My Gay Childhood Friend

A post about crossing perfect paths, embracing differences, and forming true friendships:

The summer before my freshmen year, I decided to check out the Youth Center on post with hopes to make a new friend or two. When I walked into the entertainment room, I saw a Korean guy with brassy bangs sitting on the couch. A conversation began, and it turned out that he was going into his freshmen year as well. He then asked me an interesting question, “In second grade, did you ever have a pair of jeans with a worm coming out of an apple on the knee area?” I recall being speechless in amazement. I did have those jeans. He then reminded me that we were in the same second grade class in another city of Korea. He also added that I looked the same as did in our class photo. A friendship began.

Ronnie (fake name) was a wonderful human being—he was kind and gentle, very straightforward, witty and sarcastic (in a funny way), intelligent, animated, and loyal. He was admired by many in high school, but some people (or perhaps most) made their little comments behind closed doors, such as “He has a very feminine walk” and “He talks like a valley girl.” The most popular question asked by some people was, “Why does he have so much yellow clothes?” My boyfriend once said jokingly, “I don’t think any of the guys have ever seen Ronnie in the guys’ restroom.” I just gave him the look and replied, “So he doesn’t like public restrooms…so what? I don’t like them either.” My boyfriend and his friends learned real quick not to make fun of Ronnie or make unnecessary comments. My boyfriend admitted that he thought Ronnie was a good person.

Ronnie was like a brother to me. He often made me and others smile and laugh, and he was always there for me. Even when I started going out with my first boyfriend, he encouraged me to enjoy my relationship with him (my boyfriend) and not to worry about hanging out with him (Ronnie) like we used to. He was so understanding, and I felt that he loved me unconditionally like a sister. Once, we were walking on post and talking like there was no tomorrow. Since Ronnie was so gesticulative, I was usually good at dodging his uncontrollable, waving arms. However, that day I wasn’t paying attention and got whacked in the boob, and I shouted, “Ronnie! I’m still growing there!” He laughed his happy butt off while I gently massaged my sore boob. Ronnie’s laugh was so contagious, and he had a beautiful smile with sparkling, white teeth. His mere presence lit up a any room, and I always enjoyed his company.

One day, while I was at home, my dad (who raised me) came up to me and asked in an irritated manner, “Bobbie, why do you hang out with that queer?” I immediately replied, “Because he’s my friend.” I couldn’t believe my dad would ask me such a question. I guess I assumed that because he wasn’t a racist that he wasn’t homophobic as well. I guess I was wrong. Anyway, our brief conversation didn’t change the way I felt about Ronnie. Intuitively, I knew that Ronnie was gay, but I didn’t care. When I found our second grade class photo in one of our old albums, I was convinced about Ronnie’s nature. In the photo, he was standing in the front row, with his body somewhat tilted to the side, and with his arms behind his back. He was so cute, but definitely girly. The funny thing is I noticed that Iwas also standing in the front row, but posed like a boy. I had my hands in my jean pockets and with an expression that looked like I was ready to beat someone up. Interesting how two opposite, yet similar, souls crossed paths again.

As a matter of fact, Ronnie and I crossed paths again the third time, years after graduating from high school. It was in California. He said that he had something surprising to tell me. He had finally come out of the closet. I was more surprised that he no longer had so-called blond bangs than I was with him having a boyfriend. I was so happy for him. He was finally a free bird, able to soar through the limitless sky and just simply BE. Throughout my life, I’ve met and worked with three other gay guys, and they were amazing souls and fun to be around. I also became friends with two females who were gay while I was in the Army, and they were awesome souls as well.

Thank you God for giving us the wonderful opportunities to cross paths with one another so that we may experience what it means to bond as souls. Thank you for reminding us that it doesn’t matter where we come from or how we differ.  We are truly all ONE.

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~ by Bobbie on February 2, 2012.

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