A photo was shared of us via Facebook messenger, together in Rome, at the Colloseum on a scorching hot summer day. You were squeezing me around my shoulders; I was wrapping what I could wrap of my petite frame around your massive body. Ex-high school football and basketball player, at six feet three you stood, and I liked it; it felt right, even when I look at the photo now, it’s comforting to look at. One of those photos you share 15 years from now, at a ski trip with all your best buddies, you know?
We had met at the university’s bar kitchen we worked at together. You were upgrading a few classes to become an engineer, I was in my last year of journalism. I was a mere dishwasher/prep cook, our boss was a filthy piece of shit, you just stared at me, with no words, and then the words came, and then we made out in the kitchen when nobody was looking, and then we stayed up until 3 am watching Scorsese movies and I made dinner for you, that one time…and you said something like nobody had ever made dinner for you before aside from your mom. She had passed when you were 15 and I could feel your pain. I told you about my tough year, you listened, you wanted to take care of me. Little did I know I needed to take care of me first as I was pretty burnt out from my last five years of university. I had no job lined up, just Europe to clear my head. And then you came along. And we fought a lot because we weren’t ready. For the longest time I had kept the darkest memories of that trip, but in hindsight, the positive ones should be held on to.
I’ll never forget those simple little memories of you and me in your apartment on second street, right by Model Milk, where you worked for a bit, and then it was Clive Burger for a summer…I was only 23. You were 25. I will be 28 this year. You will be 30… Time flies and then we look back and don’t realize how much time has already passed.
We reached out to each other in September. It had been five whole years…never too late for closure, I guess. It takes a while for people to see clearly, to realize what the other person meant to you…I know you meant a great lot to me.
That September, we exchanged words of kindness; “you left a big impression on me”, you said. You left a big impression on me too, I said back. And then you said something like “I saw you with what looked like a boyfriend two years ago. You looked happy.” Little does he know that I haven’t been seeing anyone recently but he doesn’t need to know; it might shatter his illusion of my happiness. But I am happy, and we talked, and I’m not crazy: we both cared for each other and got hurt and, that’s all I needed to know. We were each others’ stepping stone for a little while, and now we’re skipping to new stones and I’m OK with that.