I’m From Gainesville, FL.

by Ken Wms

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

My first crush was on my best friend of nineteen years. We met back in middle school on the first day of school, and I knew I had an instant attraction to him. As time went on we became closer, hung out and throughout the years I remember always trying to get him prepared to tell him that I was gay. High school comes around and in my going into eleventh grade I came out to a girl friend of mine and she asked me if I told my best friend, which I was still afraid to do. She made a pact with me to tell him. I finally got the nerves to tell him over the summer break.

I remember it didn’t rain at all and was hot and humid that summer. I was talking to my best friend over the phone but that wasn’t the way I really wanted to tell him about myself. The other issue was I didn’t want him to ask me certain questions like if I had a thing for him or something. We talk for a bit over the phone and I finally say, “Okay now here’s the big thing,” and you can kind of hear him sitting up getting ready for me to announce something. And I tell him that I’m gay. Soon as I say the actual word gay it started pouring down lightning and raining. I’m thinking maybe this is a bad mistake. My friend is on the other line and he’s quiet and I ask him if he’s okay, and he tells me “No.” At that moment of awkwardness I was cursing myself wishing I never said anything at all and he goes “No, I’m sorry you just caught me off guard” and that he was cool with me and I was still his friend no matter what.

I think I was his first gay friend cause the questions started to roll out, like have I been with a guy, how long have I known, and others. It was what I wanted to hear from him and it made me comfortable. Then the weird questions pop up like what kind of things have I done, and the last dreaded question that I did not want to answer, he asked if I had a thing for him, and in my heart I really knew that I did and was so scared to say it. I deflected the question and just said, “Well I don’t date any of my friends.” A few years later we talked again about me coming out to him and I told him the truth, and he tells me that he already knew. Now we’re still close and he’s getting married soon and I’m going to go hang out with him because we haven’t seen each other in a year or two but we always keep in touch with each other. He is truly my best bud.

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