Thursday, May 23, 2013

A talk with a man I love

When I was in college, I got engaged to my boyfriend, Keith. I was madly in love with him. He was my first love. Long story short, we broke up just weeks before the wedding. He was kind of a bum back then, not working and not going to school. I had grand plans of seeing the world and starting a career. Keith, I got the feeling, was ready to start a family and fast and, well, we were just not meshing. I was devastated. I had another year left of college so I had to still be reminded all the time of Keith. I had to work with his roommates. And everywhere I went, I ran the risk of bumping into him, something I desperately wanted to avoid.

Several months after we broke up, my roommate, Loraine, came home and said, "I have to tell you something and I wanted you to hear it from me and not another way. Keith is getting married in a few weeks."

That news rocked my world. I was sick about it. I put on a brave face but I was completely heartbroken by the news. I couldn't wait to graduate and move from Utah and start over. And that's what I did. I took my last college class, packed up my car, and started driving to Washington, DC the next day. Keith and all the memories and sadness were left behind.

Except not really. I thought about Keith often over the years. I never really quite got over him, though I definitely moved on.

Then one day in 2005 I was at work and was looking up some information and I stumbled upon his brother's email address. Could that really be Keith's brother? I sent him an email and, sure enough, Aaron responded and he said Keith said hi.

A few years later, I was living in San Diego and I was looking up a local newsletter in St George, Utah and I almost fell out of my chair: Keith was featured. I couldn't resist. I emailed him. He responded. He was (is) still married, but we started a fantastic, amazing friendship. Over the past eight years, we've called each other, emailed, and texted (though we've not seen each other in some 23 years). He's been a huge rock to me, my confidante, and a support to me, even through the depths of ugliness and despair during my married years to Bob the Great (Alcoholic) and during my diagnosis.

Today we had an especially heart touching talk on a two hour phone call. The details aren't important and it wasn't anything inappropriate for a married man, but suffice it to say, there were so many things left unsaid and left unexplained for over two decades that aren't anymore. I don't think we were truly meant to be together, but the strong feelings and love between us back then was incredibly real. And it still exists. I love him. In a very pure, real, beautiful way.

I hung up after our phone call and the tears wouldn't stop.

Keith is one of my most important relationships ever and I am so incredibly blessed that he is still a huge and significant part of my life. He is a great person. I trust him completely. And, yes, I love him in the truest sense of the word. He is a great man, a great father, a great person. And if I could have an alternate life, maybe life with him could have worked out for us. I'll never know. But just knowing that men like Keith out there exist is one more way my faith in relationships is being slowly restored. And there is significant beauty and simplicity in that.