Hello Again


Old friend.

I was sitting in the sunshine, sipping a cup of herbal chai tea, relaxing with a book, flirting with a stranger on 7th and Irving, waiting for the clock to slowly tick its way to 6p.m.

I don’t know why I check my phone.

But some ties are timeless and sometimes you just know.

I didn’t know the number on the caller id.

I don’t know anyone who would be calling me from Minnesota.

I saw I had a voicemail.

I listened.

The call had come in two minutes prior.

Despite having the ring off and not having the vibrate on, something resonated in me and I had looked on the phone, looked to see the message, looked up to listen when the handsome man in his 40s sat down across from me at the cafe, regarding my bare toes with some amusement, I almost expected him to kick off his work shoes and join me in my feckless bare toe extravaganza.

I listened to the voicemail instead and called back the number.

My finger just hit it.

Sort of like a junkie plunging a needle or a rat tripping a lever on a maze.

I got my piece of cheese.

The man sat across from me, handsome, flirtatious, get off the phone I said to myself, too late, too captured already by old habits, old friends, old ideas, and old sentiments.

Pulled almost immediately back into the Midwest and school girl longings and old-fashioned, old-time, old worn out ideas of crushes and first loves.

Yeah.

That was the friend who called.

Two years and out of the blue.

A phone call.

And like it is with some friends, the immediacy of the friendship comes back and there is no pause, there is just the immediate plunge back into the friendship.

Like the panels of a cartoon the ellipses between two panels may denote seconds or days or weeks, perhaps months or years or decades, but the time is gone in a flash. the tether of the space between the two moments is tied and leapt over with nary a thought.

What took you so long to call?

I know why I did not.

I did not have his number.

I lost it right before I went to Paris.

I love my friend.

He is the oldest friend I have, the person who has known me the longest and seen me the most in the bottom of despair as I have ever gotten to, from the young age of fifteen to the not so advanced, but still starting to get up there in age, 41 years old.

Which means he has known me and I him for 26 years.

That’s no small time to sneeze at.

And we probably could regal each other easily with old bawdy tales of high school, or after high school hijinks.

Actually it was the after high school high jinks that probably connected us in a much tighter means than the actual school days.

I love my friend.

I repeat.

But I do not love where my head goes in connection to him.

And I do not love that I chose to return his call when there was a lovely man sitting across from me who wanted to engage, yet, I could not, I was pulled into the conversation.

Why had I picked up the phone?

Why had a returned the call?

And why do you call me to tell me you broke up with the woman you were in a relationship with for so long?

Why is not a spiritual question and I don’t ask it often.

But I did, in rapid succession, watching the man’s interest in me fade, he finished his coffee, raised an eyebrow, stood, smiled at me with a wry look, and sauntered off into the sunset.

Or at least the Inner Sunset.

But out of my line of sight and right on down the road.

I love my friend.

But I do not love the threadbare idea of waiting for him or even looking like I am or that we were ever, ever, ever meant to be anything more than friends.

Let me slay this idea now.

Which is part of why I have not gotten a hold of him.

I know his name, I know his family, I know where his parents are and I have their numbers, I could have called, but I wanted to leave him be.

I wanted to let me be with the history and leave it at that, history, a fond recollection of love and friendship, some longing, and hazy romantic fantasy regret that was already so long ago abandoned.

“Your only amends to him,” she said, leaning over the table in the cafe, “is to leave him alone.”

I was mad you see.

Though my friend was uncertain when we spoke tonight when the last time we had spoken was, I remembered.

I did not until he had mentioned it.

Then.

There.

Valentines Day.

Two years ago.

He called because he was thinking of me.

No fair.

Foul ball.

You don’t get to do that.

Not when you live thousands of miles away and you know our history, I cry, no fair.

No fair to say you were driving through the countryside and thinking of me; not on Valentine’s Day, nope.  I don’t think so.

So, you know, I did some inventory and I took the suggestion and I left it be, I left him be.

Oh.

Yeah.

He popped up.

Now and again, I would want to talk to him and tell him about my adventures.

But now I wonder.

If he’s a fantasy, if the story I told myself for so long was an idealized romantic story that was never going to pan out, no way to change that which is unchangeable, what if I was a fantasy for him too?

What did I bring to him?

Undying affection, adoration, some sort of ego balm?

Does it matter?

I don’t know.

I don’t know what the future will bring, we’ll be friends and maybe some day down the road we’ll hang out again and it will be exactly what it’s always been-a tale of two misfit friends that circumstance threw together.

And nothing more.

The love will always be there.

But the fantasy does not need to be.

I am done with that story.

I allow myself a new chapter.

A new tale.

A different future.

My future is mine.

Not his.

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: