9Sep/120

The Face of Gay 9 (Katherine Trick)

RECOVERED

I’ll admit that even I need a little reminder from time to time that my faith in humanity is founded. It’s way too easy to become jaded these days and let the ugliness cloud everything. And I remember a time when it was easy to get jaded, like first coming out to my friends. Most were good, so no real complaints. Hey, I hang with good people. A couple of them didn’t take it it so well, but we’ve come to an understanding since then. It was, after all, a different time. And still a few others also turned out to be gay. That’s how my husband and I ended up together…and why I thank my lucky stars we are. So enough of that and let’s move on to today’s guest blogger and her story about… Well, I’ll let her tell it.

The Face of Gay 9 (Katherine Trick)

I never thought I would be writing a blog post that other people might actually read, never mind one for a blog titled “The Face of Gay.” Not because I’m not gay, or not because I can’t write (I am a Journalism major/Secondary English teacher who never actually got a job in her field), or not because I’m shy (ask anyone and they will tell you I am certainly not), but because I never figured my story would really be relevant. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized —- maybe it is and maybe someone else might “get it,” so to speak.

I have so many little stories I could tell that relate me as a not gay person to “The Face of Gay,” but the one that still haunts me to this day, or rather “sticks” with me, is a friendship I developed starting at the age of 15. I took a non-paying summer job at a camp as a CIT (counselor in training) at a sleepover camp in New Hampshire. This was the first time I was to be away from home for that long and left to make some pretty grown-up decisions on my own. Of course, I could talk with my parents every day if I wanted to and I went home on a regular basis for visits, but being away from home left me the opportunity to meet people and make my own decisions on who I wanted to be friends with without looking to my parents for approval. I met a lot of people with a lot of different backgrounds. I learned pretty quickly that judging a book by it’s cover was a stupid thing to do. Some people’s stories were pretty heavy once you looked inside, but they were pretty cool, nonetheless.

The one person I met that summer who I developed a friendship with that lasted for almost 11 years before I lost track of him was a handsome boy with beautiful dark wavy hair. I thought he was beautiful, yes, but his true beauty didn’t begin to shine until we left camp, kept in touch through letters and phone calls (that would last for hours) and the occasional visit on a weekend. We began to see that we could talk about anything and that we made each other laugh and we liked the same music and the same movies and we liked to shop and cook and…….. well I could go on and on, but suffice to say we were friends in the best sense of the word. We were 2 kids who didn’t fit into a clique at school, but had some amazing friends just the same.

We did the occasional high school date thing and we did lots of kissing, etc. You know, the usual 16 and 17 year old stuff. After we got our licenses, we would visit more often. He came to my house, I stayed at his house. He met my friends, I met his friends. I began to notice some of his friends were “experimenting” and finding their place in the world. No biggy in my book. Weren’t we all just trying to do that same thing, in our own way? I know, outside of my little Catholic high school, I was a wild child trying to make a statement and rebel against the constraints of my own little world.

So, one day, during the summer after graduation, but before I left for college, he shows up on my doorstep with a friend in the car and asks if I want to go into the city with them. Well, of course I did. I loved the city, always had a great time with my friend and enjoyed his company immensely. I get in the car and he introduces me to his friend. Nice enough guy. Pretty cute, actually. So I figure this is going to be another fun day in the city. Turns out his friend wasn’t so keen on me being around. Never said anything, but I could just feel it and see it in his actions and demeanor. Ok, I’m thinking, maybe I’m a turd at a tea party here. But, my friend wants me to come along and we’re having a great time, so what the hell. Maybe he’ll warm up to me.

We spend a few hours in Harvard Square watching street performers, looking in record stores, window shopping, eating and just goofing around. A typical fun day in the city. But now I can tell my friend is a little nervous. Why, I wonder? So I ask him. He asks his friend for a few minutes to walk around with me alone (of course, I get the evil eye here), but he wanders off to shop in a nearby record store. My friend takes me by the hand (we always held hands when we went places) and walks with me down the street and stops at a quiet spot. He turns to me and tells me he has something he wants to share with me, but he’s been afraid for some time to tell me because he didn’t know what I’d say. He looks me in the eye and tells me he’s gay and that his friend is actually his boy friend. Then he stops, puts his head down and waits for me to respond. With tears in my eyes, I lift his chin up so he will look at me, I tell him I’d known for a long time but was waiting for him to work it out in his mind and tell me in his own way when he was ready. The look of relief and love and tears in his eyes has stuck with me all these years. I told him I loved him the same as I always have and that would never change. He was/is my friend and who he dated or who he loved didn’t change how I felt about him or change my view of him as a person. I loved him.

