Tuesday, September 09, 2008

An unexpected gift

A short time after college graduation, one of my best friends - a guy I roomed with on the road in cross country and track, someone whose secrets I knew and who knew mine - underwent a major life change, one that ended our friendship.

I hold no grudge: He wasn't the same man anymore, and I was. I didn't resent his change to who he became, but if he had committed suicide, the act would have been no less momentous.

Our friendship dissipated quickly. My breaking point was maybe not the most obvious: He adopted a new, dehumanizing attitude toward gay people that I could not abide. I drew the line and that was that. But it was depressing, because I'd lost one of my best friends.

That was 15 years ago. On Friday, I called up a different friend, one I hadn't talked to in a couple of years (I had to leave a message, though). She and I were much closer than my former teammate and I ever were, but we hadn't talked in a while. Over the years, her values and personality had seemed to shift away from who she'd been (one of my best friends ever, the type you'd hide in your basement or attic while the secret police searched for her), and we just drifted apart.

I assumed she'd just found new priorities (husband, kids, lifestyle), so I didn't bring it up directly. I think I was overly circumspect. She called up Saturday afternoon. I asked what was new and she said, "Wellll, I'm getting a divorce from my husband because I'm gay."

That's cool, says I, and we talked for an hour or so. She said she thought she'd sold herself out and swore that wasn't going to happen again. Hooray! I hope now she's herself again - and herself, rocks, for the record - there'll be room at the table for an old pal who was out of touch awhile.

No comments: