06/30/2004: "to Stewart, wherever you are"
I'm a big sci-fi fan, and have devoured my fair share of science fiction books. Back in highschool my dad saw an ad in the paper for someone selling boxes of old sci-fi books. We went over and purchase three boxes of books from this person. Needless to say, this kept me in reading for a long time. The fact that they were older 70's era books didn't matter at all, they were still quite interesting.
One book from that collection - at least, I think it was from that collection - was about a future where some parts of humanity have developed mental powers, such that a gifted individual could read another's mind. One such character was being interviewed in this book by the media, and was describing what it's like getting into people's heads. He said that the most common feeling that humans harbour is guilt, and lots of it.
And that's where I'm at.
Back in highschool I casually knew a guy called Stewart. He was a bit different, and there were always rumours about him being gay, which turned out to be true. I didn't really care, he was a decent enough guy, but for some reason I teased him about it. Not outrageously so, just comments like, "I *love* your hair, Stewart!" and so forth. Quite stupid in hindsight, but until recently it honestly didn't occur to me that I may have been one of the homophobic assholes in highschool that he now tells his friends about.
I probably would have never clued into this were it not for a chance encounter a few years ago. I was in my local Chapters, and lo and behold, there is Stewart behind the counter. We chatted briefly, caught up a bit, and I told him to give me a call sometime. I rarely get to see any highschool friends, so having one show up in town was a pleasant surprise.
Time went on, and he never called. Perhaps he was simply too busy, or he moved to Toronto as he mentioned he might, but I have an awful feeling that he simply didn't want to see me. Unlike my perception of him as a casual friend from highschool, he very likely views me as that bullying rectal orifice that tormented him for four years until I graduated. That sucks.
So, an apology. Stewart, I honestly never meant to cause you any grief. Believe it or not, I thought my teasing back in highschool was "good-natured", something I now believe to be exactly the opposite. I don't care one way or the other if you're gay, and didn't back in highschool. For what grief I've caused (if any), I apologize. I'm not asking you to be my friend - we were never all that close in highschool - but I don't want to be one of the demons of your past.
Guilt sucks, but I'll have to live with it. Living with guilt is a lot easier than living with a demon of your past.