If you only get one true love in life, he is mine. I used to get insanely jealous of anyone else stealing his attention. That was back when I thought there was only so much love to go around and it couldn’t be shared.
But now I know that love takes on many forms and many incarnations, none of which diminish one another.
In high school I used to call Michael every night. It wasn’t enough that we were in the same classes all day long or that he picked me up and dropped me off or that he lived next door. It was imperative that we talk at night too. There was a little flirtation. Something we called romance to dignify hormones. But Michael, only child of only children, had his rituals. And waiting to talk on the phone until after dessert was one of them. He was very good with the boundaries. Me, not so much.
He bought the Jewel CD for my 17th birthday the summer of 1996 and took it to me at the La Paz dorm, along with a worn white t-shirt that I’d probably demanded of him. His mom dropped him off at the dorm and we made out in a study room. I made out with several boys that summer. None of the others gave me a CD with listening instructions. Only Michael.
So, lo, this many years later, when he is home with his parents, I still ask about dessert. How many people know the comfort of seeing and being seen with such clarity? I know special when I see it. And the odds of a love like this used to require a slide rule and a couple of NASA scientists. You can’t count to infinity on your fingers.
Brave on, my boy. I will always be here. Loving you, loving you.