May 1999

That Night

I had wanted to do it for the longest time and I knew tonight had to be "it". I knew that the long and hard process of coming out would start on December 3, 1998 and the woman who had changed my life the most would be the first to know about the true me. This is how it went down.

Tara and I had been hanging out all night and something inside my heart told me it was time for me to be completely honest with my best friend for the first time. When we finally got done reviewing for a statistics test, I decided to go home, knowing this would probably be yet another missed opportunity to go along with all the rest. Then came divine intervention, the phone rang. This distraction for Tara gave me even more time to think about my choice to tell her and to get my heart going 500 miles an hour. Anyone who has ever come out for the first time knows the feeling that your heart is about to come flying out of your chest. That was my feeling that night exactly. I had never been so scared in my whole life.

When Tara got off the phone I decided it was the time. It all started out like this.

"I'm going to tell you something but you have to promise you won't think any differently of me or love me any less."

I can just imagine what was running through her head at this time. It could have been anything from bodies buried under my house to me sleeping with tons of women, which given the circumstances was certainly not the case.

"Of course I won't think of you any differently", Tara said. This is when I decided it was the time.

"I'm gay."

Never before in my life had it been more difficult to say two words. After I said those words, however, 10,000 pounds had suddenly lifted from my shoulders and I was now a semi-openly gay man. The response I got from her was certainly not what I had originally expected.

"NO YOU'RE NOT!!!" she said. I must admit I was quite a bit shocked with her response and I had to resort to almost yelling to convince her that I was indeed gay. It was at that moment that I had to allow the pure emotion to set in.

I imagine that finding out your best friend is gay must be something like finding out that the person you thought you knew so well was a complete stranger. I watched the tears starting to well up in her eyes and I had to fight back the tears myself. Only later did I find out that she in a way felt that she had lost me....it was at that time that I felt the tears starting to well up even more.

Looking back at that December night, I realize that it was the greatest night of my life and we still mark the 3rd of each month. My relationship has blossomed with Tara and we now find great pleasure in checking out guys together. Most of all, she knows the real me. I will never forget December 3, 1998.


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