Out of the blue I received an email on Monday from a friend whom I have not seen in fourteen years. We’ve traded very occasional emails, decreasing in volume to about once a year as of late. The friend was in town on business and suggested we meet for dinner so last night we did.
When we last saw each other fourteen years ago, it was on my first trip out of the US, visiting him in Singapore. He had just returned from almost ten years living and studying in the states and he was doing his compulsory military service. Already, though, he was laying the groundwork to achieve great things, becoming one of the first people to identify themselves publicly as gay or lesbian in Singapore. In the years since, he has become very involved in pushing for more rights for GLBT people across Asia.
Back when we first met while still in school, I could already tell that he was going to accomplish a lot in his life. My pride in knowing him has not diminished even as our communication has grown less frequent.
The opportunity to meet again and to introduce him to Tawn was a nice one. There was a little awkwardness (I felt, at least) because it has been easier for me to keep up with his activities due to his visibility, than for him to keep up with mine. Such is the life when you are friends with a public figure, I suppose.
I hope we’ll stay in touch in the coming years. He remains a passionate person who is committed to important social causes. I enjoy seeing his success. I also hope that we’ll be able to connect again on the level that led to our friendship in the first place, a level beyond the banalities of “What have you been up to?” and “So who are you seeing now?” That takes time to reestablish, perhaps.