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March 16th, 2008

It Is Still Real.

I’ve had this blissful smile on my face ever since Friday afternoon.  Certain friends of mine know exactly why, but I’ll only go into it in a general way here; party because I have to respect someone else’s privacy, but also because this touches on the story I’m telling in my cartoon series, A Coming Out Story, and I don’t want to give away too much of what happens.  And…I seem to be still in the process of writing the ending anyway…

But I just have to share because I feel so good, and after posting some of those dire blogs recently I thought some of you should know that its not all Nacht und Nebel with me

The summer of 1972, after I graduated, I went back to Woodward High School to see my English teacher, and show her a film that I’d worked on that summer with some friends. The script for it had been my last English assignment, and I thought she’d like to see the finished film.  When I walked into her classroom I saw a certain someone walking out the door, and realized to my surprise that he was taking summer school. 

He was class of ’73 and there was just no way he was taking English during the summer because he’d failed it during the year.  He was such an academic overachiever.  So I just assumed he was taking some advanced course to build up grade points for college.  It didn’t dawn on me then that he was taking summer school so he could graduate early.  And even had I known that, I wouldn’t have guessed what was coming.  We chatted briefly and then he smiled at me and said, "It was real." Then he walked out the classroom door.  It seemed odd, but I figured I’d see him again later.  There was the rest of that summer still ahead of us.  A few weeks later the family had moved away and their house was empty.  I never heard his voice again for thirty-five years.

I found him again a couple years ago, and we’ve chatted now and then, semi-regularly, by phone and postal mail, and our chats have been friendly and sometimes we stray off onto many different topics along the way and it’s always been fun talking to him again after all these years.  But it wasn’t until yesterday that I heard something in his voice I hadn’t heard since we were both kids in high school.  I’d left him voice mail asking, very tentatively, if he was the guy who posted those angry notes on my blog some weeks ago, while I was down in Key West.  I won’t go into the reasons why I thought it might have been him now, but my thinking was that if it wasn’t him he’d just laugh it off.  No.  What I got was concern that I’d thought he was angry at me.

There is a moment of discovery in all friendships, including even those which redevelop after many years of absence, when you see there really is something there, that affection is real after all and you’re not just projecting your own feelings onto someone else because you wish it was.  The rest of the conversation was about this and that.  It was private and I’m not going into it, but it wasn’t very deep; just the kind of casual talk friends have among themselves.  But the tone of caring never left his voice.

Wahre freund.  It is Still real.  Life is good.


3 Responses to “It Is Still Real.”

  1. Tavdy Says:

    In a twist of irony, the "down" blog you posted a few days back really reflected how I felt at the time (and still do to an extent, for reasons I’ll not go into) so it’s good to know you’ve come through that dark valley of the soul. Good luck!

  2. Bruce Says:

    Good luck to you too guy.  What I’ve learned about those dark times is they always pass.  The trick is getting through it.  I’m not completely out of that dark valley yet myself, in that I’m still single and that’s not likely to change any time soon and it weighs on me every moment of every day.  But things can happen and you have keep an open mind about your situation.  The pessimist says the good times will eventually come to an end.  The optimist says the bad times will eventually come to an end.  And actually they’re both right.  At 54, I’ve come to count on that.

  3. Tavdy Says:

    I guess sometimes it’s worth remembering, when you’re heading back down into the valley, that if you’d carried on climbing long enough you’re run out of oxygen. I think you need the downs to understand the value of the ups.

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories,

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