...and the longer I walked, the more I felt that way.
Earlier in the evening while waiting on Silas, I'd spied the great, orange moon as it crept above the trees - and I texted everyone, wanting them all to see it too. During my walk, I turned my phone back on and saw that I had gotten some replies. One of them was from my best friend and first (unrequited) love - I'll call him Emre. We texted back and forth and as it turned out, he wasn't too far from my neighborhood, returning home from a date himself. He asked if I wanted to hang out for a little while. "Now?" I asked. And yeah, it was a great night, so why not...?
Brief panic shot through my body then - but he'd asked without warning and told me to tell him quick because he was soon turning home. The spontaneity of it robbed me of my customary stewing process that I habitually use to freak myself out with. I didn't have time to entertain the mind and indulge whatever crazy stories it would try spinning about how seeing this person that I love could possibly be a bad thing. It wasn't just the lack of time though; I was feeling a little braver than usual. A touch more bold. I'd just faced my fear of a charming stranger earlier that evening and it had turned out great, so I had a feeling that this would turn out well too. So I said "sure."
He picked me up and we drove the few streets over to my house and parked in the driveway out back. We probably talked for a couple of hours. Straightaway we were laughing like old times, as if the eight years since we'd seen each other had only been a month or two. He showed me pictures on his cell phone, we laughed, we caught up. The details of how our lives have unfolded in these years were unknown to each other at first, but it clearly didn't keep the essence of our us-ness from pulsing - and that was a very cool thing to realize. Honestly, sharing those details was just a secondary treat compared with simply seeing him again.
This is a person I have loved since I was 14 years old. For about the first ten years I was romantically enraptured by him, but of course with his being straight, our connection could never lend itself to more than friendship - a fact that would often drive me mad; a fact that I'd often bemoan and ache. It was so hard for me to accept that his friendship was all he'd ever be willing or able to give me, that so much of the time I missed out on the awesome love that he did give me - and he did. His love for me wasn't always expressed in the ways that I wanted it to be, but oh my god, what he had to give me, he gave me. Right up there next to Grams, the dude's one of the closest things I've known to a saint. Emre was actually the last person I hung out with and the last person I said goodbye to before I went away, so it's kind of circular and fitting that he'd be the first one I see as I return...if indeed that's what I'm doing...
It was a big and special night. I met and made a new friend and reunited with an old one - two scenarios that, in the years of my seclusion, I'd feared would be terrifying, and in my worst moments, improbable...and yet...
...here I am.
Here we are.