Friday, November 29, 2013

Oldest Friend

I don't have many long-time friends. 

Like many people, most of my childhood and high school friends have drifted away, either due to time, geography, or mortality.  I can count on one hand the friends I've kept since High School.

One of them is visiting this week.  I'll call him DrD.  I've been friends with DrD since kindergarten.  So that's... um... *counts on fingers and toes* 42 years. 

And growing up, he was my best friend.  Sometimes my ONLY friend.  In high school, we started playing wargames like Squad Leader and, in 1978, discovered a game called Dungeons and Dragons.  We played that ALL the time until 1983, when work consumed all my free time.

He went to Penn State.  I visited him there while I was a student at Drexel, and that wonderful experience was one of the main reasons I transferred to PSU.

When I transferred up, we hung around a lot.  I joined his D&D group.  We drank together a lot and had some amazing times.

He graduated in 1988, and went to grad school for microbiology.  I still had a semester at PSU before student teaching.  Being at PSU without DrD there just wasn't the same. 

Me at PSU, July 2013

Eventually, DrD earned his doctorate in Microbiology, and he used it to homebrew.  He won many, many awards.  He continued in school because his fiancée was completing her masters.  And when they married, I read at their wedding.  (Her brother was Best Man.)

As his wife finished her degree, he earned a SECOND doctorate... in dentistry.

How many people get TWO doctorates?

Then they divorced.  She married a plumber.

He spent some time teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, then accepted a position as dentist in Arizona with the Government... working with an impoverished Native American Nation.  That was 2005.  We've seen each other pretty much once a year since. 

This year, I told R about my Truth.  Now DrD is in PA for the holiday.  He's here with his new-ish girlfriend, whom I've never met.   And I want to tell him my Truth in person.  We have history.  He's earned it.

We were supposed to meet up Monday, but he had to attend a family function.  So instead I hung out with my dear friend Jen Lehman. 

Tuesday night was rainy, windy, and quite cold.  A Nor'Easter was hitting us full force.  DrD arrived at Rock Bottom before me.  We usually drink there when he returns home.  Hopefully my "luck" of  outing myself to people there would continue.

They were sitting at a table near the back eating the remainder of an appetizer sampler.  DrD introduced me to his lady friend.  She's a nurse and was very pleasant.  We toasted with Sambuca to absent friends.  In specific, to two mutual friends who passed.  I also toasted to Lisa Empanada.

I then listened as he told me about meeting his lady friend on  About their first date.  I told her some college stories about DrD, which she enjoyed.  I ordered wings as well, and we all ate them as well.  DrD asked me about what had happened between Wife and I.  I told him, I'd get to it.  We toasted again, this time with McAllen scotch.

I told DrD that the reason behind the separation would shock him.  He doubted it.  So we bet the check.

As before, I produced a Sophie card and set it down in front of him, face down.  I kept my hand on it, saying "I want to start by saying that I don't need your approval for this.  I'd appreciate your understanding, though."  I also swore him to silence. Then I took my hand off the card.

He turned over the card, and looked at it.  His expression didn't change.  He showed it to his lady friend.

"That's me," I said.  "I'm transgender."

I then told him the story.  Knowing at four years old.  What it means.  The Pain.  The Darkness.  Lisa.  And being thrown out.   

He asked some good questions.  His expression never changed.  And No, he isn't a good poker player.  He then looked me in the eye and asked "Are you happier?"  I said "Yes.  I'm finally finding Peace."

See, DrD has seen me raging.  He has seen me drunk, sad, everything.  But he's never seen me at peace.  He said many times over the years that he didn't understand what demons were driving me. 

Now he Knew.

He extended his hand to me across the table.  "We've known each other many years.  If you're happy, you have my support."  And we shook hands.

I answered a few more questions and sold him some pictures.  Then he asked for the check and paid it.

We hugged and they disappeared into the wet night.  I drank down another glass of water, and left myself.  I was suddenly exhausted.

The next day, both of us hung-over, we traded texts.  He was still ok with it.

As I type this, he's on his way back to Arizona.  Assuming his pace of visits doesn't change (one per year) he will never see me as a guy again.

Next time he flies this way, he will meet the REAL me.

And for this, I am grateful.

I've taken another step on this Path.  I WILL live to be a Woman: in life as I am in Soul.


No comments:

Post a Comment