not once had the possibility ever crossed my mind.
Charlie couldn’t be gay. I’m highly uncomfortable
around gay men and Charlie, well, he was Charlie,
my buddy, a highly paid executive who wore white
shirts and ties and understood annual reports and stuff.
Charlie could be a Republican but he couldn’t be gay.
No. It was settled. Charlie wasn’t gay.
I looked into his eyes.
Charlie wasn’t kidding.
We had been discussing social justice.
It had recently occurred to me that being born poor
wasn’t a handicap in America if you were white and male.
A white boy who wasn’t successful in America was either
lazy or a playboy or a fool. I asked Charlie if he’d ever
given any thought to the problem of social equality.
“You know I’m gay, right?”
Charlie had been out of the closet for 20 years.
Everyone knew it but me.
“How did I not know, Charlie?”
“It just never came up,” he said.
My friendship with Charlie was fully formed
so it was impossible for me to change my opinion of him.
Strangely, I’m no longer
uncomfortable around gay people.