Yesterday I made my first strides into brewing by creating my own recipe for the first of two wedding beers I intend to brew. Of course, I had the help of my beautiful assistants (two of my groomsfolk, and my fiancé).
We had a great time, and while we made a few minor mistakes, I hope we managed to avoid anything more major. More on that in a couple of weeks when it’s ready!
While there however, I bumped into a couple of people I knew from my past. The first, a guy I knew from York when I went to University there. In my last couple of years, I joined the Gilbert and Sullivan society and netted a couple of lead roles. I met him on a few occasions through some of the people I became friends with there, mostly at regular pub quizzes and house parties.
Since then we’ve followed each other’s progress at a distance; neither of us are ‘Facebook friends’ (though I just sent a request!) but we follow each other on Twitter. Apart from knowing each other fairly peripherally at the time, the main reason for that was, most likely, a woman.
I know – hilarious. I’ll pause here to let you crack up for a bit.
Just… let me know when you’re done.
Are you done? Okay good.
This woman was the one who finally made me realise that no, I wasn’t ‘bi’. I was gay.
That is absolutely not meant as a harsh insult to her: it’s actually a huge compliment. For all intents and purposes I loved her, thought she was beautiful, clever, thought like me, valued the world like me, the works. This is how I knew – because if I couldn’t with her, then there was no woman I would ever be able to.
So it ended. And it was horrible. And I don’t think I’ve ever really written about it, because for the longest time, it still hurt. Even now, when I see her successes – in love (she’s married), in her career (writer) – I think of how sour it all turned. It’s like in Inside Out, when the happy memories turn sad, and they can’t change back, but eventually they become more complex – bittersweet.
I lost a lot of friends then, which perhaps I attributed to my coming out. At the time, a lot of my friends were hers first, and they would do anything for her. My timing was awful (it was a few days after her birthday when I did it). It had happened to her before, which is just unfortunate. And then we were trapped in a pattern of seeing each other. We worked at the same shop. We had the same friendship groups. We auditioned for the same plays (and got them). My final Music recital was a play about a break up and I asked her to play the female lead. I had tried to ask others, but still – who does that to their ex? What in hell was I thinking?
All of these thoughts came back to me when I spoke to the Guy From York (I will preserve their anonymity, damn it). How self-destructive I was at the time.
But then I worked through it. In moments. I remembered how much distance there was between then and now. That person, and this one. The boy who was on antidepressants, barely alive, self-destructive; and the man who’s working, learning, improving, writing, travelling, brewing my own wedding beer.
I bumped into someone else then, too, from my slightly less distant past. Her reaction was priceless. She was quite drunk, and completely shocked when I said her name, and protested at how unfair it was that I’d changed my hair (in the intervening three years).
So there you go.
Beer heals. Proven by Science.