chapter  4
8 Pages

The Grounds on Which We Met: Friendship and the Possible

WithEd Madden

I first met Ed R. at his partner’s memorial service on a bright autumn day in Austin, Texas. I remember holding my boyfriend’s hand as a few people shared stories about Norbert. Norbert’s sister started to read a memorial poem she’d written, but she broke down and someone else stepped in to finish it, while Ed held her hand and wept, and we all stood quiet in the sun and the fitful fall breeze, the museum grounds dappled with light. I didn’t know anyone there except Brad, my first boyfriend. I had only recently come out, recently fallen into this, my first serious relationship with another man. And now I was meeting one of Brad’s dearest friends at his partner’s memorial. I felt strange-sidekick, interloper, the only one there who hadn’t known Norbert. To Ed, however, there was nothing awkward about this. He hugged me, accepting me as part of his circle of friends.