I found out yesterday that a friend of mine had died. He was a friend from long ago from a life that was lived with lies and deceit – but also with love and laughter.
My friend was a part of the love and laughter.
I’ve been thinking since I heard of his passing about how we all move from one life to another and people get pushed to the side as new people come into our lives.
I had a husband and a family and a job and friends, dogs, cats, homes – and they are gone now. That part of my life has been pushed away – only to be remembered at funerals and when looking through the pages of old photo albums.
For years I tried to think of how I could get away from that life. I dreamed of a life where I lived openly as a lesbian and wasn’t afraid of hurting anyone or disappointing anyone or being an embarrassment to my family. It was only a dream – and while I was dreaming I was also living the life that was expected of me.
My friend was a part of the expected life as we worked together on a daily basis and life in our small town also required you to share in outside activities. Fire companies, fishing, hunting, drinking… We all laughed together, cried together, and when bad times came – we stood by each other.
Small towns can be brutal when the bad times come, and when it’s affairs or divorce, it’s mostly required that you pick a side and make your stand. And when the affair happens among a group of friends – well – that is the end of the group, the end of the friendships, and the end of that chapter. When we found out that his wife was having an affair with his best friend – I stood by my friend. I listened when he needed to talk; pushed when he needed a shove, and hugged when he needed a friend.
He moved away from the small town, but we still worked together and when I left to go and see the world with Carl – my friend was my biggest supporter. And when everything with Carl ended and the whole gay thing hit the gossip wires of the town – he was still standing by me, always hugging me every time I got home, always with a big smile happy to see me; always my defender.
We lost touch with one another – but we never lost our affection for one another. I would smile when I thought of him and the fun we had working together and the Friday nights when a group of us gathered and ate too many steamed shrimp and French fries and drank too much beer and whiskey. I always made sure I saw him when I went home – always, as the trip would not have been complete without his smile.
I will miss my friend and his unwavering love for me. He was a good man and a good friend. Rest in peace, my sweet friend, Rest in Peace.