I’m a big believer in alternate timelines. Every story has branches. The choices you don’t make don’t just disappear; they go somewhere. They go into another world.
There is a world in which I was brave enough and educated enough to publicly identify as queer at a young age. I know because I glimpsed it yesterday, before the parade. I have a young face. Someone mistook me for one of the kids in a queer youth program, rather than an adult volunteer.
I didn’t know they had made this mistake until after we had been talking for a few minutes. Part of the problem was that it would be awkward to correct her. Part of the problem was that I was suddenly standing in a parallel universe. This is a very distracting feeling. Who cares about chatting with some grown-up when you need to go exploring?
I did find the person in charge and identify as a volunteer. I’m not a liar. But I can see why liars do it. It’s a combination of feeling in control of the universe and feeling like something is in motion that you can’t stop. A god in the service of a greater god.
There is a world in which I am fifteen. There is a world in which I am six. There is a world in which I am eighty-three. Moments don’t die when they get old. They exist in parallel, forever.
There is a part of me walking down a major road with my friends. The road is closed off for a special occasion. We are wearing whatever we want to wear – for the first time ever, for some of us. We are telling the world who we are – for the first time ever, for some of us. And there are still those who love us, who protect us. We have the hardships of being young, but we have the privileges too.
I am there. I will always be there.