Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Regrets

Something very very very good happened to me today. I found out where I will be spending the next five years of my life--where I matched for residency. And that place is on the East Coast in an area I'm crazy about, doing exactly what I want to do, getting paid for it (gainful employment has been avoiding me for a long time), and, in short, living my dreams.

It reminds me, actually, of a quote from John Barrymore: "A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams." I'm not that old, although sometimes I feel like it. And I still have plenty of dreams!

But, unfortunately, I do have some regrets mixed in there. I regret that I spent all that time volunteering instead of masturbating... no wait, that's not it. Seriously now, I regret losing a friend. My roommate from college was my best friend for years. We were "joined at the hip" and everyone said our names in rapid succession--never one without the other, but I haven't heard from him in over 5 years (since starting med school). I've heard about him--we still keep in touch with mutual acquaintances--but we don't speak anymore. And we probably never will.

Let's call my friend Ben. Ben and I loved each other in a completely appropriate, beautiful way. When I was busy being stressed out about my thesis, he would make me dinner or rub my shoulders. When he was under the wire I would help him with his laundry or whatever. We became the kind of friends that shared everything, could usually complete the other's sentences.

It was when I was his roommate that I decided to explore my gay side--although I was 'out' to nobody. I went on a date with a guy I met online. I was looking at porn. I was thinking about the possibility of moving my life in that direction. But I didn't. I never once thought there was even a remote possibility of being with Ben, since he was straight and was very into the church.

Long story made short and boring--we became so close that the backrubs turned into full body massages, turned into making out, turned into both of us going to see the bishop. I won't give you the mechanics of it all, but I still believe he's straight, it was just an odd thing you do with someone you trust who let's you down because of selfishness (that would be me doing the letting down). Once we worked it out, we ended up getting into trouble a couple more times. Never anything "serious," but enough that Ben decided we couldn't be around each other anymore. And that was it.

And I regret that.

Now, I hope that I am wise enough to see that although there are many beautiful, wonderful, desirable things in my path, only measured care and the advice of Someone who knows will help me to discern which will have untoward consequences, and which are really worth pursuing. I see mistakes made all the time, I just hope they can be avoided by myself and those I love. And I sincerely believe I love many of you who will read this.

5 comments:

David said...

All due respect, I have a hard time believing Ben was, or is, straight. Of course, I don't know him, but it sure does sound like some other stories I've heard.

Congratulations on your residency. Do you know what you will be specializing in?

-L- said...

Yeah, I pretty much knew whether he was straight or not would be in dispute. I guess I'm just going with what I know about him, the things we talked about, and the fact that he still claimed to be straight regardless of all he knew about the Kinsey scale, his personal attractions and experiences, and the odd way our relationship had been an exception. Oh well. I think it's largely irrelevant anyway. One could posit a regretless scenario in which we gallup off into the sunset together as gay partners, but that misses the point.

Elbow said...

You should call Ben, or at least find his email and write him. He is your friend afterall, and he is probably thinking about you just as much as you think about him.
A frienship like that is very important and essential in your life.
Maybe right now is not a good time, but I would bet that sometime down the road it would be good to have him to talk to.

Dave said...

I'm soo excited for you! Way to go with your match!

Dave Walter said...

Yes, congrats on the match!

I lost contact with my best friend from high school. I figured he wasn't interested in staying in touch after I came out to him. Twenty years later, I saw his name listed on classmates.com and sent him an e-mail. He was glad to hear from me, and we've been swapping occasional e-mails ever since.

The only downside of contacting Ben might be the risk of hurt feelings on your part if he responds less than enthusiastically. It may be that he was and still is super-repressed about his sexual orientation and is still freaked out about what he did with you. But it's also possible he would be glad to hear from you.