23 April 02
"Ok, it is time for us to talk. Face to Face...Later"
The email message above was from the one I hoped was still my beloved friend. When we met that evening in class we take taijiquan lessons together we walked up to each other and put our arms around each other and hugged for a very long time. Our teacher saw and said, "Look! They're hugging the tree." (That's a taijiquan thing.) My friend laughed and said, still holding me, "Yeah. This is the best way." I agree. "We'll talk," I said. When he let me go, he kissed me lightly on the lips, as a friend as one kisses family. (He's done that before; I've always been surprised by it. My family never kissed.)
After class, we talked. We talked for four miles as we walked my usual nightly path up Mowry Street and back, and for a little while longer on my front porch. Most of the way we walked with arms around each other. Close. As we talked, at first we almost cried, but then we did laugh. A lot.
We floundered a bit at the beginning, but before we had gone very far I asked the question aloud, "Why should we fix things between us?"
One reason might be that we both love the same person in our different ways, of course. She's a lady with whose friendship neither of us would willingly part. I've known her for forty years. She's the reason that this man and I met. We might wish to "fix" things between us to please her. But, no, that isn't reason enough. Why pretend? It's easy enough to avoid each other, easy enough for our friend to keep us separate. And we could certainly be civil if by chance we were to meet...
Why then should we fix things between us? The answer, not even half a mile later, for each of us, was, "Because if I don't, I will lose something valuable."
It seems he wants me in his life, and I want him in mine, independent of our mutual friend. That's as much as we know right now. We talked about a lot of things, and all were relevant, but none of them mattered... or maybe I mean that the other way around. Life is very complicated at least, it often seems complicated. It wasn't the talking that was important, really. What was important was that we were learning to trust each other.
It's a good beginning. Building relationships is hard work. And now we each know the other isn't a slacker. It will be interesting to see what we can build.
As for my other "perhaps" friend, I await.
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