Brian calmed down, and as we cuddled I tried to erase from my mind the notion that I was someone who puts pressure on men in bed. After a while, we just lay there trading cigarettes and sad stories about our respective dysfunctional families and the times we had been in love or thought we had been in love, doing the postcoital thing without any coitus.
We fell asleep spooning, and during the night I had a dream that took place in Washington, which ordinarily wouldn’t have meant anything, except that when I told Brian about my dream, he said he was born in Washington.
That sealed it: We were soul mates who had been together in previous lifetimes. Given my weakness for storybook love and my well-established history of spontaneous passion (my third date with one guy was, essentially, a move from San Francisco to Los Angeles to live with him), this seemed the only possible explanation for our unlikely and illogical connection.
When I shared these thoughts with Brian, though, he only smiled warily.
Over breakfast, he took a deep breath and gave me the apologetic look I had been dreading from the beginning. “I think you’re fantastic,” he said. “But I have to tell you: I really think I’m gay.”
“But…” I sputtered. “What about what you were saying about being bisexual?”
“I know I said that,” he said. “But after last night, I think I realized that it’s not true. I’m just gay.”
“But you’re attracted to me. You said it! A few times!” Horrifyingly, I found myself on the verge of tears.
“I know. And I do think you’re very attractive. But I just can’t do this.”
Unconvinced (or in full denial), I later stopped at a spiritual bookstore in West Hollywood that I had passed many times and barely noticed. I was looking for some comfort, some explanation, some confirmation that what I had experienced with Brian was as real and important as I thought it was.
And there, among the collections of crystals, affirmations for inner children and books about creating your own destiny, I found it, the book I had subconsciously been seeking: “Only Love Is Real: A Story of Soulmates Reunited,” by Brian Weiss, M.D. That fact that the author’s first name was the same as my soul mate’s only confirmed that this was the book for me.
I had never been one for self-help or spiritual books, but I was riveted by every word of “Only Love Is Real,” which explained that not everyone was comfortable with the notion of previous lifetimes, let alone the concept of meeting and falling in love with the same person over and over again. I hadn’t exactly been comfortable with it, but now, with Brian, I had come around.
Brian would come around, too, I thought, as I underlined and dog-eared passages and pages I found significant.