This is the conclusion to the Hide in the Closet Series. If you have not read parts I and II click the links below to get caught up. If you have…here is the conclusion to the story (let’s hope so!)
Rita sat gazing into the eyes of the man she loved. The love she felt for Shon was so deep that it was breath taking. Even though she had not been with Shon as long as she had been in some of her past relationships she knew that what they had was meant to be. Her heart beat profusely as Shon sat across from her holding the engagement ring. The decision Rita was about to make was by far the most important decision she had ever made in her life. Her heart said yes…no questions asked…no secrets revealed….no reason to turn away. But Rita’s mind said hold on…love is nothing without trust and how could she go into a marriage with such a huge secret looming over them?
For a moment Rita sat there unknowingly holding her breath. This was a decision she wished she didn’t have to make. She didn’t want to know, yet she did want to know. Deep down she felt like she had to know, yet her heart told her that she didn’t want to know. Shon noticed her anxiety and grabbed both her hands in his. He told her that he wanted her to say yes, but if she wasn’t sure he was fine with giving her time to think things over.
Rita decided that she would take some time to think about it before she gave Shon an answer. Deep down she knew she wanted to be his wife, but her own hesitancy was whether she would be able to live a happy life with Shon if she never knew what happened that night she was in the closet.
Three days passed by and Rita was so distraught over her dilemma that she had began biting her nails. She wasn’t even a nail biter but thinking about the decision she had to make had her nerves on edge. She just wished she could say yes to Shon’s marriage proposal and not be concerned with who the mystery man was in the apartment that night. It ate her up inside to know that whatever Shon was hiding was major and if he told her it may destroy their relationship. At work she couldn’t focus on getting the job done and at home she paced the floor for hours trying to decide what she should do. On the fourth night she decided that she would call an old friend from college just to see if she could give her some advice. Rita chose to call her old friend Nina because she wanted the viewpoint of someone who wasn’t very close to her, who would give her good advice but not be judgmental. Nina had always been the kind of person that would tell you how she felt without being cruel.
Rita called Nina up and the two chatted a few minutes before Nina said “ok Rita, what’s going on? You called me out of the blue and just from talking to you for five minutes I know that there is a problem.” Rita immediately broke down and told Nina everything that happened from how happy she was with Shon, to the night in the closet to the marriage proposal. The first response from Nina’s mouth was “Girl he’s on the down-low.” Rita’s mouth dropped. A pain flashed through her body like one she had never felt before. Of all the things that had crossed her mind concerning the night in the closet she had never once contemplated Shon being gay. That hadn’t crossed her mind for one second. This was the man she loved and adored. If anyone would recognize homosexual tendencies in him she would have. She quickly told Nina that Shon being on the down-low was out of the question and that she was leaning more towards some kind of criminal issue. Nina was silent for a moment, then she responded “Rita honey I know you hate to hear it and accept it, but your man is gay…wait OR bisexual. There are many men who live double lives, you would never know unless they told you.”
Anger engulfed Rita. She could not believe that Nina was accusing her of dating and loving a homosexual man. She felt disgusted and insulted and before she knew it she had slammed the phone down in Nina’s face. Nina was usually very open minded when it came to listening to other people’s problems and she usually gave sound advice, but that wasn’t the case this time.
With no help from Nina, Rita didn’t know what to do. She was back at the drawing board. That night she didn’t get a wink of sleep. She tossed and turned all night. Normally if she was having a rough night she would go over to Shon’s place or have him come over to hers, but right now she didn’t feel that was appropriate. She had talked to him every day since he proposed, but she had tried to keep her distance from him in order to make her decision with a clear mind. However, no matter how much distance there had been between them one thing was for sure, she didn’t have a clear mind.
The next morning Rita got of bed after having had only 3-4 hours of sleep. She sat at her breakfast nook sipping coffee and staring into space. As she sat there she made her decision…she would tell Shon that she wanted to know what happened that night he asked her to hide in the closet. BUT she would also tell him that no matter what it was she loved him unconditionally and she still wanted to be his wife.
That night as they sat at the dinner table, Rita told Shon that she wanted to know his secret; not because it would affect how she felt about him, but because she loved him enough to accept him flaws and all. The look on Shon’s face gave Rita the impression that this was not the response he expected from her. He sat silent for a moment, and then he reminded her if he told her the truth the topic was to never come up again. He would tell her honest to goodness truth and leave nothing out, and then he would give her the opportunity to ask him any questions that she wanted and he would in turn answer them honestly. After the discussion was over it was to never be brought up again. Rita agreed and Shon began to explain who the mystery visitor was that night and why he had asked her to hide in the closet.
