Saturday, June 24, 2006

Two Moments

Last week I had lunch with my contact at one of my clients. I approached the event with some trepidation – was she thinking of quitting, looking for more money, maybe an opportunity to vent. It was a pleasure to learn she just wanted to have lunch and talk of anything other than business. So we talked of our lives, places we grew up – we are from the same area so surprising amounts were in common, simple general conversation.

The conversation gravitated to giving. This was “giving” in the best traditions of Spider, though I decided any conversation that could ultimately lead back to this place would be a mistake and Spider remained only in my thoughts.

Then she gave me a pop quiz meme. She did not know it was a meme, but we know. She told her story and then asked what was the best thing I had done for someone? A tough question given time to ponder: impossible sitting in a restaurant under a microscope. She wanted an answer and did not think much of my offer to e-mail one eventually. I came up with an answer – not a moment but a good concept all the same.

Since then I have occasionally thought of the question and yesterday realized that one of my best and one of my worst moments involved the same person. When I was twenty-seven there was a legal secretary at one of my clients – a mere babe of maybe twenty-two. We became friends – I would have preferred more, but with minor exceptions friends it was. (One day I will post on my propensity for brother / sister relationships.) She was my hero because she had come from a poor background, depressed small city, alcoholic dad – all the bells and whistles – and was working her way up towards the American Dream.

She –Kage - has actually
graced my blog once before. Tickets to a Broadway show I won at a raffle when we were together at an office Holiday party, the minor issue of living with my girlfriend in what had become a stale (at best) relationship, and the question of who to take to the show. Kage of course.

When we had known each other for a few years, Kage came to me with a problem. She had slept with an old friend – younger and poorer than her- and was pregnant. So for the first and last time in my life I found myself funding an abortion and I wasn’t even the doer. She went on to lose the boy, move into a strong management level position, marry and have a family. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if not for the abortion: somehow I sense that instead of her having joined the middle classes, she would have continued a cycle of poverty. It was a small act for me – not a lot of money for a young unmarried professional – but the future it purchased…

This “best” moment came to mind last night when I was reminded of one of my worst moments. KA and I was discussing this blog community and her jealousies of the bonds that exist between many of us. It is a strange fact that in this bi/gay world my closest friend is a straight spouse – sis as I call her. (Yes, there really is a post on my brother / sister thing just waiting for the writing.) This relationship has not gone unnoticed by KA and when I referred to the “safety” of this relationship, KA said safe it is – sis is 3,000 miles away. That may be true but it is not the source of the “safety.”

Twenty years ago I was married to my first wife but had a few un-reconciled issues – well, maybe more than a few. One day Kage came to my city on business. She had by this point moved into a solid management position and was a source of joy and pride. She was staying at a nearby hotel – quite upscale – and we met for dinner. Nothing untoward, my wife at the time knew where I was and who I was with. Kage and I had a wonderful dinner – two well dressed business people in the Hotel restaurant. Afterwards we stood in the lobby and – it is still hard to say twenty years later – I hit on her. Nothing physical, nothing noticeable to a passerby, but I made it clearly known I wanted to take her upstairs to her room, that I wanted to make love to her.

She wisely rejected my advances and I went home a little chagrined, but I had been embarrassed before – haven’t we all. I did not realize the damage I had done. It was the last time we ever spoke. By the time years later I was ready to apologize, I no longer knew where to find her. To this day I regret what I did and regret never having had the opportunity to apologize even more.

So when KA wonders if I would ever hit on Sis, she need not worry. A true friend, of either gender, is a treasure to be valued, something that even transcends sex. In a strange sense one can “buy” sex; friendship is not for sale. And that is central to everything I think and write because while Sis has become a true and dear friend, my best friend in the world is my wife.

KA and I will always be best friends – a fact neither of us doubts – and when you combine that with being lovers you have something not to be tossed aside lightly no matter what issues of sexual orientation are lurking.


Brad said...

Reading your "worst" moment felt like a bandage being ripped off a healing wound.

bear said...

Kage: Your bad moment with Kage was unfortunate as it put the relationship hanging in an awkward place, yet, I don't think that's a reason to stop being friends or seeking out Kage to set it right. Friends and relationships are complicated, alot of times mixed with some level of attraction, inappropriate advances happen...if she knew how sorry you felt, I'm sure she'd forgive you.

KA: If she's jealous of your blog friends, think of how jealous many of us are not to have someone like KA. I can't believe the things you are able to talk about openly. You have a very special best friend -very lucky guy. We are the jealous ones! :)

Paul said...

I'm reminded of a regularly stated conflict, "Can't be be friends AND lovers?"

YES, for some ... sometimes. And hopefully those times will last a lifetime.