Gay, Interrupted

I met Andy* at a Gay Pride event I was working in 1996. We had chatted online for a while and he came by with friends and said hello. We started hanging out and became close friends. Eventually, I developed a crush on Andy. He was 4 years older than me and much more established. Nothing ever happened between us, it seemed that I would talk to him about having feelings for him, but he would be dating someone at the time and the time I was dating someone he said he had feelings for me. After my relationship ended, Andy was conveniently in a relationship again.

During this time, I developed a strong friendship with Andy’s roommate, Rebecca. She had worked with Andy. We talked on the phone, mostly about my feelings for Andy. All the time she never betrayed Andy’s trust, never telling me if he had shared anything with her.
After a while, my friendship with Andy ended. It wasn’t a dramatic ending. I just think that the feelings that we both had toward one another, whatever they may have been, made things awkward between us and I came to the conclusion that it was easier to not talk to him anymore. I occasionally saw him when I would come see Beck, but eventually that became even more strange and we would meet out and not at their apartment.

Andy’s health took a turn for the worse and Becky found herself caring for him much like a mother would care for a sick child. He said he was told by his doctor that he should not drive. He was dating someone at the time an hour or so away from their apartment and Becky would frequently drive Andy to his house every evening, even after driving him on errands and other obligations he had. I advised Beck that he was clearly taking advantage of her and to sever her relationship with Andy as I had done. She stayed on for much longer than she should.

Andy attempted suicide in his apartment by taking some pills. What kind I don’t know. Becky had to break into his room to find him, unconscious on the bathroom floor. A 911 call and ambulance ride later, Andy was in the Emergency Department of the local hospital. It was mother’s day 2000, I believe. He was Baker-Acted. While in the hospital, his mom, boyfriend, and roommate were left in the waiting rooms together. Stories began to be shared. Answers were trying to be found.

After the initial conversations ceased, the boyfriend and Rebecca began to ask Andy’s mother questions about Andy’s life, about stories Andy told. The stories began unraveling as lies. Facts taken from other lives in his family and distorted to be his own history. He lied about where he had been born. He lied about having a stillborn twin at birth. A story contorted from his mother’s. He lied about his mother’s country of birth. He lied about having been diagnosed with cancer during college and that now he was suffering from lymphoma. After a while Beck and I just started to believe that everything he told us had been a lie. The only things we knew is where he worked and where he lived. We began to compare stories he had told us and find discrepancies. We found pattens in his life of "friends he lost touch with" or "was no longer close to."

What brings someone to lie about so many trivial things? Is it a defense mechanism? Perhaps the person feels that if they are hurt by one of the people in their life, they can simply desert them and start over with new friends. Rationalizing that "my old friends didn’t know me anyway." No harm in leaving anything behind because it was all made up to begin with. If it isn’t real, than it can’t be lost.

*named changed to avoid any possible drama

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