I was a Sophomore in high school when I met Richard. He was quiet, introverted, and incredibly intriguing. A year my senior, we only had a few classes together. About five months after our introduction, he confessed to me he was homosexual. We weren't fast friends exactly, but we did feel a bond that kept us challenging each other and opening our hearts.
Richard and I had many things in common including that we were Atheist. He was the first Atheist I ever met. I was thrilled, even though our beliefs differed in many ways. Richard, for instance, did not believe in the soul. I to this day am foggy on that point. He also does not believe in love as anything beyond chemical.
Richard gave me a friend in whom I could confide and a sort of sanctuary from my home life. For this, I am ever thankful to him. Since this first realization that I was not alone, I felt comfort.