(Continued from October issue.)
He turned around and looked at me, waiting for my laugh. His eyes widened during a long pause, as he realized that I was serious.
Then he suddenly said, "So? You're gay."
That didn't change anything, he said, he still loved me as if I was a brother, and wasn't uncomfortable with it and would give me a hug if he wasn't driving.
Emotion swelled in me, and I almost began to cry. All that I had ever held inside of me came gushing out -- all the self-loathing, fear, dread, sadness, anger.
We talked and drove for hours.
I asked him how he could so easily accept me. After all, I was having trouble accepting myself.
You are still the same person, he said. Of course, he was right.
At about five o'clock in the morning, we were finally exhausted from talking. We went into a donut shop. I drank a cup of tea; he played an arcade game -- sports, of course.
As the sun finally came up, we got back into his car and continued driving. We had done most of our talking by then and were exhausted.
The only part of my confession that he couldn't understand was why I had kept it from him for so long. He was hurt that I didn't trust him enough to tell him the truth earlier.
I asked him whether he would have been able to accept me a few years ago if I had told him then. He bowed his head, and said no.
Despite my fears, and thanks to my friend's understanding and love, we have grown even closer than before -- inseparable, in fact.
For the first time, we are completely honest with each other and keep no secrets.
For the fist time, I feel loved and accepted for all of who I am.
For the first time, we have begun to talk openly about relationships and sex.
For the first time, I have learned to accept myself, because of his acceptance of me.
And for the first time -- I am finally at piece.