A few days ago, I hosted a birthday party for a friend from high school. He likes having his parties at my place. At the same time, my friend from college had a post-birthday gathering of his own. Because I had promised to host my high school friend’s party a long time in advance, I couldn’t attend my college friend’s party.
At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. I can’t be in two places at the same time. But this morning, I received a mass email from my college friend letting all his close friends how much he enjoyed his post-birthday and surprise coming out party. A friend I’ve known for eight years finally told all his friends that he’s gay, and I wasn’t there. I had to hear about it from an email.
I went through a range of emotions when I first read the email. Of course I was initially shocked that he had kept such a thing from everyone, especially given how supportive we all are of each other. Then there was disappointment in myself for not being there on his big day. Of all of the people in our group of friends, I really should’ve been there.
On some level, I’m also a little upset. I came out to my college friend when I was 18. I felt guilty, scared, and alone. I felt so different from everyone else, and none of my friends could understand. I struggled with those feelings for years; sometimes I still do. I think the last eight years would have been a little easier if I knew one of my closest friends was going through the same thing.
It’s not fair to him, though, to feel like this. The fact that he waited until after he turned 26 to come out says a lot about how difficult this decision was for him. I don’t think I would’ve had the strength to hide for so long.