Ron and I have a small number of friends who are so close and dear to us we refer to them as family. Ethan Mordden talks about something similar in his books though in Mordden’s world the families of gay men seem to extend only to other gay men, whereas our own “family” of dear friends includes a straight couple whom we are very close to and love dearly.
We know and see Lots of people and most of them are never going to make the cut to becoming family. And if I were to introduce Ron to an old friend and add simply “and he is family” after providing his name, Ron would immediately know the stranger before him was somebody very important to me, to be welcomed most warmly.
And the last few days when I have Not been reading any books or writing any blog posts about them I have been learning some lessons in friendship from my husband and from a good friend who is well along the road to becoming real family to us.
It could have been a nightmare. Thursday afternoon in my living room a friend said something to me that was intended quite innocently but which offended me very greatly. And from the moment my huzband saw as our visitor did not that I was utterly furious and doing my absolute damndest not to let it show, my dear sweetie efficiently moved into what he refers to as damage control mode.
My instinct of course was to try to hide my outrage and get the man of out my house and not let him see how offended I was, because I knew deep down that the remark I had taken such intense offense at was never meant as an insult. But the thing is, I am not good at hiding my feelings. When I was a supervisor at Sprynet it really got me into trouble once. I was very unhappy and pissed off about a something that happened at work and it was very obvious to every person I dealt with how unhappy and pissed off I was because no matter What words came out of my mouth Anyone who could see my Face would know immediately how peeved I was. For better or for worse I am Not good at hiding things.
But I actually might have pulled it off. I vividly remember sitting here moments after I took offense typing an IM (to another friend who is also moving along the road to becoming family) that “I am laughing and typing fast and the guy across the room has no idea I loathe him at this moment”. And privately to me, Ron agreed of course that we ‘must try to hustle him out of here before you explode’ and yet inexplicably insisted on detaining our friend until such time as I just could not hold it in (I’m told the tone I gave to the words “yes, it’s been busy” scorched the ceiling) and we ended up having a Major Scene.
I hate scenes. Everybody hates scenes. They’re ugly, they’re messy and they hurt. But my huzband, who in this installment is playing the wise director knows that sometimes you have to actually go ahead and Have a scene if you are to work things out and go on being friends.
It’s been a tense and emotional three days. There have been a whole bunch of calls and emails. And we’ve just come back from dinner at our friend’s place. We had a great time and I think what we all felt most was relief that we’re still friends. And having done the emotional heavy lifting of actually learning how we had quite unintentionally hurt each other very badly, we have moved with him a big step along the road to being family.