Roger knew where he intended to go, even in the darkness. His friends, his parents, even random strangers from the internet who stumbled upon his blog entry had tried to persuade him to relinquish and just bury the whole thing. “This has gotta stop. Remember the Ds and Fs we got from Mr. Donaldson?” I asked. “That bitch-bastard from hell,” Roger replied with such hatred in his eyes. I had been vaguely unaware of our high school chemistry teacher’s homophobia, but Roger remembered it so well when Mr. Donaldson made the whole class laugh by pointing at our limp wrists as if they were some hideous defects resulted from interbreeding. “Or your sequined bra you wore to our school costume party?” I said, switching to a more humorous memory, and he chuckled. “Your mom has never found the exam results or the bra. You’re good at hiding things. When you think of it, it’s just the same,” I suggested. Roger just nodded and closed his eyes.
It was pitch-black, yet he could see his way down the basement of his mind. He needed not fumble nor feel his way around, he simply closed his eyes and he was there; behind the drawers of dry wit, shelves of cynicism, and cabinets of cattiness, was the little box where he kept his fears and failures. Now he only had to open the box once again to put in another moment of his ever-growing collection of shortcomings. It had been three weeks since his boyfriend of ten years decided to leave him to marry his high-school sweetheart. “What is it about reproducing that makes men want to have heterosexual relationship?” Roger had asked in our frantic impromptu binge-night on the evening he broke up. We had burnt his ex’s photos and pawned whatever jewelry he had left and used the money so Roger could get that new Proenza Schouler bag, but the intangible – the memory and the trauma – still haunted him.
Nevertheless I realized no matter how hard Roger had tried hiding it, no matter how good he escaped the temptation of opening up the same conversation about his ex, dragging us closest to him to a state of boredom out of repetition of constantly urging the same thing to him (“Dust it off and move on”), with him constantly saying the same thing to us (“But I love him”) it could never be as easy as storing an unwanted Christmas present from a sweet but clueless relative far back in the basement. It wasn’t as easy as saying out of sight, out of mind, because it would always be in his mind, no matter how far back and deep it was pushed, it would always still be there, lingering, patiently waiting for the right time to surface and crack him apart time and again.