Brandon is aware of my on again-off again flings with two other men in my life and I am aware of his dalliances. It doesn’t affect our friendship, except for my occasional bouts of possessive neediness that usually correlate with my hormonal cycles. In fact, it gives us lots to talk about. We realize and accept how we mirror one another. How predatory we can be.
We both eventually quit the restaurant at PGA National and I take a full-time position managing a small family-owned restaurant in North Palm Beach. With all the money he is making at his firm, he leases a new one- bedroom apartment nearby, which makes it easy to stop off on my way home after work when I feel like it.
He has started working out and his chest and laterals look amazing. He’s not so wiry anymore, and he knows it. His attitude starts to turn a bit cocky now and then and I don’t like it much. Where’s my sweet, gentle, do-anything-for-me Brandon? One night when I roll out of his bed and start to dress he offhandedly asks me to to take his kitchen garbage downstairs to the dumpster on my way out. “Fuck you!” I reply.
He stops by the restaurant one evening, after closing time. I am in the office, behind tinted windows, right in the middle of a private moment with a subordinate I nurture an ongoing flirtation with. Things are just heating up between us, now we are alone.
Brandon is standing outside, knocking on the locked door of the restaurant, drunk and distraught. It is so important to me to capture this young man who I worked so hard to seduce over the preceding weeks– that I send Brandon away and turn back toward the momentary object of my desire. I regret doing that.
He knows I am wasting my time with the other guys and with him as well. He is remarkably intelligent, especially when it comes to money. He is an early investor in Netflix and I’ll never forget our discussion one night over a bottle of merlot, when I laugh and tell him he is wasting his money on a concept that will never take off. Oh boy.
Meanwhile, he finishes school, takes a job at a higher paying accounting firm, meets someone at work and falls in love. Finally. Her name is Kym, with a “y”. Our sex life has dwindled at this point and we hardly see each other anymore, but we chat on the phone from time to time.
Kym becomes pregnant and they get married. We see each other a few times in the last year before he leaves for St. Paul–where he always wanted to go. I blow him him off the last time he calls, because I am dating someone new and I don’t want to be interrupted. The man, as it turns out, who would become my second husband. We never speak again.
Until last year. After twelve years of silence, I get a friend request via Facebook. I delete the request. I can’t imagine what we would have to talk about, although I admit, over the years I have thought about him from time to time– wondered how his life is going.
He is persistent and messages me via Facebook. We chat briefly. He is divorced, with a ten-year old daughter. He is lonely, dating–always having sex too soon in relationships. Typical. He messages me again in the middle of the night, depressed about turning forty. He wants to change his life, but he’s stuck. I can recognize drunk typing.
I reply with a few supportive words, but I don’t engage. Mostly out of fear of becoming attached, fear of getting involved in something that could interfere with my own perfectly good, healthy, long-term relationship.
Today, I miss his friendship. I wish I could call him and chat like old times. But as friends and lovers often do…he passed through, just like that season of my life. We are different people now. I can only remember him fondly, though–as a good friend (and more) at a time when I needed one most.