Sat with my old friend drinking coffee and catching each other up on our stories this morning. Some friendships are such that the conversation can pause for years at a time. So we sat on the couch holding each others hands. He lamenting my short stay. Me telling him I needed to go see my Mom while she is still alive. He agreeing with my choice, but it’s been too long since I have seen my friend. He does not fly, or at least he hasn’t flown since I’ve known him. Leaving the town he has lived in for the past 50 years is a rare occurrence- college and the Vietnam war were enough of this world for him to see.
After nearly 14 years, he can still surprise me. He asked if during my next trip over if he could fly back to Hawaii with me – he thinks he could do it if I was there to hold his hand. “A bad flight?” I ask. “Many bad flights,” he answers. And I realize his mind is back in a jungle many years ago. I tend to love the broken ones. We recognize each other (PTSD? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yeah, me too – I understand…)
He was never attracted to my former body. After watching the long string of his broken hearted former lovers, I know that his friends get the better end of that bargain. I know he loved all those women the best he could, but there are parts of his soul that were left somewhere in Southeast Asia along with too many dead bodies of his friends. I may love the broken ones, but I learned the hard way that they cannot love me back the way that I need. So a friendship it will always remain.
My former protective padding usually had me in the friend category fairly quickly and for the most part the social cues were easy to understand. We are friends and nothing more. Minus quite a bit of the protective padding, there is part of me that rages at the injustice of it and wants to scream about being the same person underneath. But that is all bullshit too. People are attracted to who they are attracted to and far be it from me to judge any of that. Plus I’m not the same person underneath anymore either. Pretty sure that rage is some former fat girl anger residue I’m still working on. The thing about having an unrecognizable body at 40 is the social cues are not so easy to understand anymore. Well at least for me. Yes, we are still friends, but the interpretation then starts going fuzzy….