You Never Forget
A couple of weeks ago, I was checking out Lovehater . He had a post titled "Where are they know?" which featured the question: If you could find anyone you've lost contact with, who would it be?
I thought about this and could not easily come up with anyone. Then I remembered, Michael, my first boyfriend.
I met Michael when I started grad school. We were in the same MFA Acting Program at Northern Illinois University. I had fooled around with a few guys but for the most part I was on the DL when it used to be called plain old "closeted." I had only come out to some select close friends but no family members.
Michael hit on me the first week we arrived in DeKalb and I let him. He was funny. He was sweet. And he was musical (I have always had a sweet spot for pianists and singers). I also wanted to be liberated. I wanted to break free from the closet.
Michael inspired me to come out after I had a bout with the flu in 1991. Michael took care of me. He even called his mother, a nurse, for guidance on how to care for his boyfriend. I thought, "I couldn't call my mother if my boyfriend was sick." I felt ashamed. I was determined that I would come out to my family before the year was out. I didn't want Michael thinking that he wasn't important enough for me to share with my family.
I did come out. I came out to my sister on Christmas Eve and to Mom the day after Christmas. The following year was a tough one. There was school. There was dealing with my family and friends that now knew I was big ol' homo. And worse, Michael and I didn't make it as a couple. God knows we tried. We even went to family counseling. It's funny now. Eventually we broke up but the split was amicable. At the end of the first year of grad school, Michael left the MFA program and headed north to Minnesota. I think I spoke with him once more, by phone in 1993, since that day he left DeKalb.
I always wondered what happened to him. I tried to find him. Back in 2000 and 2001, I wrote to theatre companies where he had worked hoping that he would contact me. He never did...Until yesterday. Yesterday while temping I received this email:
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 10:49:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Synchronisity (sic)
I was thinking about you two days ago. I was remembering you and us and wondering what has happened to you and where you were.
I did a google search of my name today and guess what pops up? Your blog. Nice words. Funny how the memory gets fuzzy. I remember most of that. I don't remember that it was your first kiss of a man in public. I'm flattered none the less.
Well well, Mr. Lilly...Second City no less. Quite impressive. You look as handsome as ever.
I guess it's time we catch up. (If you want to.)
Saw Andrew S******** in 1996. I was living in Pheonix (sic) at the time and happend (sic) to call his parents who gave me his number in Texas and he was moving his shit back to California and was driving through Phoenix so he stopped at my place for the night then talked me into riding with him to L.A. and helping him move in to his new apt.
Oh, my did we catch up.
I'm in Bangkok right now. Long story.
Toss me an email.
A friend at the big ad agency saw me right after I read the email. She said I was beaming. She was right. I could feel it. You probably could have hooked a generator up to me. It was nice to hear from Michael. You may move on but you never forget your first boyfriend. And you never forget coming out. And your first public kiss which, ironically, I wouldn't do today.