My favorite cousin “Carmella” texted me last week.
“Hey my sister and I are coming up to Pier Six in Baltimore to catch the Jill Scott concert. We want to see you before the show.”
Carmella has been my ace boon coon since we were out of college — she is like the sister I never had. We can talk for hours about anything and have taken quick trips to New York City to catch the “Maury” show or night club.
I am not out to her but it was time to be honest. My partner “Van” spends a lot of time at my house and is planning to move in soon.
It is rude and unloving to ask him to leave my house or not come over when friends and family visit who do not know I am gay. Like their feelings matter more than his.
I have introduced him to some friends and of course my mother and daughter have met and like him. But I haven’t introduced him to everybody because frankly, my relationships are not everybody in my family’s business.
But I felt I had to own up to Carmella. Because she matters.
“Hey I have to be honest,” I texted back. “I’m into men now and I have a partner named Van. I want you to meet him.”
It took about five minutes for her to text back.
“Oh. I understand. No problem. I want to meet him. But I think it would be better if I came up and hung out with you guys alone without my sister.”
“Carmela your sister needs to grow up,” I texted back, surprising myself with how bold and open I am getting. “I don’t have a problem if she knows.”
“Okay,” she texted back.
Carmella’s sister “Denise” is the gossip queen of the family. I knew if she met “Van” my entire family — I have dozens of cousins — would get the 411 in 24 hours.
She has a mouth like that.
But for some reason that particular day I just didn’t care. Let them gossip — believe me I knew dirt on a lot of folks in the family too.
Plus Denise has a reason to be hostile to gays. She is twice divorced but her first marriage was annulled in two months because her husband was gay and on the down-low.
You would have never suspected. He was a big brown-skinned guy with a football player build — in fact I think he did play in high school or college.
Whenever he came to family functions he would bring over this slight, bespectacled man with him who he introduced as his “cousin.”
To be honest I cannot remember having a decent conversation with Denise’s fiance because he was always up under his “cousin” at Thanksgiving, Easter and New Year’s gatherings, sitting next to him on the couch and practically ignoring everyone else.
After Denise married him this cousin — who was best man in the wedding — moved in with them because he supposedly fell on hard luck and needed a place to stay.
But within a few months Denise’s new husband woke her up one morning and confessed he was gay and the cousin was really his lover.
I guess he thought getting married would turn him straight. He just kept his lover around for moral support.
Well, did Carmella and Denise drop by my house before Jilly from Philly sang?
Nope. Carmella texted and said they were running late and didn’t have time.
I don’t know if this was true, an excuse to keep her possibly bitter, chatty sister out of my business, or if my coming out was just too much for Carmella to handle.
I’m sure the truth will come out one day but in the meantime I’m enjoying my life.