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Gigabite me

January 6, 2008

There was this place I inhabited for two months. I wasn’t alone – not in a technical sense. My companion: a trusted friend. We watched movies on his home theater, my body coiled around his on the couch. The corners of my mouth turned up involuntarily each time I saw our shoes juxtaposed outside his front door, thinking about the first time he put his foot next to the bottom of my lower leg and discovered they were the same length.

Our discussion topics spanned from the mundane details of that particular day to broader philosophical and relationship issues pondered separately long before our paths crossed. I had gotten used to the taste of scrambies made with soymilk because it is, afterall, the thought that counts. (Right?) Dinner… that was usually free range chicken prepared in an iron skillet. A sommelier at heart, his wine selection was deliberate. Secretly, I hoped that there would be some spillover and a fraction of the intent put into complementing our meal would be applied to the pairing of lives and recognition of our connection.

Each and every off-handed remark of my musical preferences prompted the downloading of an artist’s entire discography. His ipod provided the soundtrack for our bi-weekly liaisons. MP3s were surrogate communicators… he shared the musicians’ expressions of feeling in lieu of his own. He was the boyfriend I should have had in high school – the one who would have sent me flowers, made elaborate mix tapes and whose pimply face would’ve lit up knowing that these gestures made me feel warm inside. But more is expected at 27 than at 17 and even at 6’5″, he fell short.

As you can imagine, love does not happen by proxy and it was his actions – or lack there of – that belied the meaningful place I supposedly held in his life. It was a long distance relationship even though his place and mine were only separated by one narrow river and a 20 minute drive. Such is the way in a phantom relationship where only one person is truly present. I wonder if things were different a long time ago, before he bought into the notion that he was both too much and not enough at the same time. Perhaps there never was such a time.

postitMy lovely parting gift was a DVD with 5 gigabytes of music, box of girl scout thin mints and a succinct one word note scribbled on a post it. I would have preferred a case of the San Francisco treat but that was not my call. Instead I wound up with three and a half days worth of music.

Music that reminds me of him…
…of the specter that almost was almost an “us”…
…the lighthearted fun…
…marathon makeout sessions that made my arms, abs and stomach ache like a productive day at the gym…
…the connection that, in retrospect, I can see slowly began to recede the moment our lips first touched.
It all seems more like a lucid dream than a part of my recent past; a rough cut of a movie shelved before opening night.

After he initiated one traumatizing late night exchange over IM, I had to cut him off… but I did hold on to the box of cookies that, under normal circumstances, I would have put down in one day flat. Silly as it sounds, so long as they were in the freezer there was still tangible evidence that he did, in fact, care. I ate one or two at time until they were gone one month later. I broke down the box for recycling and my attention was drawn to the nutritional info I usually prefer to ignore.

1 gram of transfat per serving. The irony is amusing: he was bad for my heart. It’s only fitting that his last gift would be too.

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