Monday, October 12, 2009

“We Need to Talk”, Part 5

After that emotional episode with Jacqueline, I became a little more cautious in regards to coming out to especially close friends from high school.

Since everyone I saw on a regular basis already knew, the issue didn't come up often. By that time, everyone around me knew and the issues were all on the table by that point. At this point, Jacqueline and Cole began to work through some issues and ended up being as close as they'd ever been. Because of Cole and Jacqueline's situation, I was rather cautious about coming out to friend Serenity. We'd never actually dated or anything the like, but it was apparent that she had feelings for me in high school.

To be honest, part of Serenity terrified me. She is one of the strongest women I know. Intense as the pyres of purgatory. Amazingly talented. One of those few people who could do anything she put her mind to and given a fair chance. Without meeting her, you can understand why I was intimidated.

In high school, I was struggling with a lot of different things (enough that I could probably compile into a post of itself) and evaded or played dumb to any hint Serenity might have provided for us to do anything alone together. This persisted for longer than either of us would be happy to admit yet we considered each other friends.

In the year or so before my mission, we had the biggest falling out I've ever had in my life (with the exception of perhaps a mission friend, but, again, that's another story…). It involved the production of a musical—a high-brow satire of communist ideology—and creative rights. We both abandoned the project and three years of awkwardness ensued.

Upon my return, things had improved thanks to the healing powers of time. We were both more mature and I had gained some confidence from the trials of being a missionary. That said, there was a certain residual awkwardness we were not able to overcome no matter how much fun we had together. Living a few hours apart, we'd make an effort to hang out when we managed to be in the same part of Utah at the same time.

Being the sophisticated, talented woman she is, Serenity didn't need to sit down with me and have a tough conversation to realize that I was gay. Perhaps she knew before anyone else.

One of my little evasive tactics for talking about life without indicating my sexuality is constructing my sentences without subject pronouns. That way there's no lying involved—just a lot of "We did this or that" and benign code words. In conversation, Mark became known as "The Missionary." After sitting through one of these conversations with me and Jacqueline on a shopping trip, Serenity immediately became suspicious. And as Cole was one of the only guys I introduced "The Missionary" to, Serenity sought to put her curiosities to rest. The following is a recreated conversation between the two:

Cole: Serenity! How are you? Is school treating you well?

Serenity: You know. Same old. Same old. Lots of stress.

Cole: I know. You're as amazing as ever and holding that A average.

Serenity: Haha…. Maybe.

Cole: I'm sorry I couldn't make it down last week with the others. Jacqueline and (Gay Mormon Boy) said you three had a great time.

Serenity: Yeah. It was great. I have a question for you, though.

Cole: Of course.

Serenity: What's this about GMB's "Missionary"

Cole: What about "The Missionary?"

Serenity: I guess it surprised me to hear GMB was so serious with someone.

Cole: (anticipating) So what's your question?

Serenity: Is his missionary a guy?

Cole: Ummm… I can't answer that question. You'll need to talk to him about that.

So she knew. Cole told me immediately and I wasn't sure what to think. That bit of terror and fear from high school resurfaced as I anticipated running into her the next time. What would she say? Would she avoid me? Would she even bring it up?

Upon arriving at her place for a little pre-Halloween festivity, I felt a real difference in the atmosphere as she opened the door to her apartment. That little talk with Cole ironically cured our relationship of all the awkwardness in the air. Serenity quickly adjusted as the possibility of a relationship came to an end forever and my capacity in her life—as a shopping buddy and fellow partaker of the arts—came to fruition. We were able to joke like never before and laugh about everything we'd been through.

Sharing this part of my life has brought me closer and closer to nearly all of my friends. The more I accept and share this part of my life, the better I feel about everything I had once felt badly or awkwardly about. I might have a different approach to making my life what I want it to be—taking things a day at a time rather than jumping in—I can see that I have been and am making genuine progress in my life in a direction I'm finally happy with.

And in the end, I think that's all any of us can ask.


Serenity said...

I think I need to set the record straight. I had no idea that GMB was gay until the conversation with Cole. I believe Cole was a little uncomfortable with the fact that he outed GMB to me and misreported the details of our conversation. As I recall, Cole told me that GMB had a date that weekend, I asked who "she" was, and Cole asked me what I knew about GMB's dating life. I told him he'd told me about a missionary he dated, who had left on "her" mission. Cole asked, "Did GMB tell you it was a she?" And the conversation went on from there. I told Cole that I was very surprised to hear this news and that I had not suspected anything. Cole then asked me, "Would you be surprised to hear that I was gay?" After a pause, I replied, "No, not really." But he didn't confirm that he was gay at that time. When I saw all of my friends at the pre-Halloween festivity, Jacqueline confided to me, when we were away from the others, that Cole was also gay. So, to sum up, Cole outed GMB, Jacqueline outed Cole, and neither Cole or GMB had the guts to tell the "pyres of purgatory" that they were gay.
Love to all,
Serenity (btw, was that psudonym intended to be ironic? :)

Cole said...

How come no one was surprised when I came out?!? :D

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