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I stood in the middle of my living room for a long time, where I'd been standing when Faith left me on the arm of her husband, Dagwood. It felt unreal, like I would wake up in a minute with Faith still sleeping beside me. We would continue the conversation we'd been having all weekend, planning our future life together. This was the conversation we'd begun in high school, interrupted for ten years by her gay conversion and descent into religious life, by her loveless marriage, and by betrayal after betrayal.
I was suddenly surprised to realize that I wasn't surprised at all by the way things had played out. More than that, I didn't care. I couldn't believe how numb the whole experience had left me feeling. I tried poking myself a little with thoughts like, "Wow, I can't believe I fell for it again," or, "How could I have ever believed that Faith really loved me," but I felt nothing. It was like whatever mental wound I'd received had been instantly cauterized by rage at the male, heterosexist privilege that Dagwood had exercised, so casually, not just in my presence, but in my home. It was stifling.
As I walked around my place, opening all the windows, I realized that this feeling might just be the calm before the storm. But, I didn't think so. If there were any injuries, they were internal, and that's where they were going to stay. I was sick and tired of wallowing in self-pity. This time, I was going to put on my big girl pants and move on.
With this thought in mind, I checked my Meetup calendar for Sunday. I saw that the Chicago Queers-R-Us social group was having a picnic at Foster Beach that afternoon, weather permitting. I looked out the window, and saw that the weather would definitely be permitting. It was a beautiful day and one not to be wasted pondering the implied threat in Faith's promise, "I'll be back."
I changed the sheets, threw out the trash, and erased the remnants of the weekend from my apartment and from my mind. I took the uneaten hummus and crackers I'd purchased the previous Friday and put it in my backpack before riding my bike to the beach. I think I pulled off the socializing part pretty well. I laughed, joked, and even flirted a little, but I have to admit, I didn't feel nearly as delighted as I appeared. In fact, I felt nothing, neither pleasure nor pain. I was numb, but no one seemed to notice, and that was fine with me.
My friend, Betty, had brought her portable karaoke machine, and we took turns making requests and singing. When it was my turn, I sang Nellie McKay's, "Identity Theft," followed by the similarly themed "Fuck You," by Cee Lo Green. Both renditions got nothing but applause.