It was 1978 - 1980 that we knew each other. In fact, when they moved to Denton, Texas to continue their studies, I piled up my Ford Maverick and followed them -- and that's where I found the gay community and finally started to live openly and freely.
In that posting, I mentioned having a friend named Koorush -- he called me "Astiv," which was the closest he could get to "Steve." Koorush, who was straight as an arrow, was my very best friend during those Jacksonville/Denton years. And even after I came out of the closet, he was the one who protected me, and fought for me, and loved me when I felt very much alone.
At the end of that diary entry, I called out to him and said, "Are you out there?"
Well, it happened. I received a mysterious email on Facebook, and it turned out to be him. He had found that page, said he'd been looking for me for years, but couldn't spell my last name, and reminded me that he was not among the group that used to troll for girls at the gay bars, which was true. He was not a partier like the rest of us.
This morning, we had our first long chat and he remembered everything. Remembered me. Remembered our crazy times together. He lives in Iran now with his family, and as we chatted, I got very misty-eyed and started crying.
Looking back, I realize that he was one of the few people who really and truly loved me during a time when I felt completely alone. I had cut off, more or less, my old Christian friends, my family, everyone. I thought I had to. I thought if they knew I was gay, they would hate me and reject me. So, I rejected them first, though, to them, I kind of just disappeared with only occasional phone calls.
When the other Iranians discovered I was gay, it was Koorush who defended me to them, and held onto me until I finally moved down to Dallas and away from them.
That period of my life is difficult for me to remember -- he reminded me that I have a "bad brain" -- but I never forgot him over the years, always wondering if he was still alive.
So, this is a great day today. He asked me to keep his life details private, so I will not say much else except to say that, even as I write this, huge tears are rolling down my face.
He has a book of American idioms which I gave him long ago and he quoted to me what I inscribed. After all these years. After all these years. I am determined to see him again. Thank you, old friend, for finding me.