I lost an old friend yesterday. A friend of twenty-four years' standing. We hadn't seen each other every day, or even every week: we just met up once a month. But we'd done that for a very, very long time indeed.
He had to be told how it was with me. I owed it to him; it was dishonest and inconsistent with friendship to keep dodging the gender issue. The time had come to tell him the facts, to literally show him what was in the wardrobe if I wasn't believed. He was duly shown. I gave him some personal history, things I'd only recently been able to tell anyone at all. He received it all without drama, without making a judgment on me, but with deep sadness. He just wasn’t ready to give me acceptance and support with the full situation thrust at him all in one go. The revelation was too much to take in. I was asking for too great an adjustment. I was asking him to accept something desperately strange and out of his ordinary experience. Something that he'd never suspected about me: I'd hidden it all too well.
He did wonder whether I might still be slightly undecided about transition, and, with my interests at heart, he suggested alternative therapy or counseling, a second opinion as it were, but desisted when he saw that I was unshakeable, fully determined. I was indeed committed because a part-time existence in two separate locations, two separate houses, trying to juggle two very different lives, was too Jekyll-and-Hyde for comfort, too much of a strain. So I’d resolved to give my Lucy persona as close to 100 per cent as feasible. He asked me to phone him after my cruise with Dad, and I said I would. We shook hands and I walked with him to his car. But I never got there. I had to turn away before he saw how upset I was.
Friends - as opposed to family - have the option of walking out of your life completely and forever. I couldn't be quite certain that this one had, and I hoped not, but it all seemed pretty final, and I felt that a part of me had been destroyed. Twenty-four years; my oldest and best friend. The last friend left from my old life.