#36 – “Bradley’s Previous”
"Wow, talk about a blast from the past," Bradley
said as he was sitting on his laptop checking his personal email. He refuses to
join Facebook -- and I don't fault him for that. I wish I hadn't. It's the
Devil. But now I have to keep on it just so family and friends don't think I've
died. Bradley does use Twitter, but primarily to post and retweet financial
news, commentary and analysis as well as to amusingly shake his head at my
oft-ridiculous tweets. So the best way to reach him is via text message or
personal email to either one of the three THREE accounts he maintains -- the
AOL account he's had since the late 90s for people he's lost touch with to get
back in touch, the HOTMAIL account he thought looked more professional on a
resume but is now primarily for former work contacts and now his GMAIL account
for new people he meets. I'm certain there's a fourth one for porn that he
won't tell me about as if I'd get upset that he gets a little action on the
side with his right hand.
"How past?" I asked.
"Yikes. That's pretty 'blast'."
"He sent me an email. He's going to be vacationing in LA next week and
wants to meet up for coffee."
When Bradley and I met, he and Dante had already been together for three years.
So he and I were friends early on. Or at least we tried. But every time we met
up -- with or without Dante -- it was clear to us that the situation could
easily become problematic for all involved.
Fortunately, my job at the time sent me to work in our Minneapolis office for two months to help
stabilize the flow of its business in the wake of several personnel turnovers.
Why they chose me for that arduous task remains beyond my comprehension to this
very day, but as it turned out, it was probably for the best to get me out of
town for a bit.
Bradley offered to drop me off at the airport and I accepted -- perhaps
mistakenly. I let him know when I landed in Minneapolis -- perhaps also mistakenly. He
was in the process of writing letters to a few elderly relatives and asked if
I'd like to be added to the list, to which I said yes -- which was, perhaps,
For the entire time I was away, he and exchanged handwritten letters. But once
I returned, I didn't hear from him for three weeks. Naturally, I assumed I had
said or done something wrong. And of course it didn't occur to me that he was
simply trying to hold his and Dante's relationship together.
But just as I was ready to call the friendship over, Bradley showed up at my
door to let me know that he'd spent the last three weeks ending his
relationship with Dante and moving into an apartment of his own. He didn't tell
me about it because he didn't want Dante or anyone else thinking that I was the
reason for the breakup -- even though people believe what they
want to believe regardless as to how such a sensitive matter was handled. With
this in mind, Bradley and I decided not to start dating right away.
But a week later he kissed me. And I've said yes to everything he's asked me
"Do you want to go?" I asked Bradley.
"Not particularly. But he did reach out and that had to take a lot, so it
would be pretty asshat not to."
"I'm inclined to agree."
"Do you want to come with?"
#37 – “The Dinner Guest”
"Honeylove..." Bradley cooed as he poked his head
through the front door. "Honeylove, where are you?"
"I'm in the kitchen, sugarlump..." I cooed back.
"I have a surprise for you...," Bradley cooed as he walked gingerly
through the living room.
"Is it Dante...?" I cooed as I put six seasoned chicken legs and
thighs into the oven.
"Oh, so you know then."
"Yes," I said as entered the living room. "You left me a
"But you didn't return it, so I wasn't sure if you got the message or
"What if I hadn't?" I asked, greeting him with a kiss.
"Then this would seem like an ambush."
"Where is he?"
"He's outside...waiting for me to get last-minute permission from you to
have him over for dinner."
"Who's your favorite husband?"
"Just making sure," I teased as I walked to the front door, poked my
head out and ushered Dante into the house.
Pierpont walked downstairs just as Donte entered the house. "Who are
you?" he asked by way of a greeting.
"First off, that's not how we greet guests," I said to Pierpont.
"Secondly, this is your Uncle Donte. He's a family friend."
"How can he be a family friend when I've never met him before?"
"Why don't we get you a cookie before dinner?" I said to Pierpont as
I all but dragged him into the kitchen.
"That's our son, Pierpont," Bradley said to Dante. "Please, sit
"Are you sure this isn't going to be awkward?" Dante asked as he took
a seat on one end of the couch.
"Of course it will," Bradley replied as he sat down on the other end.
"But what's a little tension between family friends?"
Donte let out an uncomfortable chuckle. "How've you been?"
"Not too bad. I've got the husband, a rather spirited child and the daily
"Are you still in financial planning?"
"Yeah, but primarily for individuals and families now."
"That's great. I remember you talked about trying to get that going when
we were...um...you know...back then."
