I went on my last ever date with a boy a month after I turned 19…or 20, I think. I’d always been a serial monogamist, but I’d just ended a serious relationship with one boy, fake dated a gay boy, and come out as bisexual about a year earlier. Things were confused, so I did what many people do – I signed up for online dating. Within a couple of days, a guy named Eric contacted me and we agreed to go out for coffee.
He was fine. Attractive, smart…and blah. As I suffered through the first fifteen minutes, I wondered how I would survive the rest of it – and how long were dates supposed to last, anyway? Then my salvation walked in.
She was sort of the Big Girl On Campus. Not big as in fat, as she was wiry and lean. Big as in, she’s so so so queer and powerful and outrageous, everyone wants to be her. Or be WITH her. She came into the coffee shop with a few other people in tow, one of them a tall boy with brown curly hair and an infectious grin. This girl, being who she was, thought nothing of traipsing over to give me a big hug and interupt my date – thank fucking God. And the boy? The fabulously cute boy who just had an aura of creativity and smarts and fun about him? He followed her over and sat down.
We’ll call him David. (Previously referenced on this blog as ‘Opposite Gender Soulmate,’ which is actually a term David created to describe who I was to him. And of course in the magical moments of life, these things go both ways.)
Within five minutes, we were friends. I don’t remember what we talked about, only that it was easy and somewhere in the middle of that afternoon, Eric left the coffee house. I should add that this was all happening in early October, the gayest month you can imagine on our university campus. National Coming Out Day, days of silence, pride parades, pride dances….and that evening was a pride dance. My first big queer thing, actually, and I don’t remember if I was planning to attend or not, but Queer Grrl and David were going and asked if I was.
Curly Girl, my roommate, and I got ready later that day. I remember having a long silver silk skirt on, a skirt that later that year (or perhaps that night?) would get big stains on the ass from where I sat on the edge of a stage and got lapdances from David – and everyone else present.
How was my hair? Not shaved yet, but perhaps already the curiously purple grey colour I had acheived when I tried for a deep plum. Was my tongue pierced already? I was a very young queer girl, experiementing with how I thought I needed to look in order to fit in. That all went away at that dance – and now just because Queer Grrl was wearing an outfit comprised only of green saran wrap. It went away because suddenly I was in a space with other people like me.
We didn’t all like the same sort of pizza. Maybe we didn’t even line up politically. Some of us were genderqueer, some were smart, some were from other countries. The thing we had in common was that when we were outside of that room, we were the odd people out. But within that room, we banded together into a group of powerful misfits.
I danced in public for the first time – high school dances notwithstanding. Much dancing was with David, who was charming and disarming and easy to love. He leaned in and yelled over the music, ‘If I was straight, and you were straight, I’d have already proposed to you!’ I laughed and said I’d have accepted. And it was a joke, but it was true.
After that evening, it was a few weeks before we hung out. And that first time alone we wandered around a mostly empty campus and made up stories, talked about life, and – well. I guess he won’t mind my saying that in his tiny dorm room, jokes were made about his ‘used’ tissues and my used pad meeting up in the rubbish bin and a baby – Pad Baby – being conceived. It was that sort of friendship, that sort of family, that sort of ease. Right from the beginning, even in the parts that were awkward. It was how it was supposed to be.
That friendship evolved. He worked at my camp with me, he moved in with me, he was there during the year after I came out to my mother and felt like my soul and self was being shattered. We stared into campfires, we drank wine. We ran around imagining ghost stories and went to gay bars and had a lot of fun. We sat on our balcony – and when we weren’t running a weird hair salon out there, we were talking about writing and black spaces in our souls and Deep Things. We joked about creating a sex manual for lesbians and gay men who were best friends. He played his songs for me on his guitar, and I brought laughter back into his life.
I could write a million stories about David. I started this with the idea of writing about one particular conversation we once had on that balcony. One that seriously rocked my world and made me think and scared me.
But for now, I’ll leave this. I’ll leave the stories of the very in debt David, the boy who laughed like a maniac when he got a pre-approved credit card from a local gas station, who said, ‘If those bitches are stupid enough to give me a credit card, they deserve what they get’ as he bought us gas and food. I’ll leave the picture of that boy sleeping on the lounge floor in that ugly green blanket (sorry, David), or that boy sleeping in bed with me as I desperately attempted to avoid my unwanted girlfriend who came up to visit on the weekends.
I’ll leave it with saying that more than anyone on the planet, I think this boy-turned-man understands my exact experience of hope, of creativity, of disappointment. He also knows I am still trying, still wanting, still unsatisfied and longing to tell more stories.
And that boy, the boy I loved so fiercely and funly (I am allowed to make up words), that boy I fought with so ferociously, he’s turned into a man who sent me an email that said, ‘I want to buy you a computer.’ So this brief introduction to a friendship that has lasted about a lucky thirteen years now, it’s thanks to David.
What feels like a million years ago we rescued each other, and this last week he rescued my ability to keep trying.