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2004-05-11 @ 8:04 p.m.
40 big ones in manhattan

I have a most wonderful gay friend named "G" in Manhattan, who has a very successful career in New York theatre. I've known him since he was 11. My mother married his step-uncle in the mid-seventies, and we were thrown together frequently at family gatherings.

Of course, at the time I was a bad ass teenager and he was still a bratty kid (no, not really, he was always a very nice little boy with big blue eyes, and a dazzling smile).

OK, to be truthful, I didn't really pay attention to him initially. He was just a little kid. But finally at one of our famous Norwegian Christmas parties, "G" shyly handed me a nicely wrapped flat present, saying "here" and then kinda stood off to the side, looking down at the floor. I was like, what's this? What would a little kid be giving me? So I unwrapped the present and it was a handmade book of clippings from a particular movie actor that I really liked at the time. It was nicely done with photos and film reviews and articles, and I was really touched that this little kid even knew I liked this actor.

I think the party was getting out of time at the time. People were crawling drunk under coffee tables, and tossing around lefses like Frisbees, so "G" and I retreated to his bedroom, where he showed me some of his Broadway stuff. Its been almost 30 years, but I believe it was stuff from "A Chorus Line". Yeah, that's it, right "G"? Probably.

We talked about theatre, and despite his tender age (he might have been around 13-14 by then), he was very astute and well-spoken for such a young kid.

We soon started hanging out together. I drove of course, since I was older, and we soon started going to the movies, and plays down in San Francisco. His mother had season tickets to various theatres down there and when she didn't go, I got to go. Yay!

I also started writing about theatre for newspapers and soon started getting comp tickets which I happily shared with "G". We even got in some ballet, seeing Baryshnikov in the early 80's. "G" was really into all that was dance, whether it be a theatrical production or ballet. I mainly liked musicals.

I pretty much knew he was gay from the get-go, but that didn't affect our relationship much. We were theatre buddies and really good friends. He was soon off to NYU and I really missed him, but we wrote. He told me all the exciting things about New York and I kept him abreast of things at home.

I knew he wanted to get into show business in the worst way, but it wasn't quite to be, quite yet. Not in a well paying way, at least.

He soon came back to California and we resumed our theatre-going journeys. It was fun. I was an avid photographer. He was my favorite subject. He was very lovely to look at by that point. I guess you could say I was soon "G"s official photographer, but then he was off to NYC again. It was that trip when he told me for the first time that he loved me.

On the outside I was fine, but on the inside I was jumping up and down saying yippee-skippee, lets have kids, lets get married...oh wait, he's gay. Of course, I told him I loved him too, which I really did. I cried for several days after he left. We wrote daily.

So he moved again. Then I moved to another state. And then he moved to Texas to further his education. And then I moved to the East Coast. And then he moved back to California. And then he moved back to New York. And then we were nearly in the same hemisphere. Yay!

Fortunately by then we had discovered the internet and started communicating in that way. By then he was actually in show business, working on Broadway. He then toured for a while and I followed him around country via the internet, and we finally met up in Buffalo a couple of summers ago. We hadn't seen each other in ten years.

I was nervous as hell when I went up the elevator to his hotel room. But there he was. Still gorgeous as ever. He didn't have much free time during that visit, but we made the most of it, driving up to Canada, going to the casino, taking the boat trip under Niagara Falls.

He was so hilarious. We were on the boat with a bunch of Japanese tourists. And he was about a foot and a half taller than the rest of them, and it looked really absurd, and we could not stop laughing. I think we were just laughing because we were so relieved and happy to see each other again.

And then a year ago November I went down to visit him in Manhattan, where he now lives. He is now firmly ensconced in one of the most successful shows on Broadway, and he showed me the most wonderful 72 hours anyone could ever hope for in New York City. I felt like a freakin' princess.

I was really proud of him and knew that I was perhaps the only person, other than his mother, who truly knew how far he had come from the apple orchards of northern California.

So today was "G"'s 40th birthday, and I wanted to do something special for him. I don't have much money, so I decided to put a little something together I called "This is your life". It was a series of 10 e-mails, each of which had a photo from his life and then a humorous description of what was going on during it. A couple of the photos included me, but most of them had to do with his family and career in theatre. I think it turned out nicely.

Of course, he probably wondered why the hell he was getting 10 e-mails from me. But they were numbered in the order in which to open them, and I'm sure he did as he was told. He's a Taurus.

So I did get an e-mail from him tonight. He said awwwwwwww, and was happy to get some of the photos he hadn't seen in years. He said his day hadn't really been all that exciting. He had gone to the dentist, and they had given him a cupcake with a birthday candle.

I think 40 years on this planet, deserves at least that.

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