My friend Richard has been part of my life for most of the past ten years. I met him when I moved into the apartment I found and fell in love with after I left my husband. He was my downstairs neighbor and I met him the day after I moved in and knocked on his door to ask if he had a phone number for Tom, our landlord. As we were talking, I was peeking over his shoulder (yeah, I'm nosy) and I finally asked if he'd show me his place. He was delighted and gave me the grand tour. I was properly impressed and later told a friend that I wasn't doing a thing to fix my place up without checking with Richard first. (Y'all will hear about him more at HIGTBM down the road as he was one of the people who helped me stay sane and kept me laughing.)
I caught on to that he was gay within five minutes of meeting him and it's funny because we've never talked about it -- he tends to be a celibate sort and knowing him, it's because he doesn't want that dreaded disease like other of my gay friends . It's just there and has no bearing on our friendship whatsoever. When I found something new for my sparsely furnished apartment, I'd go tell him he had to come upstairs and inspect my new purchase. One night we shared a bottle of wine and mentally redecorated my apartment. When he decided he was going as Cruella DeVille for Halloween, I helped him with his costume and makeup.
My favorite story is the day he was helping me put up curtain rods in my bedroom. He loved the curtains I'd purchased and when he discovered that I had a date that night, he demanded to know where he was taking me. When I told him that I would be dining at our fair city's only 4 star restaurant, he simply had to see my dress so I went to the closet and showed him my frock. His reaction?
"Ohhhhhhhhhh Kayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!! You are going to look sooooooo gorgeous!!!! I'm going to watch for him and if he doesn't have flowers, I'm, not letting him upstairs!!!
I laughed a lot. It was nice to know that someone was interested in my life and wanted to protect me.
We were neighbors and friends for about five years and he moved but we remained staunch friends and he visited now and again noting changes I kept making to fix up my place. When I moved here, I made sure that I let him know where I was and he dashed over to offer assistance with decorating and critique my choices -- always positive.
I hadn't heard from him lately and something kept nagging at me to call him but with so much going on in my world, I didn't. Last night he rang my door bell at about ten o'clock in full tilt stress mode. I opened my front door, took one look at his face, gave him a HUGE hug and asked, "What's wrong?" He burst into tears and said, "My mom died!" I don't read the obituaries much lately and missed it. I felt terrible and apologized profusely for not being there for him . He apologized for not calling to let me know. We sat here and talked about life, the universe and everything and how he was coping for a couple hours. He was very close to his mother and this has left him terribly bereft.
Right now I feel very touched that he came by and I'm going to try mightily to help him get through this difficult time.