Tuesday, Aug. 03, 2021 @ 4:29 pm
On my way into the office, I cycle past where he lives. Every time that I commute, I look up to his seventeenth floor condo. Wonder if he’s up there in that glass box in the sky. Wonder who he’s with. Curious, not jealous.
It’s a hot, hazy afternoon. As I pass his building, I look into the park. There he is, over beside the fountain, wearing running shoes and stretching.
I call out his name, and he looks up. Recognition.
“Hi, Peter,” I say, as I approach him.
The briefest of hesitations (a silent conversation, followed by a blink of agreement) and then we hug. He is warm and comfortable; I realize in that moment that I’ve missed seeing him. Up close, there is grey in his beard that wasn’t there two years ago. Otherwise, he seems unchanged.
We talk for a long while. I ask about his family and his work. He mentions travelling with someone back home to attend a funeral. I assume he means a girlfriend, and so I ask about her. I learn about how they only knew each other a short time before COVID, upon which they moved in together, perhaps too quickly, perhaps ignoring the red flags. As the world reopened this summer, things fell apart, and she moved out.
“Is it a good thing that it’s over?” Why am I asking this? What an odd question.
“Well, you know, in some ways it’s good because it’s better to not drag things on. It’s disappointing, though, because I had accepted the flaws in our relationship - nothing is ever perfect - but she wasn’t willing to take things to the next level.”
He invites me up for a glass of water. I accept.
We travel up in the elevator together. We go into his apartment. I take off my shoes. He pours me a glass of water. While drinking the water, I inspect his apartment, asking about all of the changes since I was last there. His apartment is stark compared with mine. All black leather couch and glass dining table, no colour, no softness.
There is a pause in conversation. He leans on the counter.
“Are you OK?”
“I think it’s just the heat. Maybe I need to eat something.”
I want to reach out. I want to help. Something stops me.
I consider how I feel about him. Love, yet tempered now. I want him in my life, but I don’t know how to reconcile our past. We need to have a conversation, but I’m scared to initiate. Why does this scare me? Not much scares me these days. I need closure. I need to establish that this is friendship and nothing more. What is there to be afraid of?
After I am assured that he is going to be OK, I put on my shoes.
“I’m going to go now. Thanks for the water.”
“Let’s go for a run next week,” he says.