That blurry shot is of the carousel I saw on the only trip I ever took to Disney World.
Have you ever been in a relationship that you knew was over even if the words hadn’t been said? In fact, maybe the words spoken aloud were promises that everything would all work out, but your brain knew the relationship was on life support, and sooner or later, you’d have to pull the plug.
That’s the relationship I was in and the person I was with at Disney World; my heart just hadn’t caught up with my mind. But all the proof is in the photos from that day. There are only three. One from the carousel in daylight, this one from the carousel at night–a ride on horses going in circles, music that repeats–and one photo he took of me standing next to Tigger. When I look at my eyes in that photo, I see all the unhappiness that not even a big giant Winnie the Pooh character could chase away.
The first story in Foolish Hearts is from a new writer, Tony Calvert. In “Hello Aloha,” Jordan has gone to Disney World to be in his best friend’s wedding. After suffering a bad breakup, Jordan’s not sure he believes in love that lasts. Then he agrees to meet up with the theme park’s Goofy, who despite his name and antics, might have a wisdom that will change everything.
Here’s an excerpt that begins with Jordan talking to Goofy:
“I was uncomfortable last night. I broke up with a guy about a year ago, and now Chad and Martin are getting married. I needed someone to talk to. And there you were.” I winced. “I‘m doing it again, yakking away at someone who doesn’t yak back.”
Goofy gave me a hug and patted my back. He understood.
“You know, Goof, it’s not like I’m even in love with him anymore. It’s just that starting over is scary. I know if you don’t risk something, you don’t have a shot at happily ever after, but what if I’m one of the people who doesn’t get one? Maybe I’m one of those guys who always gets sent back to the beginning. Do not pass go; do not collect two hundred dollars.”
Did Goofy have a working knowledge of Monopoly?
I finished with, “It sucks,” more to myself than to my new companion.
A group came up, and Goofy did his goofy thing. He posed for pictures and waved goodbye when his fans took off in pursuit of another character.
He turned back to me.
“So, yeah, thanks for putting up with me. I’ll let you get back to work.”
Goofy would have none of it. He took my hand and skipped to his next destination, dragging me behind him.
For the most part, Goofy lived up to his name, goofing with the crowds. I felt as if a little of his magic began to seep inside me. I knew part of it was the costume, but I sensed something special about the man inside. He knew which little girl needed to have her nose tweaked, which little boy wouldn’t shy away from a pretend kiss. His silliness made grown men giggle, and when he flirted with women, they blushed. He had a knack for making people feel good—and it went beyond the dog suit.
“Goofy, you never told me: Do you believe in happily ever after?”
Will Goofy break character and answer Jordan’s question? Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction goes on sale January 14, 2014.
Excerpt reprinted with permission from Cleis Press. All rights reserved.