But I hoped, oh, I hoped so dearly that it would not have to mean the end. I hoped that he could adjust, that he’d find that attraction is more than what you see. That love is greater than body parts. Didn’t our 20 years of loving each other, growing together, building our lives together, mean enough to try to preserve it? We had met in college, married a year later, left the Mormon church together, moved to East Africa together, supported each other through grad school and our first real jobs, and raised our child. Did that mean nothing? How can he be so sure that he wouldn’t be attracted to me on testosterone? How could he know that, without giving it a try?
His answer to that email had been, I need to process this; let’s discuss in person, when we meet in Spain in March.
I arrived in the Madrid airport before he did and waited for him at the airport train station so we could travel to Barcelona together. He’d flown in from Tanzania, and I from Baltimore, where I had been for six months. He landed, and we began texting to locate each other. Finally, I spotted him approaching through a sparse crowd and smiled in relief. It’d been two months since I last saw him.
I watched him scanning the crowd, looking for me. His eyes landed on me, and my heart leapt, my smile grew bigger. But his eyes kept scanning. My smile faded as I realized he had looked directly at me, but he hadn’t seen me. He hadn’t recognized me. He turned back to his phone with a frustrated look, texting me again to say he couldn’t find me.
“Oh, hey, there you are,” he said as I approached. We didn’t hug.
“You looked right at me,” I said with an amusement that masked my pain and grabbed one of his bags.
We had agreed to have the Talk with my therapist as a facilitator on video chat. Because both of us were more comfortable with avoidance, we wanted the accountability of having a set time to force ourselves into having the conversation neither of us wanted to have. While we waited, he worked on his laptop, and I went for a walk on Montjuic, pondering what exactly I would say.