I’m From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

by Joseph U.

Canada Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

As a personally life-changing event, there was this guy I literally fell in love with at first sight. Of course, I was just too cowardly to admit it. Despite his having a girlfriend at the time, to me, I knew he was my guy.

I’ve come to learn that my ”coming out” was never really an issue, but this guy led me to a path, for which I honestly have to be thankful.

Growing up in a very Catholic family, I felt it was my duty to fulfill my role as the good, obedient son. In addition to that, I was born in a traditional and religious community, so we can somewhat sense how the story might feel. We met on a snowy winter day I believe in November of 2000. I just recently moved from Vancouver and re-joined the same youth group I had in Vancouver, and this was when we had our first meeting for the season. After the meeting, I had this warm sensation (one that could melt the a winter in Alberta), when he decided to help ”de-snow” my parents’ car, and I thought, ”oh, how sweet of him.”

Several meetings and events later, I only thought that this was a guy who basically liked the things I liked. Anything from music to food.

I did anything for him. I became really Catholic for him (which wasn’t how I thought it was). I traveled miles to his house on a rainy day to drop off something he forgot.

I remember thinking to myself that I knew I felt something, but it couldn’t possibly be love. My parents had just found out in Vancouver that I was ”bisexual” when I knew well that I wasn’t. Nice cover-up. I couldn’t possibly be obvious and act on my feelings.

So in the summer of 2001, we had a North American conference in Seattle. Lo and behold, we became roommates for the weekend. I believe that was the first time I finally realized I had strong feelings for him. I thought that it was probably because he had told me that Friday, ”I don’t know why I don’t share intimacy with my girlfriend, not like you and I do.”

The morning after, I remember overhearing that he wanted to be a priest, possibly assuming that it was his calling, because over a year later, I find out it wasn’t. I rushed off to shower what I was feeling, and I couldn’t stop crying, confused why he suddenly wanted to leave. A couple of months pass, and this was when he actually decided to depart for Connecticut.

I had assumed we were best friends, because I literally wore my heart on my sleeve saying ”I love you” as often as I could. I’m sure he knew that, but I started to sense that he was awkward about it. I had thought, “Is he withdrawing because I’m too upfront? Or is he going to become a priest because of something I’ve done or said?”

Before moving, I perfectly remember his saying, ”I never returned your calls because I knew it would tempt you.”

So then he moves to Connecticut, I say good-bye with a puddle beneath me, and I don’t see him for about six months.

He comes back, I am blown away even more. I never expected him to come back. More importantly, I had just started getting over him. (Though we all know that’s a lie.)

This became another turning point in my life when I finally admitted to myself who and what I truly am. And despite the pain, thanks to one very special, significant ”straight” man.

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