Even at the ripe age of 65, my coming out saga continues. I only came out 10 years ago but I nevertheless felt this deep urge to attend my high school reunion so that I could do what I failed to do 47 years ago: announce to my former classmates that I was gay. I debated at length whether to attend: the expense of the trip from Vancouver to Boston; why would it matter for someone my age; would the people who matter be there (or were they even alive)? I also wanted to see my best friend, Owen, and tell him that I was gay. I had successfully hidden my attraction for him lest he shun me like anyone else would in the late 50s and early 60s.
The reunion was remarkably uneventful. The most important topics of discussion were “themselves.” I had to assertively announce that I now lived in Vancouver with my husband. I could have gone through the whole evening in the closet since no one was particularly interested in wanting to know anything about me. I reflected that perhaps that was the way I lived my life in high school: invisible. While the speeches droned on, I perused the copy of the yearbook which aptly confirmed my existence, or lack thereof, since there were no candid pictures of me in a class of 25 boys, only the formal picture.
Alas, my best friend was not able to attend. I wrote him an e-mail message so that I could come out to him. After all, he was the object of my unrequited feelings, so I wanted him to know the real person that I was. The message was short, telling him of my move to Vancouver where my husband and I were married. Like a teenager, I eagerly checked my message to see if he had replied. A day later, a message arrived. Owen said that he didn’t fly anymore which accounted for his absence. He then wrote that he now lived in San Francisco and that his partner had died two years ago. My mind went back to those school days and I thought of the wasted years of not telling the people I love who I am – and damn the consequences.