I met his boyfriend Jay who was quite the counterbalance to him. While my friend can be loud and a bit crazy, Jay is quiet and calm. That being said, he has a wickedly quiet sense of humor. Just when I would worry we might be intimidating him a bit, he would make a comment that showed he was enjoying himself.
I always love getting together with Pedro. He knows me so well. All of those warning signs I did a few weeks ago – he could have written them for me. As we were talking about this and that, Pedro would laugh at how classic “Emmy” that comment was. He would turn to Jay and give another story about when I said something blunt to someone when we were 14 or when I told off a teacher when we were 17.
And every time my kids would do something that would require me to intervene, Pedro would start laughing hysterically. “I can’t believe you’re mom!! You are SO screwed if either of your kids were like you are a teenager!!”
Over the past year, I have been trying to balance the different sides of Emmy you may encounter if you met me in certain situations. But last night, while I was telling stories with Pedro, I realized how much about me has not really changed in the 26 years we have known each other. While I may be wiser due to life experience, having a friend revel in the fact I am still the same person who was his best friend all through elementary, middle school, and high school was somewhat reassuring. I think it is often easy to wonder how much of your younger self you lose as you get older, so to find not much was gone was pretty comforting.
Time also allowed us to have some conversations we never had. Pedro came out to me the night before Garbanzo and I got married. He decided it was time and decided to do it because he had the support of our other gay friends. I recall vividly him pulling me aside, all nervous trying to find the words. I put my hands on his shoulders, looked him in the eyes and said “You’re gay. I know it. I’ve known it for years. I don’t care.” After Pedro picked his jaw up off the ground, we had a conversation that were about 7 years past due.
Since that day, we have often joked about how nervous he was, how secretive he thought he had been. But, we never had a good talk about it. Sunday night, we did. Garbanzo has often been interesting in hearing when our gay friends realized they were gay, so he asked his usual set of questions.
Pedro admitted he was in 2nd grade. His older sister had a “boyfriend” who came over to play at their house, and he remembers just being in love with the guy. He wanted him to be his boyfriend, not his sister’s.
I told Pedro I had confirmation the day he told me in outrage how his girlfriend tried to jump him, and he spent the night running away from her advances. What straight 16 yr old is going to run from the chance of having sex for the first time with the girl he had been dating for a while?
Jay said he never grew out of the boy camaraderie. While the other boys had discovered girls, he found himself having no desire to discover girls. Jay was more interested in the boys.
We had some great conversations around his frustration with being a gay Mexican living in the Southwest. Pedro was adopted by his very white parents. His sister is Chinese while his younger brother is from the Philippines. They were a mixed ethnicity family in the middle of small town Iowa surrounded by white people. Pedro often refers to himself as the whitest Mexican you will ever meet. And it is true. So, living in the Southwest where everyone sees him as a Mexican and not a 36 year old gay man creates some pretty humorous and, in at least one case, dangerous situation. Hearing him rant about it is pretty hilarious. But, for the first time, I heard his desire to actually move. I can’t help but wonder if that is why he brought Jay with him this time – to see what he thought of Portland. Jay loved it, so I can only hope Pedro decides to relocate up here in the near future.
As they left, I was so happy we could get together. I loved, for the first time, seeing Pedro happy, seeing him be totally himself without inhibition – seeing my friend the way I remembered him but more open. It was a good night.