Sunday, May 10, 2009

#2 - Papa, Can You Hear Me?

Trigger: Running across a picture of Becca W online, a good friend from my University of Tulsa days


Barbra Streisand's movie "Yentl" was about to be released. Becca was so excited she was on the verge of squealing. She loved Barbra. Loved music. (She was a Music major, if memory serves, as well as a Business major. That girl was busy.) She nearly killed us on the manic drive to the theater.

The movie starts. Immediately, Becca is transported. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it myself, but to watch Becca watching the movie was the true thrill. This movie was speaking to her in a way that I couldn't quite grasp. Another plane entirely.

And we sat through it again. Excited to do so. This time, Becca basically had the entire score down, and was singing along. Softly, discreetly, only belting on a few lines. Perfect pitch. There is something truly sublime about being with someone who is having an experience that is deeply meaningful to them, that moves them. You are close to their soul, their heart, a privileged chance to look into a sacred window. So you respect, and admire, and stand quietly by, supportive. This is not about you. In any way. And it's beautiful.

So I'm taking this all in, and I'm also thinking of a recent mini-scandal at the University. Involving me. A few folks with hate in their veins had tried to pin the "gay" tag on me. In the early 80's, in Tulsa, even at a university with supposedly more progressive minds, you cannot survive with this tag. Especially when it's true.

But Becca went out of her way to tell people that there wasn't anything gay about me as far as she was concerned, even though I'm sure her instincts told her otherwise. Which was the strongest support you could give someone at that time, back when the witch-hunts were so real, before Matthew Shepard opened some eyes. All you could do was lie, and therefore protect, if you were strong enough. Becca was.

So, Becca, I did hear you. And thank you.