Brad’s Search : Part 3


As soon as I got home, I was glued to my TV.

The President’s re-election is old news by this point. I, and a bunch of other Washingtonians, impatiently await some kind of announcement on the certification of Referendum 74 - the voter referendum that decides whether same-sex couples can marry in the state of Washington.

Just then, my phone rings. It’s Gary. I pick up.

“Brad! Quick! Turn to channel 5.”

I do as I am told. Sure enough, the channel 5 news is on with a news story about Referendum 74. I could see the news anchor try hard to contain her excitement.

“The Governor and Secretary of State of Washington certified the election results for Referendum 74 earlier today. This means that all couples can request a marriage license tomorrow and perform their ceremonies as early as this Sunday.”

I am in disbelief. “Gary, did we just win?”

“Yes, we did! I was pretty sure we were going to, but nothing was official until the certification happened today.”

“I’m just glad things finally went in our favor. I was almost certain it was going to be another uphill battle that we would not win.”

“Oh ye of little faith...”

I hear my door unlock. “Hey Gary, Stan’s just getting home. I’ll see you later tonight.”

We exchange goodbyes and I hang up. Stan walks into the living room. “What’s on the news?”

“The governor just certified the results on 74, so gay couples will be able to get married soon.”

“So when are we going to?”

I chuckle at his question. He doesn’t chuckle back. “Are you serious?”

“Well, yes, I am. I’ve actually been thinking about it for the past few months while this whole thing has been up for a vote.”

“And this is the first I hear about it?”

“Brad, you know I’ve had a lot going on lately.”

“You’re right, Stan. You do have a lot going on. But I wouldn’t want a husband of mine dealing with stress the way you do. A husband shouldn’t just run away and come home late at night.”

“You wouldn’t even give me a chance?”

“Not with the way things are now. I’m sorry Stan; I need more stability than this.”

“I can’t believe you’re saying this. After all we’ve been though.”

“I’m just trying to be honest, Stan.”

“Well, honesty is not what I need right now.”

Stan spun around and walks toward the door.

“When will you be back?”

Stan doesn’t answer. Instead, he just opens the door, storms out, and slams it shut.

I’m pretty sure I knew the answer myself; Stan was never coming back.

I don’t have any time to care. Gary, Harry, and I have a date with a bowling ball.

* * * * *

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as hurtling a heavy bowling ball toward 10 very unlucky pins.

Gary, Harry, and I meet each other at the bowling alley and begin our first game. Harry goes first, as usual; he says that the first player is the luckiest one. I haven’t noticed a difference so far. As Harry gets ready to bowl, Gary asks me about Stan. “So what did you guys talk about after we got off the phone?”

“He asked what was on the news, and I told him how the results of 74 were certified.”

Harry gets ready to throw his second shot.

“Stan said he wanted to marry me.”

Harry, just about to release the ball, gasps at what I just say and inadvertently launches the ball into the next lane, knocking down all of the pins. The player in the group next to us thanks us for the strike. Gary marks a strike into the computer’s scoring system for Harry. We figure anyone who accidentally gets a strike in an adjacent lane deserves it. Harry just chalks it up to luck since he’s the first player.

In any event, Harry sits next to me as Gary gets ready for his turn. “What brought that on all of a sudden? Stan’s asking you to marry him?”

“He didn’t really ask me to marry him. He just mentioned that he was thinking about it.”

Gary came back from knocking down seven pins on his first go and waits for the all to return. “Please tell me you said ‘no’.”

“Of course I said ‘no’. I told him I needed much more stability, and a husband of mine shouldn’t be staying out and coming home late like he has been.”

Gary bowls and knocks down the remaining three pins. “I think you just spared yourself a lot of misery just now.”

I got up and ready for my turn. “Cheesy puns don’t give you a higher score, Gary.”

“Not in bowling, anyway.”

“Touché.”

I stared down the far end of the lane. It was hard not to imagine Stan’s head on each of the ten pins. As much as I like to think of myself as a compassionate and caring person, I’m still human and react and get angry at times - especially when someone close to me, like Stan, completely violates my trust of him. I hurl the ball toward the imaginary Stans and knock all ten down.

Harry stands up and gets ready earlier than he was expecting. “Damn, that’s the hardest I’ve ever seen you throw a ball.”

“It helps when you imagine someone else at the other end of the lane.”

“I’d hate to see you at a shooting range.”

We continue rotating and knocking more pins down, and notice I’m scoring much better than usual - but, as Gary would say, only in bowling. At the end, our scores were 142 for Harry, 135 for Gary, and 214 for me.

“Blame it on Stan,” was all I had to say.

We play one more game, and I win yet again. I promise to the guys that this is highly unusual, and that my luck would rub off sooner or later. We decide to head to one of my favorite gay bars for a few drinks, and we all hop into Gary’s car and are on our way.