Monday, April 5, 2010

Middle School Pals Are Best

I grew up in a small college town in the Deep South. The city was small but progressive due to the local think tank. I had the good fortune to attend the local "laboratory" school that trained education majors on the university campus. I started fifth grade at the school after a short time in the parish public school system. The following year, I was graduated to the middle school for a three-year term prior to high school.
Life at the middle school was ideal. We had the opportunity to attend many of the events on the university campus, had use of the recreational facilities and were student-taught by cool education student (hell, they were cool to us ... we were pre-teens!).
The friends that I made at Middle School seem to be the friends that I have kept since leaving primary school before my own college experience. Many of the friends that I had at middle school had parents who taught at the local university. So when I attended there, it was easy to keep up with my friends.
Even after many years when we gather for my high schools reunions every ten years or so, I gravitate toward my middle-school chums. This last reunion was especially bittersweet since we had lost many of our school mates from high school through accidents, health battles and just general bad luck. We had a special presentation for them at the club where we gathered after the dinner for the final night.
Following the presentation, I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. One of my middle school friends joined me. This fella and I weren't real close in middle school, but still closer than a lot of friends that I made in high school. He and I both played tuba in middle school. In our chat, we discovered that we both live in Houston. He offered his phone number and suggested that we get together. I gave him mine. Then he asked, "So...what have you been up to? Are you married?"
I just laughed and said, "Dude ... I tried that and it didn't work for me. I'm gay. I thought everyone knew." He raised his eyebrow, put his head down slightly, and laughed, "No, man ... I didn't know." He dropped his cigarette and ground it out with his heel. Then he walked back in the club without another word.
Think he deleted my phone number from his cell phone?

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