One Person at a Time
Eddie's story - part four -
A Real Friend
When I was fourteen I decided to come out to my mom and dad. My mom was fine. In fact she said she knew. How she knew I didn't find out until much later.
My dad on the other hand hated me. We'd never got along that well and he basically disowned me. As a result of my coming out my dad demanded a divorce from my mom.
I of course thought that I was the cause of the divorce. What else could I think? That was what my father had said. Mom said it was just his last ditch effort to hurt me and her. She said their marriage had never been that good. They hadn't had sex in over ten years.
Mom said she agreed to the divorce only if she got the house and car and a $100,000 in my college fund. Still, it didn't make me feel any better.
Luc was away visiting his grandparents in Florida when all this happened. Dad had already moved out. It was like he couldn't get away from me fast enough. I was so depressed. I felt numb but I couldn't cry a single tear.
Luc had called a few days before he was to come back. He kept asking me what was wrong. I told him I missed him. I did. He told me he'd be over as soon as he could after they landed.
I was in my room lying on my bed staring at the ceiling when my door opened. It was Luc. He walked over to by bed and lay down next to me then turned on his side and looked at me.
"Your mom told me about your asshole dad," he said softly.
I immediately burst into tears. I cried harder than I'd ever cried before. He took me in his arms and comforted me and let me cry until I could cry no more. I told him how I felt I was the cause but I couldn't tell him why. I couldn't tell him it was because I was gay.
Lying there in his arms I felt better. We lay there for five or ten minutes in a comfortable silence.
"I guess I'll have to give you an early birthday present," he said.
"You don't have to, Luc. Having you back here is enough. I missed you so much." I was working up the courage to tell him I was gay.
"Yes, I do. You're my very best friend. I know you're hurting but maybe what I have for you will stop the hurt. Go to the bathroom and wash your face. Put some Murine in your eyes and come over to my house in twenty minutes."
He got up and left.
I arrived on time and Luc took me into the living room.
"My dad told me last Christmas that the best gift you could give anyone was a gift from the heart. Things you buy - toys and such never last but a gift from the heart lasts a lifetime because it's something you'll always remember. When I was lying on your bed I decided what I wanted to give you. Close your eyes."
I closed my eyes. I had no idea what it was Luc was going to give me.
"Open your eyes," said Mr. Baxter.
"Yes, I am your early birthday present. Luc told me about your dad and ask me if he could share me with you. I spoke with your mother and I know the whole situation. I have not said anything to Luc as it is not my place to do that. Your sexuality makes no difference to me. You have always been a best friend to Luc and I have a lot of respect and love for you."
"I am here for you and although we are not related by blood you have been like a brother to Luc. So, if you need advice, someone to talk or even a hug - anything I am here for you. Come here," he said opening up his arms, "You look like you need a good hug."
The hug was what I needed and somehow he got me talking about my feelings. I cried some and laughed too. Before I knew it I had spent two hours with Frank (Mr. Baxter). In those two hours I learned what it was like to have a real dad.
That was my early birthday present. What Luc gave me on my birthday was also from the heart. For the last year he had been getting tutoring. I assumed it was for his grades. It wasn't entirely.
"Here's my present to you, Eddie," Luc smiled, "I knew you'd be lost without me when you went off to ninth grade and being in a new school without a best friend would be as bad me a being in the old school without my best friend. So here, I did this for you."
He handled me an envelope. I opened it. It was a letter to Luc's parents announcing that Luc had passed his eight grade tests and would be starting the ninth grade. He had skipped a grade to be with me.