Ruby is a big fan of the television show called, I think, “Charmed.” While we were here in Los Angeles she asked if we could go and get a picture of the house from the show. On Sunday, after prompting from Ruby, we checked and found it wasn’t too long of a drive from our hotel. We ended up driving on both Sunset Boulevard and Ventura Highway along the way.

The house was easy to spot, there were tourists, like us, outside the house taking photos, all of them, by their level of excitement, real fans of the show. We know nothing of the series but appreciated the fun everyone was having and we were enjoying fulfilling a desperate request which told us we HAD to see the house. It was easier for me to take the photo from the car, rather than get out, because of how the house was situated on a hill, the shots were easy to take.

We were the last there when Joe got into the car to sit with me and check the photos. Another car pulled up and a young gay couple got out and came over to the house. They were young, clearly in love, and having a wonderful time. They were having difficulty getting into a position where they could both be in a selfie shot.

I suggested to Joe he hop out and offer to take the photo.

He did and they immediately handed over the camera to him. Then they went and stood by the wall that came from the end of the lawn to the sidewalk, They stood close, but did not touch. Inside my head I was screaming, “Put your arms around each other!!” But they didn’t. They were happy with the photo though and thank Joe and me, when they noticed me in the car.

My heart broke just a little bit.

Joe and I have pictures of ourselves from when we were that age. We stand beside each other looking like accidental friends, looking like Joe would walk off to the left and me to the right, looking like we were statuary without hearts that beat quickly in each other’s presence. I hate those pictures. I don’t look at them, ever. I can’t bear them.

Because they aren’t pictures of us, they are pictures of fear, and of self preservation and of deep, deep caution. These two young men stood like that. Close to each other, but not touching, not playful, not young and in love. Statuary. And I understand their caution, I understand their wariness.

I am constantly told that things are better now for gay people.

And maybe they are.

But maybe they aren’t.

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