Years ago we had a thing and, as things sometimes do, it ended. Time has blunted the hurt for me and seemingly for you – we are close to best friends now. We even went on a non-date last Saturday and enjoyed ourselves. We long since moved on from the relationship but salvaged a beautiful friendship. And, I swear, there was one point last Saturday when I could have sworn you wanted me to kiss you. Or was that my heart playing tricks on me as it has so many times before?
You know that lately there has been a lot of movement in my life and my heart. The one that I thought was The One was just Another One and I had fallen hard for her. Six years and then poof, just like that. And you listened to me as I talked it out, while I tried to grapple with my feelings. What did it cost you to do that for me? I can’t imagine; I’m not sure I’m a strong enough person to do that were the roles reversed.
And now I am at the point where I am less than six months from my Big Day, the one I’ve been waiting for for years, decades. As I take stock of where I am, physically and emotionally, I see that the things I have are just things – I can sell them easily for whatever and either replace them later or just do without. The people I’ve known, the friends and enemies I’ve made – they too can go by the wayside with nary a second glance. Once I boil it all down I finally realize that I need to leave this town, this patch of land where I’ve lived practically my whole life. It seems every theater, every restaurant, every bar, hell, even certain roads hold memories that aren’t all that dear though they were at the time. It’s hard to confront memories at every turn, memories that represent what-could-have-been, what-might-have-been, if only… and then the regrets flood in and a nice day gets shot to hell. It’s happening far too much and causing me much damage. I can’t ride by the National Cemetery without stopping at Z’s grave and remembering all of that almost five years ago.
All that’s holding me here is mom… and you. Mom is old and not well – I suspect she will not be with us much longer. And then there will just be you. So as I begin to sort through my things and my people, selling or discarding, paring down my life and making it simpler, I know there will come a day when I’m confronted with what to do about you.
I’m comfortable with you, you make me laugh, you laugh with me as well, maybe even at me but that’s okay. We can talk for hours on most anything and be completely happy with that. I’m okay when I’m with you. I don’t quite feel whole but that’s because we have a barrier between us, the friend zone we’ve held between us like a shield for almost ten years that allows us to be smile and enjoy each others’ company. The more I see you, the more we chat, the more I see that what I’ve been wanting and needing has been right in front of me for a long time.
The thing is, I’ve fallen in love with you again. It never really went away, it tempered over time but never left. The time we have spent with this friendship between us tells me something: we are special to one another, special enough to overcome the slings and arrows and keep contact with a smile and a hug. It comes to me now that that is a most wonderful foundation for something more. But it would mean staying here in Dallas with all those memories laying in wait around every corner and I know you won’t leave here, you won’t leave “The House that Zack Built” or your family or friends.
After I sell the house and anything else that won’t fit on my Harley – do I come to your door and ask you your feelings? Is it selfish of me to ask you to open that box and examine long-dusty memories and feelings and see if you feel as I do? Can you stand that pressure? Can I stand the answer? Or do I ride on and send you postcards along the way and leave you as another might-have-been, one more regret to remember when I am old and dying because, you see, I can’t bear to see you hurt at my hands again. My soul won’t bear it but neither will it let me walk away.
You’re the only person left in my life who holds any value to me and I just don’t know how to handle it for both our sakes. I’m only sure of one thing – I love you, all of you and I know you so very well. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much clarity about anything as I do about that. It frightens me.