Shon explained that the guy’s name was Marvin and that they had been associates over 10 years. He went on to explain how they met and that Marvin had recently moved back to town and they reconnected. He stated that Marvin had always lived a lifestyle that was unfamiliar to him, but he had not been one to judge so they remained cool. Rita sat waiting on the secret, because so far she hadn’t heard anything about this acquaintance that would require her to hide in the close. Then Shon said that Marvin was bisexual.
Rita sat there knowing what was coming next, but she didn’t want to hear it. She almost turned away, but she knew that she had to hear this, she had to know. Shon said that about a year ago Marvin made a pass at him and before he knew it they became intimate. One thing led to another and before he knew it they were involved in a sexual relationship. He said they kept it very low key and that even though he was ashamed and embarrassed by what was going on, he enjoyed what was happening between him and Marvin. He went on to tell Rita that even when he began dating her he continued the sexual relationship with Marvin but once he realized that he was falling for her he told Marvin that he had to end their fling and that they could remain friends, but could no longer be intimate.
Rita felt numb. Of all the bad things she had guessed could happen, this wasn’t even on the list. Even though Nina had warned her that this was the secret, she hadn’t added it as a possibility. She had been dating a gay man. She had given her body, heart and soul to a man that was gay. Rita was distraught. Shon opened his mouth to continue but Rita didn’t want to hear anymore. Right now she didn’t care why Marvin had been at Shon’s apartment that night. She didn’t need to know anything else about their relationship. All she knew was that she had to get away from Shon and she had to get away now! She stood to leave and her legs felt weak, the room started to spin and she felt sick at the stomach. She sat back down and tears streamed down her face. Shon reached to console her but she snatched away. She didn’t want his comfort; she didn’t want any part of him. Rita sat there sobbing for what seemed like an eternity. Shon didn’t say a word until Rita’s tears diminished and she sat there holding her face in her hands. Then Shon asked if she wanted him to leave. She told him yes and he quietly left her apartment without saying a word.
Rita sat at the table for two hours just sitting there in disbelief. She had cried so much that she had no more tears to shed. Now her hands trembled and her eyes were bloodshot red. She sat there alone wondering how she had been such a fool not to notice that her boyfriend liked men. How had this gotten past her? She felt like a big fool. She had been through many things in her past relationships: cheating, lying, stealing and even emotional abuse, but she would have never imagined that she would date and fall for a guy who was not only cheating on her but cheating on her with a man. Just the thought of it made Rita feel lightheaded. She decided that she needed to lie down. As she lie there staring at the ceiling so many thoughts ran through Rita’s head that it all became a blur. She dozed off to sleep feeling drained.
The next morning when Rita awoke, she realized that she was so late for work that there was no need to go in. She called in sick and then noticed that she had eight missed calls on her phone and five voicemails. She knew they were from Shon, and even though she hated him right now, she felt as if she needed to hear what he had left on the messages. The first two messages were of him asking if she were ok. The third message he held the phone for a minute then hung up, the fourth message he sounded sad and just said to call him. The fifth message he stated that he knew she was upset but he still wanted to marry her and that if she loved him unconditionally they could get past this and be happy. Rita couldn’t believe Shon expected her to just love him EVEN THOUGH he was gay. How did he expect her to commit to a marriage with a man that was homosexual? Rita let out a deep sigh and began to dial Shon’s number. She knew ending their relationship and moving on with her life would be painful but she knew it was what had to be done.
Shon answered the telephone immediately. He seemed excited to hear her voice, that was until she said “It’s over.” Shon began to babble about unconditional love, marriage and forgiveness, but Rita didn’t want to hear it. Next his babbling turned into begging and Rita couldn’t take anymore. It was hard enough walking away from the man who held her heart, but hearing him beg her not to leave him was just unbearable. Rita ended the call and exhaled. She knew it would take a very long time for her heart to heal from this one, but some things were just unacceptable and this was one of them.
Rita knew she had made the best decision for herself. That day while Shon was at work, she took a box of his things to his apartment and left them outside the door. She stood there for a moment then she quickly turned and walked away. She was leaving Shon behind because it was the right thing to do.
***Months after ending her relationship from Shon Rita was still upset over their break-up. He had called countless times begging to see her. She never answered his calls, but she did replay his voicemail messages over and over again. She had kept one of his shirts that he’d left at her apartment and several times she had snuggled up to it at night and cried. She loved that man like she had never loved before. Rita tried her best to get over Shon but it just seemed impossible. She thought that not seeing him or having any communication with him would make it easier, but it only made her long for him more. On what would have been their one year anniversary Shon knocked her door with a dozen roses. Rita knew she shouldn’t have accepted them, but she did….the rest was history. The two were married six months later….