Well, the hug I got that day has only been topped by hugs I get from my kids. The look of utter amazement, happiness, love and tears in his eyes is something I will never forget. He thought he was going to lose a friend that day. Instead he learned he had unconditional love from at least one person in his life. I hope it was more, but from his reaction, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t too many. That made me sad.

Since that day, our lives carried on in different directions. We kept in touch with letters and phone calls . But as the years went along (I went to college, had jobs and a marriage), we finally lost track of each other. My biggest regret to this day is that I let that friendship slip away. I miss just talking to him.

So, I may not be gay, but I have and had friends who are and I know for a certainty that the only thing that matters is love and acceptance. We all want the same things in life, gay or straight, and we all want to be treated the same. You will never convince me of anything otherwise. I saw it with my own eyes and my own heart and I know it to be the truth. I will defend what I believe, and my friends, always. Don’t mess with me on this one, because you won’t win.

Now, if I could only find my long lost friend to tell him just one more time “I love you.” I hate regrets, and this is one of them.

The Previous 5 entries in the Face of Gay Series:

The Face of Gay 4 (Tom)
The Face of Gay 5 (Patricia Logan)
The Face of Gay 6 (Sue Brown)
The Face of Gay 7 (Danny)
The Face of Gay 8 (Anonymous As Scott)

Original Responses:

Dorien says:
September 15, 2012 at 9:13 am
Another insightful addition to “The Face of Gay,” Kage. But please tell Katherine not to give up looking. Do searches on Google and Facebook. In the past three years I’ve gotten in touch with four people from my long ago past and picked up treasured friendships where we left off. Urge her to try.

D

Reply
Katherine T. says:
September 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm
Thanks, Dorien. I am still searching and hoping I find him someday soon. Reconnecting with an old friend would be nice. Good ones are few and far between and to reconnect with a dear friend feom long ago would makwy day.
🙂

Reply
Tom says:
September 15, 2012 at 10:34 am
Ah Katherine, you choke me up. No, not everyone accepts. You are a treasure.

And don’t give up – I just reconnected with a couple of friends I haven’t talked to since 1986. Not a bad parting, just life got busy and all that.

Love to you.

T

Reply
Katherine T. says:
September 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm
Thanks Tom. A treasure, no. A decent person, yes. He wás my friend. Why would I not accept him? It boogles my mind when people don’t accept who their friends and family are. That’s NOT being a good person.
Will continue my search. Thanks for reading.
😉

Reply
Nick Thiwerspoon says:
September 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm
A beautiful story. Thank you.

Like Robert Dessaix, whom I had the pleasure of meeting a week or two ago at the Mlebourne Writers’ Festival, I think that friendship is perhaps the noblest form of love between people.

“Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds”. And Shakespeare was writing that to the young man he was in love with.

Reply
Giselle Frank says:
September 16, 2012 at 6:46 am
Hi Katherine,

Great blog post, love that you wrote it. Thank you. It’s exactly how I feel: if anyone disparaged my friends I’d turn seriously grumpy if not outright snarling.

Do you know anyone who does Family History research/Genealogy? They might be able to give you some tips about how to look for your friend. There are public records that might help. If you don’t know anyone you could ask a question on a genealogy forum to pick up pointers.
Good luck and keep us updated!

Reply
Patricia Logan says:
September 17, 2012 at 7:15 am
I too have let friends drift away. FB is a great equalizer. I’ve found 4 high school and nursing school friends on FB. *laughs* Sometimes what I found was not so cool though. One friend asked me if I was trying to come out to them by showing them my writing… lol… no chick, I don’t write about men who love men because I’m a Lesbian… whatever! LMAO. What is wrong with people?

Keep trying to find him. I sincerely hope you do. This is an ongoing story and I would love to see you find your happy ending

________________________
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake (also to be re-published under his real name), and the upcoming Falling Awake II: Revenant.

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