Aw, Ragan! Sniff! At work!
Ragan has no idea how much of an influence he was on me in high school, even though we only had a short time together. First of all, I remember him in Noises Off, and I remember seeing him and thinking, “That boy and I; we are gonna be friends.” His Houston high school theatre scene was completely different than mine. They all seemed so grown-up, with how they dated each other and had big, giant drama. It was like they were already in college! And when I went to see Ragan’s show at his school, he was in drag. (“Little girls! I am in the process of putting old heads on young bodies!”) The first time I ever saw a boy in drag, and I was just smitten.
I don’t know if he remembers this, but one night we drove up and down Westheimer in his Jeep, being the most obnoxious teens in Texas, ruining the ending of “The Crying Game” for the poor souls waiting at the red light next to us. (Ragan, I put that in my high school’s yearbook, by the way! I never got to tell you that!)
It’s amazing to me that Ragan and I were living parallel lives all these years, so close to each other without knowing it. He’s always been in my heart, and I’m so proud of him for all he’s done over the years. And I’m not just talking about how he’s a published poet, accomplished performance artist and a teacher. It’s that he’s still brave, bold, fiercely independent and intelligent, with compassion that reaches right across the table and holds you tight.