Today I can't stop thinking about Mark. I just met him this semester and he immediately attracted me. He has an odd sense of humour and a sort of hidden vulnerableness that intrigues me. In any case I don't know him all that well, though I would like to get to know him better. I have two classes with him but I only sit with him in math. In the other class, OS, he sits with a group of his friends, whom I find intimidating. I am easily intimidated.
So, today I was chit-chatting on ICQ with him:
<Kitten> How was your spring break? Did you get to see old high school friends?
<Mark> I have no friends back home.
<Kitten> No friends back home? Why not?
<Mark> Because I am different.
Immediately I know he is referring to the fact that he is gay. But I am in denial. I grew up in an open-minded family and group of great friends. Surely his peers didn't hate him because he is gay? Of all the qualities a person could offer in friendship, what could be more insignificant than sexual orientation? It just blows me away. So in my stupidity I write:
<Kitten> Everyone's different. Didn't you go to kindergarten?
As if saying that I see him no differently than I see others would somehow make this painful fact for him go away.
<Mark> Different in different ways. It means that people hate me.
"NO!", I want to scream. "It doesn't mean people hate you. I don't hate you." The realization that I have led a sheltered life comes crashing down. I'm not stupid. I know prejudice exists out there. It's just that in meeting people from far away, who didn't grow up in my circle of life, that it really hits home.
<Kitten> I don't hate you. Screw the people that hate you. They don't know what they're missing.
"Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own."