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Reversed Outcomes


Last night’s spontaneous dinner with my best gays didn’t come with a warning label.

Their words were have you had dinner? Come over: we made lots.

Their words were not we’ll be serving it with a side of paramedic stories and heart-attack scares.

In their dining room, a glass of wine is placed in my hand and their story begins like most of them do: evening at the theater the previous night followed by a late dinner delivered to their apartment.

Except 10 minutes into that meal, Gayson’s boyfriend started experiencing chest pains.

And nausea.

He barely made it to the bathroom in time.

So I was on the tile floor—vomiting—and I thought of you, Tré. And Alberto. And Gayson.


I kicked open the bathroom door and told Gayson to dial 911.

Thank God. Then what?

The paramedics were here in two minutes.


They storm in with a gurney and a hundred machines. Laid me on the bed to take my blood pressure, which was sky-high.


They tell me to take off my shirt for an EKG. When I warn them that I’m a hairy guy, one of the EMTs launches into that showtune from ‘Hair’—

You know the one, Gayson says. ‘She asks me why/ I’m just a hairy guy.”

Welcome to Chelsea, right? Rob laughs. After all that fussing and singing, I passed the EKG. Turns out, it was just a severe case of acid reflux.

Like Alberto thought he had, I say, haltingly. All the antacid wrappers on the counter that morning.

I know! And that’s why I didn’t think twice. I know what you’ve been through—and I don’t want Gayson to—

He stops because there’s no need to finish the sentence.

He stops because I’m now sitting on his lap crushing him with the kind of hug you give people you love who are still alive.

  1. stinatree said: Heart caught in my throat after reading this one <3 We keep having close calls with my grandma. I am too pregnant to visit her and she’s too weak to get hugs like that but I wish I could hold her hand. I asked Grand Dad to hold her hand for me. <3
  2. thegoodnitemoon said: :-(
  3. tinkerbellrun said: Since I read what happened with Alberto, I will forever be paranoid if my hubby gets sick like that. Once he felt nauseous and threw up a little and I stood there with my finger on a dial ready to call it in. Fortunately he got over it very fast.