I'm feeling the Miami blues. Everytime I get ready to leave Miami and head back to Boston, I travel with a big lump in my throat. My heart wants to stay and I reluctantly board the plane back to Boston even though I have a great life (and a special someone) waiting for me there.
It's so good to be back in my hometown. It was a homecoming for me. I was here for two book readings. One Thursday night at Books & Books in Coral Gables and the other at Borders in Fort Lauderdale. I had a nice turn out at both events, thanks to you, my faithful blog readers and a beautiful article about me and the book in El Nuevo Herald (The Miami Herald's Spanish sister paper.) Here is a link to the story. The story means a lot to me because I used to be a reporter at The Miami Herald but more importantly, because my parents could finally read something about me en espanol and share it with their friends.
Speaking of my parents, they were the highlight of my book reading Thursday night and they surprised me in a good way. My parents know I'm gay. They've known that since I came out to them at 17. But we really don't talk about it because I don't want to make them uncomfortable in their old age. So when El Nuevo Herald ran their article, I wasn't sure how they were going to react. I know they love me unconditionally but sometimes, I feel a little awkward telling them about my gay writing and adventures. So I was hesitant to show them the Spanish article but I'm glad I did. They each read it twice and said how happy they were and beamed with pride. They even called some people. It turns out, my Tio Aldo y Tia Antonia in Kendall happened to read it while at the doctor's office and they too were really proud. So my awkwardness stemmed from me and only me. I should have given my family more credit. Sometimes, our fears tend to make things more than what they are.
When it came time for me to get ready for my book reading Thursday night, my dad knocked on my bedroom door and asked in Spanish, "Can you give me and your mom a ride to the bookstore? We don't want to get lost in Coral Gables. We want to see you do your reading. We don't want to miss it."
It was one of the sweetest gestures my parents have ever done for me. At the reading, they sat in the back row as I read the first few pages of Boston Boys Club. They laughed when I read some words in Spanish. I knew they couldn't understand most of what I was reading but they did their best to follow along. Sometimes, you don't need words to understand what someone is saying. I could have read anything and it wouldn't have mattered to them. They just wanted to see me share something I wrote from my heart with anyone who came to listen.
It couldn't have been too comfortable for them to sit there and listen to me read about three gay friends meeting at Club Cafe but they settled in their chairs and smiled whenever I looked up from my page in the book. Afterwards, they introduced themselves to the audience and shook people's hands. It was such a touching moment.
Later that night, after the crowd left, I drove my parents back to our house on the beach. As I opened the Jeep's door open to help my dad out, I said "Papi, thanks for coming tonight. I really appreciated it." As he slowly climbed out of the Jeep, he said "You're our son and we're always going to support you in everything you do, no matter what."
"Of course,'' my mother jumped in. "You did a good job. I don't think anyone noticed that you were nervous."
And moments like these make it hard for me to return to my other home in Boston whenever I come for a visit.
Above and below are photos from the book reading Thursday night. A big thank you to everyone who came out (including my parents and "my brother from another mother", Eric) and a special thanks to Steve Rothaus of The Miami Herald for a great introduction and for photographing the event for the Gay South Florida blog in The Miami Herald where there are more photos from the reading. (below is a photo of me with one of my closest friends, Eric.)