays for the public radio that introduced me to The Village People. I like The Village People.
Pulling into the parking lot, weaving amongst protesters and counter-protesters, I hate whichever amendment lets interlopers gather in groups. I hate that hateful people know what gay is. I hate that they’re not gay. I hate somebody’s sign saying you’re born that way, accusing your genes. I hate somebody else’s sign saying it’s a choice, and gays made the wrong one. I hate that either of those things would matter.
I hate that it rained. I hate that the box broke and his shirts fell on the sidewalk. I hate that none of those people helped me, and I’d hate if somebody offered. I hate that my friend is going to laugh at these dirty shirts in the context of all possible Bad News For the Day. I hate that I wasn’t the one who was hit.
I hate the crowds outside, and the journalists in the waiting room, and the three people in the elevator. I hate that I didn’t see who that fuck was when he threw the brick, and I hate each of them for possibly being him. I hate that I’ll walk around this city for at least another three years, potentially passing him every day, and never knowing that I could have caught him and beat his face in. I hate that I’ll blindly suspect people just like he did, and just like he did, I’ll almost always be wrong.
I hate that he’s watching cute cartoons and doesn’t have to scramble to turn them off when I come in. I hate the unguarded tone he uses on the phone with his mom. I hate that the half of his face that’s showing is smiling in assurance to a mother who can’t see him. I hate that she’d call when he needs rest. I hate his God-damned mother. What is wrong with me?
I hate the way he flaps his hand for me to set the box down and take a load off. And sitting there, waiting for my friend to need anything, I hate. I hate what others would say this means about me, or my feelings about him, or what our relationship secretly is in their minds and in none of our experience. In some way I hate myself, but mostly I don’t. I hate the things that make me hate. I don’t hate myself, not until he catches on and actually tries to comfort, reaches out from the bed and pats my wrist and asks if “You’re taking care of you.”
And what do you do there?