To my college roommate, who knew I was gay

Dear Rachelle, 

You were my first soulmate even though I didn’t know it when I should have. I didn’t think you were smart enough, and I didn’t think you could understand my complexity because I deemed you too simple. But you knew me before I did. 

Do you remember Marina? The pale Russian girl with the wild hair, who lived on our Freshman hall? Of course you remember Marina, because you saw me consumed by her; suffering from her. All along, you knew it wasn’t suffering—you knew it for what it was: love. Maybe you suggested it, and if you did, it was obviously dismissed. 

And the same with Carmen, the austere professor from Berlin. Do you remember sitting in the café in the Brandeis Student Center when you asked me if I could possibly, just maybe, potentially be in love with her? 

You saw the truth when I was too afraid, but yet, you never forced it. If the roles had been reversed, I wouldn’t have shown such grace. 

Rachelle, can you believe it’s been 20 years since that awkward introduction in our dorm room? Your green sweater, jeans and Doc Martins, despite the 80+ degrees on that humid New England afternoon. 

Those first weeks when we clung to each other because we were afraid to feel alone. I often worry that I took away from your fun by discouraging you from drinking, partying, joining a sorority and doing those things that “normal” college kids do. I’m sorry if I made it un-fun, and if I was too dark and too serious. 

But then I remember the drives we took around Boston, often late at night, blasting Dave Matthews from the open windows and disturbing the stately peace of Beacon Hill. Oh god, and that one time we ventured over to Wellesley, and stole the “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” poster from someone’s door? Tears rolled down our cheeks, we laughed so hard.

20 years ago, and here we are now as parents. Crazy that jack asses like us are parents, right? 

And I’m so glad you’re still with me because I’m still afraid to feel alone; even though I’m not alone. But you know what I mean. 

You always do.