“I’m gay.” He looked at me when he said that. I remember thinking how impressed I was that he was able to look me in the eye and risk my immediate reaction. “Oh. Okay. Was that all you wanted to tell me?” I tried to make my voice and tone sound as cool, calm and collected as I could. Even though I would not use those words to describe myself in the least bit at that time. He was gay. He is gay.
My ex-boyfriend of two years prior, my current best friend, the love of my life, the guy that I was supposed to marry and spend the rest of my life with after a few years of seeing other people, not only didn’t want that future with me, he didn’t want that with any girl. What do you do when your entire vision of your future comes crashing down with no possibility of being rebuilt again?
I’m a year older than him. We started dating my senior year of high school the day after Thanksgiving, and we lasted until the end of August when I left the state for college. I wanted to stay together, he didn’t. We broke up the night before I left for school. I was heartbroken. So much so, that I had a pain in my chest for hours after I left his house for the last time as his girlfriend. What do you do when he wants to break up and you don’t? You can’t force him to be in a relationship that he doesn’t want to be in.
The drive to school was 4.5-hours, and I cried the entire way there. I cried every night for the majority of first semester. I embarrassed myself countless times on the phone with him, bad mouthing girls that he was taking to dances, girls that I knew liked him. I didn’t know what was going on. This wasn’t me. I’m not a mean person. In fact, I’m the total opposite.
I’m so concerned with people not liking me, that I go out of my way to make sure I’m extra nice to people I don’t know. But, sometime in the nine months we dated, I fell in love with him. I couldn’t tell you when. Most people can pinpoint a time and a place when they knew they were in love. It happened gradually with me. What do you do when you’re in love with a boy who broke up with you?
Since it was an amicable break up, we stayed friends. We talked on the phone often, and hung out during breaks. Everyone thought it was weird. All of our mutual friends swore that we were dating again, or at least hooking up. But no, we weren’t. We were just friends. I hoped it might be true one day.
Every boy I looked at was compared to him, physically and emotionally. In a school of 40,000 kids, it raised my standards and shrunk the pool immeasurably. We hung out every day that summer, talked at least once a week the following fall and spring when he was in college, and hung out every day the summer after that.
I started to get hopeful. Subtlety is not my best quality by any means, and he’s no idiot. I’m sure he knew that I still wanted to be with him. Up until that fateful summer day. He was leaving for his sophomore year two days later, and I was leaving the following week. We went to lunch and walked around in a park for a bit. Then he sat me down and told me that we needed to talk.
“I’m gay.” That was all he said. What do you do when the love of your life is gay? You cry a little bit. Mourn the future you had been dreaming of for three years now. But then you realize that it’s not about you. While you’re not staring your future in the eyes, you’re staring your best friend in the eye. And he’s happier than he’s ever been. He’s found himself, and his place. And because he’s happy, you’re happy. You realize all of that, and you move the fuck on.