There was something about him that reminded me of the boy who slipped me a hand-written folded-up form with two boxes to choose from. I checked the box marked ‘yes’ with a dull pencil and handed it back. That was the most interaction I remember the two of us having. I’d point him out to the kids who didn’t know yet, “That’s my boyfriend.”
The memory of him was delivered through the smiling eyes of a boy, and for a second I was able to remember exactly what a love felt like inside of a 10 year-old’s heart. It felt like looking down from a rainbow, dizzy and innocent, star-struck and shy. Puppy love.
That’s also when I first noticed that they’ve been coming around: the people I’ve let into my heart. They are only a few you know. In the great scheme of things, there’s only so many you can fit into your heart in a lifetime, even if you’re Captain Kirk, who seems to have had one every day.
They’ve come around to pay their last respects. Some are real, some are ghosts of my imagination.
“But it isn’t dying,“ I say.
“Well, similar,“ I say back, “in that it is a rite of passage, an end and a beginning. Sacred.”
“How special and soulful,” I say.
“And they’ve all come around to pay their respects.”
“But it isn’t dying,” I say.
“But you used to go dancing,” I say, “ALL the time.”
So I went dancing like I used to…when and always up until I found Bill. At the end of the night when the lights flickered on, I ran into another one and remembered. It cracked my heart a little to see he was glad to see me too and suddenly it welled up in me to tell him that I wanted him to know that,”you do know that I love you, right?“
I was proud of what I said. After all, I could have said anything in the world that I wanted to, but I chose those words.
I wondered if he knew what I meant, “because the times I had a chance to say it, if I had, it wouldn’t have meant anything to you.“
But then I remembered how sometimes the distance between becomes sweeter the farther away it gets.
I headed to the door. Bill was standing in the entry way. I ran to him and grabbed him. I nestled into his arms and he took me home.