3 min

Passing the torch

Seeing him again would be something of a test

I am finally over him. It might have taken about nine years, three months, and 13 days, but I am finally over him.

Before moving to Vancouver, I found myself falling into that cruel and unforgiving abyss we humans call love. We had met at university, gone on one or two dates and eventually became “just friends.”

He helped get me in touch with my “inner guy” and I introduced him to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. For me, absence just made my heart grow needier.

I had not realized the depth of my feelings for him until I jumped on a plane and headed out west. Holding onto my memories of him, I had difficulty accepting any other admirers. No one, it seemed, could compete with the object of my insufferable affections.

Dismayed by the truth that nothing more could come of my love than a long distance friendship, I seemed to give up on menfolk all together. Eventually, I became something of a hermit, unwilling to accept things for the way they were.

A couple of years ago, I realized I could not live in my shell anymore. I have, in a manner of speaking, come out of hiding. Not only would I like the opportunity to date again, I want to discover a sense of community. No man is an island and all that.

Imagine the terror I felt when I suddenly heard that he would be venturing out west again.

Would I crawl back into myself after playing host to him for a few days? Would those pangs of love once again grip my better judgment and reduce me to a pile of mushy, emotional goo?

There would be no way to tell until he arrived.

Close to eight years had passed since we said our goodbyes. I remember giving him a hug as we parted and feeling that it was the warmest embrace I had ever felt.

There was much to do before he arrived in my neck of the woods. I guess it is fairly common to want to look your best before the one for whom you once held (and possibly still might hold) a torch pays a visit.

As they are prone to do, my thoughts kept returning to familiar dark territory. I feared my libido would take hold and make me do something stupid… even stupider than my saner, rational self.

Once upon a time, I had been so attracted to his body that I had embarrassed myself in an attempt to become well acquainted with it. Though we had danced in the sheets once before, I simply demanded another go. The request was denied.

There would be no telling how I would react until he showed his face. I braced myself for a collision.

When he did show up on my doorstep, I was genuinely thrilled to just see my old friend again. I had, in the years since we parted, made some progress in getting over him. Still, a part of him still resided in my overactive and melodramatic imagination.

The longer we lived apart, the more he came to resemble something all together different than who he was. I could adjust some character traits to suit some grand delusion of who I considered to be my first love.

Months ago, I resolved to stop living my life like a drama queen and accept things for the way they are. Although I was looking forward to just seeing him again and reminiscing, I looked at his arrival as a sort of test. However, it was not of the kind where I could pass or fail.

Knowing he was in a stable relationship with someone back home, my weary heart was already on standby for a complete, thermonuclear meltdown.

All that pesky anxiety lifted itself after being reunited with him for a couple of hours. True, he was still one handsome bastard. True, he was the same person I had grown fond of. However, the way I looked at him had changed.

I was reminded of the times we had spent back in Montreal and how we got along (and often did not) in each other’s company. Had we always been so similar? Could I even stand dating someone so like myself?

I had spent so much time in Vancouver imagining a world that saw the two of us in a committed relationship. Seeing him again, I realized that could never be. Furthermore, I wasn’t so sure it mattered anymore. As much as I still adore him, my happiness does not depend on what he feels for me.

We had ourselves a gay old time. I introduced him to the lifestyle of the contemporary West Coast gay man. We trolled the village, eyeing the goods and resurrecting that old camaraderie we had before I let emotions get in the way.

By day, we enjoyed some cold brew at the Fountainhead while flirting with the waiters and getting our asses creamed at the pool table. This was when I realized I had truly become a “local” after years of remaining on the sidelines.

At night, we chilled in and played hand after hand of Skipbo and watched back-to-back episodes of South Park as we had all those years ago. Yes, we truly lived on the edge.

Now that we are once again on opposite sides of the country, I am able to hold him in high regard as a friend and not as the unobtainable sex god I had created. At last, a great weight has been lifted from these boney shoulders.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another nine years, three months and 13 days to get over the next guy!