For college, I moved from a small town in Texas to Boston. I felt overwhelmed and terrified.
Freshman year -no, freshman WEEK I befriended a guy named David who lived on my floor in our huge dorm. He was from a small town. He was very gay.
With nothing to do on an early fall evening in a terrifying big city, we walked down Newbury Street together toward Tower Records, chatting and staring. Suddenly David quit talking, turned around, staring at couple we had just passed. It was two men, holding hands.
David's voice was sort of trembling. And he called out to them: (not yelled, called, loudly, specifically) You guys are beautiful. I love you. I mean it. You're beautiful.
I don't think I'll ever forget that.
To have grown up, knowing that you're gay for years, in a small town where men don't walk down the street holding hands. He had just seen his first happy, openly gay couple, walking down the street just like everyone else.
Later he scandalized me with tales of all the guys he hooked up with in the Public Gardens. David got a job designing displays at Filene's. David did alright with the fellas. David made up for some lost time.
Tonight on the train ride home, the two benches behind me were occupied by two teenaged African-American lesbian couples, cuddling and smooching on the train just like every other teenage couple.
I was so damn happy for them I felt creepy.
And I thought of David.