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I have two names, but one truth.

Eastern boys and West End girls. Which do you choose, a hard or soft option?

Ah, the Petshop boys said it all too well.

I am drinking my espresso and honey, casting sidelong glances at my new manuscript, and steadily reestablishing a connection with reality. I was out of town for a few days and now that I am back in the familiar, claustrophobic surroundings of my city apartment, I realize I might have outgrown this life. I look around and easily spot the tense seams of my existence. If I don’t strip this old suit off, I may bust right through it. Intention is the motor purring inside our lives; and ambition is the fuel. And though I lost the key a long time a go, I think I figured out how to hot wire the thing.

The new book I recently completed is about a moment. A moment not captured. It is also about choice and time. And courage. Not the big bulging courage. The subtle, persuasive kind. The kind of courage it takes to raise your hand in Sex Ed and say: “I disagree.” As Franky, the main character of this story, says: “I’ve been on mute for the last two years.” The book is about being awake. Conscious. Accountable. Willing to lose.

“Sometimes, we take risks for the people we love, and sometimes, they return the favor.”

I’ve been appraising the currency I will need to spend in order to achieve certain goals–when I say currency, I don’t mean money–and I feel pumped and ready. In the book, Franky loses much, but what he gains is consciousness; the gift of clarity. To know thyself. To have the pleasure of having a candid, authentic conversation with oneself.

In the end, Franky gets real.

Others perceive us. They assess us, then reflect back the images we project. Every day, we walk through the fun house, glimpsing distorted reflections of ourselves, believing them to be accurate. Until we step closer and take a moment to entertain the notion that we are not these fuzzy, smudged and streaked faces.

The fun house is a tricky place. Many times, I thought I had found my way out, but I am still inside. I still care way too much about what certain key people in my life reflect back to me. I carry my truth under my shirt, hidden, yet obvious.

Yes, as I assess the currency I will have to spend to break free from the maze of mirrors, I know one thing for sure: from the back row, I will have to raise my hand and pull the truth out of my sleeve. Why am I thinking about this? Come seven days, I will be seeing certain members of family which I have not seen in over six years. They see me a certain way. I am another. There will be many questions. And I, only have one big answer.

“Yes. It’s true.”

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About Mel

Montreal queer fiction writer.

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