… it’s so necessary.
I have two great loves in my life that I regret not declaring sooner. Despite the heartache I’ve been through with each of the guys I’ve been entwined with, I don’t regret having loved them. Tragic love stories are better than never having loved, as I read somewhere on Tumblr today.
My first great love that went undeclared too long was in high school. I was part of a clique led by this ultra-fine Puerto Rican guy named Ricky. He was very fine and had a fraternal twin brother who was near identical to him. Unlike his twin though, he was the sweetest, kindest, nicest person you would ever want to meet.
For over a year I thought he was perfect, and kept biding my time. Then one day he looked into my eyes, gave me one of the best hugs ever, and gave me his jacket that I jokingly asked him for every day. Then he just walked away.
He called me on the phone later that night to tell me he had to go back to Puerto Rico and didn’t know when or if he was coming back. And I told him I loved him.
He said he loved me too, after a brief pause.
I said, “No. Ricky, I really, really love you. I love you, love you” (Why did we talk like that in school? What’s wrong with saying, I’m IN love with you? Of course, we never really leave high school anyway, so, ha, whatever, right?)
He said, “Me too.”
So after I was done dying inside, and crying on the phone with him, we said a very tearful goodbye.
And I vowed never to let love pass me by again, unannounced. It’s one thing to wait for good timing. It’s another to run out of time entirely.
I had another wonderful love in college. His name was Reggie. We had a very strange interaction. He saw other women. I saw other men. We never officially were a couple. But when we saw each other, when we were together, the rest of the world stopped. Ceased to exist.
For some reason, I just didn’t care what happened when he was around other girls as long as none of them were his girlfriend. And I openly discussed dates with him. It was crazy.
And yet, we’d lay in bed together and stare into each others eyes. Or sit around and laugh ourselves silly for no reason. Or have these deep conversations.
I never knew why we didn’t have some kind of formal arrangement. And I didn’t really want one, which puzzled me too. I liked the freedom, and I knew for sure his heart was mine. I could just feel it.
Then one night, I had many of my questions answered, in the last way I was expecting. In retrospect, I should have known. Maybe I did, but didn’t want to, and avoided thinking about it. Who knows.
Reggie used to show up to my apartment drunk, and sad. And he would never tell me why. I’d hold his head in my lap and caress his face until he fell asleep. Then we’d lay entwined all night.
He also had told me once that if I ever had an emergency to let me know because his father had given him an American Express platinum card and he was allowed to buy anything he wanted, as long as it wasn’t a car. I asked him why his father was so generous and why he didn’t buy things for himself. Or why if his father had it like that, why he worked.
He never answered.
This one day that he came to my campus apartment, I remember he had on this hat, tilted to the side. Not a beret, but it was similar in shape. In the mid-90s a lot of the guys from New York wore them. When Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides was out, I saw him in a hat like that more than once.
Anyway. he had on that hat, and he was standing in the doorway, looking at the ground when I opened the door. He looked at me.
And I looked at him.
And something in his eyes… fell. He dropped his books on the floor and I crossed the room into his arms. He wasn’t sobbing, but I could feel his tears on my neck.
I asked him what was wrong when we were laying on my bed later, after he was calmer. And he told me he was dying of a rare blood disease, and was going home the next morning. And probably wouldn’t see any of his friends again.
And hadn’t told anyone except me.
So now I understood. The drunk, sad nights. Why we never even discussed becoming a couple, and just enjoyed the moments. The AmEx card from his father. He was enjoying his last days on earth and had known they’d be his last for a while.
We cried together. Then we … did other stuff … together. Such beautiful things were said that I feel like they’d be somehow tainted if I recorded them somewhere.
In order to say goodbye, we had to pretend we’d see each other the next day. I still remember him walking away. I didn’t take my eyes off him until I couldn’t see him anymore.
I’ve lost other loves and lovers to death, but none like that. He was special to me in a way no one else was, and is probably the person who both knew and understood me the most. He taught me, more than anyone else, that life and love is so fleeting and precious, and you have to enjoy it when it’s there, in whatever form it exists.
That’s part of why I’m taking such pleasure in being in love right now, with this person I can’t expose my feelings to, yet. And yes, i’ve come to decide it’s a “when” and not a “what if” with Flame. it’s worth the risk. I’m going to enjoy it on my own for a week or a month more. But then I’m going to ease into a revelation of my feelings at medium speed of seduction. I’ve changed my mind for several reasons.
Mainly it’s because I’ve been remembering how much time has been lost in past relationships over the first meander into love. I’m remembering love undeclared, love lost, love that wasn’t fully explored and could have been.
It would be worth the chance of heartbreak if he was ready to go for it. And if he wasn’t, well, let’s just say I’ve been developing quite the fan base to console me in the meantime.
All predicated on the huge IF that Flame feels remotely about me that I feel about him.
Or I might just be rationalizing the whole thing – which is why I’m not acting on it, say, tomorrow. 🙂