Coming Out at A Christian College (Part 3): Tearing Down the Walls
The wind had a slight chill to it, but luckily, there were few clouds in the sky, making the sun shimmer off the ocean and into my eyes, making me squint as I looked at the San Diego skyline just across the bay. His luster-filled blonde hair didn’t help too much either.
A few months beforehand, he and I sat on the cliffs where we finally reconciled the moments that went unaddressed: the reason why he had so little to say, the reason he waited so long to call, and the reason why he became so distant.
Denying my tears, I kept listening as my abandonment – birthed at that cafeteria table – cleared the air tainted by months of passive aggressive bitterness. I always found comfort in his voice, and the more he spoke, the more I could see the guilt I imposed start leaving his heart.
There, we were restored. There, we were made new.
He was biting into his burrito when he looked up at me asked to hear more of a story I told him earlier: “So what happened with those two guys?”
“Oh yeah! I forgot about that!” I muffled with a mouth full with bacon burrito, thinking back and remembering a conversation we had a few week ago.
We sat in his room, rallying a tennis ball around his room, trying to keep it off the floor. As we bounced the ball off the walls, bunk beds, and mirrors, we kept our conversation just as alive. We were killing time until his laundry finished and could walk back to our friends’ condo just down the road.
The laundry finished, he loaded it into the dryer, and we left. We walked silent until I asked him, “Did I tell you about what happened with these two guys?”
“No, you didn’t! What happened?” he replied, eager as a kid in a candy store.
“Oh man, we have a lot to catch up on…” I smiled, searching for a starting point to my soon long story. “Well, back in the beginning of last semester, there was this guy…” I started.
Strolling down the street, jaywalking to the other side, and entering into our friends’ neighborhood, I constructed the groundwork for my story.
As we climbed the massive flight of stairs to our friends’ condo, we approached the condo’s doorstep.
“Should we stay out here and keep talking or should we go inside?” He stated, subtly implying the awkwardness if I continued to talk.
“This is a good point to stop,” I insisted with a cool smile on my face. “But the crazy part comes next,” assuring him that what he knew was unsatisfactory in the grand scheme.
“So I left off at…” I continued, sharing the heartbreak, the kissing, and the confusion, more than what I have dealt with personally in a while.
He engaged with me as I told my story, not just letting me tell it but also letting me immerse him into it.
After I finished, our conversation continued to flow, and we caught up on life: our goals, our aspirations, our struggles, some stupid decisions, and the list goes on.
I revealed to him how in the months following that conversation on the cliffs, one by one, I started opening up to my friends and, brick by brick, I tore down my walls.
My fellow Oregonian and closest friend my first two years of college found out after I told her, and she finally realized that I never actually did have that crush on her.
That friend I made the beginning of this semester tugged it out of me that night I sat, for hours, slouched in the passenger seat of her car, head pounding.
My tenderhearted roommate called me an idiot and embraced me after I hinted, “I understand if you don’t want to live with me anymore.”
Lastly, that friend, who despite his misunderstanding, said those powerful words, “You’re my friend, and I still love you.” Providing me the opportunity to finally see the Love of God, and changed it all.
With each of them, nothing changed. They were willing to walk through it with me and be present. The greatest relief overcame me because I had been exposed but for once, not disowned. I could be honest and no longer pretend.
As time passed, our conversation approached a timely end, and we got up from the picnic table. Getting closer to his car, he fired me one shocking question, “So, what does your ideal guy look like?”
“Are you serious?” I chuckled, failing to think of another straight friend that had asked me that question before.
“Of course, it’s no different than you asking me what do I look for in a girl,” he laughed, as we both got into the car.
Driving away, we started talking about boys, and I realized I was no longer trying to impress him. I wasn’t trying to hide myself. I was just being, myself. Nothing more, nothing less. Just Sean.
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