These are the first two words of “For Good” from “Wicked,” one of my favorite Broadway shows.
I couldn’t sleep well last night, because late in the evening before I went to bed, I learned via social media that my lifelong friend, Duane, had passed away.
I turned over in bed, queued up “For Good” on Spotify, and played it. The original version played, then someone else’s version. If I could have figured out how to put it on loop until I finally fell asleep, I would have.
This is not the official tribute post I owe this friend. This is the “taking five minutes to start to process things” post. I have so little information at this point.
I’ve shared the story of how our relationship changed me and — ultimately — inspired me to be a vocal ally for LGBTQ+ people many times.
Once I grasped the critical revelation that the change in our relationship was not something happening “to” me, but was a reflection of him being true to himself, I gained a new appreciation for the cost of feeling you have to hide what you know to be true.
As Sam Champion tweeted once, being frank with the people in your life (and, in Sam’s case, the viewing public) means “you just get to live without questions.”
I know how many students Duane helped because his example helped them understand there was not something wrong with them. Life in a Bible Belt small town can make you feel that way.
Duane, because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.