In another lifetime, I had a best friend. We met as freshman in high school. She changed schools, and when I met my first girlfriend I was terrified to tell her about it. Being gay wasn’t something I had ever even considered prior to that first girlfriend. Everything about it was new and scary, and I could barely talk to MYSELF about it, let alone my best friend.
Eventually, she found out and confronted me about it on a marathon after school phone call. It went better than I could have hoped. She was so supportive. Annoyed at me for keeping secrets that she had to hear about through the grapevine, but totally supportive.
A lot of life happened between then and our early 20s. It’s a long story, but I ended up hurting her badly and we didn’t talk for a long time afterward. At some point, I realized that I really missed her. I reached out—groveled. Apologized more times in the span of a month than I think I have in my entire life. We started working on trying to be friends again.
I took up scrapbooking so we’d have a common hobby. We marched in the Doo Dah Parade with the basset hound rescue. It wasn’t the same as it used to be, but we were friends. It was nice.
One day, she told me that she had made the decision to be baptized in her new church. Knowing my stance on religion, she was as scared to tell me about church as I had been to tell her that I’m gay. The conversation was similar, but reversed. It was me shrugging off the major life changes and telling her that I love her regardless. I even went to a church picnic with her.
When the 2008 election brought California Proposition 8, I sent a heartfelt email to my friends and family explaining the direct effect Prop 8 would have on me and Catch.
I don’t remember exactly what her response was to my email. I know I responded back, but I can’t recall exactly what was said then, either. What I do remember is that in our final exchange she said, “Can’t we just agree to disagree on this?”
The short answer? No. We can’t.
Marriage is hard and beautiful and I have no room in my life for “friends” who can’t stand behind this commitment Catch and I have made to each other. For better or for worse, this is our life. It is the center of our lives. Our marriage is the thing that most of our decisions revolve around. It is the thing that decides our present and our future. There are few things I do in my life that do not cause me to pause for a moment and think of my wife. How will she feel? What will she think? How will she react? What effect does this have on her?
Should I go see the Book of Mormon with a friend tomorrow night? I better make sure Catch is home to take care of the dogs.
Can we spend a week in Mexico this summer at my mom’s timeshare? Let’s check the calendar to see when Catch is teaching summer school.
Can I plant my ass firmly on the couch all night and watch a Law & Order SVU marathon? My wife is going to kill me if I don’t at least wash the dishes first.
So, I’m sorry—you don’t get to vote against my marriage one day and pop over for movie night the next. There’s a lot of room for grey in my life, but not when it comes to my family.
So, the ties were cut. About a year later, we announced our real (secret) marriage at our big fake wedding, and my best friend from high school never made it onto the guest list.
Non, je ne regrette rien.
All of this is a long way of getting around to telling you that she got married this past weekend. We have some mutual Facebook friends, and word travels.
The thing about best friends is that no matter how much you change over time—and you do—some things never change. Just as I know that there are probably toothpaste splatters on her bathroom mirror right now, I also know how important marriage and children are to her. I know how badly she has wanted both—and for so many years. I know how sensitive and thoughtful she is, and I know what a wonderful wife and mother she will be.
For years, her words have echoed in my head. Can’t we just agree to disagree?
Five years ago, I might have hoped that she tripped on her way down the aisle. Today, I simply wish her all the happiness that Catch and I have in our marriage—because really, that’s what this marriage equality thing is all about. I hope her life is filled with an abundance of “for better” and very little “for worse.” Even more, I hope their life together is surrounded by people who have faith in their marriage.