I’m From Yoakum, TX.

by Layne Box

Satellite overhead image of Texas from Google Earth 2022

I came out when I was twenty and that was to some friends and my mother. I had a conversation with my mom, about how I wanted to tell friends and family in my own time. I think we all know that there is a time to tell everyone and each one is different.

In doing so I really never dated openly with my family knowing. When I was asked who I was dating, if they got real intense with the questions I would say “she” and in my head laugh, but most of the time if I discussed who I was dating, I just said, “the person I am dating.” Dating really didn’t happen too much, because I seemed to find every guy that “liked” me, but along the way found someone else that he “liked” for the moment. And for me, I just don’t like to be the other guy or second best. So I have been single for most of my “out” life and I had never found a guy that I could say the words “I love you” to. But on Oct. 4 (year doesn’t really matter) I was out with my best friend Scott, who was not having the best time dating, so we made a pact, no hitting on guys, no getting numbers and no hooking up. Hey, you will do anything for a friend, right? And honestly, how hard can that be, one night of not hitting on a guy or any of those laid out rules? So, I quickly shook on the deal.

As we are out being single and loving it, we decide the night is just not much fun and we were ready to go home. So Scott led the way out of the bar, when I spotted a friend Corey, talking with a large group of people I didn’t know. I ran over to say hi, thinking I am just going to say hi and leave, so I will catch up with Scott outside. As I am saying hi, I see a guy within the group that I just can not take my eyes off of, and he was the center of attention amongst his friends. I have never been the one to make the first move with any guy, but when I saw him, the conversation with Corey stopped and turned straight to him. I wanted to know him. Corey waved him over and introduced us. “Matt this is my friend Layne, Layne this is Matt.” We hit it off right away and I got lost in conversation, and totally forgot Scott was waiting outside. He came back in with a vengeance, and it was time for me to leave. So, keeping to my pact I was unable to give my number or get his. Thanking God for networking sites, I wrote my name down and told him if he has Facebook or Myspace, he will find me, as I am the only Layne Box on there. And alas, I had to leave.

The next twenty four hours were long. I was checking my pages every chance I got. And finally, there it was–a message from Matt. We began emailing, texting and calling pretty much every minute of the day. I drove to Houston for our first date and then after that, pretty much every day I had off I was in Houston with him. One night after being out with friends, we climbed into bed and were talking while cuddling. As I was laying there thinking he was asleep, I heard him say, “I love you.” My heart began to race. Did he say that in a drunken moment or was he already asleep and talking in his sleep? I fell asleep without returning it, but in a later conversation found out that he meant it and worried I didn’t feel the same. I explained what happened and why I didn’t return the I love you, but now I couldn’t just say it because it would seem like I was just saying it, but that the time would be right and he would know. I am such a hopeless romantic when it comes to that.

Being in Houston so much, meant that I was close to my family and I was going to see them more often. My aunt and grandmother got to see me a lot because they tended to be off work while Matt was at work so we always went shopping and to lunch, which made me happy as they are amazing women. My Aunt Terry is the second person in our family I came out to and she knew who Matt was, but agreed to just not tell the rest of the family. While visiting one day, my grandmother asked where I was staying while I was in Houston and I told her my friend Matt’s house. “You seem to be staying at Matt’s all the time,” she replied and I explained we were close friends. We continued on in conversation and like an A.D.D. child, my grandmother in the middle of a different topic, looked at me and said, “what kind of friend is Matthew?” BAM!! 18-wheeler and brick wall, not what I was expecting to come out of her mouth. “What do you mean, Mamaw?” I replied. She wanted to know if Matt was my friend or my frieeeennnndd, yes, she said it nice and slow. I thought about it for a second and then realized I just had to tell her, “Well, if you are asking if he is my boyfriend, then yes. He is, and he makes me really happy.” She looked at me, then at my aunt Terry, and said, “Well thank God, because I thought I was just making this up.”

Later that day, we were going to shop and we got a call from my other aunt, saying Grandpa wasn’t feeling well. Now I couldn’t hear this but when my grandmother told them to have him lay down and we would be there as soon as possible, I knew something was wrong. Being in the medical field I wanted to know what was going on. We got there and found my grandfather pale, clammy and sweaty. At 79, he had never had any problems and this was something big I could tell. I got an ambulance there and wow, it seems as though they take forever when you are waiting. So I called Matt as I needed that support. He was amazing, calmed me down and made sure I was level-headed. We got everything in order before heading to the hospital. My grandparents were there with nothing, since my grandmother just jumped in the ambulance and left with them. Matt had only met them once, but was the first one at the hospital and was able to make sure they were fine and gave us a report as we were trying to get to downtown Houston (not an easy thing when stressed). After all was said and done my grandfather had surgery and is fine but that is when I realized for the first time, I was in love.

This was the moment and the perfect man was the one I got to say “I love you” to for the first time. It was amazing. That is when I knew for sure, not all guys were horrible and I was going to be happy. I didn’t know until then what love felt like, but I was glad he was the one I learned it from. Matt and I later went our separate ways, but there is nothing like your first love.

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