By John Jericiau
I met her over 20 years ago when I took a job as a staff physical therapist in a Los Angeles hospital. It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than two decades. We have been through so much together. Work has had its challenges. At about the tenth anniversary of our friendship we left our job within months of each other, but then I wooed her to my next job (she’s an occupational therapist) even though she decided to go wild and try to sell vacuums for a while. Even I didn’t buy one from her, although after the free demonstration at my home my carpets never looked better.
I’ve been by her side as she dated here and there before falling in love with her now husband. I was in her wedding, walking down the aisle with her two toddler nieces who now have babies of their own. I was at the birth of her first child, a beautiful daughter with Down’s Syndrome who continues to flourish and grow as she passes the 10-year-old mark. Then she had a boy a few years later whose only affliction is a severe addiction to Wii Sports and DS.
She’s lived through many of my boyfriends before I finally found the love of my life. Many of them made her eyes roll back in her head as she listened to the crazy words coming out of their mouths. Many of them made her chin hit the floor and her tongue wag. She is quite content with my husband now, although to her no one is good enough for her best friend.
She’s stood by me as I’ve had my struggles with adoption. She accompanied me to Los Angeles International Airport when it was time for me to pick up Ryan, my 3-day-old son who came with his birthmother (and her brand new boyfriend) from Michigan. Ryan was completely wet and soiled; I gave him his first west coast diaper change on the floor of the airport bathroom. On the way back to their hotel, she shared the front seat with me while my soon-to-be son and his birthmother (and her brand new boyfriend) squeezed into the back. I gave here a worried look after at one point glancing in the rearview mirror in time to see the new boyfriend lovingly caressing my new son’s cheek, but she comforted me with those eyes of hers until we finally made it to what was supposed to be their new digs for the next two days until the paperwork was signed. My friend stayed at my house with me as I made it through the first round of feeding/burping/diapering/napping, at which point she left and I continued the cycle around the clock until the following day. My friend was the very first person I called after the social worker stopped by my home to give me the news that the birthmother (and her brand new boyfriend) want to keep Ryan after all. The devastation was dampened slightly by my friend’s presence after she immediately drove the miles back to my home to be with me.
Is my friend one of these so-called fag hags? In many ways, she does fit the bill. She’s a pretty girl who worships the ground I walk on. She had a small crush on me the first few days of our relationship, until I blew that door down when I came out to her. Since that point she has remained poised to assume the position of my life partner the day that I renounce my gayness, but remains steadfast in her devotion to me as a friend nevertheless. We have hundreds of inside jokes to laugh about, plenty of memories to quiz each other about, and a plethora of wrinkles to count between us.
I’m happy that my three sons can enjoy my friend and our relationship. It needs no definition, it requires no label. It just is. And that’s fine with me.