I had a conversation with an old friend this past weekend. It was different than any other conversation he and I have ever had. Without disclosing too much about him, I have fond memories of us that go way back. We may have lost touch over the years but we have never lost the closeness that we've shared. When we've seen each other in person, we are still the way we were way back when. The last time I seen him, I was picking food off his plate that he hadn't touched yet. He didn't seem to mind. I will always consider him a "bestie" and he feels the same way too. Up until this point our friendship has always been platonic. NO funny business at all. I suppose it still is platonic because he is married and a very devoted father to his children.
At one point, nearly two decades back, we were hanging out a lot. I was separated from my first husband and he was single. We would take these long rides around the island and just talk and laugh. We have always been able to relate to each other and there were never any awkward silences, ever! In our conversation over Facebook Messenger, he changed the condition of our friendship, somewhat by relating his emotions and feelings. I lifted his exact words from our conversation, "All those times we went cruising, we shoulda made love to this song." The song, you ask? I Wanna Be Loved by Eric Benet. I don't know how long he has thought of me in that way. If these are old feelings from way back when, why did he wait to tell me? If these are new feelings, why now?
Nothing can really blossom from his revealed feelings unless we rendezvous like hormone-crazed teenagers. That would make him an adulterer and me the skanky ho that wanted it. You know how you've been friends with someone so long, you take on a certain persona when you're with them. I was in his "friend zone" and never, in my mind, to be more than that. We have never crossed that line between friends and lovers. I was always very careful not to provoke it because I knew too much about him but mostly because I never thought he was attracted to me. He never tried either.
When we would hang out, we would traverse every topic on the planet from funny and entertaining to heavy and deep. On one of our long drives, I revealed to him my biggest dream - to write. We talked about way more than that and he was actually "with it" too. That was nearly 20 years ago and I'm just starting on the dream. For whatever reason we found ourselves in a conversation about why he and I never hooked up, I am grateful for the way he sees me. Lifted from our conversation, "Sorry about your marriage but I don't think men understand the responsibility and privilege of being with you." That right there! Am I wrong to think that he is seeing value in me in a way that my ex(es) didn't? And if so, why now? I can't lie, it brought tears to my eyes. I carry around this broken heart, trying to move forward but still feeling every bit of inadequate to allow someone to love me again. Who can love a girl that has been abandoned, twice? There must be something wrong with me, right?
He dropped nuggets of advice on me that seem to come from deep inside his heart. What he said to me makes me think that he wants me to have the fairy tale that I always talk about. I feel like his sentiments came from such an unselfish and genuine place and it kind of knocked me off my feet; so much so that I am thinking about it a day later.
HIM: For realz tho if us men were mature enough to appreciate a beautiful, intelligent woman like you is better than a million hoochies, you'd get the man you deserve.
ME: Maybe one day
So what is the bit of advice that he gave me?
HIM: Don't give up hope and for God's sake don't settle.
Simple! And though I've had tons of advice over my lifetime from dearest friends and family, for some reason, those words hit me like a ton of bricks. DON'T SETTLE!
HIM: Rudy Giuliani said, "Never compromise your principles because the worst thing you can do is compromise and lose." You deserve a finished product at this stage of your life.
Okay who walks around with Giuliani quotes in his head? LOL
ME: On the real, I'm not looking for anything. I am going to do me. Make all my dreams come true.
HIM: If someone can add to those dreams then let em in. Easy to say but hard to do... but you got this. Remember Five Heartbeats? Your greatest writing will come once you have known pain.
His 'drop the mic' closing sentiment: Still wish we made love but will have to settle for loving you from afar.