It didn’t matter seven years ago, when she called to interview me for a job. “You live on the same street as my best friend,” she said. That was odd because I was pretty sure my only neighbors in this rural Maine town were goats. Turns out, I did have neighbors, and one of them was indeed her best friend.
It didn’t matter when we began tutoring students together after school. What mattered was, were there enough snacks, and did I remember to sharpen the pencils? (Usually, I didn’t.)
It didn’t matter when we worked side-by-side one summer, sharing the suckiness of teachers working during break, the suckiness of our boss, and the suckiness of scheduling people to work for us. I never got the hang of that, scheduling people, but Ivy and I got the hang of being friends. It wasn’t long before we were out-of-work friends too.
We both liked beer. We had dry senses of humor. We found ourselves and each other quite hilarious. The fact that her best friend lived on my street in this tiny town in Maine where I knew no one made me feel connected. She would call and say, “Can I stop by when I’m in the neighborhood?” Fuck yes. No one is ever in my neighborhood. Come on over, I’d tell her. And when she came over, it didn’t matter.
I honestly thought we’d covered all the topics. We’ve had silly talks and serious talks, and we talk just to talk sometimes. We send pictures back and forth, pictures of iconic members of our past, such as a My Little Pony figurine and a toy horse named Porky, both of whom took up residence on the desk we shared for a substantial amount of time. We talked about past relationships that might have been just as sucky as our old boss. We talked about work, and working out. We talked about mutual friends. We went places. We just simply became great friends. It didn’t matter then either.
So, I was a little surprised that my friend of OVER SEVEN YEARS told me last night that she was gay. It wasn’t a, “hey, I think you should know…I’m finally coming out” thing. She’s been out. She’s dated. She’s lived her life out in the open and it.just.never.came.up. Not because the topic was avoided. It just never came up. We had such a good time being friends, that her sexual orientation just was never an issue. I think mine was probably obvious being that I’m married to a man, so she never thought to ask me. And I never thought to ask her, because, well, you just don’t think to ask people that in the middle of a good conversation or a fun outing or a ridiculous work day.
We had to laugh at the silliness that this never was a topic of conversation. But then I thought, what if EVERYONE acted like this? What if NO ONE cared? Because, really, why should you care?
And you might be asking yourself how this story ended up in my parenting blog. Well, my life is parenting and every experience that I have bounces back to how it might impact my children. I can only hope that I will raise them with the same open-mindedness and love that my parents raised me so that they might find the quality of friends that I have now.