That’s Just The Way It Is
Recently it became clear that my long-time friendship with ‘G’ is over. When I first met ‘G’, we were both college freshmen at Marshall University, and it was clear from the very beginning that we came from totally different backgrounds; mine traced back to my roots in New York City, his from some place not found on a map, somewhere in rural West Virginia.
When ‘G’ was in college, he was a scared and vulnerable character, and most of the people who knew him would say that they could see through him, just like one could see the skeleton inside of a dragonfly wing. ‘G’ and I shared a lot of good times together. He took me around and showed me a lot of obscure and overlooked places in West Virginia, and I would tell him what it was like living in a big city. We also shared the bad times, such as when ‘G”s dorm room door was knocked down, and the university refused to press charges against the vandal simply because ‘G’ was openly gay.
‘G’ went through a series of same-sex relationships in which he would often move into the same apartment of his lovers. I watched him go through several such relationships in which each relationship would typically end almost as quickly as it began, their duration would be anywhere between one to three months.
I will never forget the time when ‘G’ knocked on my dormitory room door days after being kicked-out of his ex-lovers downtown apartment. He was soaking wet, his clothes were dirty, in his hand he had a cardboard box of his possessions, and he had a duffel bag on his shoulder from his brief stint in the Air Force, which contained his clothes. I was lucky enough to have my very own dorm room in college, and being a good friend, I let him stay for a few months until he could get back on his feet.
‘G’ lived his life in much the same way he chose his romantic partners; always short-term, unpredictable, and borderline crazy at best. I helped him find a cheap apartment and soon thereafter he took a job at Wendy’s, which worked out fine until he got caught up with some questionable characters and disappeared for a little while. His landlady called me about his whereabouts, and about his unpaid rent. Apparently he had listed me with his landlord as his best friend, and only contact should something happen. He eventually lost the apartment and I took what few things he had left behind back to my dorm room. ‘G’ surfaced later that same week, and I expressed concern for his well being, and he left out the door, and out of my life again.
The next September, college started up again and ‘G’ got back in touch with me, but by that time, I had not returned to Marshall, so we kept in touch by email and web-based chat for almost a decade. Then Angie and I went to visit ‘G’ in Ohio where he was, at the time, living with his true love of over 12 years. Angie and I would eventually make the trip two more times. Then ‘G’ suddenly moved to Las Vegas with his true love, almost on a whim, and again, ‘G’ was back out of my life once again.
I called ‘G’ the day my father died, and although he seemed supportive, it soon became clear to me that he needed money, either to travel, or perhaps to move back to Ohio. The tone of his voice was one of desperation, and realizing that I’m not one to just liquidate what little profits I ad saved from my online blog, he suggested we form a business partnership where he would take 50% of the business.
When I declined to take ‘G’ on as a business partner, he made outrageous and unfounded accusations about how I was against gay people, and that I based my decision on prejudice. He called about a week later to tell me about his so-called open relationship, knowing full well that I would be against it for obvious health as well as moral reasons. Several emails passed between both of us, the majority of which I apologized and expressed concern for his health as well as his emotional wellbeing.
The last email I sent ‘G’ stated the following…
It has been two months since we had our usual bi-weekly telephone conversation, and the last time you called I told you that I was expecting to be quite busy until perhaps the end of summer. While I am in fact busy with writing and various photography projects, I have been reluctant to answer the phone when I see that it’s you who is calling.
I want you to know that I fully accept the fact that you are completely gay and have been in a same-sex relationship for over a decade. I want you to know that I suspected you were gay when we first met in college in 1998, even before you got the courage to come-out to all of your friends. The truth is, it never really mattered that much to me who you chose to love. I have many friends who identify as LBGT, and as far as I’m concerned, love is love.
Recently, you revealed to me that the two of you were in an open relationship. From the start of our friendship, I have always invited you to speak openly about any topic and regardless of the circumstances and the fact that I’m completely straight, the two of us have never once judged or criticized one another. Through the years, through it all, we have always been there to support one another.
When you did confess your open relationship status to me, I was totally shocked to say the least. It’s not that you’re gay and in a relationship like this that surprised me, so much as the fact that all of these years I envisioned the both of you as a monogamous couple. It really is none of my business, but just the same it came as a shocking surprise to me, especially given the history of relationships I saw you go through in which you laid your heart on the line only for your lovers to eventually go behind your back and cheat on you, which as I recall always left you heartbroken to the point where I would step in as your biggest source of support and understanding.
I am writing you this letter, ‘G’, to let you know that I sincerely love, care, and respect you as one of my closest of friends, but at the same time, I don’t want to see you get hurt again the way you did before you met ‘I’. And more importantly, I want to be your friend for as long as we both shall live. I know it may sound selfish of me, but I didn’t know how to tell you this, except by writing you a letter expressing my thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
‘G’ is once again out of my life again, only this time I don’t think he will be back. Sometimes I think that maybe ‘G’ told me about his open relationship in hopes that we would split apart, or perhaps the only reason he kept in touch with me was because he was just looking for an easy way to get famous. As far as friendship is concerned, it can take decades to form a strong bond, and days to have it wilt, soil, and sour, but in life, that’s just the way it is.
My final thought… I generally don’t post rants or the details of my personal affairs on my blog, but this needed to be said.