One of the consequences of the reunion was finally seeing the Crush again after probably fifteen years or so.
This was the Big Crush. Not one of those non-sexual crushes that boys get when they're young; the "I want to be your best friend" crushes. But that first "I know I'm different because of the way I feel about him" crush that hits when you enter your teenage years. The Crush.
He became my physical ideal. Smooth white skin. Athletic and trim. Curly platinum blond hair. The Aryans would have loved him. When I see a good-looking guy on the street, I usually can find a trace of the Crush in his features.
Beautiful voice, smart, popular; he was what I wanted to be. And, of course, what I wanted to have.
Over the next several years, we were pretty close. Sleepovers. Movies. Parties. All the usual stuff. Everything was cool. Until the girl.
The girlfriend set a boundry I knew I couldn't cross. Sure, we'd come pretty close to fooling around a number of times . . . but the girl made it clear that he considered that to be kid's stuff. And he was ready for the grown up stuff. Which was her.
They broke up after a couple of years. It was high school, after all. But our friendship never really came back to the level of intimacy it once had. Different schools, different friends, different desires. It drove a bit of a wedge between us. That and the fact that he was the golden boy of our choir. All the roles or solos I wanted, the friends I wanted, everything I wanted, just seemed to be handed to him on a silver platter.
Looking back, I know that wasn't the case. But I was jealous, so I thought what I thought.
I saw him a few times on breaks from college. One summer we even worked out at the same gym. Said hi a few times. That sort of thing. Then that was it. We lost touch.
I'd tried to track him down a few times once the fog of adolescence had finally lifted. I missed him and our friendship. But he has a very common name and tracking him down proved impossible.
Then I found out he'd be at the reunion. Part of me was thrilled, of course. I've wanted to know what happened to him. How he'd fared. If he'd married and had kids. If he still remembered and valued our friendship. If we'd ever be friends again.
But part of me was terrified. What if the feelings were still there? That white-hot mixture of desire and humiliation. What if I couldn't just be happy to reunite with a friend?
Then he was there. The curls were gone. Indeed, so was the platinum hair. He was another guy in this mid-thirties with a buzz cut, goatee and a bit of a spreading middle. And while I was thrilled to see him again, there wasn't that ache of desire/longing/loss/regret.
Until he introduced me to the man standing next to him. His partner of several years.
At that point, all of the 'might have beens' came crashing down on me. Visions of how my life might have been different if I'd known. Or if he'd known. How I might have been happy. Or at least less lonely.
I wallowed in it for a while, then put it aside. Life is what it is when it is and there is fuck all you can do about it after the fact.
So I moved on. We talked, got to know each other again. I talked with his partner; a really nice guy. They seem very happy.
I don't know if the friendship will come back. We're both completely different people than we were. But I hope so. Because I'd like to get to know the person he's become, even if it is at the expense of losing the Crush that he was.