Voices From the Past

About a year ago, I received an e-mail out of the blue from an old roommate from Modesto, CA. The strange part about it was that we had lost touch years before while I was still living there. He was gay and Mormon; for him it was a crippling situation that he could not resolve. When he was in full Mormon swing, all of his gay or gay friendly friends were suddenly purged from his life. When being on the inside of Mormonism looking out became overwhelming, he would return to each of begging to forgive him for his actions. For the most part, we were forgiving, pointing him in the direction of ‘Affirmation’ the gay Mormon group, but he did not find solace there either. After this rubber band back and forth, it finally snapped. We did not hear from him again. His e-mails since are from an entirely different person. He credits two different therapists in two different states for his renewal. It is a pleasure to communicate with him again.

Through him, I had met a lesbian who I had befriended for a number of years. For a number of reasons, mostly pertaining to her mental health, we parted ways. I have to say, she was a fantastic cook and baker. I missed that part of the friendship as well as the socialization. She too resurfaced in an e-mail about six months ago. We maintain a casual writing relationship. Our paths are so very different now, there are few commonalities beyond pleasantries, but that is fine.

Then there was the former student who tracked me down not to very long ago. She shared her professional accomplishments based on the college course she took with me.

A couple of weeks ago, a nurse I used to work with found me after ten years to say she and her husband would be in Budapest while on a Danube cruise. They want to get together for dinner. Last week, she shared that the husband of another nurse we worked with had been killed in a motoring accident. He was on a bicycle, hit by a motorcycle. Again, I had lost touch with this couple, but not to lack of trying. I sent them notes and cards, but they were both devastated when we left. We were close. They never responded to my overtures via post and at the time, did not have a computer. I have obtained the phone number and will be calling tonight to share my loss. Jim was one of the few non-gay men who allowed me to be completely comfortable around him without having to be anything other than me. Just knowing he is not walking the earth any longer is heartbreaking. I have thought of the two of them so often over the years. They were both special people in my life.

Last night, right before going to bed, I happened to check the e-mail. Ron received a Facebook message stating “I found you while looking for Ryan James. You have a travel picture in your profile, which makes sense. If you lived in Modesto, CA then this is the correct person. Otherwise, ignore this message. This is Kim and I would like to get in touch with you guys again.”

Dare I say this was another nurse I was really close to for a number of years. Like deja vu, one day we were friends, the next she would not pick up the phone or respond to any outreach. To this day, I am uncertain what happened, but her friendship was a great loss. She is a single parent and I watched her daughter grow. I have thought of both of them often over the years wondering what they are doing. I went into Facebook, searched for her and sent her a friend request. She accepted it. Now, I am waiting for an e-mail. I sent her my addresss.

It just strikes me as weird how these past contacts are returning to my present after all of these years. The rest of it either speaks to my choice of friends or there is something in my relating to people that I am missing causing them to go undercover for years, finally feeling safe to resurface. Either way, it is gratifying that they do. They all have had a special place in my heart and life that was left empty for a number of years. Now, maybe those holes can be patched up.