When I met my now estranged friend, I felt that we would have a relationship for the ages, one of souls converging, destined to be by the Fates. I thought we would grow old together, remember fondly the years that we had shared together, the sights we’d seen, the long, intense intellectual discussions and heartfelt declarations. I thought it was forever and ever, never ending, ever-evolving and the greatest gift that I could hope to receive; someone who not only understood me, but accepted and even loved me for the hot mess that is me. To say that I was wrong would be a huge understatement and an insult to your intelligence. That is the danger of believing that you know the future, you have been able to put someone or something into a box and identify or label them. Nice and tidy, easy-peasy. I have control, I have reduced this person or thing to a single word, a category and by doing so have minimized its uniqueness, its innate value and in doing so, completely set myself up for failure, shock and disappointment. For the real truth of the matter is that I only know what I believe I know; it is all an illusion in the larger picture.
I believed (because I wanted it to be true) that my friend was a Forever Friend, a Soul of Self and an Answer to my Prayers. Truth is, he was much more than that; he was a complex man who came into my life for a season; we experienced a kinship that was not like anything I had found before. There was a connection that was instantaneous and deep. I not only understood him, but through his words, was able to connect to him, thoughts and feelings alongside fears and dreams. He provided for me a safe place to let my walls down, let him in and risk the possibility of heartbreak for the reward of the company of a beautiful soul with an amazing mind and a larger than life heart that was wrapped in chains of doubt with rusted links of old pain brought on by old wounds unhealed. If I hadn’t been so rigid in my belief that he would be around forever, maybe I would have made more of an effort to tell him how much he meant to me, take the time to value our time together, instead of look for reasons why it might fail, or judge him harshly as a way to sabotage the relationship (it’s what I do) in order to “rip the band-aid off” and let the inevitable pain and loss arrive now, rather than wait for it to happen later.
The truth of the matter is that I wouldn’t do anything differently because I would rather have had the time with him that I did, as limited as it was than to not have had any time at all. I will have the memories for as long as my mind will hold them, the photos to help me when it starts forgetting as well as the feeling of belonging for as long as my heart is still beating. Today is another day and although I don’t hear from him anymore, I keep him in my thoughts and my prayers, remember him with gratitude and hold out a secret hope that someday we will be reunited, in whatever time or space or alternate reality.