THE CONFESSION by James Edward McGreevey

I started writing this post on the bus at 8:27 when I managed to catch the Express Bus as the driver closed the door.  Not a minute left to spare!  If I didn’t run the 2 blocks from 34th to 36th, I’d have had to wait another half hour for the next one. 

My feet are killing me.  I changed into 3-inch heels before leaving the office because the one I wore to work was staying with the cobbler for the weekend.  I figured I didn’t have far to walk anyway between the subway and 22nd and 6th where the book signing was, and as with previous book signing events I attended, I thought there would be lots of time to sit idly waiting for James McGreevey to make his appearance.  Unfortunately, it turned out I was wrong.

It really wasn’t a long walk — but it was a long wait on a long line that snaked around the corner outside the bookstore.  There were just too many people so they decided they wouldn’t have an audience sitting down to listen to McGreevey speak but instead just go to the book signing. 

I arrived at just past 6PM and I finally shook McGreevey’s hand after almost an hour and a half standing on my 3-inch heels.  (I used to wear this everyday and walk all over Glorietta wearing them!) The line started and ended outside and we were ushered in as his arrival neared.  Eight out of every 10 people on the line were obviously gay which was understandable.  This was, after all, the dashing young governor who stepped down after announcing to the public “I am a gay American.”

McGreevey signing my copy as we chatted

I had two reasons for going out of my way to attend this event.  (I already bought food for the Lolas being that I wouldn’t make it home in time to cook dinner for them, and I planned ahead to order for Alan’s late dinner since his plane was landing at around 10PM.)  Personally, I am interested in his story and I admire him for having the guts to admit to his public who and what he is.  Secondly, I wanted to get Nikky a copy of the book because I wanted him to get some insight into his future.  I told Jim McGreevey, “I hope my borther finds inspiration in your story.”

McGreevey was chatting everyone up and was generous enough to allow for personalization.  Authors would often just autograph but not personalize the dedication, so it made it all the more worth the effort to wait and inch my way through the line.  He asked me where I was from and upon hearing I was from the Philippines, started to scribble “Mabuhay” on the book for Nikky although I had to help him out with the spelling.  He closed the book and asked me how old my brother was and I told him he was 21, and had come out 6 years ago.  He quickly opened the book again  and added a notation on the upper portion of the title page.. saying “Be Strong!  Pray!”.

I shook his hand and told him I hope he and his partner Mark, who was waiting patiently at the sidelines, stay together long.  He said proudly, til death do us part.  They were very sweet and affectionate, and in fact when he entered the bookstore followed by him with the press in the front row, he did not pose alone but instead posed with Mark, holding each other, for the public to see.  I was still outside at that point in the event and people outside were gushing at how sweet they were.

I read a good portion of the first chapter of the book on the way home and already, I know that it will be an interesting read.  It is well written, not a simple narrative (unlike the much-awaited but very staid and monotonous book written by a former first lady I didn’t even get to finish).  You can see the emotion pouring out of him as he introduces his roots — from his grandparents who brought their Irish families to the United States, to his parents whom he obviously reveres.  Early in the book he starts talking about how it was so difficult to be true to himself, but I’d rather let him tell you hear it from him. 

If anything at all, he should be congratulated for finally admitting the truth and living with it.  They came with grave consequences as he himself admitted.  He lost his wife and he lost his career.  But I think he came out a better person after everything.  I could see the glow in his eyes — he was genuinely happy.  Not just the romantic-type of happy, but I could sense a certain peace gleaming through his smile. 

Taken from outside the store when MacGreevey arrived and posed with his partner, Mark, for the press

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