Old Friends in a New Light

Sunday night, we had dinner with my oldest and dearest friend – Pedro.  When his family moved to the small town, we became instant friends. I’m not sure what it was exactly that attracted us to each other, but I have always been happy it did.  We have been best friends since.

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.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I am glad you had such an open talk with your friends.

    I remember when a friend came out to me in college. I was like, Tom honey, I knew you were gay about 10 years ago. Then the Judy Garland Movie themed bar mitzvah really confirmed it.

    It would be great if your friends moved to the Portland area.

  2. 13messages says:

    I hope they move to Portland. He sounds like a wonderful friend.

  3. Old friends like that are incredibly valuable. I certainly hope you’re NOT the same person you were 15, 10, 5, or even 1 year ago. But those people who can see the person you were in the person you are (as opposed to those who only see the person you were) keep you grounded on the path of your life.

    Woot that almost sounded deep.

  4. Sa says:

    I love hearing these stories, because I hope my old friends keep that connection too. Lovely story!

  5. Joker_SATX says:

    That sounds like a good time. Myself having a gay cousin and being Hispanic I can relate to what Pedro must go through on a day to day.

    However, I think he has it easier in that his folks are American, where as my cousin had Cuban parents who were nowhere near as tolerant, methinks.

  6. Just me... says:

    Isn’t it funny how good friends know things about you that you thought you were doing a great job of hiding? 🙂
    Here’s hoping they move to Portland! You can never have too many good friends around you!! 🙂

  7. Ms Scarlett says:

    Oh man… how much do I love meeting up with old friends!?!? It’s probably one of my favorite things. That moment when you realize you can still see your old friend, that kid, that teenager.. whatever… love that!

    I’m glad you had such a great visit!

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