Thursday, September 5, 2013
Lady In Red
Last night I got a phone call from an old high school boyfriend. He is currently living in Paris and he called to touch base like he does ever year or so.
I met Albert when I was fifteen. We were sophomores in high school and though we had several classes together I did not make his acquaintance until the day I wore my new red shoes. You see it was the first pair of red shoes I had ever owned and because red is my all time favorite color and because they were also my first pair of non-corrective shoes I was really, really, excited about them. I couldn’t take my eyes off those shoes. So, in our 5th hour history class there I was sitting sideways at my desk just so I could keep glancing down at my feet. This put me in a position to talk to the student behind me, which happened to be Albert. Not being able to contain my enthusiasm for my new shoes I stuck my feet straight out and said to him, “See my new red shoes!”. Duhhhhhh what a dork. But the door was opened and Albert took it from there.
We dated all three years of high school and continued through our freshman year of college. It was at the end of that year that Albert confessed he was gay. Not exactly confessed but told me about an experience he had on the wheat harvest that summer that made that fact very clear. I was shocked, repulsed and maybe a little scared. Being young and naive I didn’t know how to react. I just remember going home and crying on my dad’s shoulder. For some reason unknown to me at the time my dad wasn’t surprised by the revelation. It was something he had suspected since the first time he met Albert but never shared with me. I guess he felt my virtue was safe so why rock the boat. Maybe I missed the clue in Albert’s shared enthusiasm for my red shoes……..but that’s stereotyping.
What I did appreciate was what my father told me. He reminded me that everything I loved about Albert was still there. He was still the same boy. He was still my best friend which I think is what he had always been. We shared many interests and that hadn't changed.
So, Albert and I have remained close friends all our lives. He moved to California but we always stayed in touch. His mother once told me that maybe if I had just slept with her son he might not have been gay. Poor mom……….she had a hard time accepting her son's sexual orientation and way too much confidence in mine.
A few years ago Albert up and moved to Paris where he plans to remain for the remainder of his life. He once told me I was the only girl he ever loved. I know it was a sweet innocent time in our lives. I’m glad he was finally able to be his authentic self and I’m glad he was able to share that truth with me.