Forever Plaid

I wish I could recall with clarity the first time I met Bryn. She was a charter member of Bridgeport, so I am sure that first meeting would have included something tweenage. That was back in the day when I was going to Susan & Diane’s for all the parties of the millenium, which usually included a week or two at church. We’ve talked about this, and though neither of us realized when the other appeared on our radar, Bryn does remember the first time we really talked. We were both trying to escape the noise of the party, and snuck off on our own, and as we dove deeper, her friend love attached itself to me… I just wish I’d realized it at the time and taken more advantage of the opportunity to become closer before we actually did.

In those days, I thought Diane and I were better friends than we were, and I tended to stick to her at parties because I thought that they were the only chance for us to be able to talk, because it wouldn’t be long until I flew home. Sometimes, she seemed annoyed by this and left me wondering why. Sometimes, she was over-the-top affectionate and I just lived for those moments, because it was a throwback to old inside jokes, and sometimes, the deep intimate bonding that occurred between us as I came out and she was molding herself into the success she is today. I was always confused as to why it wasn’t consistent, why she wasn’t that affectionate all the time, and I realized that sometimes in public I was a way to prop up her own ego… she could say that she mentored this young girl all the way from the time she was 12 until now. When I wasn’t useful in that capacity, I was annoying. It took me a very long time to realize why. If I hadn’t spent so much time ruminating on everything I’d done wrong that had pushed her away (because it was all my fault), I would have remembered this gargantuan moment in my life.

A conversation is not just a conversation between Bryn & me. We are both deeply introspective, and are now beginning to see the galaxies that live within us… inner landscapes in which we’ve had to hold hands tightly to explore. I’m beginning to think she is my Silent Bob hetero-lifemate and I know for sure that she would be pleased at that reference… although that does make me Jay, and I’m just as introspective/introverted as Silent Bob, too. So pretend that Silent Bob is Silent Bob’s hetero-lifemate and that pretty much matches our hetero-lifemate and wacky lesbian neighbor marriage nicely.

The only thing that throws a wrench in that plan is that I am now a neighbor in the cloud. I won’t go back to Portland for exactly the same reason I won’t go back to Houston (unless my dad gets sick or something… the only reason I’d be comfortable there… I wouldn’t have time to worry about anything else). DC makes me new, one day at a time, because I don’t have any teenage memories here. I’ve always been an adult in DC, with no trace of where I’ve been emotionally under a tremendous amount of abuse so that when I drive around the city, I panic. Mostly not to an extreme, but sometimes. It depends on how strong I’m feeling that day.

In that way, I need to practice self-care by staying away from those memories and at the same time, be upset that I don’t live close to Bryn anymore. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. It is a letting go of that dream, a small grief on its own, because I cannot imagine Bryn picking up and moving here. God, in God’s own infinite possibilities, lets me believe that there’s one chance in a million, because life never knows what it’s going to throw at you until it arrives.

Bryn is perhaps the person I wish the most lived in my neighborhood, so that AM coffee became a thing, or dinner once a week. Three hours is one hell of a time difference, but we make it work through messaging and FaceTime. It’s just hard to upload coffee and/or the palate cleansing course. The care package I received from her had a dark green blanket in it, a plaid- warmer than all three of my blankets put together.

When I called to thank her, she said something I will never forget.

That blanket was really just a fabric scrap that I found at Joanne’s while I was listening to The Drums Of Autumn, and it made me want to send you my plaid to wrap around you and keep you warm.

I couldn’t stop crying, because through the magic of close friends, my Jamie comes in all different packages. I thanked her for giving me the kindest part of him…. and I’ll bet that if you’ve read the Outlander series, you know what an enormous gift she sent me emotionally… That person that says “it’s ok that our emotions are large because we’ll always be there to catch each other.”

I must have done something excellent in a past life for which I’m being rewarded “posthumously,” and feel the need to say that I am as careful with her heart as she is with mine.

And there will never be a time in which I can say I didn’t marry her. With one signature, she’ll have proof.


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