June 1997

Mary and Ellen

"And I can tell by the way you're standing with your eyes filling with tears
That it's habit alone that keeps you turning for home, even though your home is right here
Where the people who love you are gathered, under the wise wishing tree
May we all be considered then straight on delivered down to the jubilee
Because the people who love you are waiting, and they'll wait just as long as need be
When we look back and say those were halcyon days
We're talking about jubilee..."
-- Jubilee, by Mary Chapin Carpenter

I was sitting here tonight, watching Forrest Gump (you've all seen this great movie, right??), when I got the urge to write. I have a lot to say, so brace yourselves...

I came out to my best friend "Mary", but this time, I know it's not going to back fire. (See last month's column) She took it very well. I have been skirting the subject with her for about a month now. We were talking at lunch about life. I told her that I had a big 'thing' in my life that I wanted to tell her about. She asked what it was, but I told her that I couldn't tell her, but that I would tell her at our 10th High School Reunion. She didn't give up, she kept bugging me about it until our 10th reunion became our 5th, and then our 5th became college graduation, and then college graduation became our High School graduation. She just didn't give up.

In the process, most of my friends overheard me telling her that I had something to tell her, but I couldn't tell her right now. They started bugging me about it, and I told them they had to wait too. They have, for the most part, given up getting it out of me. I'm not to sure they would handle it has well as Mary.

I kept dropping (what seemed to me to be) major hints. I told her that it was something going on in my life right now, that it was something too important for me to forget by the time our reunion came, that my parents didn't know, and that it had to do with life and all of its sub-categories.

Then, last Thursday, I came in to school and saw Mary. She told me that she still wanted to know, and that she hadn't figured it out yet, but that she wanted to make sure it wasn't one thing. She asked, "You're not going to pull an 'Ellen' on me, are you??" I told her, "No." Ouch!! That hurt. Just put that knife in there and twist. Judging from that comment, I wasn't sure she was ready for it, so I tried to get her to drop it. She wouldn't.

That night, we were talking on the phone, and the subject of Ellen came up. I asked her about her comment. She said she wasn't really sure, but if one of her friends told her that he or she was gay, she'd probably feel funny at first, but then be OK with it. I wasn't sure what to do with that, so I filed it under "Interesting Facts To Consider Before Coming Out."

The next day, Friday, Mary said that she thought she knew what it was. She thought I was bi. I told her no. By fourth period, when I saw her again, she said she had to know. I told her that I wasn't sure that I wanted to tell her, but that I'd think about it. She told me she would meet me before lunch at my English class. I told her that I wasn't sure if I would tell her then, but that I would think about it all through English.

I met her outside English after class. First, we walked to her locker. While we were walking, I told her that I still wasn't sure if I wanted to tell her, but that I thought she knew. After we went to her locker, we walked to my locker. I opened my locker and rearranged my books, and stood there hanging on the door. She said to me, "OK, it's something having to do with life and it's going on right now." I told her, yeah. Then I told her that one of the reasons I didn't want to tell her right now, was that I didn't want it to complicate things. She told me that it wouldn't complicate things and that she wouldn't think less of me, or anything like that and that she wouldn't tell ANYONE. OK, I thought, I'm going to tell her. I told her that I had only ever told this to one other person before. I then paused a few moments, looked her in the eyes and was about to tell her, "It's 7th grade, isn't it??" she asked, referring to the last time I came out, with disastrous results. I told her, yeah. She said, cool. I suppose she took it pretty well.

We had a long talk on the phone that afternoon. Among the many things she said to me, she told me not to do anything stupid, like get AIDS. I told her I didn't have anyone to do anything stupid with. She said, "We'll, just say, you're Prince Charming comes along someday, you know what I mean??" Yeah, I told her, I know what you mean.

It felt great, she was so cool with it. I advise any of you out there, if you have a good friend that you know you can trust, and that you know won't disown you, come out to them. It's such a great feeling.

But, along with that good news, I have some not so good news this month...

My mother knew that I was going to watch Ellen last week, (you all watched, right??) and she asked me: "Why is this episode so important to you??"

Oh, shit, I thought, I hope she doesn't suspect anything. I told her that I just wanted to see what everyone was making such a big deal about.

She said to me, "You still don't think you're like that, do you??"

I told her no.

"Oh," she said, "that's good. I think it was just a phase anyway."

Well, there's that knife again. With Mary, the wound she inflicted was quickly healed with her acceptance of me. With my mother, it was a different story. She was reopening a wound that had slowly healed itself back at the end of 7th grade, and I know that I won't be coming out to her for a while. I really want to come out to her, but I don't want to be disowned right now. Parents really suck sometimes!! She doesn't realize it, but every time she says something pejorative about gay people, it hurts me immensely.

If she only knew...

Well, in the words of Forrest Gump, "That is all I have to say about that."

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