‘My Strongest Relationship’: One Gay Man’s Love Letter to His Best Friend
The day I met my best friend, I knew he was going to be the man I married.
We were working at a kids’ camp in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I was the camp counselor to a tribe of four-year-olds. He was the Creative Expression teacher, using 45 minute blocks of time to teach the children how to bang a drum and play games that involved freezing when the music stopped.
There’s not much else you can do with four-year-olds.
When I walked into his classroom that day, I immediately fell in love with his Jewish good looks, awkward charm and way with kids. I envisioned our wedding day. Him standing in front of me as I said, “I do.” The music of Hannah Montana in the distance starting and stopping over and over again. I snapped out of it — but still determined to make him mine that summer.
I whispered to a fellow camp counselor, “Oh my god. How cute is he?”
She nodded in agreement. Whispering back, she said, “So is his boyfriend.”
My heart sank. Of course. How foolish was I to expect someone like him to be single? Later that day, I met his boyfriend — another counselor at camp. He too was perfect. And I became the third wheel of their relationship, especially when they drove me back to the city on hot Friday afternoons. Nothing romantic, maybe less a third wheel and more like their illegitimate child — sitting in the back seat as Dad 1 and Dad 2 bickered over dinner plans.
Quickly, my dreams of being his mate were shelved, as our relationship budded into a friendship. I’ve never had many gay friends. I despise most hordes of gay men out and about in cliques, maybe because I’ve never had that myself. But not only did I not have a group, I didn’t really have anyone.
When I met Evan, I opened myself up to letting him in as a friend. I was forced to, because he was in a monogamous relationship. And I’m thankful for that because now the strongest relationship in my life is with him.
His relationship with that boyfriend ended up ending. But by then, our friendship was the foundation of support that he needed to get through that tough time and I needed for all the other countless obstacles I’ve had to overcome.
I’m not sure what would have happened if he was single when we met. I may have tried to date him. Failing or succeeding, the attempts could have ruined our relationship forever. Probably something I’d let happen to most gay men who entered my life prior.
Today, I envision my wedding day. Evan is still standing by my side, just now he’s where the best man is instead of the groom. Honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Boyfriends and maybe even husbands come and go — but a best friend like him is forever.