On losing a friend

“What is it about me working at the club that you don’t like?  Do you think it’s changed me or something?”

“Yes.”

It was then, as I spoke it, that I realized that Josh had actually changed.  Working at the club, becoming a queen, and all the while dealing with issues that had plagued him throughout his life had changed him for the worse.  He now saw things in a queen’s terms.  There were now allies and enemies, and I was an enemy.

“I feel like the Josh I’ve known for almost 10 years is being covered by something else.  I don’t understand what’s happened.  You’re as near a family member as I hold dear, and I don’t want that to change.”

“You’re not going to understand.  There’s nothing I can say to make you get it.  So I’m just not gonna try.”

With that single phrase, a world’s weight settled on me and I realized that my worst fear had been realized.  My best friend, the person I had spoken with on a daily basis for a decade, the person that I turned to when I didn’t know what to do, and the person who had truly saved my life on two occasions, was gone.

I couldn’t speak.  I was completely still and utterly shocked.  My hand rested motionless on my knee, holding a cigarette as it smoldered.  He stood over me and turned to leave.  Without a word he walked down the stairs and around the corner.  May the sound of that car door slamming, I hope with all my being, not be the last I hear from him.

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