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Best Friend

August 2, 2011

My phone rang, and it was my best friend. “Where are you?”

“At my mom’s.  Where are you?”

“At my house.  When are you going out to dinner?”

“No set time yet, why? What’s up?”

He sighed.  “Nothing. Let’s go get a drink.”

“Yes. Absolutely.  Where”

“The Proximity? Green Valley Grill? PF Changs?”

I smiled.  “Green Valley Grill. Proximity is for late night drinking and PF Changs? Really?”

“OK, what time?”

“5:30? Then I can go to dinner around 7, and that should work.”

“Good Lord. What time is it now?”

I looked at the clock on my parents’ mantel. “4:30. You have plenty of time to get pretty.”

We agreed, and hung up. I spent a little more time with my parents, then headed out to meet Jeff.  He is an early-bird person, always organized and never, ever late.  I run on the edge of late all the time, falling off more often than I like to admit.

I got to the bar and of course he was already there. He stood up and hugged me – he always stands when a woman comes into his presence in such a situation.  We sat and I ordered a drink, the same thing he was already working his way through – vodka cranberry – and the not-so- attractive bartender fixed it and left us alone.

For a Friday night, we actually had a very deep conversation about connections and building relationships and fears and exes and moving forward and looking back.  And Jeff and I are the kind of friends that people look for their whole lives – when we met, we just clicked. We got each other.  He can tell I’m down in a text.  I can tell by the way the phone rings that it’s him.  We truly and genuinely love one another. And since he’s gay and I don’t have a penis, our friendship is not complicated by sexual tension.

We’re just really great friends.

So it was time for me to go meet my friend for dinner, and he offered to walk me to my car.

“You’re such a gentleman!”

He held out his elbow. “Here, take my arm.”

I snickered. “What are we, 140?” (An old joke between us – old people are always 140. That way we can never be old,  no matter how old we get.)

“Fine. Here. Hold my hand.” And he held out his hand to me, and I tried to take it.

And I failed.

And I realized, as wonderfully as our relationship works, and as easily as we fit together mentally and emotionally and spiritually, well, we can’t even hold hands.

We couldn’t figure out whose thumb goes on top or how to mesh our hands together.

We just could not make it work.

It was a very Will and Grace moment.

I will love Jeff until we ARE 140 years old. I will need him and I will be there for him. I will trust him and I will be his vault.  We will commiserate and we will share joy and we will get falling down drunk and we will detox together.

But we will never, ever try to hold hands again.

***

This is a repost from my old blog, in honor of my impending visit to see Jeff in Philly. We haven’t seen one another since November! So, we are ready for Philly, but is Philly ready for us?

Doubtful.

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