We were walking; it was decently cold. It was dark and we were on a familiar curb. Words and smoke tangled leaving your lips. I listened quietly. Nonchalantly, the sentence entered the night air.
A wave of shock went through me, complete with a quick tightening of the chest and eyes bulging. My mind reeled and went blank at the same time. I don’t think I stuttered in my steps, but you paused and then asked: “You knew that, right?”
“I do now!”
You couldn’t believe I hadn’t known. I couldn’t believe you’d thought I did.
We continued to walk forward, though our conversation took a completely different turn. Kindly, you walked with me much longer than we were planning on that night as I tried to wrap my head around what you’d revealed about yourself. You let me ask questions and kept the silence, even though it made you uncomfortable. My mind repeated your words over and over again as I tried to get use to it.
I asked if my reaction had been okay. You said it had. The reaction that wouldn’t be okay was if I started to treat you differently because of this.
I shook my head immediately. No, of course I wouldn’t do that. Sure, this added to the picture of who you are, but you’re still you. You’re still someone I’ve come to consider friend. This didn’t change that. I told you, if anything, this just made me feel like I could be more open with you. I didn’t say these next words out loud but, whether you knew it or not, you actually just strengthened our friendship because of the trust you put in me.
I thanked you for telling me. I returned home that night smiling. Trust is a precious thing. A precious, rare, fragile thing.
And you just shared it with me.