Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I have "lost" my boy-friends to that social ritual called matrimony. Both Will and Tim were married - No! Not, to each other... but to two amazingly beautiful, talented, and intelligent young women. It's been really hard to see them both grow up and become men as they move into their next phases of life. Hard, not in the sense that this step is a bad thing - only that it's inevitable that with the passing of saying "yes" in the right place at the right time with the right authority, they step away from what we have had together as friends. It's just natural that as they cling to their new eternal companions and help-meets, they become less connected with the rest of us.
Or so it seemed...
I know that I have allowed myself to become emotionally and physically attached to these two much more than conventional wisdom would grant me the courtesy of acknowledging, and it is I who now needs to learn to step aside and let them move on. But can I move on?
These two in their own time and place have meant so much to me and have given me the spiritual, emotional, and especially physical male-bonding closeness and love that I have always sought, craved and needed in my life to survive. I will always cherish these feelings and time together.
At the funeral last week, Will was on his honeymoon, but Tim had returned from his and was there for me. When I caught a glimpse of him, I was overcome with emotion and broke down sobbing. I was well in control for the most part, but just seeing him humbly standing in the chapel as we entered as a family threw me over the edge and I broke down. Fortunately for the occasion being one of emotion, most everyone, even my wife and family didn't know why I suddenly burst into tears as my eyes met his.
After the services, and fighting my way through the family and friends, I saw him leaving toward the church parking lot. I came from behind him and touched his back. He slowly turned and we fell into each other's arms and he held me so tightly, so completely. We were one. It didn't matter what family or friends saw of the two of us fully embraced together in that parking lot. I needed him to be there for me and he was there for me and at that moment, in that embrace as we kissed, I felt comfort... I felt peace... I felt love... and nothing else at all seemed to matter. I was whole again - complete in his embrace.
Though we didn't speak - other than mutually whispering "I love you" - nothing else needed to be said - I knew then, that he would always be there for me as I am for him despite the roads that life will now take to tug us apart - He was not afraid or ashamed to be my unique and special "friend". And even now that he is married, he was there, unchanged, unaltered - still the same Tim.
I am a romantic at heart. I often allow my emotions to get in the way of mature thinking. I am aware that with our age differences and different stages of life, and with our belief system entrenched, we will never really have anything more that what we have... but...
But, for now, for this time and place, I am grateful to have a true friend who wants the best for me, and who is not afraid to show it in an amazing way time and time again.
And, everyone needs to have at some point, that unabashed, unashamed, real embrace in the parking lot...
But now what?