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My Pal Gordon - Renee Roden

LEYLA DOSS, INTRO: As the one-year anniversary of New York City’s lockdown approaches, Renée Roden shares the story of a surprising friendship that blossomed during quarantine.

RENÉE RODEN: Gordon first entered our lives in 2018. My friend Joey had a party where we met the new roommate he’d been so stoked about. “I’ve found a Scottish guy,” Joey said, “and he seems super cool.”

Gordon is very cool. And very hot. He’s trim and tall - 6’1” He’s got sandy hair I would describe as ginger - much to his chagrin. Oh and his eyes are different colors - one green and one blue. Joey describes him as “a fox.”

I assumed he’d have the personality of a doorknob. I didn’t really have much interest in getting to know Gordon. I’m a theatre dork. He’s an insurance underwriter. I figured he was sort of a basic new york business boy with a dash of Scottish and touch of gay. Plus, I had a really hard time understanding his accent.

Lockdown changed all of that. Our quarantine pod was like a ship crew - and 2020 was an all hands on deck moment. We took care of each other. And I discovered Gordon was pretty good at taking care of me.

One time, I had biked down the Hudson River Greenway to meet him at a Black Lives Matter protest, and arrived late, stressed, and sweaty. Gordon met me a few minutes after I docked at the CitiBike station. He held my sign while I rummaged through my backpack. He listened to me vent. And I felt everything was going to be okay. In moments like that - where I am scattered or overwhelmed Gordon is a concrete presence who grounds me.

People mistake us for a couple. It happens a lot. And it’s become a running joke. But I wonder if people are pick up on how I depend on him to calm me down, to buy the extra seltzer for the party, to gossip about the boys we’re pursuing, to just be there.

But a few weeks ago, Gordon announced he was leaving - going three thousand miles away home to Scotland next month.

I put on my best supportive face. I mean, I get it. He hasn’t seen his parents, his best friend, his nephew for over a year. But the next day I called my mom, sobbing and said: “I know things are going to change. But I’m not ready for them for them to change yet.”

GORDON: And I feel like I'm okay with leaving, even though it is difficult, it is

probably the, but it is. It is the right thing to do. I suppose it is. It is

RENÉE: It is.

People don’t always stay with you: they come and go. Gordon’s going to go. He’s going back home to Glasgow, where the flat he owns is waiting for him. He’s going to find a nice London boy like the Taylor Swift song says, and he’s going to see the seals flop up the beach at his parents’ house on Tiree.

But even when 2020 is in the distant past, I want to believe that Gordon will be very present to me, because he cared for us - for me this year. And I want to think- I hope- that sort of love stays with you even when they go.

Renée Roden, Columbia Radio News

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