Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Gay Best Friend

Yesterday was a special day because it was the birthday of a dear, dear friend, my GBF, Tommy!  Anyone who is close to me knows how I feel about him and how he can never be replaced; one of those friends that just sticks around after everyone else has moved on with life.  He is truly a best friend; someone who sees me for who I am and has never judged me for the decisions I've made, the way I live, how I look, or anything else for that matter.  In high school I was an increedddibly awkward (and ugly) teenager and it's no wonder to me now why I had only the friends that I did, because looking back I can see how strange I (we) were. Tommy was someone who was actually pretty popular (and mysteriously had friends in all places) but of all groups to align with, he chose to be our friend.  He was my first guy friend and I soon found that it was much easier to talk with him than anyone else because he saw things from a different brain and he was able to give me fresh advice.  We became fast friends the summer after our freshman year and together with Kirstie and DeAnne we were thick as thieves.  What else is there to do but hang out when no one has a license or a job?

Teaching me how to play tennis when we were but babies.

I remember the funny times, riding on my electric motor scooter to meet them at the Starbucks by Tommy's house, just so that we could stalk my barista-crush and spend hundreds of baby-sitting dollars doing so study spanish.  We would take hundreds of dumb photos and home videos and upload them to MySpace because we were so cool (I confess, still have most of them).  Tommy introduced us to Boba and Asian fast-food, he supplied us with all the crude humor we never learned anywhere else, and kept it real when it came to critiquing our fashion choices and wardrobes.  I guess at the time we were having too much fun to notice it was strange for a fashion-savvy asian guy to travel with a pack of mid-pubescent white girls. Oh well.

Tommy was always there for me, even when it meant sitting around just being bored together.  He was the first guy I ever held hands with, my first slow dance, the one I confessed all of my secrets to when I started dating, and he was the one who let me cry and whine when I was in the depths of my worst heartbreak.  We made a promise that we would get married to each other for the sake of tax-benefits if neither of us were married by 40.  I guess that won't be happening, not that he minds.

Senior Prom.

It was the week of our high school graduation when I got his phone call, out of breath and uncharacteristically anxious, asking me to meet him at Hilltop Park by our house.  I dropped everything and met him in minutes, only to have him lead me away to a secluded bench and shake in front of me for a few more minutes.  I asked him what was going on and that's when it happened, he came out and told me he was gay.  I can't say it surprised me; my parents and friends' parents had been saying it for years, but I wasn't going to join in until he confirmed it for me.  He told me about his struggles during our four years of high school together, and what he had gone through even since he felt that way in childhood.  I was a little confused because he dated some of my [girl] friends in high school, but he explained to me why he did that.  I guess you could say things were never the same after that conversation.

But then they got back to normal, and we all adjusted to who he was and how he was going to live.  Who was I to judge this person who had been nothing but supportive and loving of me since the day we met?  When he told us about his first boyfriend I think we were a little protective and nervous at first, but now I can see it's really just all the same, relationships and all.

I know how I was raised, in my conservative-Christian home, and I know what I believe in my heart, but nothing in the world could make me feel any differently about Tommy.  It's been such a wild ride, learning everything there is to learn about his lifestyle, which is the lifestyle of many people I have come to know up here in LA.  It really crushes me when I see close friends (yes, usually of my Christian community) acting the way they do and saying the things they say about homosexuals.  Regardless of how you feel about the lifestyle, it's no reason to treat the person differently or to act all fidgety around them as if they have the plague.  I think it has been one of the most educational experiences in my life to have this friendship and to learn the reality of what it's like for people like Tommy to navigate life.

Today little has changed, Tommy is still there for me every step of the way, and 100 miles from San Diego to Long Beach makes no difference at all.  When we are together it's as if no time has passed.  I was extremely bummed that he couldn't make it to my wedding (to be my best man, of course) because was backpacking through Asia(!), but we still have the rest of our lives to continue making memories.


Tommy, I love you so so so much and nothing will ever change that.  You have been a truer friend to me than anyone I've ever met, you are undoubtedly the best at keeping in touch (out of all of us), and your optimistic outlook on life is truly contagious.  I love every outing we have together and I know that coming home means coffee and talks with you, because you are always there.

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