Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Imaginary Friend

I have an imaginary friend. It's not that he’s an imaginary person. He’s a very real person. He lives and breathes in full Technicolor 3-D, and lots of people know him, so the reality of his existence is beyond question. But what is imaginary is that he is my friend.

For a brief shining moment in time he and I were friends. It was a glorious coming together of two very kindred spirits, two like-minded souls, and whatever other cliché of fated togetherness. There was some twinkle of light that we recognized in each other, drawing us into an almost scary kind of closeness, a clairvoyant sense of the other.

It was intense in a freaky kind of way. And it freaked me out on lots of levels, but mostly that I felt such a strong and instant connection with him. And that it seemed entirely reciprocal, and that along with it came such powerful love. It wasn’t a romantic love. There was never romance or even the possibility of it (or sex) between us. In fact, the lack of that is what enabled me to feel that the immediacy of intimacy between us was ok – wonderful even.

The sexual neutrality of the love was the only thing that kept me from wondering if this sudden infatuation between us wasn’t somehow pathological. It was the perfect marriage of straight woman/gay man platonic but Oh-My-God amazing kind of love. At least for me. I can really only speak for me here. I know what he has told me and said to me and shared with me, so I think it was completely mutual, but I can only know about myself for certain.

So why do I say he’s my imaginary friend? Because the friendship has become a figment of my own imagination. Because the friendship exists now in fond and fuzzy memories, piercing my heart from time-to-time with their poignancy, their hopefulness, their potential. Because we were so close for such a short time and because it was absolute magic. But also because it doesn’t exist that way anymore.

The friendship, the excited conversations exposing our connection at deeper and deeper levels, the sense of some precious gift washing over us, eroding away the barriers that had been a fortress against others for so long, was exquisite. But for such a short time. And then the warmth of every breathless promise turned cool and then cold and then distant.

And whatever requires this oceanic chasm of distance between us now, whatever the need for safety and distance, I still love him. I don’t think that will change. Things change, it’s true. And people change. But my heart remains true to love always. The loyalty, the allegiance, the fidelity that remains is to love itself.

So, for now, he’s my imaginary friend. In my imagination, we’re just a phone call away, just a visit away, just a plane ride or a letter or an e-mail away from remembering and restoring that connection. The friendship exists as true and lovely for me as it ever did. And maybe someday, he’ll be a part of it again.