He played the part he knew I wanted, the role I needed then. He was kind, generous, and seemed to have a solution to all that worried me. There was a calmness to him, whenever he walked within a room, the air would cease to electrify, and all eyes would go to him.
We had a class together. We met out of chance, as we both wandered around our classroom, our professor egging us to find a group of people to work with for the entirety of the semester. Our group consisted of seven persons, including ourselves, and as we all stood together in the hallway, we wrote our phone numbers down on a sheet of paper as we inquired of places to go to in town the following day, to “get to know one another better”.
He suggested a place. A restaurant/bar in town that served hamburgers at “half off” on Tuesdays, and we all agreed. I was new, and quiet. I piped up, mentioning that I did not live in town, and would need a ride to get to where we needed to be. I felt ashamed to ask, and almost worried to be a burden to my other group mates. He looked over at me, and offered to take on that task.
I grew close to him within those few months, consuming every drop of word that escaped his lips. I knew of his marriage and divorce with his ex wife, how he decided to return to school to advance his career, how he was raised deep within the woods of Colorado and had a son who almost mirrored him in image.
My friendship with him grew deeply, but my insecurities were present, and mocking me for desiring someone who was above me. I was still merely a child, living with my parents at the time, with no real sense of the realities of the world. He was beautiful and successful and though he was in a rut at the time, he knew exactly how to get everything he needed or wanted.
The semester was nearing an end and I’d grown fearful that I’d lose my friend. We all know how these things work: you’re in a group together for a class and are on friendly terms, and once the time is up- you go your separate ways, never to speak with one another again. I didn’t want that to happen. One day, we were spending time with one another and he offered to drive me back to campus so I could be on time for my next class. I paused before exiting, my heart skipping a beat. I looked over at him, and asked, “Are we friends?”
It was bold, upfront. To the point.
“Yes, of course we are.” he said, smiling.
And we hugged, but it was extended, I didn’t want to let go.