Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Past, Part I

The other night I had the rare opportunity to hook up with some old friends. My friend Sawyer, who moved last fall, was up visiting for a few days. We thought it would be good get the old crew back together for a while before he had to make the four-hour drive back to the woods he now calls home.

I haven't seen Sawyer or Dean since right before Sawyer moved. Before that, I hadn't seen them in nearly 6 years. The reasons for this are many-fold; I will try to explain as best that I can.

Dean and I used to date, way back when. We lived together for 2 and a half years, were quasi-engaged, and had a really nasty break up - full of sound and fury - way back in the end of 2000 and beginning of 2001. I had seen him once or twice since then, and we've e-mailed sporadically, but really never put any effort into trying to re-connect as civilized adults. However, he does always have a way of finding me. I won't say that it's hard, considering that I haven't moved in almost 6 years, had the same cell-phone number for 7 years, and the same e-mail address for nearly 10 years. I'm not exactly a mystery. He ended up finding me through my MySpace page this last time. Through his MySpace, I was able to re-connect with Sawyer, Carl and Matt, the rest of the crew.

We caught up with each others' lives through long e-mail conversations. All the immaturities of the past seemed to have fallen away - we had all done quite a bit of growing up in the time since we had spoken last.

Dean especially seemed to have matured. It was not really possible to hold a grudge. Even though I had always felt that blame for the end of us rested squarely on his shoulders, neither of us was the same person we had been. I could no longer blame him for the mistakes he had made; I was so far removed from the situation that I felt like an outside observer watching a movie, a work of historical fiction, whenever I thought about our past. I did not want him back, in fact I wanted nothing from him other than to know that things were fine between us. He felt the same. Now when we speak of both having made mistakes, we mean it. That phrase has ceased to be just something one says, it has slipped easily into the realm of truth through the passage of time.

Sawyer and I were able to meet on the intellectual level we had always shared. We had a bit of a falling out near the end, but those were volatile times for all of us. No respect was truly lost, it was just petty bullshit taken too far. Surprisingly, Sawyer was instrumental in engineering the first meeting.

Matt and Carl did not attend our first outing, though we did try to include them. Carl has his reasons, most of which stem from depression and a crazy work schedule that includes most evenings and weekends. Matt, however, skipped it because of me.

Matt and I have a bit of a past. He admits that he always wanted to date me, almost from the first time we met. I was dating and living with Dean at the time. Dean, Carl and I met Matt and Sawyer at a gathering at a mutual friend's house in the summer of 1999. Sawyer speaks of that event often, admitting that Matt told him how attractive he thought I was, to which Sawyer replied that he was pretty sure I was dating Dean and to be practical and leave it alone. Which Matt seemed to do, for a long time.

I never had any problems talking to Matt, we hit it off as friends right away. In retrospect, I see that he at least had the sense not to make any overtures toward me, as he was friends with Dean, too. However, when shit started to hit the fan between Dean and me, he was available - first as a shoulder to cry on, then as a rebound fling.

Dean was temporarily staying with a "friend" about an hour's drive from our apartment, so I had the place to myself. I needed to get out of the house and start doing social things again, so Matt was an obvious choice. I went to preppy suburban parties with him and his townie friends, he went to raves and shows with me. I never took it seriously, and he insisted that he didn't either. I should have known better, as I was the worldly one and he was the one who hadn't dated too many girls, but I believed him when he said he wouldn't get hurt. Of course it turned out badly, mostly because Dean came back to town and started causing trouble. But it did feel good at the time.

So when we were trying to get back together before Sawyer moved, it was really no surprise that Matt didn't show up, however much he assured me over e-mails that he wasn't mad anymore. Sawyer, Dean and I ended up hanging out at my house, watching movies, listening to music, talking, having a few drinks. It was fun to catch up. We've been e-mailing occasionally since that day.

Fast forward to this weekend. Sawyer is back in town, and we have a gathering set up at Dean's house. Matt shows up, which I think is awesome, but Carl still won't come out. The four of us head out to dinner at one of our usual spots, like no time has passed at all. Then we adjourned to my house, drawn by the prospect of that half a bottle of Absinthe I have been saving for just such an occasion. So on goes the Tool CD, out come the good glasses and the conversation ensues.

Mark seemed a little upset at first, but then realized that he could speak to these people on the type of intellectual level he has only ever experienced with me. They are well versed in the same type of metaphysical and esoteric philosophies that I am, the same sort of ideas that I have turned Mark onto through our years together. The conversation was excellent.

Dean started doing his most famous party trick - he was reading Mark like a book. Dean has always been so in tune with the flow of energies that he can figure out most people instantly. Some mistake it for "psychic powers" or some such nonsense, but those of us who know him know that it is simply the way he catalogs and synthesizes the subconscious clues most people give out without realizing what they are revealing. Dean began to tell Mark things about himself, to the point where Mark actually accused me of giving away his secrets. Of course I emphatically denied this, as I really hadn't said much to Dean about Mark's personal business. I certainly hadn't said the things that Dean was figuring out.

Matt left early, due to a supposed allergy-induced sinus headache, but I think that it was due to Mark's presence. Mark knows most of what went on between all of us at least in general, if not in all the gory details. He was ribbing Matt ever so gently. Although I have told Mark that I am emphatically not interested in ever pursuing anything with Dean again, due to the way we ended, I may not have been so emphatic when speaking of Matt. Mark admitted to me earlier that he felt most threatened by Matt, as there was more between us that remained unfinished. He really doesn't have much to worry about, I'm still not interested in Matt that way.

Alas, Dean, on the other hand, may be a different story. I shouldn't want him anymore, but I'm sure that's why I sort of do. He seems so stable now, and he did say that he and his girlfriend were just living like roommates these days. He expressed a desire to be with someone a little less vapid, a little more of an intellectual. I don't want a relationship with him, I know that much. But I wouldn't be opposed to a bit of extra-curricular activity from time to time.

Or perhaps I just really need to diversify and I am looking for candidates in the strangest places. Though I have an excuse to call him and see him, as I left his manuscript on his couch instead of taking it with me to edit as a favor, I'm not sure if I will pursue anything other than friendship.

Time will tell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Again very well written