A momentary hope
I kept my feelings to myself, not sharing them with TB or anyone else I knew (though, of course, posting them on this blog, which has so far remained anonymous). Over time, TB and I became good friends, which I find surprising looking back as I know how much I wanted to be with her, and it's hard for me to imagine that somehow a friendship could survive that desire, much less thrive. Yet thrive it did.
I started to realize something else as time passed - how I felt about TB wasn't the sort of needy kind of love I had felt in previous relationships. It wasn't the sort of feeling of swoopy joy when a new found love validates ones ego, or the sense of pursuit and capture. The feeling was far more sublime, as if my connection with TB made the whole world larger, as if I could suddenly see further, laugh more truly, simply appreciate everything more deeply. No one else had ever made me feel that way. To me, it was a gift beyond anything I had ever imagined. It's a gift I carry to this day, and something I am still profoundly grateful for.
TB moved away about two years ago, and I didn't see her again till this fall. Our communication during the two years had slowly fallen off, and so I wasn't sure how welcome I would be when I impulsively visited her on a trip to the four corners region of the USA. Our friendship hadn't lost anything in our time apart, and even more surprisingly, the feeling of joyous expansion was present, and overwhelming. When I left her in the late evening, I was wondering if I should say something about the feeling, but then the reality of fatherhood and having to stay in Minnesota reasserted itself, and I left with a simple goodbye and happy smile.
Over the next two months we exchanged letters and phone calls, and I re-established my equilibrium, and then I found out she was dating someone new. She stopped writing, and I convinced myself it was OK - in truth, I was happy for her.
Four weeks ago I received a little note from TB, nothing exceptional, and as I had a lot going on and I was deliberately moderating my feelings, I waited a week or so, then wrote her a quick, friendly update of what was going on in my life - typical of the types of things you might read in this blog.
Moments after sending the e-mail there was a reply from her, disjointed and obviously written in a tremendous rush. Read optimistically, I thought it might be saying something I'd barely allowed myself to dream. I read it through a number of times, tried to get some perspective by getting in touch with Reb and other female friends but wasn't able to, and finally wrote TB a reply that did not exceed the bounds of friendship, but did undoubtedly state that my feelings for her were strong and deep.
There was no reply - another several days went by, and I once again found a place of stability, and out of the blue TB sent out facebook friend invitations to one of her friends and myself, and when I accepted the friendship, the first volley of messages from TB's friend seemed to all include statements of how often TB talked about me. It felt very good, and I allowed myself to hope, even though there had been no reply to my note.
Then, last Friday, TB changed her status on Facebook to being in a committed relationship, and the little hope that should never have been turned to pain.
I worked through things last weekend - I still haven't had a reply from TB, nor do I expect one any time soon, though I'll continue to be her friend, and her friends friend.
On my birthday, TB wrote to me that I was one of the rare people who had faith in the path I was following, and as is often the case, she was right. I know this - I know that if I act out of the knowledge of what feels true, and not out of fear, I know where my life will lead. I know that this incredible gift I have gotten from TB - this heady powerful enriching feeling she inspires in me, will be found again, and with someone whom will find the same gift in me.
I know this to be true, and so, for while today I am alone, I am alone and happy.