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.