Thursday, June 14, 2012

i'm here for the long haul

ph: Emmanuel Rosario

it's a great story.

at 6, we were the two new kids. we bonded over the people we didn't know and the friends we didn't have in common.

at 9, girls were stupid and so were boys. so when the double digits came and we went our separate ways, it wasn't really a big deal that we had never held hands or shared a somewhat innocent kiss.

at 11 and 12 and all through the teens i heard from you every other year. we never wrote, nor spoke, nor talked to each other. what i knew came from the unexpected encounters of our parents.

except… at 14 i saw you. and you were my first kiss. well, the first one that swept me off my feet. that first uninnocent kiss. i woke up with my head still swirling, still feeling your lips on mine, your arms wrapped around me, though i knew i had never truly felt them. it still is, to this day, one of the most vivid dreams i've ever had.

at 17, the first reunion. you saw me, i don't remember you. details of that dinner are oddly clear in my memory. yet you were invisible to me, not a trace of you that night on my brain.

at 22, a party at the old school. i see no one. maybe i didn't recognize them. then, a familiar face in the crowd - your brother. later, a hand on my shoulder follows the exclamation of my name - your mother, and your father right behind. but you're already gone.

at 23, the wonders of technology. and we meet again, so many years later, with the full moon shinning on a warm late spring night. hours talking, singing to the music or lack thereof, a lifetime of promises in a kiss (or a thousand kisses) between whispers of "where have you been?".
as we found ourselves in each other's arms in the many nights we shared, we learned to trust one another. through summer, fall and secrets never before told we became best friends. by the time there were no more leaves on the branches we had acknowledged that, at this point in time, we were not able to give each other all we deserved.

at 24, it's a great story. it still really is. that first night still "is the stuff movies are made of". the kiss you insisted on planting on my cheek, the trip we planned but never took, the fact that you made a point of me knowing your friends, that night i held your hand while you fought back the tears, all those times you wished i had been your first love, it all just makes letting go of the fairy tale ending to this story all the more difficult.
so maybe the timing will never be right for us and your kids won't be my kids. maybe we won't fall in love or live in a foreign city together. but i'll have you know this: i love you unconditionally, like only a friend can, and i'm here for the long haul.

at 25 or 85, hopefully, you will still be my best friend.
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