Growing up in a large family that seemed to have no boundaries, I often looked forward to my time alone, particularly during times of extreme importance to me. Years later, as a 20-something who lives and works in New York City, it’s not uncommon for me to grab dinner or drinks by myself after a long day at work, retreating to a random restaurant or pub and putting my phone off to the side, sometimes engaging in conversation with strangers, but mostly keeping to myself. Mostly thinking about the future.
When the Supreme Court eventually rules on gay marriage, I’ll probably want to be alone. I’ll want to think about things and how the outcome will affect millions of individuals all around the world. It’s not just Americans who will see changes for better or worse.
I’ll think about myself, and maybe, hopefully, for a bit, I’ll think about my future husband, and my future kids. I can’t wait to meet them.
“What do you mean, Dad? It was illegal back then? You couldn’t get married?” My kids will ask someday in the future. Someday when I’m married.
We’ll get there.
I’m sure I’ll want to be alone with my thoughts. Dealing with my emotions — whether good or bad — and watching the people go past the window, frowning and laughing and looking down into their phones, oblivious to my pain or pleasure, or whatever emotions I’m feeling in some Asian fusion restaurant in SoHo as I look out the window.
“What do you mean, Dad? What do you mean you liked to do a lot of things alone?” My kids will ask someday in the future. Someday when I’m married.
“I was a little lost back then,” I’ll say. “We all were. But we're not anymore.”
Because I’m not quite sure what my future will bring or where exactly I will be on that fateful day, but once I fall in love, I’m sure I’ll never again want to eat alone again or, at least, not too often.
I have a feeling I’ll be alone when the Supreme Court justices rule, but because of their decision, I know that I won’t be alone forever.
JEFFREY HARTINGER is a 24-year-old living in New York City. He works for the nonprofit HealthCorps, is a freelance writer, and writes extensively about news, comedy, politics, and the LGBT rights movement on his blog, TheWhyGenerationUAS.blogspot.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuffaloguyinNYC.