Sometimes, I hate that I can hold onto missing someone for so very long and that the ache can be triggered by such random things (skimming someone’s lj in this case who has no similarity to Teach but reminded me of him). When I'm lucky (or patient or diligent or kind) I can remember the good things, the way I grew, what I learned and/or took away from the relationship, what I might have given. Other times all I can remember is the being judged unworthy, unimportant, discardable.
I met Teach in October of '98. I'd just moved out of my parents' house and into my own apartment and before the move I'd tried to make friends the only way I really knew how (online, a couple was asking for a third, I corresponded). The first night in Northampton, I drove to a party the couple were having. I remember the house as lightly sinister, that I wasn't certain if my alarm was just aaargh-strangers or something else. I also remember getting lost on my way back home that night, driving in ever-increasing panic until I recognized the rental agency office and could track my way home from there.
I'd go back to that house at least once, the following May, with my-then partner, and we had awkward uninteresting sex in the woods in the back because that's what you do on Beltane, right? (I have never in my life had sex with the intention of reproducing, and am now physically incapable of it, and have a healthier if more distant relationship to that set of high holidays)
But from that autumnal evening, I remember meeting this large but lightly frail-looking, fey blonde boy, and feeling like he saw me in some important way and asking him if he was happy, as if that was just the first thing you asked strangers, some conversational gambit. (It's hard to talk about the woo bits of my past, I'm both judgmental and wistful about them. I'd like a better relationship with spirituality, but feel stuck as to where to begin, how to start, where to go. I envy people called by their gods as much as I envy people called by their professions, the knowing must be glorious, if also a burden). But my relationship with Teach started with a lot of woo.
Over the following seven years, we had a lot of ups and downs, and when I'm lucky I remember the joy, I remember snuggling and reading poetry to each other long into the night, I remember the rare occasion that I slept over and woke up with him (I think I had a crush on him, but we were both very open about me not being his type), I remember meat lovers pizza and the goth club, I remember feeling safe. I remember getting him a low-paying job at the Awful company, being introduced to Unexpected, him being the first person I saw as I woke up swinging from the sedation for my wisdom teeth surgery, his girlfriend trying to correct me on the pronunciation of my tattoo.
Our friendship ended badly, I regret that, but I think it was probably for the best. I don't remember all the details, I know part of it was I was acting like a jealous partner and in order to deal with that, he was lying to me about where he'd been. (I remember being so furious, not about the lying (though I was furious about that too) but about how badly he did it) He chose his partners over me time and time again, and at the time I assumed that was the way of the world, friends of the gender you were attracted to would always fall second to romantic/sexual partners. (yeah, there was a lot of unexamined heterocentrism and binary thinking in that) And then he got involved with a woman that I thought was dangerous and horrid and I believe I drew some line in the sand.
He wrote me an email about me being a bad friend, I remember reading it at work. Some time later, one of us extended an olive branch, and we hung out, once and when he went to hug me at the end of the evening, I recoiled, something somewhere in me glossing him as a threat. We'd see each other occasionally in the following years, before I left the happy valley. We had mutual friends, exes of the aforementioned dangerous girl, and we'd have tv nights, and I tried both civility and pretending he didn't exist. I read his livejournal once after we parted ways, saw myself vilified and haven't since. The last time I saw him was at Unexpected's wedding, with his very pregnant wife and after a great deal of internal turmoil, managed to congratulate him.
I honestly hope he's happy and I honestly hope occasionally he misses me.