Monday, March 17, 2014

How Do You Keep A Secret?

A few days ago, I was with one of my friends, let's call him Billy, and we were discussing something about his best friend, who we shall name Justin. You see, Billy found out by accident that his best friend is gay. Justin has no idea that Billy found out. Billy is upset that Justin hasn't come out to him and is frustrated about the whole thing because they have been friends for many years and he feels that he deserves to find out directly from Justin. Billy has been hounding me about the whole thing. I think he is under the impression that I am an expert of the subject of homosexuality.

"Kung ikaw, Anton, paano mo itatago na may alam ka?", Billy asked.

"If I were in your situation, I would keep in mind that my friendship with the person goes beyond his sexuality so our friendship will always come first."

"Eh paano nga? Ang hirap na nakikita ko siya at hindi ko siya makausap."

"Ganito lang yan. Respect. Since he hasn't come out to you, you will have to respect his decision. Wala kang magagawa kundi mag hintay na maging ready siya. you said na hindi issue sa iyo ang pagiging bakla niya, then why are you bothered now?"

He kept arguing with me because I was not giving him the answer he wanted to hear. I gave the answer he was supposed to hear but he was having none of it.

Amidst of all of this, his question lingered and the words "paano mo itatago na may alam ka?" resonated inside my head. I then remembered that I am in a similar situation.

Another friend of mine, let's call him Danny, came out to me a few years ago and ever since then, I have been keeping his secret. How did I manage to keep things a secret this long? I know his friends, I know his family and yet I have managed to help him keep this secret from them.

It all boiled down to respect. Him coming out to me wasn't his choice. His exact words before were, "the cat's out of the bag. Why would I still deny it?" But he asked me to keep his secret for only I knew the truth. I respected that.

He introduced me to his circle and I am still friends with them up to this day. When they chat and reminisce about time gone by, I can't help but feel an ounce of guilt and jealousy because the things I know about him are the things I am not allowed to talk about. If only they knew that side that I've seen, they would love and embrace him too regardless of his sexuality.

For a baffling moment, I questioned how I've managed to keep my mouth shut and pretend as if I knew nothing. But in the moment it took me to question myself, I also found the clarity, the answer that I needed. I respected his request not because he came out to me. I respected his request because he was my friend and that was the only reason I needed.

Going back to Billy, he was relentless in hounding me about the whole thing but at some point I steered the conversation to another direction because I was not giving him the answer he wanted to hear so he wasn't accepting the explanation I was trying to give.

Maybe I'll document the whole Billy-Justin saga. I just hope they don't find my blog :D

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