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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's the same...only different

About this time seven years ago, someone who had walked out on me reappeared in my life rather miraculously. Folks who have been around for some time, know what it was like for me to reunite with someone who is truly my soulmate (just not the house, two kids and a golden retriever kind of soulmate) and rekindle our friendship like we had never been apart. There have been lots of tears and laughs over the past seven years, and it's hard to believe that we've known each other since 1997, because I can tell you almost every detail of the day we met like it was yesterday. And I -- this will shock you -- was pretty not sober the day we met. I was wearing a plaid flannel shirt (it was the 90s, I was in college and loved bands from Seattle) that day. We were standing by a fish tank in a house in Dayton, Ohio, talking about how much we hated John Engler. Of course, we had to be lifelong friends.

And we have been for the most part. I adored him, and I thought we'd be married and have kids, because I thought we were that kind of soulmates. And, had he not been gay, I am 99 percent sure we would have been. Of course, that sticky little point led to a lot of problems between us and a lot of heartache for both of us. He, because he couldn't love me and didn't feel like he could tell me why; and I, because I loved him with my entire heart and didn't understand what I was doing wrong and why things weren't going the way I thought they were supposed to.

Ultimately, rather than tell me why things weren't working, he disappeared off the face of the earth. It was before cell phones, but landlines were disconnected and emails bounced back. My belongings that were in his possession were returned to me unceremoniously in a box in the mail with no return address and no explanation.

Sparing you all the gory details, I will say this is not a good way to leave someone who likes to blame herself for all the world's problems. It took me a long time to recover, and as I sit here right now going through a similar situation and feeling all the same feelings of rejection, negative self worth and blame, I am wondering if things are ever really OK.

Before I moved to Nashville, I was riding in the car with my mother and my aunts from Detroit back to Ohio. I was sitting in the back seat, when I looked over and saw his car next to us. When he passed us, I saw that he had Georgia plates, and I remembered that the last time I saw him he told me that he was going to move to Atlanta when his parents retired to their property in East Tennessee. I told him this story when I found him later, and he never saw me that day. Oh, and did I mention that I-75 is one of the largest roadways in the United States? When you think about it that way, seeing him that day had to be a miracle.

When I moved to Nashville, I knew he lived in Atlanta from that encounter on the highway. I knew his parents lived outside Chattanooga because he had shown me their retirement property. At a friend's urging, I looked them up and reached out to them. They gave him the letter I wrote to them, and he contacted me. And I will never forget that day I came home to Carol's house and saw an envelope with his handwriting on it on the kitchen counter, mostly because it was a day that I never thought I would see. I thought he hated me. 

So, let's fast forward to 2014. If you have been following me since February, you know that I found myself in a very unexpected relationship that I believe ended because the other person involved couldn't reconcile her feelings about me with how she thought she was supposed to feel. Throughout our relationship she kept telling me that she was crazy about me but it was complicated and she would explain it, but she never did.

Sound familiar?

Anyhow, we tried to be friends and I thought we were doing pretty well with it, but ultimately she declared our friendship "awkward" and walked away with no more explanation than that.

I should've been getting a sense of deja vu about the whole thing, but I was too busy being sad that someone I cared about so much was walking away from me. I have also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I did wrong to make someone go from loving me and being crazy about me to completely discounting my existence as a human being, deleting (and/or blocking) me from all aspects of her life and treating me rather cruelly. It's so odd, because I never would've imagined myself in this situation, and at the time I didn't feel like our relationship was so big, but this is a lot more painful than I ever thought it would be.

And then last night, I was telling someone who told me he had no gay friends the story of me and Mike. And then it hit me.

When Mike walked away (also because he couldn't reconcile his relationship with me with his sexuality), I never thought I would see him again. I blamed myself because I didn't know the truth. All I knew was that I didn't know how I could go on without my best friend in my life anymore.

But then, several years later, once he and I were both in better places, God had him drive past me on one of the busiest and largest interstate highways in the world. And, not long after that, we were finishing each others' sentences again. Yeah, it's different now, but all I really wanted was to have my friend in my life, and I do. And it's exactly what God always intended for us.

And nowadays, it's easier. I've had the same phone number for 15 years. You can pretty much google anyone and find them. And as easy as she blocked me on all that social media, she could unblock me.

Well, I take that back. Contacting someone when you're ready is easier. But getting there is still a big, giant pain in the ass that requires tons of work. And prayer. Everyone just pray that I will heal and she will find her way in life. In times like this, it's good to remember the words of Mother Teresa: "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much."

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