"Yeah, it took some doing."
"You look really good."
"Thanks. I walk alot...to and from the train. And we try not to eat too
Dante let out another uncomfortable chuckle. "That's a good plan."
A moment of awkward silence passed. "And you look the same...which is
"I try not to eat a lot of cake either."
"A good plan as well. How are you otherwise?"
"I'm in the process of a career change. It's a lot tougher than I thought it
would be, but it looks promising."
"What are you interviewing for?"
"Corporate liaison for a small group of bars and restaurants. I'm getting
into the nightlife."
"Interesting. That's quite a far cry from being a relocation
"Yeah," Dante replied before growing quiet. "Actually, that's a
lie. That's not really why I'm here."
Bradley raised a confused eyebrow. "Then why are you here?"
Dante grew very quiet for a few moments before responding, holding Bradley's
gaze until it softened. "My sex change counselor suggested that I close
all 'Dante' business before starting a new life as 'Dantella'."
"So....," Bradley began to hesitantly ask Dante. "What kind of business would you need to
close out with me after all this time?"
"I know. I can only imagine how this must sound to you. And to Terrence.
And I'm pretty certain your son didn't buy that whole 'Uncle Dante' thing
"I didn't!" Pierpont shouted from the kitchen.
I grabbed Pierpont by the hand and sheepishly walked with him into the living
room. "Did you really think we weren't going to be listening?" I
asked as Pierpont and I went upstairs to our respective rooms.
"I'm sorry about that, Dante."
"It's alright. I would have been listening too if I were either one of
"But that should be the last interruption until dinner," Bradley
responded -- more to Pierpont and me than to Dante. "Please
"I just want you to know that I'm not in any way trying to upend, disrupt
or destroy anything that's going on here."
"I've spoken to my counselor a lot about you in recent weeks -- which is
strange since I hadn't really thought about you in several years. So it made no sense
to me that you kept coming up in the sessions. But my counselor kept
encouraging me to reach out to you so that I could fully close out this book of
my life. I kept resisting and putting it off because I just didn't want to
bother you with this, but she wouldn't sign off on my gender reassignment
surgery until I at least tried to touch base with you. I'm sorry I lied in
order to do it, but I just didn't want to have to explain all this upfront and
I was afraid you wouldn't agree to meet up with me if I did."
Bradley took a deep breath and leaned forward. "I really wish you had
given me the benefit of that doubt."
"I do too. But even with our history, there's still no way of knowing how
such things will be received."
"Also understood. So how can I help you close this book?"
"May I take my jacket off?"
Dante took his jacket off and then stared at Bradley for a moment -- four years
of memories followed by ten years of questions flooded into his brain.
"It's funny. Really funny. I've had dozens of questions for you since we
broke up without any opportunity to ask them. And now that I have the
opportunity to do so...the questions don't even matter anymore. The answers
were always there. I felt that when I walked into the house. It's in the air.
It's in your interaction with Terrence and how you look at your son. I
never wanted all of this, but apparently you did. I just wanted you. That's a
lovely sentiment on paper but not so much in reality. We both needed to want
the same things. You would have given up all this for me but I still can't say
I would have given up what I wanted for what you wanted. But even if I wanted to, it never
would have amounted to anything like this. Not even close."
Bradley stared at Dante for a moment -- unsure as to how to respond. "I
just want you to know that I didn't leave you specifically to take up with
Terrence. He may have been a motivating factor, but I would have eventually had
to it anyway."
"I know. Besides, I can't imagine you would have liked going to bed with
Dante and then waking up with Dantella."
Bradley chuckled. "Probably not."
Dante stood up. "I should be going."
Bradley stood up as well. "You're not staying for dinner?"
"I honestly thought this would be harder. But I'll just head back to my
hotel room and update my transition blog."
Bradley then gave Dante a hug. This surprised Dante at first but he then smiled
and wrapped his arms tightly around Bradley. "Goodbye, Dante. I will miss
"Dante will miss you too, Bradley."
Bradley and Dante came out of their hug. Dante picked up his jacket and folded
it over his left arm. Bradley led Dante to the door. The two stared at each
other for a moment. Dante opened the door, walked out and closed it behind him.
Bradley turned around to find Pierpont and I standing at the foot of the
"Can we eat now?" Pierpont asked.
Bradley smiled, walked over to Pierpont and kissed him on the top of the head.
He took me by the hand and kissed it. "Yes, we can eat now," he said
as we all walked into the kitchen for dinner.